Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Title: Heart of Obsidian
Series: Psy-Changeling
Author: Nalini Singh
Read copy: eBook
Published: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 1101605197
ISBN-13: 9781101605196

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.

A woman whose very existence has been erased.

A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.

A deadly price that must be paid.

The day of reckoning is here.

My rating:

There’s no way in all that’s holy or non that I’d be able to write an adequate review for Kaleb’s book, but I’ll give it a shot.

This was the darkest book in the series so far, a metaphor, perhaps, of the darkness that the Psy as a race reached adhering so strictly to the Silence protocol. But in the end we glimpsed that light at the end of the tunnel (the Dawn) both for Kaleb and the Psy.

Now, concentrating on Kaleb, the driving force of the story and one that’s pretty much had a hand in everything that’s happened so far, I glimpsed that possibility of a light to his darkness almost from the get-go, when there was the first mention of him searching for someone. It was either a mortal enemy or a woman, and I prayed for the latter. Needless to say, my wish has been granted.

Yet, at the beginning of this story and thanks to the darkness that’s enveloped Kaleb ever since he’s become an important character in the series, I also had no doubt that that ‘light’ would need to be a fearsome blaze, a million-watt beacon, to be able to bring him back from the brink, redeem him in a way. And, obviously since he’s her creation, Ms. Singh knew that as well, and acted accordingly in creating Sahara.

Though with Kaleb as the ‘hero’ of the book, everybody else had no choice but take the backseat to the guy—he’s a force of Nature, bursting with energy (and not in a fluffy commercial bunny sort of way, but in a murderous tidal wave kind of way), cool, aloof, icy, his power vast and unfathomable, his determination an entity of its own, Silent on the surface, but what’s underneath is anything but Silent. Rage, thirst for vengeance, disgust at himself...and the most powerful emotion of them all—love. Love for one woman that’s keeping him leashed, trembling at the edge of the precipice, preventing him from turning into a monster.
Kaleb is only the second Psy that featured as the ‘hero’ in this series (coincidence that they were both Tks?), and even though I’d love one of those ‘I heart Judd’ pins, I’m currently in the ‘I heart Kaleb’ camp. Sure, the guy was a (borderline) sociopath, a (budding) psychopath, and I don’t know how many –paths more, but there’s just something about a guy that’s willing to destroy his entire race, maybe the entire world, for one woman. Yes, those are the rules of Romancelandia, and I love those rules. I mean, wouldn’t you melt if I guy told you he only needed a word from you and everything could go kaboom? Okay, how about a guy that makes the earth move, literally, when he has you in his arms?

I thought reading about Judd and Brenna’s intimate skin-privileges was hot, with Judd having to be beyond exhausted (psychically) to be able to mattress dance with his mate without destroying everything around them. Kaleb cannot get psychically exhausted. There are just those obsidian shields of his and even those don’t offer full protection. His control over his abilities is beyond tight, but it cracks like china with that one woman.
The power she wields over him is enormous, even she has (or has she?) no clue as to how much power she has where he's concerned, but Sahara, with her compassion, her empathy, her big heart, and soft soul, would never abuse that power, because it would mean using Kaleb, hurting Kaleb, and she would never do something like that. She’d exact her own kind of revenge on anyone who dared hurt him. As mentioned, Sahara wasn’t exactly a match to Kaleb’s overpowering presence in this book, but she didn’t need to be. She was, she existed, and that was enough. She was his only love, his soul-mate, his bonded, his conscience, his moral compass, his guiding light in the darkness that was his existence.

And she would continue being that and that’s what matters. Two halves of the same whole, two Psy, one ‘Silent’, the other’s Silence fractured beyond repair, bonded together for the rest of their lives, one light, the other dark, one comforting and empathetic, the other martial and protective. A bright bond against the backdrop of the stark darkness that is the PsyNet.

As I mentioned before, it’s the characters that make these books and this series come startlingly alive in my mind’s eye, but the rest of the story (though it pretty much all revolved around Kaleb and Sahara) should not be neglected. The action scenes of the PurePsy attacks were intense and gripping, poignant where the three races combined to help one another, the flashbacks on Sahara and Kaleb’s interactions before her abduction sweet and tender with a slightly ominous undertone, coming as they were, in the middle of the story, the initial stiltedness of the renewed relationship heartbreaking, yet hopeful, the final flashback where we finally got the truth of that horrible, ‘blood-drenched’ night chilling, but completely meshing with the Kaleb and Sahara we got to know throughout their story.
It was also great seeing the DarkRiver leopards getting a bit more page-time after the last few installments concentrating on the wolves...And we finally discovered the identity of the Ghost (I knew it!) and everything made sense as this book brought (almost) everything full-circle.

I know this attempt at a coherent review doesn’t do the book justice, so let’s just say this book was an amazing installment in this series that keeps getting better and better and Ms. Singh didn’t disappoint the fans with turning Kaleb into something he’s not for his story (he’s still badass, he’s still dark, he’s still deadly, despite having that bright flame inside him). This was a heart-breaking yet beautiful (love) story to conclude the first arc in this series and bring us into the next. And I can’t wait.


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