Branded by Fire (Nalini Singh)

Ugh… I get to reviewing this book, finally, and the new one in the series is going to be published in two weeks already… But yay! The new one is going to be published in two weeks!

Anyways, Branded by Fire is the sixth installment in Nalini Singh‘s Psy-Changeling series [my other reviews here]. It’s Mercy’s and Riley’s story.

Mercy is one of Dark River’s (the leopard pack) sentinels and Riley is one of Snow Dancer’s (the wolf pack) lieutenant. They are terribly attracted to each other, but because of them both being dominant and the old rivalry between the two packs, they don’t seem to be able to find common ground.
Then a young scientist gets kidnapped from Snow Dancer territory and both of them are thrown together to investigate the disappearance.

I loved Mercy and Riley but I’m not one hundred percent happy with this one… I thought the ending was a little Deus ex Machina and things I had hoped for didn’t happen (more after the jump and the spoiler warning). But it still left me 90% happy and didn’t take away from my overall love of the series.

Branded by Fire(You know, I’m actually getting used to these covers. I don’t find this one atrocious anymore. Only ugly.)

[SPOILERS, also for earlier books]

I’ve actually re-read the entire series before reading Branded by Fire. I won’t review the other books again (you’re welcome), but reading them all back to back was incredibly cool and really set the tone for Branded by Fire. I’m actually thinking of doing it again before Blaze of Memory because it lets you follow the ovearching plot much easier – especially if you’re a scatterbrain like I am.

But on to the problems I had with this one because it’s much more interesting than “gush-gush-gushedy-gush”:

The ending: There was all this angst about Riley and Mercy actually bonding because then they would have to decide for one pack and how could either of them leave their family behind? And then, wham-bam, in the end, they didn’t have to decide because they just didn’t have to. Not that I would have wanted either of them to have to decide but still, it felt a little contrived.

And then I was so hoping to get a closer look at the mental structure of the Snow Dancer pack. Ever since Judd swore the blood oath to the pack, I expected them to discover the equivalent to the Web of Stars in the Snow Dancer pack. They never did.

Then I thought, “when Riley and Mercy bond, surely they will find that their two webs were connected to each other through their bond.” But that didn’t happen either. And that was kinda disappointing. (Especially since it would have given Singh an excuse to not make them decide between packs which would have been better than “they just don’t”.)

Maybe they will still find something like that out later on but it would have felt right to have it in this book.

But apart from these things, I really liked Branded by Fire and I’m so looking forward to Blaze of Memory.

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