Reviewed: July 3, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy/Changeling, Book 5
Rating: 5 Stars
Length: 352 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Since his sister Kylie's death at the hands of a Psy monster, latent changeling Dorian Christensen has been filled with rage and guilt, intent on the destruction of the powerful Psy Council, disgusted by their construct of Silence and the psychopaths it protects. He is so immersed in his hatred that the sniper debated putting a bullet in the head of Ashaya Aleine, lauded M-Psy and head of the Implant Protocol team, a group working for the Council with the goal of creating a hive mind, even as she helped the changelings and the human Talin free two children from her facility before they were killed by the tests that were being run on them.
Not that she did it out of the goodness of her heart. Dorian knows that the Psy have no hearts...not like that, anyway.
Still, in the two months since he had her in his sights, since her smell tantalized the leopard inside him, he hasn't been able to stop dreaming of her. Regardless of his disdain for who and what she is, despite the rage and guilt over his sister's death, his body wants Ashaya with an intensity that shakes him to his foundations.
When Ashaya calls in her marker, uses the assistance she provided as currency for freeing her son from the Council's clutches, Dorian expects there to be some coldly logical reason. Psy don't care for their children like changelings do, viewing them more as bargaining chips and genetic dynasty than anything else. What he doesn't expect is the effect the cold woman will have on him when she breaks away from her people and blows the lid off of many of their secrets.
His predatory eyes plainly see the few small tells that lead him to question her immersion in Silence and cause him to wonder whether this woman may have more emotion than he realized. His body's traitorous response to her and a heavy dose of self loathing, however, caution him about the secrets she's keeping. Therein lies the danger of this Psy, because no matter how much he wants her, how much his cat roars a possessive claim on her, there are lines that Dorian won't cross - can't cross - with Kylie's death hanging so heavy on his shoulders and the hatred so alive in his heart.
I'm beginning to think Singh is quite dastardly, because with each book in this series, my favorite keeps changing and my hunger to read more keeps growing. It just isn't natural for one author to be that universally awesome, yet I can't deny the proof. Singh has created this highly imaginative world with fascinating characters, made them all unique and individual, gave them their own voices, their own motivations, their own passions, and pitted them against a many-faced, frigid evil cloaked in equanimity. It's impossible to put these books down, to walk away without a clue of what comes next. Dastardly, I tell you!
Of course, Hostage to Pleasure is my favorite of the series. I know, I keep saying that...then I read the next book. It's almost embarrassing how much I'm enjoying these.
What really tipped the scales in this case were the lead characters; the conflicted Dorian with the many, many layers and the incredibly strong Ashaya, with her secrets and the lengths she'll go to protect what - and whom - she needs to protect. They were the perfect pairing for so many reasons, and I found both of them to be likable and sympathetic throughout the book. Not to mention how bloody smouldering their passion was. Sheesh. Just because Dorian couldn't shift doesn't mean he wasn't in full feline form. Sexy, sexy, sexy. And I have to admit, this book had one of my favorite sex scenes of all time for the blend of sensual heat and endearing action.
The plot, as I have come to expect in this series (I think I'm spoiled...yay!), was richly layered and well paced, with the romance plot line blending seamlessly and flawlessly with the many subplots. I thoroughly enjoyed the Council's machinations as I always do. What I enjoyed even more, though, was the ticking time bomb that was Amara. I'm loathe to delve too much into that out of fear of even the smallest spoiler slipping out, but Amara was a brilliant addition to the story character-wise, adding a creepy intensity and horror potential that supersedes anything that has come before. Not to mention raising an absolutely excellent question about Silence given her inherent nature. I loved her...insomuch as her role allowed.
There are so many elements included in each book in this series, and the continuity and attention to detail is unparallelled. I'm not even a fan of futuristic stories, and I'm not so keen on science fiction, either, but despite the Psy/Changeling series having elements of sci-fi and being futuristic, I'm completely and thoroughly addicted and have no intention of giving up that addiction until the final chapter, the very last word, after all the chips have all fallen and the game is all played out. Even then there may be a dignity-shredding beg for more. In short, I highly recommend this series, but I strongly urge new readers to start at the beginning, because there are just too many delicious developments that evolve from the first book and spread out as the series progresses. You really don't want to miss a second of it.
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