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Book Review: Human Rights, by S.L. Armstrong

Human RughtsAnother review sent to us by Boy Meets Boy:

After landing in the pound after being abandoned by yet another family, Ewan is convinced he’s too old to be adopted out again. For a pet like him, the only fate left is to be put down. But when Sir Jiat–of the City Guard, no less–visits the pound, he goes straight to Ewan. Jiat prefers the more mature pets and treats Ewan better than he’s ever been treated by any previous owner. Ewan sleeps at the foot of his master’s bed, not on the floor or outside; he is given toys and other pets to play with and plenty of room to run; and he’s fed on a schedule and eats very well. But Ewan’s love for his master begins to change, to become something else, something more.

Plenty of pets have been killed over the years for acting on the feelings that Sir Jiat inspires, so he dares not express the desire building inside him. And yet, Ewan can’t help but notice that Sir Jiat has begun to act differently as well, more doting, treating Ewan almost as an equal. So even though the thing he wants more than anything is also their society’s greatest taboo, Ewan resolves that if he must die, he will die having felt, just once, the warmth of Sir Jiat’s soft fur pressed against his bare naked skin.

“Human Rights” by S.L. Armstrong is an alternate universe novella featuring a society where humans are the pets and animals are the masters. My friend read this book and brought up a great point, how do our pets view their pet owners. I’m a pet owner and I’d like to think my pet would think I was a great owner.

This is a story that made me think a lot about animal rights. The author makes a message about adoption: mutts vs. purebreds, pound vs. breeders, how silly or cruel owners can be. And the best part is that the feline and canines are the rulers or Masters.

The story is told from Ewan’s, a 31 year old mutt (who is past his prime), he had 3 owners who did not want him anymore and currently awaits euthanasia. The pets are kept for six months in a pound and if they aren’t adopted they can look forward to death.

He’s saved by a Jaguar guardsman, Sir Jiat, an official in their society. Ewan has only known abuse at the hands of his previous owners. Sir Jiat is so kind and patient to help defrag Ewan’s warped mind. The guardsman has a secret agenda, hence the title.

Jiat works wonders with Ewan, so patient and kind. The Master/pet dynamic really works in this book because their bond and the romance takes time to build. Though this is a short story, it did not read like it to me. Could I have another ten chapters of life after their HEA? Sure could but I won’t complain.

Yes, there is sex but this story is more about the relationship. I came to care for Ewan. I got the basics about Jiat but I do not doubt his feelings for Ewan from the start. The two become close which is forbidden in their society but Jiat has a plan. I was not expecting that twist before the end but it was a great one. I got a little nervous there.

I definitely recommend and will be reading more from this author.

What a unique idea.

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