When I saw this month’s theme of “Ugly Ducklings (Heroes and/or heroines who aren't "pretty")” I truly didn’t think that I’d have a problem finding a book to read in my TBR. Well guess what? I did. I looked hither and yon and it took me a while and a few emails to friends to get suggestions but I finally came up with the book. Yay! There are a ton of books that I’ve read in the past that have had plain jane/john characters or scarred heroes that would have been perfect for this – unfortunately it wasn’t a re-read challenge! lol
So my pick for this month was Duck! by Kim Dare…my first read by this author. It’s a pretty literal ugly duckling story and while Ori isn’t exactly ugly as a human he isn’t exactly pretty either. The more I think about ugly duckling theme the more I realized that to me any one of us could be considered an ugly duckling as each of us have our own views on what’s beautiful or rather who’s beautiful. A man I find attractive might not be attractive to my friend. It’s all a matter of finding someone who you find beautiful on the inside and that makes them beautiful on the outside.
Raised among humans, Ori Jones only discovered he was an avian shifter six months ago. Unable to complete a full shift until he reaches his avian maturity, he still can’t be sure of his exact species.
But with species comes rank, and rank is everything to the avians. When a partial shift allows the elders to announce that they believe Ori to be a rather ugly little duckling, he drops straight to the bottom rung of their hierarchy.
Life isn’t easy for Ori until he comes to the attention of a high ranking hawk shifter. Then the only question is, is Ori really a duck—and what will his new master think when the truth eventually comes out?
Ori’s working in the nest. This is, from what I gather, a type of club for avian’s but I think it also houses different avian’s in varying degrees of rank and maturity. Ori completed a partial shift a while back and from what the elders saw they guessed he was going to be a rather ugly duckling.
One night in the restaurant Ori is being tormented by a group of crows when the harassment is put to an end by a hawk shifter. The hawk, Raynard, takes matters into his own hands and decides that he will take Ori to be his servant in his house. Ori is at Raynard’s house for a time and is making headway into cleaning up the dust and disorganization (Raynard had inherited his uncle’s house and it was in sad shape) when Raynard decides to make Ori his submissive. Raynard doesn’t make that decision lightly and since Ori is starting to have feelings for his boss and he really is a submissive he’s more than willing to be whoever he needs to be in order to remain close to Raynard.
Their relationship was a quiet, intense and loving thing. Ori really gloried in pleasing his master and his master loved him. But then Ori goes before the elders for his first full shift and things change. Ori comes out of his shift and his master is gone, people are touching him and they keep calling him “sire”. Ori wants nothing more than to put his submissive’s collar back on and go home with Raynard but his life has to change based on his shift. But can Ori and Raynard ever get back what they had?
This was such a good book. I’m not normally one to read books with BDSM involved (although I have read several that have been really good) but this one was so loving I was completely drawn in to Raynard’s thoughts whenever that aspect of the relationship was being written about. Raynard’s care for Ori and yes, the love that came through, was very compelling and I couldn’t put the book down!
Now I think I would have liked to have seen more explanation as to the role that Ori was supposed to play after his first full shift. Obviously we get some indication about how things should be and how he’s revered for his species through hints and actions, but I really didn’t have a clue as to what was expected or him after the shift. Ori didn’t have a clue either and I think both of us would have liked more information on that! lol
In the end Raynard and Ori loved each other for who they were and their relationship really spoke to me of everlasting devotion - I just loved that! This was a really great book that I will definitely be reading again.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5