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Nalini Singh is an amazing storyteller, delivering a solid plot and unforgettable characters in this first book of her Psy/Changeling series. Not only that, but she set me on an emotional roller coaster that had me laughing and crying in turns.
In the Psy/Changeling world, Psy, changelings and human lived in an uneasy balance. Changelings are those with dual nature of man and beast, while the Psy are those who've evolved beyond being human, possessing of mind powers that made them feel superior over the changelings and human. From the time the Psy were born, they were conditioned not to feel anything, ostensibly to lower, even eradicate, the incidence of violence from the Psy. In so doing, they also erased all the positive emotions like love, happiness, etc.
Sascha Duncan is Psy, but she has a secret fear, because she's not like other Psy. She could feel, and this terrifies her, because it means her mind is deteriorating. Lucas Hunter, a changeling, makes her feel more than any other, and she was attracted to him and his Pack, no matter that this may mean her end.
But bigger things than them are happening. Changeling women were being murdered, and the murderer was Psy. Moreover, what was her mother's hidden agenda? Why send Sascha to spy on the changelings? What did she hope to gain, other than information about their "enemy"?
You know I'm going to gush, right? I absolutely love a lot of things about this book, but in the interest of space, I can only mention a few.
The world building is superb. It's a totally unique spin on psychic powers, and the power dynamics between the changelings and the Psy are fascinating. I totally love that there's an overall story arc that's being played out in each book, and though we caught only a mere glimpse in this book, I can't wait to see how it will all unfold. The brief glimpses we have of the members of the Council also only whets my appetite even more.
I love Sascha. She's far from the unfeeling Psy, and the way she tentatively sends out "feelers" as she learns about the whole new world of sensation was fascinating to read. She makes me bleed with her fears, but despite that, she's got courage--tremendous amounts of it--and heart. She's also willing to do what's right, even at her expense. I like the way the author placed her in the middle of things, testing her loyalties and the ambivalence of her emotions.
Lucas. *sigh* *drool* Totally yummy. What I love about Lucas was his protective instincts toward Sascha, and I totally love seeing the big, bad Alpha cat being "tamed" by a woman. In Lucas, I can totally get what it means by "primeval urges". There is something very basic and earthy about him, something that makes even my breath caught as I read his scenes, something that made me wouldn't mind being possessed by this sensuous cat. Maybe it's because of his panther, but whatever it is, that man is sex personified. The way he purrs and growls--oh my! *shiver* I would totally love to have my own cat! But only if he's something like Lucas, of course.
Their romantic development gives me the tingles, and each intimate encounter was filled with heat and passion and more. I totally love that being with Lucas gave Sascha the freedom to explore her feelings. But what I like the most was when Lucas slid his hand down her arm to capture her hand and she curled her fingers into his. I thought that was quite intimate as well, signifying her trust in him.
Nalini Singh has a magical way with words that absorbed me from the first chapter and kept me riveted until the last page. The plot is solid and well-paced, with enough build-up of tension to keep me turning the pages. Her characters are interesting and stood out, even the Councilors. And the ending scenes--OMG! All intense emotions, edge-of-your-seat tension and, we all know Lucas and Sascha would have their HEA, but the way they attained it packed a huge punch! I just love, love, love those two paragraphs when each saw just how much one loved the other.
Reading this makes me wish I'd discovered Nalini Singh sooner, but at the same time, I've got several more books to devour immediately. Instant gratification has never felt better.
A solid keeper for me, this book is certainly one I'd reread again! And again. And again...
Reviewed by Silver
for The Romance Reviews
See your doctor first. This is an easy to read book, with real practical suggestions. It will not work for everyone, but it is surely worth a try. In fact, I lost weight (that's good) on this diet by eliminating all of the junk carbs from my diet. Turns out I do not have IBD/IBS, but this diet can do no harm, and it may do you some good.