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.
For me at least, "The Long Journey Home" was more of a short tale about overcoming long-held prejudices and fear of the unknown and much less a romance.
At 18, Wren finally begins to ask himself why he looks nothing like his 2 kind and loving ogre fathers, Grum and Krulch. However, living in complete isolation with them, they are the only other beings that he's ever met, so its not like he can talk to anyone else about it. Plus, he's also a bit afraid to hear the answer to that question.
But the question is answered one day, after he's fleeing for his life from an angry mother griffon, when he happens upon another small, pink creature like himself, Valerus, who takes him to his village and everyone there looks like him and nothing at all like his ogre fathers.
The fearful villagers, beings known as the aelfyn (elves?), are aghast upon finding out that Wren has been past the waterfall and living with ogres, refusing to believe that he was anything short of their unwilling prisoner, which is in actuality the furthest thing from the truth.
In an ironic twist, Wren's long-lost aelfyn family are the ones who end up holding Wren against his will, refusing to let him return to his heartbroken ogre fathers. The horrible ogres *must* just be fattening him up to eat, right? That's what all of the centuries-old aelfyn stories say, at least.
But Wren is beside himself with grief over what his fathers must be going through, thinking him possibly dead, so a dubious, frightened Valerus agrees to journey with Wren back to allay his fathers' fears.
Misconceptions were, however, made to be overcome, which does happen, as the ogres and the aelfyn begin to see one another through Wren's eyes.
This was a cute, short fairytale that happens to have an element of romance to it, but there wasn't any real type of relationship building between Wren and Valerus, so their relationship didn't hold any depth for me.
The first half of the book kept me engaged; however, the second half? Not so much, as the only real conflict in the book was Wren's fleeing from the mother griffon to avoid being eaten alive.
3 *ogres-are-people-too* stars for this 'just okay' short story.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley for a fair, unbiased review.
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