Play of Passion, by Nalini Singh

>> Saturday, April 05, 2014

TITLE: Play of Passion
AUTHOR: Nalini Singh

PAGES: 352

SETTING: US, some 100 years into the future
TYPE: Paranormal romance
SERIES: 9th in the Psy/Changeling series

Passion and reason collide with explosive force in the newest installment of Nalini Singh’s “mesmerizing” Psy/Changeling series. As a conflict with Pure Psy looms on the horizon, two powerful wolves fight a far more intimate war of their own…

In his position as tracker for the SnowDancer pack, it’s up to Drew Kincaid to rein in rogue changelings who have lost control of their animal halves—even if it means killing those who have gone too far. But nothing in his life has prepared him for the battle he must now wage to win the heart of a woman who makes his body ignite…and who threatens to enslave his wolf.

Lieutenant Indigo Riviere doesn’t easily allow skin privileges, especially of the sensual kind—and the last person she expects to find herself craving is the most wickedly playful male in the den. Everything she knows tells her to pull back before the flames burn them both to ash…but she hasn’t counted on Drew’s will.

Now, two of SnowDancer’s most stubborn wolves find themselves playing a hot, sexy game even as lethal danger stalks the very place they call home...

I used to adore the Psy/Changeling series and highly anticipate every entry, but that feeling has faded over the years. I still read the books, but I'm quite behind in the series and don't get anything close to the thrill the first few books would elicit.

Play of Passion is centred on the romance between two changelings. In fact, both are from the same pack, which I don't think we've seen before. Indigo Riviere is a lieutenant with the SnowDancer wolves. She's one of the highest-status, most dominant female wolves, and this creates a problem when it comes to finding a partner. Drew Kincaid is a SnowDancer, too, a tracker, whose job is to keep other wolves from going rogue (and executing those who've actually gone over the line). He is very attracted to the powerful, older Indigo, but she just won't take him seriously.

And as they dance around each other, there's also other stuff going on. The Psy have started to tresspass onto pack territory, and it's clear they're planning something dangerous.

I was looking forward to this, as I'm always really interested in romances where the female character is in a position of more power, but the result was a disappointment, I'm afraid. I was particularly disappointed that Drew had this role that was outside the chain of command, so even though Indigo's ranking was higher, at first sight, he wasn't serving under her and she didn't *really* outrank him. That's very annoying, because even in this series there are books where the heroine is under the hero's command. Why not the opposite? Also, there seemed to be a message here that it's a huge problem if a female changeling is more dominant than her male partner. This is what Indigo fears, that because she's so dominant, her relationship with Drew is doomed from the start. But instead of the resolution of this being that no, this is not the case, the problem is solved by assuring us that it's fine because Drew is really dominant as well, it's just that Indigo doesn't see this, as he's outside the chain of command and therefore doesn't have the obvious mark of a dominant which is high rank. Bah.

The development in the overarching conflict between Psy and changelings was more interesting. It was not my favourite in the series, but I enjoyed it (especially the ending) and there was definitely a feeling that things are fast moving towards some sort of resolution.

So, yeah, I'll keep going, if only just to see what happens, and we'll see about the romance. I'm not sure if it's me or if it's the books that have changed. I think I might have to go back and reread Slave to Sensation, see if I love it as much as I did when I first read it.



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