>> Thursday, January 31, 2008
TITLE: Mine to Possess (excerpt 1, excerpt 2)
AUTHOR: Nalini Singh
COPYRIGHT: 2008 (comes out next Tuesday, February 5th)
SETTING: Near future alternate-reality version of the US
TYPE: Paranormal romance
SERIES: Book 4 in the Psy/Changeling series. I'm not going to go into details about the universe set-up in my review, so if you want to know more, read the first few paragraph of my post about Slave to Sensation, the first book in the series.
REASON FOR READING: This is one of my favourite ongoing series.
Nalini Singh pulls away another dark layer of sheer desire, revealing passions unknown, in her latest novel about the world of the Psy. A ghost returns from a leopard changeling’s past, making him question everything—even his base animal instincts…THE PLOT Clay Bennet was one of the most intriguing secondary characters in the previous books in the series, a DarkRiver leopard whose beast was very close to the surface, probably closer than anyone else's. At the beginning of MTP, Clay is shocked to discover that his childhood best friend, Tallin, is not dead, as he had been told. And he feels even more surprised -and betrayed- when he realizes it was her decision to stay away from him all these years.
Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed...and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.
Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life--the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows...
Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past...or lose everything that ever mattered.
It wasn't an easy decision for Tallin to abandon Clay, but she believed it was crucial for her survival. After the shattering violence of their last encounter, a violence not directed at her, but which still almost pushed her over the edge, Tallin decided to stay away. There had been more than enough fear and violence in her childhood already.
But now someone is kidnapping and killing the street children who are her responsibility, and she sees no other choice but to ask Clay for his help...
MY THOUGHTS: Ahhh! Reading Nalini Singh's books is always a treat, and this was no exception. With MTP we continue to go deeper into this world she's created and discover aspects we hadn't seen before. So far in the series we'd basically concentrated on the Psy and the changelings, but here we start to catch a glimpse of the human world and how all three races interact (and mix), especially how humans fare in a world where the other two races are so clearly more powerful than them.
But Tallin and Clay are so much more than simply a human and a changeling. What makes this story so compelling is that each of them is completely individual, while still being shaped and influenced by their nature. And the intimacy between them, that was amazing. This closeness is something that has been between them forever, since they met as children, but I never felt that Singh substituted showing us why and how these two fall in love with an easy way out. They are mates, and they were very close as children, but they still need to fall in love as adults, and we do get to see that.
Nowhere is this more clear than in what it takes for Clay to get over the betrayal of what he feels Tallin has "done to him". He needs to go a long way to see that as much as he thought he knew her completely, he didn't wholly understand her. It takes him a lot of time and insight into the character of Tallin the woman to understand why she felt staying away from him was so crucial to her survival.
To my mind, their relationship was all the stronger because there were things about the other that each had trouble accepting. For instance, Clay's beast is nearer the surface than we've seen before and Tallin's initially not at all comfortable with this. Or another one: take Tallin's sexual past. The obvious, easy way out would have been for Clay to immediately understand and nurture, but no, his first reaction is to see it as another betrayal, as Tallin having, in a sense, made his sacrifice be for nothing. The thing is, they overcome all these things, and this made their happy ending all the sweeter.
As always in the books in this series (I feel as if I'm repeating myself here!), hero and heroine fall in love before a backdrop where some very fascinating things are happening. They don't upstage the romance in the least, but they are intriguing in their own right. As I've said before, this world of Singh's is not a static one, it's clearly evolving, and we're starting to get some indications as to the direction in which things are going. The characters from the earlier books play very relevant roles (this is clearly a universe, that Singh has created), and while we get more than enough closure for this particular story, it's clear that things are nowhere near done yet!
MY GRADE: An A-. It's a pleasure to report that this series is still going strong :-)