Scarification. Not a word I would have associated with erotic in any sense of the term – the mere sight of blood is enough to make my stomach quail on the best of days. So it was an act of trust picking up this book, which I did so sorely on the strength of The Fifth Son and – I confess – its gorgeous new cover, which really is something to admire.
I needn’t have worried. Oren’s Right is a beautiful story about love, loss, and submission, with wonderful fantasy world building that is so rich it made me want to step into the pages myself. Yes, there are scenes that show Oren’s scarring, but they never seem gratuitous and they are always grounded in the certainty that everyone involved is fully consenting to the act.
That brings me to the genius of Oren’s Right. Oren is mute, which could have led this book down a dark path had it been written differently. However, the author is excellent at writing Oren, never erasing his disability, yet always conveying him as a fully consenting adult who knows what he wants. Despite the fact that communication is a challenge for him, the reader is never left believing that Oren is being taken advantage of in any way. He wants – needs – to be owned by someone in order to truly be himself, and is fortunate enough to have someone who loves him enough to take on that responsibility. Neither does Oren’s Right fall into the trap that some books based on grief and mourning a former partner do: we are never told that Oren didn’t love his husband, or that he wasn’t happy, or that this love is greater than the one he had before. No, his heart is simply big enough that he has space for two, and neither love takes away from the other.
I loved the openness everyone had in the book, too. Haram knew that Veld loved Oren, yet never acted like a jealous child about it. Veld, for his part, is respectful of Oren’s grief and his love for Haram, and never seeks to become Haram’s replacement despite his own feelings for Oren. This mature and unselfish view on love gave me such warm fuzzy feelings that I wanted more. I can’t wait for Arden to release the Forester Collection – I’m already sold.
Do yourself a favor and pick this up, even if BDSM is not normally your thing. You won’t regret it.