Narrator: Angela Dawe
Published by Berkley on February 5th 2008
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
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.
I don’t know about this series. This is the fourth book in the series, and so far they’ve all been super alpha He-man heroes with damaged, fragile women. Is this how the entire series goes? I don’t know if I can keep going with this. The first 2 books were explained as “I’m a strong changeling shifter, and you’re a physically weak Psy, so everything I say goes”, so I thought the third book would be a nice change. But, even though the heroine was the shifter, she was still damaged and weak, and had to submit to her Psy lover and other changelings who knew better than she did what she needed.
Then we have Mine to Possess. Book four. Clay and Talin. Clay has been intriguing since the beginning, and I was excited to see how this was going to go, though I was leery of it, since Talin is a human and he’s always been a bit of an overbearing jackass. Turns out I was right to be worried. Clay and Talin knew each other as children, but after a fairly traumatic event, Clay ended up in juvie, while Talin was shuffled from foster home to foster home. When Clay was released from juvie, he tried to find Talin, only to be told she had died in a car accident. That was twenty years ago, and now Talin has come to Dark River to ask Clay for his help. Obviously, the minute he sees her, he decides that she’s going to be his, and that’s the end of that conversation.
I mean, really. This guy was so overbearing and intense as a twelve year old that eight-year-old Talin felt the only way she could get him out of her life and have even a chance at something normal was to have him hear that she was dead. She recognized at eight that he was way too much for her and tried to cut him out of her life. But now she needs help – she’s a social worker, and several of the kids under her care have vanished. A few bodies have turned up, but not many, and for some reason she decides Clay is the only one who can help her.
She arrives in DarkRiver, and before he even sees her, Clay knows she’s there because he can smell her. Like the leopard that he is. (Also, and this is not specific to Singh, but the whole “I know you’re turned on because I can smell it from across the room” thing that happens in a lot of PNR really squicks me out) Clay’s leopard clearly sees Talin as prey and nothing more. One of the other shifters jokingly hits on her, and she makes some crack about not liking pretty boys, preferring men. Let the slut-shaming commence. Clay has spent the last twenty years doing whatever he wants to, but the knowledge that Talin was also, and that she wasn’t “keeping herself pure” for him, almost drives him away at several points. It’s disguised as “Poor Talin, having all of that sex because she obviously hates herself, and I hate that she’s so miserable”, but make no mistake. It’s slut-shaming. He hates the thought of her being with anyone else. Never mind that she had him told she was dead and never intended to see him again. And for her part, of course Talin hates all the sex she had, too. It was dirty and anonymous and made her feel sick, but she just kept doing it because… reasons. And random blackouts. Caused by a disease that no doctor could diagnose, but all of them agreed would kill her in the next few months.
Once again, a damaged heroine and an alpha hero who doesn’t give a crap what she says or thinks or feels. Because the shifters are so tactile, and touch is such a huge part of who they are with each other, all of the Psy and now human mates they’ve taken have had to accept that. Never mind that in the second book any sort of touch initially caused Faith pain. Vaughn didn’t care. He was going to show her how great it could be and how his way is best, so he just kept touching her, even when it hurt her so much she was getting migraines and throwing up. This is immediately after he decided she belonged to him upon first seeing her. Same thing here. Talin is immediately subsumed with Clay and his intensity, but he refuses to let her out of his sight for even a second. He’s constantly invading her space, constantly touching her when she doesn’t want it. Everything is explained away with “We’re Pack, it’s what we do.” “You’re Pack now, it’s how you have to behave.” There’s no room anywhere for any of these women to have any autonomy.
All of that being said, and the reason that after four books of being annoyed by it, I’m still considering moving on with the series, is that I love the world-building Singh has done. The world of the Psys and Changelings is fascinating. There are humans, too, clearly, (Talin is human), but this is the first book they’ve played much of a role. Silence, the protocol the Psy implemented in order to weed out the insanity that was plaguing them, is really interesting. The Psy part of the world is more interesting than the Changeling side, mainly because changelings aren’t really anything new. We’ve seen them before, but the Psy is something new and different. The closest race I can think of is the Vulcans. The one thing I don’t like about this world, and I alluded to it earlier, is the apparent assumption that emotion is nothing but good, while the Psy’s reason and cool calculation is always wrong. There’s no indication so far that the Psy have contributed anything to society. I mean, there are nods to actual contributions they’ve made, but the implication has been that they made them despite their reliance on reason and lack of emotion, and that they should really rethink their entire philosophy.
Overall, I don’t know if I’m going to keep going or not. The next book is Dorian, who interests me because he’s a changeling, but he can’t actually shift from his human form. It looks like the heroine is another Psy, one we met in this book, and that character was interesting, but interesting enough? Do I keep going? Is the fascination with the PsyNet and the world Singh has built enough to ignore the issues I have with the relationships? I don’t know. I’ll probably take a break and see if I think about the series or have any desire to move on with it.