THE CURSE OF THE FOURTH BOOK
I am still deeply immersed in the Psy-Changeling universe. As I won’t be finished with my current graphic arts projects until the end of next month, if I continue as I have been I might manage to listen to the sweeping series in its entirety. However, there is the curse of fourth book to be considered. Keep in mind this is not a real phenomena unless you are well… me. For some reason I wash out of most book series around book four.
“Where there is no emotion, there is no need for violence.” – Spock
In Slave to Sensation, the reader is introduced into a truly unique world, not quite dystopian, nor paranormal or even speculative fiction but a chimera of them all with a scorching, passionate romantic core coupled with a wide arching mystery. Earth in the late 21st century is populated by three “races“, the Psy, Changeling and Humans. The Psy (psychic) are completely cerebral, making Star Trek’s Vulcans look like hysterics in comparison. This is due to the “silence protocol” in 1979 the psy race adopted “silence” eradicating all emotion. Offenders are ruthlessly rehabilitated – translation left a drooling shell of their former selves. The Changelings live separate from the Psy in harmony with nature if not with the other packs.
SYNOPSIS – 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.
In my typical fashion when on a reading bender I dove immediately into Visions of Heat and enjoyed it more than I remembered from my first go round. There was just something about the story of the F-Psy Faith Nightstar and the adopted jaguar Vaughan from Lucas’ Snow Dancer pack that appealed to my sci-fi loving heart.
When I first discovered this series I immediately devoured the first three novels in rapid succession and of them all my favourite by far was the third Caressed by Ice. Unlike the first two novels, featuring the relationship between Changeling men from the Snow Dancer leopard pack and women from the Psy, Caressed by Ice follows the Dark River wolves and their adopted Psy family, the Laurens. After the suicide of Judd Lauren’s sister, the entire family was slated for “rehabilitation” rather than submit they escaped to the uncertain safety of shelter with the Changelings, assuming they didn’t kill them outright. Instead of a certain death, the Dark River wolves offered the family sanctuary within their ranks if not true acceptance.
Judd Lauren was a former member of the shadowy death squad knows as the Arrows. Brenna Kincaid is the last changeling he should have anything to do with, the sole survivor of a Psy serial killer’s rampage is strangely drawn to the seemingly emotionless Psy. Even after multiple readings Caressed by Ice remains my favorite. When I started Mine to Possess I thought this time the “fourth book” wouldn’t be an issue. I was so wrong, not to put too fine a point on it Tallie got on my last nerve and ultimately I simply didn’t care enough about Clay to persevere. Perhaps it would have improved as I only got about 15-20% in before I tapped out but unlike the heroines in all the novels I have read by Singh before she was the only one who came off as whiny and even worse weak. By contrast Brenna was tortured at length by a murderer and even though she was forever marked by the experience she never seemed small and mean spirited as Tallie did in her initial exchanges with Clay.
Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling universe defies many of my previously established reading edicts, a lack of interest in series featuring a large number of varying characters, reading out of order and most shocking of all reading beyond the fourth book. Somehow this incredibly talented author has managed to create a series that one can read in one sitting without diminishing the reader’s interest in what happens not only to the characters within the individual story but those who have gone before and those to come. In doing so Singh has effortlessly caught and retained my attention despite the hiccup of the fourth book. I adored Hostage to Pleasure and am enjoying Branded by Fire so much, it may unseat Caressed by Ice as my all time favourite.
In the meantime as I read I will continue to ponder what exactly is the difference between leopards and jaguars? What a leopard-wolf hybrid would look like and if the real reason I washed out of the fourth book is because I am bigoted against humans?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).
So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.