Title: The Sins of the Orc
Author: Finley Fenn
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 192 Pages
Content Notes: dark situations and power dynamics causing current and past trauma (not between main love interests); intense intimate scenes (including in public); discussion and depiction of abuse and its effects; depression and suicidal thoughts; discussion of war and violence; life-threatening injuries; murder
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: The Sins of the Orc is a sometimes dark but inevitably tender love story. Its characters aren’t human, but they are humane to each other, and that’s what makes it such a lovely read.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: He’s fallen too far to save . . . but his enemy is going to try.
In a world of warring orcs and men, Kesst of Clan Ash-Kai is a pawn. A pretty, pliant plaything, bound to the cruelest orcs in the realm.
Until the new healer storms in.
He’s huge, hostile, and hideous, with a powerful scarred body and terrifying ancient magic. And it only takes one disastrous meeting before he and Kesst are bitter enemies, and Kesst vows to see the vile brute destroyed . . .
And then a sudden, deadly attack hurls his helpless body straight at the healer’s feet.
Kesst fully expects to be mocked, belittled, abandoned to his doom—but instead, his new enemy picks him up. Soothes his wounds. And carries him home…
Soon Kesst is trapped in a tiny sickroom beneath Orc Mountain, caught in the thrall of the healer’s impossible magic. In the surprising gentleness of his touch. In the strength of his stubborn, seductive safety . . .
But with his horrid handlers close on their scent, Kesst can’t possibly be falling for his forbidden foe . . . can he?
Can a healer save him from his sins . . . or destroy him?
Review: Finley Fenn’s The Sins of the Orc is a book I was tempted to judge by its cover, to maybe dismiss as a bit of fluffy summer escapism, but as I got farther into the story, the more I realized Fenn had a message to deliver, and it’s one that not only hit me right in the feels but made me appreciate her characters more than I might have otherwise. That she chose to give weight and depth to the romance via a fantasy world didn’t make Kesst and Eft’s story any less impactful.
When Kesst is introduced, it’s to the impression that he’s bratty, spoiled, shallow, egotistical, self-serving, and hedonistic. He’s little more than a sentient sex toy for the other orcs, and that’s all he aspires to. But then, that’s not entirely accurate. Kesst is a victim of abuse and he doesn’t even realize it because he doesn’t know or understand his own worth. Kesst believes he is consenting to sex when the truth is he’s powerless to say no, so his definition of consent is based in him liking sex rather than feeling he has earned the right to be treated as someone of value. Not until the orc Kesst despises treats him with a gentleness and kindness that Kesst is sure he doesn’t need, let alone deserve.
Efterar is an outsider, brought to Orc Mountain to act as Healer thanks to his special brand of magic. Kesst loathes him on-sight for a variety of reasons, but the one that seemed to irk Kesst the most is that Eft doesn’t objectify him the way Kesst is accustomed to, the way that means he’s seen, the way that means he’s not being dismissed as useless. The things Kesst does and says to draw attention to Eft are spiteful, not to mention dangerous, but the truth about the healer, when he finally shows readers who he is, is a true revelation and a lesson in not judging someone based solely on what you can see.
As Kesst and Eft spend more time together, the more compassionate Eft is, the gentler he is with Kesst, the more Kesst sees Eft as something other than an ugly, scarred, and hideous beast. He becomes beautiful to Kesst. And then something special happens: Kesst begins to see himself as something more than an object, someone worthy of Eft’s warmth, though it doesn’t settle easily in Kesst’s mind. He and Eft have to work through some misperceptions as well as a secret Eft was keeping that, when confessed, made me feel even warmer toward him than I already did.
The Sins of the Orc is a sometimes dark but inevitably tender love story. Its characters aren’t human, but they are humane to each other, and that’s what makes it such a lovely read.
You can buy The Sins of the Orc here:
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