REVIEW: Rescued by the Married Monster Hunters by R Bird

Vessel is a creature living in a dimension-hopping dungeon. His destiny? Working for his colony until he outlives his usefulness. But secretly, Vessel engages in acts of rebellion: he mercy-kills human prisoners meant to feed the colony’s parasitic larvae. When a doomed human prisoner, Clarien, leaves Vessel a diary about his life as a monster hunter, it opens Vessel’s eyes to a possible new life. But when his kindness to humans is discovered, he’s sentenced to a brutal, slow death.

Rhys and Sera are monster hunters, graduates of a school that takes in disabled children cast out by their families and gives them powers and training. Although they have an open marriage, nothing lasting has come of it. When clearing out a dimension-hopping dungeon, they find a young hunter named Clarien who’s been left to die by monsters. Catching feelings while taking care of him isn’t something they planned on. However, the man they know as Clarien is Vessel, who’s taken on the first Clarien’s identity using his diary as a guide. Pretending to be human is hard, though, and he’s started having strange feelings for Rhys and Sera that he has no idea how to interpret.

Warnings: Noncon/Rape, Trauma, Violence

Category: M/M, M/F, F/M

Rescued by the Married Monster Hunters is a sweet little poly romance fantasy novel, featuring a shy eldritch abomination learning to love in the arms of the monster hunters who take him in. It’s very reminiscent of titles like The Witcher, with an organization of monster hunters that take potions to bolster their abilities against the scourges of the otherworldly monster dungeons. With a fun atmosphere, hurt/comfort tropes and a lovely threeway romance plus smut, this is a hot little number that is chock full of feel good vibes. I was given a free copy for review purposes, all opinions here are my own and completely impartial.

WRITING
This is a very fun little story, and it’s written quite well. It changes from POVs of each character, giving us a look into each of their perspectives, thoughts and experiences. It’s engaging to read, and it moves quickly enough to never feel like the thrust of the story is slowing down. It also features a trans lead character, which is treated as perfectly normal by the entire cast (even the bad guys!) which was really refreshing to see. The book can be a little on the cheesy side however, and the ending especially felt just a tad too neat and tidy, too unrealistically wrapped up without conflict, but to be perfectly honest sometimes cheese is exactly what you need. In a world that feels increasingly hostile, it can be nice to read a fantasy novel where everything works out, where there’s no betrayal, where people don’t struggle to accept you for who you are, and enemies can come together and make peace. Although the story may not feel realistic, and did break my suspension of disbelief a little, it’s also worth engaging with optimism and hopeful content like this from time to time as well. This is not a “dark and gritty” story, and that can be a good thing!

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
The author is really really good at gradually developing a believable relationship and growing feelings between all of the characters. The story unfolded beautifully, as all three of the leads grew to love each other. It’s rather hard to find decent poly content like this, as so many “poly” novels actually start as cheating and then end up becoming poly after, which is very much not the sort of thing I enjoy reading. So to find one that actually manages to build a compelling romance without any sort of cheating or jealousy content was an absolute treat. I was floored with how much I loved all three of these characters and was so invested in their relationship. The book also leans very much into being a lovely hurt/comfort story, wherein Clarien’s past trauma and experiences are assuaged and healed by this new relationship with Rhys and Sera, making it a very emotional journey in a lot of places. Very well done on the reader engagement front, really loved it.

WORLDBUILDING
The worldbuilding is pretty solid. There is an organization that trains people to be monster hunters, imbuing their bodies with powers of magic, strength, etc. to fight monsters with, and these people travel around as adventurers, ridding towns of monster infestations wherever they find them. It’s a lot like the world of The Witcher series, but if you watched The Witcher and were as disappointed as I was with how it handled disability and disabled characters, you’re in for a treat with this story. All of the characters are disabled in some way, as the Hunter’s organization takes in disabled people to give them potions and accommodations to deal with and live with their disabilities. It was easily, to me, the most appreciated aspect of the book: that it takes disabled characters seriously and doesn’t shy away from showcasing not only their struggles but also their triumphs, treating disabilities like a natural part of life to be accounted for like anything else. Props to the author for such wonderful representation that is, especially in action oriented genres like this, so few and far between.

STEAMINESS
This is a really sweet little kinky smut number! It’s very fluffy, and does such a fantastic job at showcasing how consensual kink can be used to heal and to regain a sense of personal agency. It’s a hurt/comfort novel in a lot of ways, and sex is used as a way to help to ease the hurt. Pain play during sex as a means towards dulling issues with chronic pain, the trust and intimacy that comes from sexual experiences, the tender aftercare and genuine affection that can be explored through kinky sex was all so beautifully depicted. The sex scenes are very sensual and joyful to read, even if they can go a little hard in the over-emphasis on how totally consensual and healthy everything is. The beginning of the book has some harder content, featuring noncon oviposition monsterfuck and breeding, and those were all very interesting concepts as well. The monsters, or “Denizens”, are all insectoid in nature which is really fun. In another book, I would even enjoy reading about that sort of thing as the main focus of the smut content, but here it was a brief bit at the beginning, to be contrasted with the sweeter content at the end.

I really enjoyed this book and if you’re looking for some good poly content that doesn’t at any point involve jealousy narratives, or some good disability representation, I would highly recommend it. It was fun, and about the right amount of optimistically cheesy while still having a lot of good action and danger. If you’re sensitive to noncon scenes the only such content is in the beginning, and from there on out it’s all some of the most tender comfort that the experience of reading it feels like being wrapped up in a cozy blanket.

Have you read Rescued by the Married Monster Hunters? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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