Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

This book was recommended to me by a librarian friend, one of the best kind of friends to have if you read like crazy, which I do. We were lamenting the fact that so many paranormal romances tend to be written to a “form,” and don’t have enough plot or interesting happenings to make up for it. She promised me this series was not like that, so I went out and tried it, and she was right!

slave to sensation coverSascha Duncan is a Psy–a young woman born to a race with incredible mental powers but no emotions. She knows if anyone finds out she is “flawed,” and has been hiding the fact that she has been feeling emotions since childhood, she will be sent to “rehabilitation,” Psy-speak for brain death that will leave her unable to function. Her world is already beginning to fall apart, when she meets Lucas Hunter, changeling and alpha of the local leopard pack. Changelings hate the Psy, holding their entire race responsible for the serial murders of several young changeling women. Sascha meets Lucas when they are forced to work together for a business deal, but soon Sascha begins to feel a definitely illegal attraction to Lucas which she knows could be the death of her. Meanwhile Lucas, despite knowing he is supposed to be using Sascha to learn about the murdered, realizes there is something unique about her, and vows to get to the bottom of why this Psy is so different from the rest, and why he is falling desperately in love with her.

I really liked the Psy race in this novel. I haven’t read anything like them before. A race with incredible psychic powers, like telepathy and telekinesis, that chooses to  train the emotions right out of their children, and eventually creates an entirely race of people that don’t feel anything. (Reminded me a little of Vulcans, except creepier, what with their constant telepathic connection to the rest of their race–talk about lack of privacy!–oh and their propensity to become serial killers.) I can’t imagine not feeling emotions, or knowing if I did feel them I would be destroyed by my own family. Trying to put myself in Sascha’s shoes really made me like her and sympathize with her plight. To hide your emotions for so long and then suddenly have so many new ones all at once must be overwhelming, and the book definitely read that way. Believable and intriguing in a way that kept my attention.

Lucas and the changeling race were believable well-written too. I have read tons of novels with were and changelings, so I understand how difficult it must be for an author to come up with news ideas when you want characters that change into animals in your novel. I liked the variety of changelings in this book (even though we only met a few of them) and how each animal had different personalities and cultures but they all had similarities that connected them as well. Best of all, the two main races put aside their differences to work together, without losing their individuality.

You could say that this book did follow the typical paranormal romance form. Two wildly different paranormals meet, want to fall in love but experience extreme conflicts and irreconcilable differences that almost end their relationship before it starts, but then (almost magically) everything comes together and they all live happily ever after. But I didn’t mind, or even really notice, in this book because I was so intrigued by the characters and their desperate attempt to stop a Psy serial killer–which Sascha didn’t even believe was real at first–before he brutally murders another changeling. See? That sentence alone was probably enough to make you forget the “paranormal romance form.” And I hear (from the librarian friend) that the rest of the series only gets better from here. I’m looking forward to it.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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