J. C. Owens’s Wings
Anyar, a black-winged young guard, could only be accused of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He captures the attention of a commanding, beautiful white-winged prince of the enemy, Vanyae, and is swept away into the conflict between their peoples.
Vanyae takes the incredible, black-winged beauty from his home and all he knows to a place of submission, of slavery. And though Anyar vows never to give in and despairs of his freedom, Vanyae finds pleasure in his body and his spirit.
Even while the battle rages, Vanyae starts to realize that his black-winged bird is much more than a slave to him…
Although this book technically doesn’t have anything to do with the author’s previous book, Gaven, the setting, characters, and plot are very similar. The writing is obviously reminiscent of the previous book and those that liked the first book should like this one. A few have commented on the dubious consent scenes that are present, but I found them pretty similar to the first book and wasn’t too bothered. The plot is based on the classic theme of captive falling in love with their captor. Although there are elements of torture, violence, and rape, overall I found this to be a decent second offering by the author.
Anyar is a young guard who happens to catch the eye of a visiting prince. Vanyae is the prince of another people who have been at war with Anyar’s people for as long as anyone can remember. Supposedly there to negotiate peace between the two cultures, instead Vanyae seizes the moment to capture Anyar and a high ranking official. Vanyae claims Anyar as his own sex slave but didn’t count on falling in love with the innocent, young man.
The plot is pretty basic with an innocent, virginal yet handsome young man is captured by a powerful adversary. After months and years as a sex slave, Anyar comes to love his captor as much as his captor loves him. Yet a happy ending is only achieved through violence and sacrifice. The concept is not particularly inventive nor is the characterizations especially different. The men are classic stereotypes and this easily could have been an m/f romance except two men with wings. The plot isn’t terribly unique but it’s well written and decently characterized. The dubious consent is classic for captor/captive themed stories and although Anyar falls in love, the reasons are pretty clear and laid out. This is not too different from Owen’s first book with dubious consent among the participants.
The setting is fantasy with two races of people, each with wings and capable of flying. Typically the two races are involved in violent war against each other and commit horrible atrocities against each other in a perpetual cycle of revenge. It takes further sacrifice for this cycle to finally end with a happy ending. However for the most part, the violence is muted and kept at a minimum so it’s unlikely to bother a lot of readers. The fantasy elements are interesting but not fully developed as the majority of the novella is spent on the growing relationship between Anyar and Vanyae. The story could have used more development and space to fully show the complexity of the world and the intricacies of the two races.
Additionally with the plot so basic and well used, the fantasy setting does help inject a fresh and interesting take on the familiar so more time spent on the world building would have been helpful. The relationship between the men is the main focus and does include numerous sex scenes. The growing emotions between the men are shown in a series of tender scenes and how Vanyae comes to view the casual cruelty that goes on amongst his people towards slaves with the vague hope to abolish such treatment in the future.
Although I thought Gaven was a much better book, this offering is remarkably similar in many ways. There are more writing and editing errors present in this offering than the previous and this lacks some of the depth to the characters, but overall I’d think most would like this one if they liked the other.
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