Author: Nalini Singh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 2, 2008
Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy—cool, calm, emotionless...at least on the surface. Inside, she's fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper's embrace.
DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard's rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian's agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules...
I absolutely adored this book and now believe there to be a tie between this and Caressed By Ice as my favorite book in this series (so far).
Once again the author's talent shines through the characters (new and past), their interactions and relationships, the story, the plot, and the wonderful continuation of the series' common theme.
I loved both Dorian and Ashaya and their slow development and growth as they came to terms with their attraction and feelings, the misconceptions, and trust issues was wonderfully written and portrayed.
Ever since the first book, getting to know Dorian and seeing his reactions after his sister's death, I wondered just how the heck this "thing" (I read the blurb for his story early!) could actually work.
And it's been tough. His pain, guilt, anger, inner anguish, and downright hate of the Psy did hinder the budding relationship, not to mention Ashaya's stubborn refusal to show him her true self and admitting the truth. Yet, his patient, and much wiser IMO, inner leopard persevered and waited him out, teaching both man and Psy something in the process.
Reading about and starting to know Ashaya was a true delight. For someone from the cold-hearted and emotionless race of the Psy she was incredibly emotional, even though at the beginning it was all happening on the inside and only one persistent kitty-cat could see it.
Her motives were a complete mystery at the beginning, without hindering the story, because it was obvious there was something there, a secret she hid that was bound to be important. And when the truth finally came out, both Dorian and I loved that woman even more.
Her loyalty was staggering. Despite everything that happened to her, everything she knew, she still stuck by her principles and the promise made to her mother so long ago.
And when Dorian was finally included into her circle of protection. Oh, boy. I cried like a baby when it all almost went down the drain. But these two were stubborn and when their inner beasties finally clicked there was absolutely nothing holding them apart.
The supporting cast was wonderful, as always, the past characters dropping in for a visit or two, leaving a lasting impression, and helping the leading couple "see the way"...Can't wait for Mercy's story next. With that inner monologue about not wanting to think about a certain SnowDancer. Oh, yeah, expecting major sparkage there.
And don't get me started on Councilor Krychek again. What is he looking for in the Net and what was that star marker in his pocket? Dare I hope? But I think it'll be a while until we finally get to read his story. *sigh*
The plot was intricate as always, so many layers, so many nooks and crannies...And so many surprises and little twists that in most cases the book might come off as too crowded, but it just made this one that more interesting, keeping us guessing and hoping until the end...The sweet ending when everything came full-circle and they were finally both whole and happy. That was certainly one of those "Awww" moments.
When I think Ms. Nalini Singh can't possibly get better, she surpasses herself yet again. This is a truly magnificent series and I recommend it to all the PNR fans out there...If you're not yet one of the "tribe", I bet this series can make you change your mind.