Author: Nalini Singh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 5, 2006
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation" - the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was...
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation...
I'm so glad I'm a Breed series fan. What does that have to do with it? Well, one of the Breed novellas was in The Magical Christmas Cat which also featured a Psy/Changeling story by Nalini Singh...And I was hooked. See, it’s all connected. How nice is that?
Anyway, this book was truly an explosive and engaging introduction to a series. In my opinion, it was as close to perfect as it could get. The only tiny problem I found was the rather slow start and buildup to it. But it’s understandable, it was the first of a series and the introduction to the Psy world and universe and their interaction with changelings (and humans) needed to be explored and explained...But once the pace picked up. Oh, boy.
The suspense was nicely done, if a little predictable. I spotted the bad guy as soon as he stepped on the scene...Although the author’s mastery at keeping the reader engaged kept me second-guessing myself until the very end. Very nicely done and the thriller undertones were a nice touch and very skillfully blended into a book that’s mostly about romance.
I loved the characters, both the leading couple and the supporting cast. Lucas was your average alpha male and then some and his protective streak, though sometimes bordering on obsessive, was endearing and admirable instead of put-offish. Sascha was his perfect counterpart. Strong and determined, despite the mind-screwing she’s been dealing with since childhood. And her loyalty toward the race she should’ve deemed as enemy and her willingness to sacrifice her own life to save a complete stranger was heart-warming and soul-wrenching at the same time. And when she discovered her protective streak, I smiled alongside Lucas’s inner cat. Not merely a kitten, she turned up to be a real lioness.
And the secondary characters. Such a myriad of different personalities could be a real challenge to handle and portray, yet Ms. Singh once again excelled. The supporting cast were a great backdrop to the two leads, providing useful insight into the world the author’s built, yet still shining on their own, making the reader want to read more about them. Dorian with his broken soul, Clay with his deep-buried secrets, Tamsyn with her compassion, Vaughn, Mercy, Nate, Kit...But I loved the SnowDancer alpha, Hawke, the most and I can’t wait to read his story. It’s as Sacha thought. The woman taking him on would have to be extremely brave or extremely stupid. I can’t wait.
The characterization was beautiful and insightful, the depth to this characters was marvelous and their development constant and continuous. Even the Psy with all their (apparent) coldness were interesting and don’t get me started on the baddie of this story. It’s always a sick kind of pleasure reading of such a brilliantly twisted mind. Incredible.
And the story itself was nicely paced (after the initial slowness), cleverly constructed, and extremely poignant, if one bothers to read between the lines.
And the romance was so nicely done and blended into the whole that it was a real pleasure to read. It didn’t strive to take center stage, blinding the reader to all that was going on, but instead complimented the story and also helping the character mature and develop.
Definitely a keeper to be read and reread many times more and I can’t wait to see what happens next.