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text 2017-08-22 17:43
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh $1.99 5 Star Read!
Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling, #12) - Nalini Singh

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.

A woman whose very existence has been erased.

A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.

A deadly price that must be paid.

The day of reckoning is here.

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text 2017-08-16 19:22
Reading progress: 26%.
Caressed By Ice - Nalini Singh

Oh boy does this series develop in intriguing ways.  Sure, the usual for PNR/UF romance with a couple.  But, I'm loving the "what-if" developments of the Silence, the Psy, the Psy net, the "ghost in the machine," the backstory, et. al.

 

This one has more about Judd and the "Arrows" (aka the enforcers for the Silence), Brenna's aftermath and an ominous whiff of the powers that be trying to actually turn the net to ... well, spoilers.

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review 2017-07-31 00:08
Shards of Hope (Psy/Changeling #14) by Nalini Singh
Shards of Hope (Psy/Changeling) - Nalini Singh

Aden is the leader of the Arrow Squad, the most dangerous and highly trained Psy on the planet. When he and his fellow Arrow, Zaira, wake wounded and captured they know there’s a new enemy out there they have to stop



Of course, holding an Arrow isn’t easy.


While bringing down this new enemy is a focus of the squad, Aden has a deeper mission: how to help his Arrows, his damaged, dangerous, Arrows, adapt to this new world without Silence and hope they can finally find a future and a home; an idea that has become alien to them.

 

There’s a lot about this book I loved - because this is a story that has been brewing for a while - the story of the Arrow Squad. We had an introduction with Vasic but this really does take their story to the next level of detail.


With the Fall of Silence and with the Arrows going from whispered, almost mythological, force hiding in the shadows to being very open and involved in dealing with the problems of the fall of silence it’s such a huge shift for them


The Arrows themselves are such an excellent representation of the challenges of Silence. All of them have lethal, terrifying powers and were given the strictest and most brutal of training and the most rigid Silence to actually survive them. If anyone cannot live without Silence, it is the Arrows - not only are they powerful and dangerous but they’ve also been deeply traumatised pretty much from birth because torture is how they’re trained


Damaged, lethal, rigidly controlled - it’s going to be hard for them. What I really liked in particular was Aden and Zaira learning how to even behave around children, how to raise children, how to learn the basic thing about them. With all Arrows recruited as very small children and tortured by the program since then the very alienness of play is perhaps more stark than any depictions of the torture they suffered


From that I also liked the little offshoots of concern - like how the older Arrows will manage with this changing world they don’t seem to fit in. Or what to do with those members of the squad who have been so utterly hurt that they’re not entirely functional.


And then there’s those whose Silence did actually cover up a monster - the emotionless killers who secretly enjoyed it. How do you find them and what do you do with them?


I do think that, perhaps, this was just a little but simplistic in some issues, especially in relation to Psy with dangerous powers. I mean, we had Psy literally fearing their own extinction due to their rates of suicide, mental illness and violent crime as well as uncontrolled dangerous powers - this is while Silence was enacted. So introducing their hyper-dangerous Arrow children to having to write essays as punishment just seems… well if that worked then why would the Psy have ever enacted Silence. I think it would have been better if we had seen them incorporating more of the lessons, mental exercises etc of Silence to show WHY these tactics work now.



Throw into this the greater public role of the Arrows - Aden as the publically acknowledged leader, considering both the PR elements of that and how it makes him a target. The idea of striking the balance between public figure and hidden enforcers all the while maintaining their independence but still making friends and gathering allies in their own right is nicely done


There’s still some pesky gender issues clinging here that I can’t look past when we see that this is the 14th book in the series which has had these gender issues since day one


One of the reasons why Zaira is afraid of losing control and causing carnage is the moment when she sees another woman touch Aden and nearly loses control and attacks the woman out of jealousy. I laughed. Oh gods how I laughed. This is terrible? This is the BASELINE for not just most of the men (especially the Changeling men) in this series, but pretty much a significant part of the genre as well.


We also have yet another damaged/hurting woman who resists a relationship and has to be persuaded into it by a determined, persistent man who heals her along the way. Which, again, is so very very very very common in this series. Romance happens because the men wear down the women (I think Sierra and Hawk is the only real counter-example of it happening the other way and even then it’s dubious since she retreats into “I’m broken and dying and need to run off and die” with him chasing her).


And for a moment there, a brief moment, I really thought we were going to have a female character who was more dangerous and powerful than the male - albeit, of course, with Aden as the leader clearly established. But hey, he isn’t a leader because of his dominance so this is a major change from previous books and there’s a strong suggestion (despite repeated reminding us that Zaira’s a lot physically smaller than Aden) she could take him in a fight. Until he pulled out his super power


And don’t get me wrong that moment is awesome. And I love Aden as leader of the Arrows, I love how his leadership is based on him caring and valuing the squad and wanting a future for them - all of them - and making them more than the weapons they’re seen as. I love how he is the leader of the squad despite the fact that most of them by far think they could easily defeat him - they don’t follow him because of his strength or power and that is never emphasised.


Really the issues with this romance would be very low key and probably not mentioned much because the gender roles aren’t as bad as many - but it’s those previous 13 books which make so much of this a pattern.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/07/shards-of-hope-psychangeling-14-by.html
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review 2017-07-17 01:05
Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh
Shield of Winter (A Psy/Changeling Novel) - Nalini Singh
While Silence is falling, it may be too late to save the Net. The infection of the PsyNet is growing and catastrophic collapse is imminent - a collapse that could kill thousands. As it gets closer there are more and more Psy infected by darkness, driven to unreasoned and uncontrolled violence even as Psy society is learning how to live without Silence
 
Kaleb, leader of the net and former Councillor, can think of only one way to save the Psy - the key must be the Empaths.
 
He collects Empaths into a camp to learn how to overcome the trauma of being suppressed in the Net and try to find the extent of their powers after so much knowledge has been lost. And who better to protect them in a hostile net than the Arrow Squad?
 
Led by Vasic - broken by the demands the Arrows have placed on him, he is slowly awaiting death and not valuing his own life. But if anyone can reach him it’s the Empaths - specifically Ivy
 
 
 
While we followed so many trope laden romances over this series, in the background there has been another story developing - the Arrows. The Arrows have always been a really fascinating element to this series because they are the very epitome of what Silence was for - and the damage it did. All of them are Psy with lethal combat abilities - the very Psy who rely on extreme Silence training to control their lethal abilities. At the same time they are the Psy used and abused by the Council to enforce their reign, causing so many disappearances and deaths. Seeing them turn from Silence, even as they relied on it’s training was an excellent parallel to the actual fight for the future of the Psy Net. Seeing Aden worry about his people and trying to lead the Arrows to a new future and a new life - independent from those who constantly use and abuse them is, again, a wonderful microcosm of the actual net and the Psy race in general. There’s also Vasic, bowed, broken and wounded from the terrible deeds the Council has forced upon him, now just looking to end a life he no longer sees as worth living. Again - an excellent parallel to the wounds of the Psy Net and the many broken and damaged Psy who have been so torn by Silence
 
Their story, interlinked with Kaleb, the new de-facto ruler of the Psy, also shows the growing evolution of the Psy themselves - and not just in the loss of Silence or the battle against the Darkness Infection of the net. But simple things - in a society where inconvenient people are just disappeared (because actual Psy criminals would expose the lie of Silence), what does it mean in a new age when justice must be done in the light? When justice happens where everyone can see it? When you have a society where the most powerful and ruthless have always ruled, where people’s power is denoted by their inherent woo-woo, what does that mean for future rulership, what does a government look like? In a society where obedience and conformity has been ruthlessly enforced for nearly 100 years, how do they adapt to allowing actual dissent and disagreement? Where are the lines drawn?  In some ways  wish there were no romance at all in this book and we focused on the Arrows and Kaleb and Sahara alongside the other Councilors actually looking at what the future of the Psy should actually look like - because that is fascinating and just the elements that are hinted at here
  
I have to say i was also annoyed by this romance because of Vasic and Aden. We have seen repeatedly how deeply Aden and Vasic care for each other, how close they are - we have seen how worried and sad Aden is that Vasic is embracing death, how determined he is that Vasic won’t die, determined to show Vasic he is valued and cared for. I was looking forward to see them growing closer, for that love to become clearer, for Aden, who knows more than anyone exactly what Vasic has had to endure and suffer, to be the comforting arms that Vasic could fall into and be lifted up and…
 
And Designated straight love interest Ivy appeared. Oh. yay. And we had another book - now book 13 - without a single LGBT character so we can tell the same trope laden straight romance again and again.
 
And I have to complain yet again about the archaic gender roles in this series because they’re cringe worthy. How come the man always has to be the big dangerous alpha in control one? How come he’s usually the one with the big dangerous powers? Even when a woman has strength and power - like Mercy or Adria - she has to be paired with an even MORE Dominant man. And when she’s dangerous that means she’s desperate and fragile and needs a big strong man to save her like Sienna (note that the big strong dangerous men - Judd, Vasic - don’t get big, extra-dominant women to order them around. No, they get sweet, gentle, delicate and sometimes fragile women to shelter and be all protective and gentle with. Even Sienna was more dangerous to herself and had to be paired with The Most Dominant. I cling to Indigo, though even her and Andrew’s dynamic was hardly a subversion.

Not only have we got Shapeshifter biology supporting this rigid binary with big Alpha possessive males and “matriarchal” females but now the Psy are getting in on the action as well: apparently most Empaths are female. Because lovey-emotions-soft-gentle-healing while most telekinetics are male because big-strong-destructive-dangerous-heavy-lifting-chest-hair.
 
Why couldn’t there be a big dangerous telekinetic woman who is breaking things and covered in the blood of all she has slaughtered saved by the gentle, loving, patient Empathic man to find her heart and emotions. This is a world with amazing imagination, incredible world building, awesome character development, a history that is truly fascinating and is generally excellent in so many ways - so why - with all this excellent proof of imagination and creativity, are the romances and gender roles so cliched and tired and limited?
 

In addition to the whole gender roles thing, there was just nothing about this romance that stood out to me. Ivy in particular felt really under developed - I mean she’s had major issues with her broken silence, being rehabilitated, being Silent - but where is this? Beyond having a pet, where is Ivy? Who is this basically hollow she-cares-and-finds-Vasic-hot-despite-his-brokenness woman. Because we’ve seen pretty much that with Sahara (and Sasha, really maybe even Mercy - only these women had a but MORE to them than that).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/06/shield-of-winter-psy-changeling-13-by.html
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text 2017-07-11 04:37
Finished!
Archangel's Heart - Nalini Singh

Oops … read this one too fast to pause to post reading prigress updates or pace myself.  

 

Great book, but was more of a mission than really moving the story along that much.  Yet, it was Raphael and Elena as main characters and much more of everyone's backstory filled in.  

Opens with cadre meeting and deciding to go to Lijuan's territory to investigate … which they don't actually do until ending chapter.  New characters and a new cult introduced.

(spoiler show)

 

Unfortunately, this one catches me up to all books currently published in Guild Hunter series.  New one not out until September.

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