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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World
Abigail Revasch, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Tara Sands, Listening Library
Progress: 67/473 minutes
The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 58/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes
Duck! (Avian Shifters, #1) - Kim Dare I did not like this book. It's a BDSM story, which I already stated in my review for Katrina Strauss's Some Kind of Stranger is not something I generally like, so I've thought about whether my dislike stems from that or from other aspects of the story. I think I would have disliked this book even if it had not featured BDSM.Raynard and Ori, especially Ori, were incredibly boring characters. When they were together, they were little more than a dominant and a submissive. When Raynard wasn't with Ori, he spent his time trying to put his late uncle's business in order, but none of that was ever shown. Prior to living with Raynard, Ori grew up in lots of different foster homes and eventually ended up at a club where other avian shifters verbally, physically, and sexually abused him, but, again, little was shown. I wanted to know more. Did Raynard have any friends? What kind of business did his uncle leave him? Did Ori ever leave Raynard's house for anything other than attending to his needs as an avian shifter or to run the occasional errand for Raynard? Did Ori ever think about anything other than Raynard and things related to Raynard? Did Ori enjoy anything besides cleaning Raynard's house and having sex with Raynard? (The answer to the last couple questions is probably “no,” which should explain why I thought Ori was the more boring of the two characters. He was so. Incredibly. Dull. Not unlikable, but dull.)Initially, I found Ori and Raynard's relationship intriguing. Raynard made Ori his servant in order to get him away from an environment where he was clearly being mistreated. Although he was attracted to Ori, he resisted doing anything about that attraction, because he was pretty sure Ori would assume that sex was part of his duties and would say yes to whatever he was asked to do, whether he actually wanted to do it or not.Unfortunately, then Raynard noticed that the attraction was mutual. He gave Ori a “choice” between being his servant and being his submissive, and Ori decided to be Raynard's submissive. I put the word “choice” in quotes because I, personally, was not convinced that Ori was emotionally capable of making this choice.Ori had an intense desire to please that was probably due, at least in part, to years of living in foster homes and feeling like he didn't fit in. Ori was essentially abused in every way at the avian club he served at prior to being taken to Raynard's home. That only increased his desire to please and to avoid offense. What Raynard took as a natural tendency towards submission I took as a sign that Ori could have benefited from some therapy. Had Ori gotten that therapy and still wanted to be Raynard's submissive, I probably wouldn't have been as uncomfortable. As it was, the very foundation of Raynard and Ori's relationship didn't sit well with me, and I could never fully settle into seeing it as the light, sweet BDSM tale I think Dare intended it to be. Raynard may not have been abusive the way the other avians were, but he never invited outsiders to help Ori, even when outside help would have been warranted. The mansion could have used more than just Ori as its cleaning staff, I already mentioned that I thought Ori could have benefited from a therapist, and why the heck didn't Raynard take Ori to a doctor after Ori cut his arm?The story was, for the most part, as dull as the book's characters. Dare made creative use of the story “The Ugly Duckling,” but it took two thirds of the book for anything like conflict to be introduced, and then I felt that part of the book dragged on for too long. Since I did not find Ori and Raynard's relationship appealing, I didn't feel particularly affected by their grief when it looked like they could no longer be together as master and submissive. Ori began to look more and more pathetic, and I felt no sympathy for Raynard when he worried that the only way he might be able to stay with Ori was as something other than his master.I got this book because I was intrigued by its unusual shifters, but I found Dare's world-building to be sketchy at best. From what I could tell, Dare's shifters could be any species – hawks, ducks, geese, hummingbirds, finches, and more were all mentioned. Shifters seemed to almost always be categorized as either dominants or submissives, with certain species being more inclined to one role or another. All the shifters were male, and it was never explained how women fit into that world. I'm assuming the avian shifters had children with human women, but did the relationships end at the egg donor (no pun intended) level or did avian shifters ever have lasting relationships with the women?Kim Dare's books appear to be quite popular, and this one was well-received by many of Dare's readers. Had the world-building been better and Ori and Raynard less one-dimensional, I might have liked it more. If I come across another work by Dare with an interesting setup (like I said, I got this one for the avian shifters), I might give her works another shot, but at this point I don't plan on purposefully seeking anything else of hers out.(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)