Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #12
Also in this series: Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat (Breeds, #17, Psy/Changeling, #3.5, Murphy Sisters, #2), Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation (Psy/Changeling #1), Wild Invitation, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Tangle of Need, Ocean Light, Ocean Light
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
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Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world… A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred. A woman whose very existence has been erased. A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself. A deadly price that must be paid. The day of reckoning is here. From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.
This book was shrouded in mystery when it was first released. There was much speculation about the main characters, but the author and publisher kept a tight lid on the details. Since some time has passed since the release, I’m going to write this review with full character spoilers. Read on at your own risk.
Councilor Kaleb Krycheck has been an enigma since he was introduced in the second book. From a young age, Kaleb showed signs of being a powerful telekinetic. He was taken from his family at age three and raised at the knee of former councilor Santano Enrique. Enrique was a powerful TK himself, and he also happened to be a serial killer. He kept Kaleb with him as he murdered dozens of helpless young men and women, all while forcing Kaleb to watch, and at times even participate. Through it all, Kaleb remained strong, for one reason only: Sahara Kyriakus. They met by chance when Enrique visited Sahara’s PsyClan on business, and they formed a fast friendship. For Kaleb, it was the first time anyone ever cared for him in any way, which was a powerful incentive. For years they were friends in secret, sharing their present and planning their future together. Until she was taken from him.
Now he’s the youngest Psy to ever advance to councilor, and his past is both mysterious and suspicious. He’s spent the last seven years searching for Sahara, but she can’t remember him. As her mind slowly comes back online, she realizes Kaleb is a mass of contradictions. He rescued her from her prison, but keeps her holed up in his house. Yet when she asks for information, he’s quick to give it to her. He provides her everything she needs, including physical and mental contact. Yet he’s tight-lipped about himself and icy in his Silence. And still her mind insists Kaleb would never harm her.
Sahara has a unique ability; one that made her a target by many. For the last seven years she’s lived in madness as her shields were ripped open and her mind invaded by those who wished to use her for their own gains. She created a labyrinth inside her mind to protect herself, which starts to unravel as soon as Kaleb rescues her from her private prison. She doesn’t remember him, but part of her recognizes and wants to trust him, despite all the abuse she suffered.
Kaleb considers Sahara his. He’ll do anything and everything he can to ensure her happiness…except let her go.
Prior to this, we’d seen glimpses of Kaleb searching for someone, but there was little information given about who or why. I loved the way the story was told with flashes of Kaleb and Sahara’s friendship from the past. As Sahara’s memories slowly return, we see glimpses of Kaleb as a teenager and Sahara as a girl, doing the impossible and coming to care for each other despite all the obstacles.
I loved how they teased each other, and how determined Kaleb was to give Sahara everything she needed. Not just material items, but physical and emotional as well. He remembered her favorite foods and drinks, kept mementos from their time spent together in their youth and teased her with pieces of her past and his. It was these small details that transformed Kaleb from a dark, evil being into an intense, three-dimensional man.
“Tell me you aren’t evil.” Please. Kaleb’s thumbs moved against her temples.
“I’m sorry.” Shaking her head in a mute refusal to accept what he was trying to tell her, she lifted trembling fingers to his jaw.
“What have you done?”
“Too much that can never be undone.”
He wasn’t just the ruthless cardinal who clawed his way to the top, or just the man who spent his childhood at the knee of a serial killer. He was a man who loved.Of course that doesn’t negate the fact that he is a ruthless Cardinal Telekentic with questionable morals. It’s just that Sahara is the exception to everything.
Sahara’s eyes were haunted when they met his. “Am I so important to you?”
“Yes,” he said. “You’re everything.” The entire reason for his existence
Sarah was 16 when she was taken, so she didn’t have a chance to develop her Psy abilities or, really, her personality. As she comes to trust Kaleb and feel safe with him, she begins to explore the person she’s become. She could have come across as weak, but rather I thought she showed a quiet strength in dealing with her past and Kaleb that was commendable. She faced her fears and trauma head on, and then took on the task of drawing Kaleb out of the darkness.
It’s okay.” Cupping his nape, she murmured the words over and over, having no conscious knowledge of why she did so—but aware in her bones that while he might be the dangerous one in the room, right this instant, she was the strong one. “It’s okay, Kaleb. I’m here.”
And I won’t let it be too late.
While Kaleb is helping Sahara come back to herself, he’s also dealing with a fracture in the ‘Net, the network of minds all Psy must connect to in order to survive. Part of it has become diseased, which is causing people to go mad and succumb to rages He’s also dealing with PurePsy, a fanatical group who wants the Silence protocol to remain in place, and has no problem using mass violence in its agenda to prove Silence is the only way. Bombings, shootings and other terrorists acts force Kaleb to work with the arrows to hunt their enemies, clean up messes and help the victims of the attacks.
Several threads opened in previous books are tugged here. Though there’s no final resolution to the overarching issue of the disease in the ‘Net, the issue of Silence is dealt with in a believable way. I love the complexity of the world. Singh never misses a beat.
While the action and adventure are interesting and brought several key points from previous books together, it’s the romance that really shines. I was fully invested in both Kaleb and Sahara as the worked to come back to one another. Intense, wildly romantic and action-packed. This novel was everything I expected and more.
4.75 out of 5