Oxen lives a comfortable, predictable life. He hunts and trades in the local village and has found familiarity in the routine. But recently, Oxen’s been unsettled and finds it hard to focus on hunting. He isn’t sure why things have been so odd and he’s determined to shake away his feeling of isolation and discontent. Then, during the middle the night and in the midst of a brutal storm, a young man stumbles into Oxen’s cabin. Despite the fact the boy is near death, Oxen feels strangely connected to him. His name is Vinge and he explains he’s actually a Pegasus, but one who can’t transform. He was an outcast amongst his own kind and left his family to find his own path. Once he’s well, Oxen fears the boy will move on and the long days of isolation will return. Yet Vinge can’t find any reason to leave and only Fate knows if they’re meant to be strangers in the night or something more.
In My Arms Again was something of a mixed bag. The characters are engaging and their brief romance is sweet. But the plot is pretty contrived and nearly every major moment is telegraphed long before we reach it, which made for a rather boring read.
This story is a novella and I think initially it does well balancing the need for action versus plot versus characterization. We’re introduced to Oxen and while we’re never given a ton of information about he or Vinge, there was enough on page that I could connect to both characters. There is a mild measure of insta-love here, but the author does a good job of playing with that and actually drawing out relationship — Oxen and Vinge know there’s something profound between them, but they don’t act on it right away. There’s not a lot of actual character growth and that’s ok given the nature of this story. We’re given the impression this is blip in time for Oxen and Vinge and not the entirety of their romance.
Unfortunately, In My Arms Again lacks originality. There’s nothing here that feels particularly fresh or invigorating. It’s far too easy to see how the plot is going to play out and, as a result, it feels worn out. Additionally, while the shorter format works for the first half, it causes problems in the second. There’s simply too much happening during this time and the story shifts from smooth and well paced to rushed and choppy. Nothing is given time to breath or develop naturally and this really hampered the overall plot.
In My Arms Again isn’t terrible, it just isn’t particularly unique. The characters are rather sweet and if you’re just looking for a quick read with warm, fuzzy feelings, then you won’t be disappointed. But if you want something more profound or original, then you probably aren’t going to find it here.