The Psy, the main power of the world, have long embraced a policy of Silence. A policy which trains their children to feel no emotion. The icily emotionless Psy have maintained this policy for generations now, to such a degree that a Psy that feels is considered alien and broken
Sascha Duncan is broken. Daughter of one of the Psy council, a Cardinal Psy with no real power… she feels. She feels intensely and she’s finding it harder and harder to hide the fact
When she starts working with Lucas, alpha of the Changeling wereleopard clan looking for a serial killer, his interest pushes her emotional control to the very limit.
This is going to be a little bit of an odd book review. Way back before we even started Fangs for the Fantasy, when Renee and I were just discussing, debating and mocking the odd book when we talked to each other, I read several books in the Psy-Changeling series and produced this somewhat abortive review. Then they never really appeared again. This is unfortunate because, not only is Nalini Singh a prominent author in this genre and also one I like a great deal, but it’s also her fault that we keep picking up paranormal romances.
If you’ve read Fangs for any length of time, we’ve had a rocky relationship with paranormal romance – generally not liking the tropes or structure of it. If you send us a book review request with a book that appears to be a paranormal romance, we will email you back that we’re generally not a huge fan of this genre so we may not be the best place
Yet we still read the genre because of Nalini Singh. Because I really loved this series – and I really liked herGuildhunter series and I wasn’t going to miss out on other potential awesomeness. So, yes it’s her fault.
And I do like this book a lot. I really love the world building. The whole concept of humanity, Changelings (wereanimals) and Psy (psychic people) is a fascinating one. I love that it’s set a little way in our future to have slight sci-fi themes, but not enough to be completely alien. I love how not only do we have our world with these different creatures, but that we also have the world itself to be dramatically changed. Things like the greater environmental protections brought in by the Changelings, the more extensive forests and influence that brings. While the Psy have shaped the cities and building and have a whole new information source based on their powers
The nature of the Psy powers and the imagination of the psynet are original and drew me in with the originality of it and the implication. It made this whole psychic side of the Psy a much more tangible element in their lives. They weren’t humans with shiny powers – they were entirely separate beings with entirely different ways of living because of this whole hidden world that they’re unaware of.
The same goes for the Changelings – it would have been simple to make them the awesome, flawless ones next to the cold, emotionless psy and their complicated Silence policy (which, again, I loved because it was more nuanced than just “this is bad”) but no, their society is also flawed. It’s frequently brutal, harsh and unforgiving
It also treats strong female characters with a diversity of strength. It’s common in this genre to have one woman in a sea of men – but here we have a good mix of women in as well, with a variety of different strengths. The Psy council has powerful psychic women with both high levels of intelligence, power and ambition. The Changelings have Mercy, a female wereleopard Sentinel and warrior as well as Kira, a young, brash confident wereleopard who also seems to be physically focused in terms of her strength. We have Zara – who is a professional, an architect, an artist and clearly valued for her excellent skills. We also have Tamsyn, a mother, a cook and a backbone of the Clan with considerable authority. Lucas makes it clear that she has as much or more authority as the Sentinels and she’s one of the few characters who regularly challenges his words and opinions and makes independent decisions. Women are not just strong or powerful because they are weapons – there is more than one form of strength. Including Sascha – her courage, her determination, her willingness to find and embrace her strength after a lifetime of assuming she is broken and then making her own choices based on that realisation. Sascha starts lost, finds herself then takes charge. Sascha is awesome.