Bound to take flight – a gay shapeshifter novel

If you like gay-avian-shapeshifter-BDSM-fairytales, Kim Dare‘s “Duck!” is definitely the book for you. I cannot blame you for not looking for this specific genre, as there’s not much there. But strangely, this combination seems to work. In this novel, we are introduced to Ori. Our hero is a 20.5 years old man who spent the better part of his childhood being passed between foster families because of his clumsiness. A few months before the story begins, he found out that he is a bird-shapeshifter. But as he does not know his biological family, and will not be able to complete a shift until he is 21, he does not know his species.

Based on his partial shift however, the elders have gathered that he is most likely a “rather ugly duckling”. And since the avian shapeshifters community is an extremely hierarchical one, and ducks are one of the lowest species, he ends up as a waiter/sex slave in an all male and interspecies “nest”. His life is pretty miserable. That is, until a very handsome and very gay shapeshifter hawk shows up in the nest. And this high ranking hawk offers him the opportunity to come live with him until he reaches avian maturity.

The gay shapeshifter D/s relationship

Raynard walks into the nest for a meeting with its (Eagle) supervisor right when a group of crows throws their plates at Ori just for the fun of seeing him stumble. Since he is quite ethical, he takes Ori under his wing (pun intended). He takes him home to the mansion he inherited from his uncle a few months back. Though Raynard immediately feels attracted to the duckling he believes that all BDSM relationships should be consensual. Therefore, he does not want to take advantage of the power imbalance that stems from their different places in the avian hierarchy.

Even though Ori keeps offering himself sexually to Raynard, the latter refuses. Until he sees that Ori is sporting an erection during one of the times he offers to please him. He then gives Ori the choice between being his servant and his submissive. Now, of course, Ori chooses submission. So it is all fun and games for a while. That is, until Ori completes his full shift and turns out to not be a duck at all. And anyone familiar with fairytales will have figured out by now he is a swan. In the avian hierarchy, this is the rarest and most high ranking of all the species. This puts Raynard and his need for dominance in a tough spot, because how can you dominate someone who outranks you? And this is where the light-hearted and overtly erotic book gets quite philosophical in its description of submission.

In Conclusion

Though there’s not too much development in the characters, they are quite likeable and the sex scenes are hot. But it is in the responses to this turn of events that the novel really shines. This easy read, with its unique premise and D/s focussed BDSM dynamic, combines light amusement with the ability to inspire thought. Not a small feat in a novel about gay shapeshifters, if you ask me.

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