It has been a while since my last Nalini Singh novel … 14 months and 25 days if one were inclined to be precise. So, when I managed to obtain a copy of her new series debut, I decided to catch up on the Psy Changeling world.
Naturally, it was a joy to relive the series by rereading the previous instalments before arriving at Mine to Possess. This time round, the focus is on Clay Bennet and Talin McKade, a friend from his past who survived a violent, abusive and love-starved childhood with him and whom, he had been told, died more than 15 years ago. Talin’s human heritage hides a secret gift that could be Psy in its mysterious origin, but was causing Talin’s health to deteriorate.
Her appearance on the scene after missing for so long served as the catalyst for a lot of the action in this book, and the kids she was guardian to provided the missing link to a growing crime that the clan had uncovered in book 3 which clued them in on the bigger picture of a quiet rebellion that’s taking place amongst the Psy.
While our star-crossed lovers were busy tracking down the kidnapped children, hidden feelings and unresolved hurt and anger were brought to the forth, and both have to grapple with the possibility of Talin dying. At the same time, Talin had to learn to adjust to living within the DarkRiver community and learning to make friends with the Psy members of the close-knit group, which was a challenge to a fostered orphan like her who’s been pushing people away before they got intimate.
The raw intensity of the emotions and the furious pace of action in this book grabbed me from the beginning, while the tender poignant moments misted my eyes. It’s another clear hit from Nalini and I enjoyed the building up of a major conflict which I sense this enormously talented is plotting towards. That leaves me with a breathless sense of anticipation, to tell the truth. And that sneak peek at the end to Dorian’s and Ashaya’s story simply left me hungering for more of the series. Am definitely going to hunt down Hostage to Pleasure.
IMB rating: 4.5
Just when I was wondering how Ms Singh was going to top her Psy Changeling series, she came out with the Guild Hunter series and the debut, Angels’ Blood simply blew me away. I was captivated by the back cover which had this synopsis:
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she’s the best—but she doesn’t know if she’s good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option…even if the task is impossible.
Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.
The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other…and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break…
Not only did Nalini turned the common vampire lore on its head, she gave paranormal readers a rather refreshing angle for the existence of the blood suckers that sort of made me take a second look at he subgenre after staying away from all vampire tales – an after effect of overdosing on paranormal last year, and a direct reaction to all that Twilight mania. I still am not too enamoured of Bella Swan and the whole Twilight story arc, to tell the truth.
For an author to make me think twice about angels, demons and vampires, it would take more than just intriguing plot angle, engaging characters and compelling story-telling to achieve it. Well, Nalini has all that, no doubt about it, and she’s a top-notch architect when it comes to complex alternate universes.
What sealed my fate, though, is her singular gift in creating chemistry not just between lead and secondary characters, but also between the characters and the reader. From page one, Elena’s emotions, dreams, and future caught and connected with me. Her struggles for independence away from her family, her adamant refusal to take the easy way out and her secret dreams of love and trust are all human aspirations that I think most modern women can relate to. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Raphael is such a deliciously dark yet supernaturally divine alpha hero with a subtle humane side that Elena seemed to bring out.
The chemistry Nalini’s created between the characters and me as a reader had me rooting for them, so much so that even if the ending was predictable (I mean, you can’t expect Nalini to kill Elena or make her a vamp, could you?), it fulfilled my own secret hopes and dreams for the couple. I was so caught up in their world that I’m already looking forward to the next novel in the Guild Hunter series.
Even though in this book, there were some unanswered questions which Janine at Dear Author attempted to address, I didn’t loose too much sleep over it. In a way, I’m glad that I missed all that hype about this debut work when it was raging round the blogosphere. Some readers felt it didn’t live up to the hype, but I happen to agree with Stacy, Christine, and the Book Bingers. This is an aswesome debut. Well done again, Nalini!
IMB rating: 4.5