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?
I have loved this retake of the ugly duckling fairytale for a long time. The essence of the original fairy tale is still the structure of the story which makes it familiar whilst bringing it into the realm of shifters. We meet Ori living a life of drudgery being bullied by other bird shifters. The Avian nest has a hierarchical structure and Ori being a duckling is low down the pecking order, so to speak. The author has selected birds that suit the nature of the characters being portrayed. This gave me wonderful imagery. The superior Hawks and other birds of Pray being at the top and the pigeons scurrying about in service roles.
Reynard, a Hawk, is disgusted with the way Ori is being treated and offers him a role as a servant in his home. This is where the Master/slave story starts. If BDSM is not your cup of tea this might not the story for you. The core is Dominance and Submission but it doesn’t have a lot of kinky scenes, so it might be worth taking a chance. Reynard, being a Hawk, is a strong character and with the societal hierarchy consent seems to be taken for granted. His drive is to protect and care for Ori. Ori looks up to Reynard and equally wants to take care of Reynard by serving him. From this the love grows and blossoms. The huge bump in their relationship comes from when Ori has his final shift and becomes a Swan. I don’t think I’m giving much away given that it’s based on the Ugly Duckling fairytale. How they deal with this dramatic change though is what makes the story. Can their love overcome such an obstacle? I’ll leave you to discover that for yourselves.
Regarding the narration, I am a fan of Rod M. Maskew’s narration. He excelled at portraying the nature of each bird’s character through the tone and voices he chose. The Hawks were superior upper class English men and the crows were noisy ruffians. Ori was gentle and meek but also gracious. Apart from the second book, magpie, I don’t think he has narrated anything else, which is such a shame.
5 of stars out of 5 for both
Purchased by reviewer