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Lovely take on the ugly duckling fairy tale. Ori is a clumsy duckling rescued by Raynard who is a Hawk shifter and a submissive relationship develops.
Rob M Maskew does a fantastic job of portraying hesitant Ori and superior Raynard, as well as crows and an Eagle. All the voices fitting each bird so well.
Interesting story! I was not real sure what this book was all about but because I cannot seem to get enough of shifter stories, I was intrigued. The story of Ori and Raynard is an interesting one. The shifter dynamics, along with the submissive storyline took me a few to get into but as the story progressed, I found it predictable...not that, that is a bad thing. The underlying love that developed between the two protagonists was sweet and the angst added to the story. I liked the story, once I got into it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Duck! again? Why?
No. Based on the Amazon reviews I had a strong feeling I wouldn't like the book much, but it was in the Romance Package and I had a free month, so it seemed the perfect chance to listen to books I didn't expect I wanted to pay for. I love Shifter books so I thought I would see how accurate the other reviews were. Heed them.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
Most interesting? A focus on non-wolf shifters. When it comes to birds, I think the only other shifter book I've seen is Control. And holy hell is Control good. So... yay, more birds?
Least? Passing off sex slaves as "submissives" and the most ridiculous premise with far too many holes that could have been dealt with. For one, Swans are revered. The second you see this title, you know damn well it's an Ugly Duckling to Swan story. So, if one type of waterfowl is revered, and another is treated like absolute dirt, who in their right mind treats an unknown waterfowl as dirt?? He could be a duck, a goose, or a swan. Even if it's a 1% chance he's a swan, why would they be horrible to him? You could try to solve this by removing the whole "half-shift" garbage. Just make it so the blood test indicated he was avian and they have no idea what he is. Then they would only know when he fully shifts. Granted, then you have every avian species under the sun that he could be. But at least that's better than him possibly being the most important avian species in their world. Or just make it so all unknown are considered the lowest until a full shift. Going "he's probably a Duck" when Swan is _an option_, in any regard, drove me absolutely batty. Of course, then it wouldn't be an Ugly Duckling story, but last time I checked The Ugly Duckling wasn't about sex slaves, so it's not like it had to follow a children's tale.
Have you listened to any of Rod M. Maskew’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No, I have not. This was the first time I listened to one of his narrations. His performance was great for what he had to work with. He did an amazing job for such different characters.
Who was the most memorable character of Duck! and why?
Honestly, it was probably Everett, but that was more so because I had recently developed a character with that name so the association to it was strong. And he wasn't a slave master (in this book), or a sex slave with a pathetic outlook on life.
Any additional comments?
As most other reviewers have stated, the book is trying to be BDSM, or more specifically Domination/Submission, but is really just sex slavery. While it doesn't actually claim any ties to the BDSM world from what I can recall, the use of the term "Submissive" (and Master) is prevalent and does naturally lead one to that assumption.
This is not the case at all. Raynard owns Ori. Ori is a slave, not a servant, or playing a role for mutual enjoyment. He is a slave at the Nest and he is a slave to Raynard. While he is given the "choice" to be a slave or a "Submissive" there is no real choice. Raynard is in a position of such power over Ori that he really cannot say no. Raynard makes it clear he wants Ori to choose "Submissive" and uses Ori's attraction to him to influence the decision, making Ori think it is a good thing. After the decision is made, Ori has even less choice as this role of "Submissive" gives complete ownership and control to Raynard. There is no safe word. There is no ability to say "no". There is no break from a sexual game. There is no equality. It is straight up slavery and no matter how much they attempt to make it "okay" with turning their relationship into one of "love" it is just really gross.
Raynard himself is not a bad man, and clearly this is something that is rather common in their world. It is not him that is at fault for this aspect of the story, but the author's. I do not know if Dare simply had no concept of how a BDSM relationship actually works, or if she was legitimately trying to make sex slavery hot. And honestly, I've seen sex slavery made hot because they didn't try to make it something it wasn't. And it was in a time period where harems were a thing.
Another ridiculously infuriating thing is Raynard's reaction to Ori completing his full shift and everyone learning he is a Swan (expect Ori, for ages, which is also annoying). Raynard, who has made Ori dependent on him, who has trained Ori to think he is very important to him, who made him write 1000 lines of punishment about how precious Ori is as his "Submissive" buggers off. He sees Ori is a Swan. He goes "wah wah wah, I can't dominate the Swan Prince" and flounces off to have a pout. Ori's shift was painful, he was scared, he comes out of it and his "Master" is gone. He's been worried most of the book his full shift will reveal he is something Raynard may not like. And when he comes out of it, the one single person he has been trained to rely on and trust _is not there_. And then everyone just calls him "Sire" and not one goddamn one of them can say, "Oh, Ori. I'm so sorry about the mistake. You are a Swan. Since you were not raised among avians, I will tell you now that Swans are very important and very special. This must be a lot for you right now. Let us go put you somewhere to rest and we will go find Raynard for you right away because we all know how goddamn isolated you've been over the last few months and he's probably the only person you have interacted with since you left the Nest."
Hell, maybe the Eagle is the best character in the book because at least he mentally smacks the both of them upside the head and tells them that "royalty" can damn well be dominated if that is what they want, and you can have a damn DS relationship between "equals".
The relationships are infuriating.