Posted in: AztecLady Reviews, Nalini Singh
Tags:Psy/Changeling, Visions of Heat
Second in the Psy/Changeling series, Visions of Heat is just as good as Slave to Sensation, the first installment—proving that sequels can succeed; it’s all in the execution. One of the great things about Ms Singh’s world building is that, while it grows and gets more complex as the series progresses, so far each book can be read on its own (unless you are anal retentive like moi, in which case you start at the beginning, period).
Without further ado, lets move on to this review.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous—aching need… exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.
Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating, and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced—and keep her from Vaughn.
In the first novel, we are introduced to the three subspecies of humans that inhabit Ms Singh’s Psy/Changeling universe, as well as to a few groups within them. We have met some of the leopards of the Dark River Pack and some of the wolves of the Snow Dancer pack. We have met the Psy Council and some Psy individuals with different psychic abilities as well as different personalities.
In this second book, Ms Singh doesn’t overwhelm the reader with a huge amount of backstory (aka infodumping). There is, once again, a very short prologue—less than two pages long—that sets the stage for this novel’s conflict by introducing yet another classification of Psy, those with the ability to foresee.
By its own erratic nature, such a gift places a heavy burden on those who possess it. As with other psychic abilities, the Silence Protocol, a training designed to eliminate emotion within the Psy as a means of reducing violence, has striven to limit the scope and to control the effects of foresight. There are, of course, unexpected negative consequences of such control, the best known of which is certain insanity from middle age on.
Faith is the most accurate F-Psy of her generation. This makes her both an incredibly valuable and coveted commodity, and more fragile than most Psy. For most of her life she has lived in isolation, protected from nearly everything. Such protection can only go so far, of course, and when she realizes that the dark visions she has are forecasts of a murderous rampage, Faith is convinced her fragile sanity is shattering.
Aware of the cruel reality of the Psy and of the consequences of appearing weak to those who monitor her wellbeing (and also keep her in a gilded cage), Faith knows that her only viable source of unbiased information is Sasha Duncan, a renegade Psy who is mated to Lucas Hunter, Dark River’s alpha.
Vaughn, one of the sentinels of Dark River, is a jaguar adopted long ago by the leopards. Due to his painful childhood and wild nature, he has long thought that he would never mate. Finding Faith forces him to reassess his beliefs about himself, his loyalty and the future.
In this book some of the underlying issues with the implementation of Silence are explored further, such as its effects on several Psy classifications—empaths and foreseers for starters, but not just them—as well as the long term effects it has had on Psy society at large.
I mentioned in my review of Slave to Sensation, that its world building is topnotch. However, until I started re-reading Visions of Heat in order to write this review, I hadn’t realized truly just how carefully constructed this world is. There are things mentioned only once in the previous book, mentioned again just once in this book, that foreshadow events in later books—and they are consistent! Can I hear an amen?
There are, to be sure, a couple of instances of slipping, not so much in the world building itself but in dialogue. There are at least two scenes in which Faith, who, up to now, has had no experience with emotions, speaks in emotional terms without vacillation—and without anyone remarking on it, which is unusual in itself. Other than that, though, consistency reigns through characterization, plotting, and individual growth. Really cool stuff.
My only complaint with the world building is the fact that Faith is not surprised by the fact that Council candidates are assumed to have killed on their way up the ranks. After all, aren’t Psy considered the least violent of the three types of humans? Perhaps, because those deaths are cold blooded executions rather than blood lust rages, the Psy can’t see the contradiction there. Either way, that is the only thing that consistently bugs me about this series.
8.5 out of 10