Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #5
Also in this series: Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat , Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation , 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, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, 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 , Caressed By Ice, Wolf Rain
Publication Date: September 2nd 2008
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Shards of Hope, Shield of Winter, and Heart of ObsidianLora Leigh calls Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series “a sensual, dangerous adventure not to be missed.” Now, as the deadly Psy Council tightens its grip, a rebel Psy scientist finds herself at the mercy of a changeling who has sworn vengeance against her kind…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...
Although I read this shortly after it was released, I didn’t remember much so it felt like I was reading it for the first time.
Dorian is a latent leopard, meaning he has the beast inside him but he can’t shift. He has the added strength and speed of the cat, but not being able to turn into one has made him work hard to compensate. He’s risen to sentinel, despite not being able to shift. He’s also become the best sniper in the pack, which is how he meets M-Psy Ashaya Aleine.
For years Ashaya has been working on an implant for her race that would allow them to all act as one giant hive mind. Though outwardly it seems like she’s icy cold – the perfect Psy – the truth is she’s hiding inner turmoil. The Psy council is holding her son hostage to keep her in line, and her twin sister is edging more toward darkness and madness every day. When one of her subordinates starts taking children to experiment on, she decides to save them. But she needs her son way from the Council, so she strikes a bargain with the DarkRiver leopards – she’ll get the kids out of the lab if they agree to rescue her son.
When the time comes for her to defect, she doesn’t really expect the leopards to help her, but she’s hopeful she’ll be allowed to see her son at least once before they kill her.
Ashaya is a strong character. Though she’s fighting internal battles, she maintains her icy calm in pretty much all situations. Her protective streak toward her son and her determination to save her twin really across well and made her approachable and likable. I loved the connection she had with her twin, and the struggle she faced because of the darkness in her other half. There was no easy solution, but I thought it worked out perfectly.
Dorian had a hard ball of anger inside him from the death of his baby sister, plus a good amount of frustration and sadness. Added to that there was a feeling of being incomplete because he couldn’t shift. He often blew hot and cold with Ashaya, but I understood why and easily forgave him for it. I love how protective he was of her and her son, and how willing to compromise with her even in spite of his past.
Singh really excels at world-building. I can’t say enough about overall story-arc. I’m fully invested in the war between the races and the political maneuvering between them.
4.25 out of 5
The worldbuilding is truly topnotch all through the series. The build up in political tensions does mean that one has to read the series in order, but that’s half the joy for me 😀
Ashaya is truly a great character, complex and strong, and her smarts are not lip service. She has never stopped thinking and planning and plotting to both thwart the Psy Council and protect her son, all with one move, and largely by herself.
What AL said 😛