Author: Nalini Singh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: February 5, 2008
Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed...and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.
Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life—the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows...
Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past...or lose everything that ever mattered.
When I read the blurb before starting this book I was absolutely ecstatic. I was about to learn everything there is to learn about Clay, the guy that's intrigued me since book one....When I opened it and started reading I couldn't wait to get to the "good stuff"....Then after a few pages, my enthusiasm completely blanked out.
Not because of Clay, of course, he's wonderful (as all changeling men are), though a bit too much on the wild side sometimes, and he could've pulled back on the whole "let's blame the girl for the sins she committed" or cut it a little short instead of wallowing in jealous rage (as he put it) until it's almost too late.
Nah, my enthusiasm died solely and because of the woman Ms. Singh decided to pair Clay with.
After three books with three strong female characters (two Psy and one changeling) and three incredible, drop-dead gorgeous and to-die-for male characters (two changeling and one Psy), we got one incredible, drop-dead gorgeous, to-die-for changeling that's dangerous to boot and a human. Which wouldn't be so bad, I'm human, we're all human, we root for human women to get one of these (see above) guys. Yet why the heck did Clay have to get the most obnoxious and hate-able female out there? After the three previous "gems" he's suddenly saddled with a terrified, spineless, often brainless, defective, self-punishing, emotional cripple of a woman. I never thought I'd say this but I really wished someone would just make her a snack and get a replacement female lead.
This is pure discrimination, people! Why should Psy and changeling women be so wonderful and this human bitch such a...Well, bitch?!
Not even the constant mentioning of her apparently fatal disease couldn't sway me. Hell, I wanted her dead. The continuous "emotional tennis match" in her head gave me the hives.
But something extraordinary happened (around page 200, if I'm not mistaken). She suddenly woke up a completely different person (and here I thought personality transplantations weren't possible), and I ended up quite liking the girl. After she finally decided that "ugly sex" won't ruin her "friendship" with Clay she grew up a spine, went shopping for a sense of humor, and became a completely different woman.
I really didn't get the children-disappearing plot until the finishing revelation, and now I can't shake the nasty feeling the "evil doings" are starting to repeat. I like this series too much to see it get villains and deeds carbon copied from the previous one.
The only good thing this one brought was the introduction to a character that'll play a major role in the next book. I've already read the blurb and I waited with batted breath for the "meeting"...And after it wasn't only Talin that noticed something "strange".
And I truly hope Councilor Kaleb Krychek ends up being a good guy. Or if not necessarily a good guy at least good enough to warrant his own book, because...
dressed only in a pair of loose black pants, his body covered with sweat...is totally worth reading about. I wonder what he was doing. :P