So, I had a mostly free evening on Tuesday, which came as a surprise. And because I came home early and had one less series to watch (gonna have to wait for the next season of True Blood), I suddenly had a couple of hours at my free disposal. So, I rifled through my ebook collection and started to read Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. I’ve had looked at her books in German repeatedly at the book store, not knowing what I should think of the covers:
I mean, on the one hand: yay! Man candy! On the other hand: Could they look any trashier? [The answer is yes, if you look at the English cover.]
Anyway, they fascinated me. So, I started reading, figuring I’d read the first chapter. Then I told myself I’d read the first fifty pages. Then the first hundred pages. And then I’d read four fifths of the book, it was 3:30 am and I had to kick myself to go to bed in order to get some sleep. And I finished it off yesterday, at work, because I just couldn’t wait till the evening.
It’s a futuristic paranormal romance novel, set in a world, which is ruled by the Psy. The Psy are psychic and consider themselves the next evolutionary stage of the humans. About a hundred years ago, they decided that they would have to ban all emotions from within their network (not unlike Equilibrium). Today, no Psy feels anything anymore. Except for Sascha. She’s a cardinal Psy and should be very powerful. Instead, she’s somewhere in the lower levels and struggles – struggles because she feels and her defences are about to break down.
Along comes Lucas Hunter. He’s a Changeling, a were-leopard if you so will, and the alpha of his pack. And he’s incredibly hot. He has a business proposal – building some houses for Changeling needs – and he and Sascha start working together. But Lucas has a hidden agenda. A serial killer is loose. He only kills Changeling women. And he’s a Psy.
Lucas hopes to be able to use Sascha as his entry point into to Psy network, tugging at her already crumbling protections.
The story is gripping. I mean, it doesn’t happen very often that I can’t go to sleep before knowing just what the next chapter will bring (or the next. Or the one after that). Unfortunately, the way the chapters are separated is a bit weird. But that’s just one minor thing.
The characters are very 3D, you can almost touch them while reading. And I like them. Sascha really is an independent woman, not one who only says that she is. And Lucas is just the right amount of alpha male. I mean, I’m into alpha males, I openly admit that, but usually they quickly become condescending pieces of pure rage and that’s not my thing. Singh treads the line sometimes, but she never crosses it. Plus, the characters are funny, but know exactly when to become serious – not every line is meant to become a punch line.
The whole setting is cool. The world is thoroughly thought through and very interesting. It works, it makes sense. We get a lot of backstory, which gets a bit repetitive, but as long as everything’s logical (which I think it is), that’s fine by me.
It’s well written, except for the occasional blunder, which can be easily overlooked. Especially at the tempo I was reading. I will read it again, of that I’m sure, and I hope that the next time round, I can take more time and pay more attention to her style. But usually, if the style’s really bad, I just can’t get into it that much as I did with this book.
Anyway, any book that can have the following sentences and not make me cringe, but actually shudder with delight, achieves some kind of greatness. (I just don’t know which kind yet.)
Protective instincts vied with arousal. In the end they both won. If pleasure was what it would take to banish the fear from her eyes, then he’d drown her in it.
I’m a fan. Plain and simple and great.
The next book in the series follows two other characters, one of which was already introduced in Slave to Sensation, who is really interesting. Has me looking forward to it already.
There’s a short (short) (very short) story online, set after Slave to Sensation, also about Sascha and Lucas.