Author: Blaine D. Arden
Publisher: Cayendi Press
Pages/Word Count: 65 Pages
At a Glance: A beautiful tale of longing and need set in the world of Blaine D. Arden’s Forester series.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Following his principles will break two hearts.
Forester Veld loses a piece of himself to mute baker Oren when they first meet, but Oren is vowed to Haram. When Haram is killed, Veld denies his heart to respect the mourning period. It’s the right thing to do.
During Haram’s funeral, Oren proudly bares the brands that show the nature of their love; Haram owned him, heart and body. The elves pity Oren and think he’s broken.
Veld has no intention of dishonouring Haram’s memory, but his death may not have been an accident. Only a forester can learn what the trees have seen. However, Oren’s independence is threatened, and if Veld does not offer what Oren needs, Oren may never be his to claim.
Review: Although it’s noted that the Tales of the Forest series can be read in any order, I have to say I feel you’d get the most out of reading Oren’s Right if, at the minimum, The Forester: Book One is read first. I can say that without any qualms, too, because I’ve now enjoyed all three books set in this elven world Blaine D. Arden has created, but must say I think a certain level of familiarity with the tribe and its politics, positions and the hierarchy of those positions within the tribe, as well as the magic, customs and beliefs in this fantasy setting, is needed to get the fullest understanding of and meaning from Veld and Oren’s story.
The plot of Oren’s Right is twofold, the first being a murder mystery; the other is the story of the man whose world crumbled when the one who owned him body, heart, and soul was suddenly no longer there for him to take care of. For a man such as Oren, a man who finds fulfillment in submission and service to another, this left him at loose ends, as well as ripe for not only gossip but to be picked at by the busybodies who feel Oren needs a woman to care for him.
Veld’s want of Oren causes the Forester no small amount of guilt, when Haram has been so recently murdered, but the feelings Veld harbors for Oren are far from new. Veld has always wanted what Haram had with Oren, but Haram wasn’t the sort of man to share, nor was Veld the sort of man who wouldn’t honor, to its fullest extent, Haram and Oren’s bond.
The building of the relationship between Veld and Oren is incredibly touching; the need for these two men to be together—one to master, the other to serve—is portrayed well through their connection and communication, as we observe Veld’s increased longing to mark Oren and make the mute baker his own. This, played out against the investigation of Haram’s death—which, as it turns out, was no accident—layers well with the anticipation of a relationship, and offers this novella a fuller, richer emotional payoff than I’d expected from the word count.
Arden brings this story to a satisfying and poignant conclusion, as we witness Haram’s final act, perhaps his most selfless and greatest act, to ensure Oren continues to get what he needs to be whole and happy and healthy. This ending, complemented by the bonus scenes that have been added since the novella’s original publication, transforms what might have been a happy for now tale into something with a more permanent and fulfilling note to it.
You can buy Oren’s Right here: