“The Long Journey Home” by Cassandra Pierce
Synopsis: For eighteen years, Wren has lived isolation with his guardians, Grum and Krulch, in the heart of a deep, peaceful forest. His life is tranquil except for the doubts that torment him: why does he look so different from his parents, and how did two male ogres manage to birth a small, pale creature like Wren?
Everything changes when he accidentally wanders too far from home and comes upon an entire village of people who look like him. One in particular, a scribe’s apprentice named Valerus, is simply the most beautiful being Wren has ever seen.
His elation soon turns to fear when the people of the village tell Wren he is one of their own and must remain with them—abandoning the ogres who raised him. Though he would love to stay with Valerus and build a new life, he doesn’t want to do it at the expense of the life that made him. But if he wants to enjoy a promising future, he’ll have to find a way to unravel his mysterious past.
2 out of 5 stars
This book isn’t listed as a YA read, but I think it should be. The story is very short, more of a novella than a novel and I found it to be not so much a romance but more about overcoming prejudice.
Wren has been raised by two ogres all his life, and always wondered why he looked so different and ugly compared to them. He has never left the part of the woods they live in. One day he finds and follows a baby griffon and gets completely lost. Out of the woods comes someone who looks just like him and he starts to question his origins.
What I liked: Wren did a great deal to help Valerus and his village to stop fearing and hating the ogres that live in the woods. It was also nice that the relationship between the two men and the two male ogres wasn’t considered out of the norm, but celebrated.
What I didn’t like: This story needed a great deal more fleshing out. Wren has never asked his ogre fathers where exactly he came from, nor where babies come from but when he is in Valerus’ village he suddenly sees women and babies and understands instantly without asking. Wren is supposed to be an innocent, I get that, but too much suspension of belief is required to make this real.
This is a nice little read if you are looking to dip your toes into LGBTQIA+ stories as it’s very sweet and light reading.
ARC provided by Net galley