Serena Yates's Reviews > Wishes

Wishes by J.C. Owens
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May 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: gay, alien-species, science-fiction
Read in May, 2012

This is one of those books that made me think about my own cultural prejudice. I’m not sure it was ‘designed’ to do that, but I love it when a well-developed ‘alien’ culture with very different habits, behaviors, and values makes me reconsider my way of looking at the world. What the main character, Auri, goes through in this story is, in many ways, like a mirror that shows us what might be wrong with our own culture. Nothing made this clearer than reading the blurb – where the description of Auri becoming a ‘sex slave’ reflects what we want to see; reading this book and gradually watching my understanding of the real situation grow was not just entertaining – it was a learning experience.

Auri is a proud man, a tough warrior, and very career driven. He is not an emotional human being, in fact, he is unsure of himself in most social situations. Although he believes he is happy, anyone with half an empathic brain can see he is actually deeply repressed and very unhappy. Not that Auri would ever admit that. When he is thrown into a totally unexpected situation, unfairly betrayed by humans, he reacts with predictable stubbornness. Yes, he is hurt initially, but that is based on a misunderstanding and whether or not he can find a way to understand and forgive is part of the challenge he faces. It takes him a long time to even see the possibility of learning to deal with life in a different way; stubborn refusal to accept the Felin and their way of life as something positive stands in his way. More importantly, his culturally learned prejudice is a major obstacle.

Kanar, the Felin leader, and the other supportive characters show admirable patience. In our culture, this would be exceptional. In the Felin way of life, however, it is seen as normal. Kanar and the others may not know exactly what to do to make things right, but they keep trying. Their love and support was so clearly visible to me, yet, for the longest time, Auri cannot even see any of it, never mind react to it. It is as if this is a blind spot for him. And once he does see it? Good old-fashioned obstinacy comes to the fore and he doesn’t even want to admit what is going on.

But that is far from the end of the story. The worst is yet to come, and, interestingly, some of the Felin turn out to be more like humans than Kanar would probably like to admit. It is a powerful, final lesson for Auri – and the turning point to everything. Somewhat unexpected but all the more powerful to it, I was shocked at first, and yet, the way that Kanar reacted was made more believable and real because of it. Very clever!

If you are looking for a great world that is very different from ours culturally and psychologically, if a journey of self-discovery and learning new things interests you, and if intimate interactions with more than one loving partner and an alien does not bother you, you will probably love this book as much as I did.

I do need to leave a word of warning: there are some quite brutal scenes in this book; while I believe they are justified for the purposes of the story, they are quite disturbing and mean this book is not for everyone.
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message 1: by Alison (new) - added it

Alison If you liked this one, you'd probably love Draconian Measures, possibly The Emporer's Wolf, The Bonding, and maybe Wings.

Serena Yates Alison wrote: "If you liked this one, you'd probably love Draconian Measures, possibly The Emporer's Wolf, The Bonding, and maybe Wings."

Thanks for the tips, Alison!

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