Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, book 1) by Nalini Singh
THE HOT NEW NAME IN PARANORMAL ROMANCE.
Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation" - the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was...
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation...
The futuristic take and tacky—horribly tacky—covers stopped me from reading this series for years. Even after buying a number of the books on close out, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. After reading Angels' Blood, the first in Singh's Guild Hunter books, and realizing that when done right I can really dig the futuristic take on UF/PNR it was time to get past my hang-ups. After all this series had many strong points going for it: animal shifters, amazing reviews from reliable book buddies, unique world, hot chemistry, and the promise that each book gets better after the next.
Addressing the unique world, it was something I didn't fully understand. Unique doesn't even begin to describe it. In 1969 the Psy, beings with super mental powers, telekinesis, telepathy, and such, decided to wipe out rage in the species. Ten years later Silence is created, which wipes out all emotions. After all it's "impossible to isolate that one emotion." The Psy are connected to the PsyNet, much like the internet, but it's compromised of minds. Council is the absolute power, no checks and balances. If a Psy steps out of line they can be mind wiped, turned into a walking brain dead, functioning on low levels. It's now 2079, Psy have become a huge power. However, the world is changing as Changelings adapt better and work with the humans. A Psy serial killer is picking off Changeling women. Lucas has recently lost one of his pack to the killer and is now looking for an in to find the murderer. The Psy Council is doing everything they can to cover up the killer so that the Psy image is upheld. Sascha is his in as a cardinal, she should have enough power to get him a link to the Council. What Lucas doesn't know is that Sascha is damaged and she's about to crack.
War is a constant threat on the edges of the story, as the Psy's arrogance keeps them from seeing the Changelings as the powerful and lethal threat they are. The shifters are well done, every aspect of pack hierocracy thought out. The different animals are realistic from the DarkRiver pack of leopards to the SunDancer wolf pack. The politics of why the changelings wouldn't out right attack the Psy and get justice was stunning. The simple fact that if they did that the emotionless Psy would wipe out everyone, down to the children. The plot is clever and the "politics" are so well done. The futuristic world is real enough, minus flying "skateboards" and cars. It's about what I would think we'd be technology wise. Not so advanced that I felt the need to roll my eyes.
Lucas and Sascha are immediately setup to fall for each other. Yes, I'm a bit picky about the build up of relationships in my PNR so this might not bother most readers. However, there's some dream sequences that aren't all physical fantasies—of course those don't hurt—that adds a certain depth to the relationship and helps to make the mating more realistic. Their characters are so real, I could believe in the oppression of Sascha's brainwashed life, the fear that she constantly living in. Her need for touch is so amazing that in many scenes I found myself holding my breath. Lucas has been a man since the tragic past that lead to his father and mothers death, baptizing him in blood as a strong alpha. Lucas isn't so dark and damaged as Kresely Cole’s heroines, and I found him to be more tangible and real. It was very refreshing.
The other characters are so well fleshed out in this world that my anticipation in reading their books, or simply seeing them with small rolls, promises that I will read on. The plot behind the killer was underwhelming, and the mystery of Sascha's true powers where so obvious that I felt underwhelmed. Leaving the climatic highs a little flat with me. Singh's ability to create human emotions and a rich world made up for most of it. For the next titles I'll be expecting more.
It's true!! All of the buzz you've heard from friends, fans, and reviewers! Don't let the tacky covers, or maybe futuristic setting, or other hang-ups keep you from trying this series out. Even if certain parts of Slave to Sensation disappoint Singh has enough talent to captive readers. Clearly future books are going to heat up! Despite myself I'm very curious about the Psy and want to see a "uprising" or "civil war". The alliance of the DarkRiver and SunDancer plot tease my mind with possibilities. After all animal shifters are my Achilles’ heel in paranormal reads. I'm all in with the Psy-Changeling series!
Sexual Content: The shifters are sensual, but nothing too shocking. The sex is pretty steamy, but for a PNR it's pretty tame—that doesn't mean it ain't hot! Sexual humor and some creepy serial killer stuff. Also, some talk about a past rape and the mind rape of some victims.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.