Preface: Right now, I’d categorize my reading into four categories:
1) Highly anticipated (by me) releases of this year.
2) Recent (say last six months or so) blogger recs that stand out in my mind.
3) And whatever the next installment is for series I’m working my way through.
Generally, my reading is a mix of all of the above. At present however, I feel like I’m methodically working through the stacks of books in my closet. By category. Starting with the first. Hence my recent reviews of Fearless Fourteen, Tribute, Loose And Easy, and here, Hostage To Pleasure. This category also included Anne Stuart’s Fire And Ice, but that one was a DNF for me. So, onward with reviews of books ya’ll probably read months back.
Title: Hostage To Pleasure
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Book 6 in the Psy-Changeling series
Blurb: Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy--cool, calm, emotionless...at least on the surface. Inside, she's fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper's embrace.
DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard's rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian's agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules...
Why: Singh = Auto-read
Thoughts: Here is what I wrote about the last installment:
Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh – I love Singh’s Psy-Changeling books. No question. But this was the first one to grip me on page ONE. Literally, I was pulled under instantly. And no, before this, I hadn’t paid much attention to Clay. As a secondary in earlier books, he never really stood out to me. But man, Singh set his story up and hooked me before I could blink.
Pretty much a ditto here, for Hostage To Pleasure. I was instantly pulled under by a scene and characters I remembered from the close of the last book. Off and running in paragraphs rather than pages.
It’s funny though…as I sit here collecting my thoughts for this review, I can’t seem to find anything new to say about Dorian and Ashaya. Dorian fits Singh’s Changeling mold to a T—in spirit. His inability to shift adds a depth to him of course, but it doesn’t make him all that different than the Changeling men we’ve already loved. He embodies the same fierceness, loyalty, competence, intelligence, possessiveness, sex drive, etc. as the rest. And every one of those facets appeals to me as much now—in Dorian—as they first did in Lucas, Singh’s first hero. It’s a powerful mold to withstand such repetition. No question. Still fresh. Still raw. Still captivating.
The same can really be said of Singh’s Psy heroines. Ashaya is another Psy female with a spine of steel and a mind close to shattering. Same stand-out attributes Singh gave us in Sascha and Faith. And equally appealing this time around.
There is also the expected Psy-Changeling interracial conflict. Dorian despises the Psy. He holds them responsible for his sister’s gruesome death and perceives his attraction to Ashaya as a betrayal to his sister’s memory. As for Ashaya, like her predecessors, she views an emotional relationship with Dorian as a direct threat—sure to compromise the shields she wields in self-protection.
Beyond these staples, if you will, Singh veers into new territory, adding a Psy mother-son connection and an evil Psy twin. Both compel Ashaya to risk her life; both deny Dorian the ability to protect Ashaya from harm. Here, he cannot simply eliminate the threat her twin poses, nor can he act in any way that will bring harm to her son. This is also trademark Singh. Hers are not conflicts easily resolved. And while the reader is assured of the ultimate mating, she cannot predict at what cost it will come. In this case, without giving anything away, I think the true cost calculation is left for future installments.
I can also say that, overall, Hostage To Pleasure reflects how well Singh has managed to evolve this series, this world. I’ve little recollection of its world-building elements, so they were either seamless or no longer required in this installment—leaving much more time for readers to spend with her rich characters. I’d almost say Hostage To Pleasure doesn’t stand alone, but as I know someone firsthand who just dove into this series with this installment—and loved it—I’m not so sure that is true.
Over, overall, Singh’s books remain on my highly-anticipated list. Sure, I fall behind on release dates, but that’s just a financial issue. Going forward, I just can’t see this series ever becoming one I have to ‘catch up’ with. Nor will I wait any longer than I have to to read her new series debut, Angel’s Blood when it releases next year.
Word On The Web:
Sandy at The Good, The Bad, The Unread, A+
Literary Vampiress, A
Errant Dreams, 5 out of 5
Limecello at The Good, The Bad, The Unread, A-
Rosario, A, A, A!!!
Book Smugglers, 9 damn near perfection
Aimless Ramblings, 5 of 5
AztecLady at Karen Knows Best, 8.75 out of 10
Casee at Book Binge, 5 out of 5
And many, many more perfect scores. Too many to list.