Reviewed: June 8, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy/Changeling, Book 2
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 352 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
As a powerful F-Psy, Faith NightStar is worth billions to to the NightStar clan. She predicts the future with nearly perfect accuracy and is responsible for the business assets of thousands of Psy companies. The F-Psy, one of the rarest and most mentally fragile of the Psy designations, don't stay sane long and are doomed to loose their mind as early as middle age, but while they are productive they are pampered, sheltered, and monitored extensively...as any high dollar commodity would be.
Though far from middle age, Faith is afraid, and as a member of the emotionless race, that alone is enough to cause something akin to panic. Visions of darkness, evil malignancy, and murder have begun haunting her dreams, ripping her out of sleep with terrorized screams locked in her throat. When her biological sister is slain by the source of those visions, Faith is motivated to slip the gently-but-tightly-held bonds of her captivity and slide into the woods behind her heavily guarded home. She searches for a Psy called Sasha Duncan, a cardinal Psy who escaped from the PsyNet and is rumored to have survived. Hoping for answers, hoping for help, her mental shields in danger, Faith steps into a wild world and comes face to face with a jaguar changeling.
Vaugh D'Angelo, sentinel of the DarkRiver pack of leopards, is a solitary jaguar, but he is drawn to Faith as he's never been drawn to another. Recognizing her as his mate, the wildly passionate and nearly feral changeling is torn between his beast side, who wants to rollick with the fragile F-Psy and claim her as his own, and the man, who can plainly see that even the slightest physical contact threatens to shut down her psyche and cause permanent damage.
Faith will have to trust a jaguar and turn her back on everything she's ever been taught for even the first hope of a short lived happiness before madness claims her...either when her own mind turns traitor on her, or a killer stalks her and hunts her down. And all that stands between her and capture by her very financially motivated race is a jaguar with the ability and willingness to kill everyone who dares threaten her.
Singh continues to develop the imaginative, futuristic world of the Psy and the changelings in this second book in her series, and again entertains with a passionate and intense romance between two races so ill suited for each other on the surface, but so imperative to each other in every way that matters. I'm impressed with the originality and attention to detail Singh is in command of here. So often romance falls into formula, and paranormal romance too often follows familiar and worn ruts. Singh has changed the game entirely with this series, and offered a new and fresh vision and an exciting voice to the genre.
I wasn't as entranced with the romance between Faith and Vaughn as I was between Sasha and Lucas. Faith is far more firmly entrenched in the emotionless void of Silence than Sasha was at the beginning, and her frailty was a little off putting for me. I prefer strong heroines in my romance. Faith did evolve, and made some tough but necessary choices, and I did admire her intellect, but it took a while and I had some trouble warming up to her at first.
I enjoyed seeing the solitary Vaughn form such an unwavering bond to her, but he didn't have as much that made him unique to me as Lucas did. Of course, Lucas is pack alpha, I suppose I could cut Vaughn some slack, but knowing Singh's gift for character creation, and already having met some of the other changelings who do interest me quite a lot, I wouldn't have minded waiting a bit for Vaughn's story in lieu of one of the more intriguing options already presented.
What I did like about this book was the widening development of the world and a better understanding of both the Psy, the PsyNet, and the dangers threatening to destroy that race. The hubris and ego involved, the casual cruelty inherent, and the flickering glimpses of rebellion stirring in a dark but starry metasky were fascinating. Though the serial killer plotline felt much like a retread of the first book, with one or two small exceptions, overall the non-romance threads of the book proved more entertaining to me than the previous book, and was easier to wrap my mind around. And I loved the introduction to the NetMind and the glimpse of the Web of Stars.
This is a book with some hefty meat on its bones, and Singh has proven herself adept at divvying up hearty portions for happy readers. Beyond offering sizzling romance (and believe me, it is that - yowza!), there are also thought-provoking issues such as the definition of humanity, the connection between thought and emotion, and capacity for cruelty in the absence of empathy. Combined as they are, they add depth and dimension to the plot of the book, and are a big part of the originality and uniqueness of the series.
Singh is particularly adept at forming and fleshing out the world in tandem with developing the characters who inhabit it. I'm patient enough and captivated enough to settle back and enjoy her gift as the series progresses and look forward to an even greater understanding of a world that sometimes seems too antiseptic in some areas to really wrap my mind around. There is so much rich, fertile soil for development inherent in this series and in the characters, so many ways to go and things to explore. I'm looking forward to experiencing more.
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