Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy-Changeling #5
Published by Berkley on September 2nd 2008
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
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Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy--cool, calm, emotionless...at least on the surface. Inside, she's fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper's embrace.DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard's rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian's agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules...
There was a lot of what we’ve come to expect from the Psy and Changelings here. Dorian is a leopard, controlled mainly by his emotions, Ashaya is a Psy, cold and unfeeling in the beginning. There’s still a sense with this series that the Psy are always in the wrong for being so logical and the Changelings are always right because they’re so emotional. The Psy are always the ones who have to learn to change and adapt, never the Changelings, and that still bothers me through this book. Especially with regards to how they’re going to live out the rest of their lives. There’s never any indication that the Changelings have to adjust at all to the way the Psy live, but the Psy have to give up everything they’ve ever known and every impulse they’ve ever had in order to be with the mates they’ve chosen. They’re completely unaccustomed to touch, and yet they’re expected to just accept the ‘skin privileges’ (a really gross term) that the Changelings allow with each other. It’s not even just their mates that are allowed those privileges, it’s the whole pack. They’re just expected to wake up one day ok with anyone who’s pack touching them all the time. It’s so extreme, it’s hard not to be bothered by it. It gave Faith physical pain, and yet Vaughan continued to do it at every turn, determined to force her into his way of thinking.
I did like this one significantly more than I liked the first four of this series. I was pretty close to giving up on it, actually, before this one. But I was attracted to Dorian from the very beginning, so I wanted to at least get through his story. His sister was murdered by a deranged Psy in the beginning of the series, and he’s not over that yet. He also deals with being the only leopard in his pack who lacks the ability to change form. He has all the abilities of the leopard, but he can’t actually take the shape of one. He’s just one giant heartbreak.
Ashaya is a lot stronger from the start than the other Psy heroines we’ve had. She’s totally Psy, logical, calculating, and seemingly cold, but she’s not damaged. Her son, Keenan, was kidnapped in the previous book, and Dorian and his team get him back in the beginning of this one. They know who took Keenan and why, but getting him back doesn’t guarantee his safety. She never really took to the Silence protocol, but she’s smart enough to have fooled everyone about it.
There’s a lot going on in this book. Dorian really beats himself up over his attraction to Ashaya. He’s so convinced the Psy are a brutal, unfeeling race, especially after one of them killed his sister. He made himself a vow that he would destroy them, not fall in love with one of them. He allows Sascha and Faith in his inner circle, but that’s really because of his loyalty to their mates, more than to them as individuals. Ashaya is dealing with her own attraction to Dorian, an emotion she never expected to feel at all toward anyone. She’s trying to keep her son safe, her twin has lost her mind, she’s trying to imagine a life without the PsyNet… It’s a lot. Obviously, Ashaya is another virgin Psy, which gets old after a while. I get it why they’re all virgins, but it gets tiring. They’re all presented as damaged, if not by some horrible experience like Faith, then by virtue of just being a Psy, like it’s something to be ashamed of.
This was by far the best of the series so far. I liked the stronger heroine who wasn’t damaged and gave as good as she got once she started to come out of her shell a little bit. I liked that she didn’t let Dorian run over her all the time, which was usually his impulse. And the ending was fantastic. I was hoping something that like would happen, and it was so worth the wait. I’m perfectly happy to move on with this series after this, and the excerpt of the next one makes me think it’ll be even better.
The narration by Angela Dawes is good, as always. I don’t think it’s wonderful, but it seems to fit with this series pretty well. There isn’t anything about it I find objectionable, but there isn’t anything about it I find remarkable, either.