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review 2018-07-09 22:06
Ocean Light
Ocean Light - Nalini Singh

If I believed in such a thing, the Psy-Changeling series would be a "guilty pleasure." While I don't believe in guilt-reading -- that's ridiculous -- there are aspects of the series that make me me feel kinda embarrassed. Any romance involving one of the changelings -- and they are always predatory changelings -- is so hopelessly mired in kinky Victorian notions of biological determinism and dominance and submission. I mean, that's usually what you find in animal shifter narratives, so Singh isn't outside the norm, but I know I'm going to have to grit my teeth through that stuff to get to the extremely cool mythology she's been spinning for almost 20 novels now. (I don't have the same problem with the Psy, who are Vulcan-like psychics, because their romances tend to center around recovery from severe abuse and personal sexual awakening, which I find much more interesting than YOU MAH WOMAN GRARR.)

 

Technically, Psy-Changeling wrapped up with Allegiance of Honor, which was a sort of clip show, where we checked back in with literally everyone who had ever been mentioned in the previous 14 books. I get why it was written that way, but romance epilogues make my teeth ache, and this was more than a dozen of them all piled up. It was also a letdown because the previous three novels, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, and Shards of Hope, are hands down the best novels in the series. Singh brings all of her complicated mythology to full flower in those novels, and in ways that make the romance plot absolutely integral to the narrative. Heart of Obsidian especially. That they're a dozen novels deep in a series makes them even more impressive; Singh had the opposite of burnout. 

 

Silver Silence, the novel directly previous to Ocean Light, was the first of the novels in Psy-Changeling Trinity, which details life after the fall of Silence (a form of widespread social conditioning practiced by the Psy designed to repress all emotion.) Like Ocean Light, it follows a character seen on the periphery for most of the series: Silver Mercant, personal assistant to all-around badass Kaleb Krychek. She falls in with a bear pack outside of Moscow, which was interesting because we've never seen bear changelings in action before. Bear changelings end up being annoying, but then they're not as drearily serious as either the cats or the wolves, so on the balance more fun to read about.

 

Like Silver Silence, Ocean Light centers on a peripheral group, one that has heretofore been shrouded in mystery: the BlackSea pack, the changeling clan that encompasses the entirety of the earth's oceans. Even the land-bound changelings think of them as out there. While we've encountered some of the BlackSea characters in Psy-Changeling novels, specifically Miane, the alpha, and her security guy, the pack itself has been secretive. BlackSea takes in Bowen Knight, head of the Human Alliance, in order for BlackSea scientists to remove a degrading chip in Knight's head. We've met Bowen many times before. As the head of the Human Alliance, he's tangled with both the Psy and changelings (both of whom tend to treat humans like butt monkeys).

 

The romance largely consists of Bowen and the BlackSea chef, Kaia, making eyes at one another while agonizing about how Bowen might die from a medical procedure. It's not particularly compelling. The non-romance plot has to do with ongoing kidnappings of BlackSea members, kidnappings that seem to be perpetrated by the Human Alliance. Knight and Miane's security guy work towards figuring out who the traitors in their organizations must be, but mostly through phone calls and data searches, so that plot-line isn't particularly compelling either. There is some movement at the very end, but reading about a grueling transatlantic flight isn't exactly action either. 

 

BlackSea itself, though, was interesting to read about. There’s still a fair amount we don’t know about the pack – pack members tend to be especially secretive about what their animal is – but the underwater city was beautifully rendered. While shifter narratives almost never address bestiality – and I am not suggesting they should – there was an ongoing tentacle-sex gag going on here that surprised a laugh out of me. All considered, Ocean Light was fine, but I felt like more could have been done with both BlackSea and Bowen Knight, alas.  

 

 

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review 2018-07-07 01:41
Sliver Silence - Nalini Singh

I generally don't care for the changeling parings as too many fight the bond (and if the heroine is psy, the hero's first thought seems to be "kill her").  Valentin however, saw his mate, and is making her notice him one way or the other.  She, when she thought about it, realized her Silence was failing as she didn't send him packing.

 

Naturally, there must be some kink in this - hero happy to have found The One, heroine realizing there's something about him, and accepting him makes for a short story.  She's a telepath...and she hears everything.  Being Silent allowed her to block that aspect of her classification.  By not being Silent, her barriers started failing fast.  Surgery was elected.  Her grandmother pointed out to him that he could have suggested options - I imagine if she'd pulled from the Psy-net, the noise would have been more bearable.

 

In any case, the surgery made her emotionless.  The bond refused to be denied, and the H making himself present sped things along.

 

At the end of the book - Bo is in a coma, having gotten between a sniper and his sister, and not expected to survive.  Since the latest book is about him...

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review 2018-07-02 16:58
Audio Book Review: Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity #1) By Nalini Singh
Silver Silence - Nalini Singh

 

I can't say that this book was worth 16 hours of my time. The sad truth is that the first 8 hours or so started off amazingly well. The writing style wasn't a favorite of mine and helped this story drag along in certain moments. At times it was unnecessarily descriptive and other times it skimmed certain details that had me feeling left out. That was my fault and only got exacerbated by my brilliant idea of starting this series off as what feels like a crucial point that I didn't have enough of a backstory to fully grasp.

 

Silver started off as a very interesting character but proved to be predictable and a carbon copy of her "alpha" grandmother. I disliked how she started referring to herself as Silver insert f-bomb here Mercant after Valentin said it. I also didn't like how people would praise her for standing up for herself where her mate was concerned. What was she supposed to do? Cower in a corner and ask him to maybe hold her hand? I'd also like to mention how almost everything went back to her being a "Mercant". I didn't understand why she and other characters would bring it up randomly throughout the story in a few high-stakes situations.

 

Valentin was an interesting character, but his arrogance and "dominance" (AKA pushy-ness) were annoying and overpowering. The only thing that saved him from being hated was the way he respected Silver enough to let her stand up to him without having his ego bruised.

 

The world of paranormal creatures and technology that this author created is incredible! This story didn't do it justice. I suspect if I read this series in chronological order I would have understood everything in more detail, but after this experience and the length of this audio book I'm somewhat skeptical of it all. This story could have been cut down into a 10 to 12 hour audio book easily considering how the last 4 hours dragged because barely anything was happening. In conclusion, I was overwhelmed with how much was going on in the background (plotwise) and that ended up affecting the overall story for me.

 

Please Note: I started reading this book last year and finished it because I had already invested 9+ hours of my life to it so the least I could do was get it over with. With that being said the story building was completely lost on me because I took such a long "break" from this story when it started to go downhill. Also, to say I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of characters and Russian names is putting it mildly!

 

The Audio Book:

 

The narrator had an amazing range of believable male, female and child voices with and without foreign accents! This is probably the second or third narrator I've come across that can do all that so well and not become grating in the long term.

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review 2018-06-22 16:51
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh 4 Star Review!
Ocean Light - Nalini Singh

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling...

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine...

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

 

Review

Unlike others who were sad we weren't getting more bear shifters in this long running series, I was dancey dance thrilled that we got a Blacksea heroine. Yea! Sea Shifter,

Kaia is a .... well she hides it from Bowen for a while so I won't tell you. but its fun. All the sea shifters we get to hang out with in the underwater city are uber cool. 

The cast and setting might be my favorite part of the book. There are parts though where Singh is clearly pairing off characters so we won't demand their books later. 

The romance is good as Bowen and Kaia have a lot to overcome and a ticking time bomb to see if Bowen will make it (but we know he must HEA needed so it doesn't ever feel crazy tense)

There is a great deal about what family is, what societies responsibilities to its members as well as prejudices and phobias to make this book engaging along with moving the series plot forward as to what is happening to Blacksea shifters.

Singh is a great writer. I enjoyed this dip into the world she makes. Now, excuse me, while I go figure out what kind of sea shifter I would be!
 
 

 

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review 2018-06-13 16:12
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Ocean Light - Nalini Singh

After taking a fatal bullet to the chest, Bowen Adrian Knight wakes up deep under the ocean, with a mechanical heart in his chest and a still ticking bomb in his brain. The chip he's had implanted to ward off Psy telepathic attacks is still malfunctioning and still threatening to blow up his brain when it finally gives.

But a BlackSea scientist has maybe found a solution. It still gives him only a five percent chance of survival, but even that is better that instant oblivion. Especially once Bowen lays eyes on the scientist's cousin and resident chef, Kaia Luna. She might hate his guts, but he's persistent, and he can be patient—he's not security chief for nothing...



This was the first Nalini Singh book I had to sleep on, before writing a review about. And I still don't really know what sort of rating it should get, so I'm going with the middle ground. There were so many things right about it (the first half) and so many things not exactly right (second half of it).

Let me start with the good—I loved Bo. I might've been ambivalent toward him when he first appeared, but NS certainly did him a solid with his story. He's no Hawke or Kaleb, but he's a worthy competitor with Max the only other human hero in this series.
He shone in his story, his past and his issues making him a well-rounded character, and his protective streak, his compassion and his emotions making him a worthy hero.

The heroine, Kaia, unfortunately, didn't really make an impact. I sort of liked her, but I never really warmed up to her, and the second half of the story, with her phobia and her idiotic reasoning for not telling Bo about it, and her even more idiotic reasoning of using said phobia to push him away (after she was the one who made things beyond complicated in the first place), ruined her character for me, and ruined every chance she had of getting a pass as a Bowen-worthy heroine.
I just wanted to smack her about the head...Several times.
And that final reversal of her issues felt more like a cop-out than anything else. A pretty little bow to tie it all nicely.

I liked the initial drama of the "impossible" romance, not in the star-crossed-lovers sense, but in the one-of-them-is-dying sense. I loved the intensity, the desperation behind Bowen's wooing of Kaia, despite his knowledge of just how little time he has.
Yet that intensity kept deteriorating the more the story progressed, until it vanished completely as the plot turned into something akin to a soap opera with obstacle upon obstacle thrown into the path of maybe Bowen having a chance after all; and that final race against the clock pushed it a little too far over the edge of melodramatic for my taste.
Unlike its predecessor, where we trembled after that breakup, wondering just how it might all work out in the end (even though we knew it would, this one failed to provide that anxiety...It was like the book was holding our hand telling us it would all be fine while promising heartbreak.

As for the suspense, I liked it. I wasn't crazy about it, but it provided the much needed balance to the supposed tearjerker of the romance. I liked the twists and turns, the guessing game, the red-herring and the surprising reveals (especially that last "villain" proved to be a doozy. Good job.
Yet the ending to it all (so far) came so abruptly, cutting the flow of the story completely off, instead of slowly cruising to a stop.
It felt like a few parts were missing, making the reading experience even more jarring than it already was.

Having read all the above it might look like I didn't really care about the story. I did. The first half was very good, it's the second half that's the problem for me.

But I liked (most of) the characters—especially the secondary cast (Kaia's turtle grandmother was a hoot), and the cameos (Mercy, Hawke, and Kaleb) made my heart sing.
And the ending made me look forward to the future.

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