Warning, review is rife with SPOILERS…
Mini confession: This is the first review I’ve ever gone spoiler with. Well, I’ve had some say I spoiled books for them, but they were wrong. I’ve never intentionally given away key plot points in either a stand alone or a series installment, which gets pretty hard to do with a series. In fact, always went out of my way not to spoil, but hint just so to almost tell, teasing in essence. The blinders are off though with Nalini Singh’s latest though. Sawy, but this book is too good to waste on a tamed down synopsis and a paragraph or two of “I heart this because…” So, taking off my review shell, tapping toe in..and the water feels fine.
Mine to Possess
February 5, 2008
Covers do not the book make.
I wasn’t gonna, then I was gonna, then I wasn’t and a final look at the cover sealed it for me. Seeing it splashed across the internet, the cover is very eye-catching, and kinda hawt. Big, muscular man, shows all the promise of a terrific alpha lead male. You can see the author’s name and book title petty clearly, although the two compete for attention. Feehan’s cover quote just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bolder – um yes, we know she lurvs it already, let’s move on. The designer has stayed consistent with the other covers in overall design, font usage and so far each seems to fit each portrayed male’s personality pretty well. What started to go kinda south for me was when I got a closer look at the male model. Through some kind of nefarious Photoshop-ing (possibly???), the guy’s arms look like they’ve been cooking in that fire he’s standing in. What was probably meant to be normal body hair really looks like the victim of a firestorm. Somebody get the guy some first aid. Too, the fire itself – puhleeeze, it’s a paranormal romance, we know Singh writes hawt already, so enough with the fire. It wasn’t necessary. But the color is nice, kinda leaps out atchya. So, maybe the fire’s a tossup, could stay, could go, wouldn’t matter. Next and last thing that made me double take is the rather poor clipping of the model. The path around his bod is more jagged than a serrated knife sawing a steak. Maybe there was some kind of ethereal glow or some other such technique tying to be achieved with the way this hard-lined yellowish blue path around him, but it just looks sloppy. Whatever it does, boils down to this wasn’t the best cover of the series to date. IMHO, Judd’s gets that Honor with Caressed By Ice.
He likes cream, she’s his dish…
Clay Bennet is barely holding on. He’s dangerously close to going rogue, even within the confines a loving and healthy pack–the San Francisco DarkRiver leopards. Too tangled in a tragic past, it eats at him still. The slaying of a depraved monster may have seen the streets rid of one more evil, but it cost Clay his freedom and the person he cared more about than anything. When he finds out she’s dead, well, Clay no longer had a reason to be good himself.
Talin McKade vowed to stay away from the man who used to be her best friend. An act of violence, born of violence, triggered her flight and fear didn’t allow her close…till violence once again brought her full circle to the one person she always wanted to count on. As a Guardian within the Shine Foundation, it’s her job to see that children like she had been have a chance at a better life. And when her kids start dying, she takes a wild card from the past, hoping Clay will help her solve the mystery. Little did she know, once marked by a leopard, there’s no going back.
Clay fears, basically, that Talin sees him as an animal, a pure unadulterated killer, after he kills the man that sexualy abused her as a child. Talin, in turn, fears Clay’s reactions if he learns how she punished herself as a young woman by sleeping with oodles of men. Too, there’s the score to settle of why Talin faked her death especially for Clay. And then there’s the sickness Clay senses in her, the not-quite-rightness beneath the skin. Right off the bat, despite anger and rage at Talin having separated herself from him, Clay’s not one to let his own problems interfere with helping others. He assumes leadership of Talin’s one woman operation, but not so much that he stifles her or excludes her. But Clay cannot forgive Talin for her past, not until she sheds her poor sense of self-worth and begins to believe she’s worth so much more. And that’s where Clay’s personal involvement takes on a rosy, peachy keen glow. Without even realizing at some points, he begins to aid Talin in her inner healing…and she in turn him. Talin suffers from a pretty traumatic brain disorder, a disease that doctors can’t quite pin down, but one that sees her awakening in strangers beds, doing things no sane person would do, things she can’t control. It’s no wonder the woman feels the way she does! One thing is certain and that is that Talin McKade is dying. Considering that leopards mate for life, it’s no surprise when she begins to fear for hers and Clays deepening relationship.
What was interesting about Clay and Talin’s relationship is how seamlessly it’s integrated into the storyline in this installment. Actually, Singh does this extremely well in each book, the marriage of the love story with the overall plot, but the way it was done in Mine to Possess was just flawless! The events unfolding weren’t just happening to and around the main characters, they were happening because of them and vice versa. Take one of them away from the other and suddenly neither will make sense. Everything happening in these books is happening for a reason and there’s not an ounce of fat in the mix. I did sport an eye roll and a few giggles at some of the love play between Talin and Clay, but c’mon, referring to him as a bad kitty, etc. and his references to cream and her womanly goods was just too easy and I could see it coming a mile away, though I winced and hoped I was wrong. I was almost thrown out of the story a bit, but heck I got over it, it was playful bantering on their part and if he likes cream so much, why not let her be his dish?
Humans are the bridge…
Apparently I’ve got more Mommy Brain than I thought because it’s taken me till MtP to realize this series is set in an alternate reality. For some reason, I thought we’d been reading something set primarily in a future Earth not too far gone from ours. But after getting some interesting deets from this wonderfully informative installment:
- The eighteenth century Territorial Wars, where we learn that not only were changeling packs/herds/what-have-you in existence, but normal humans and Psy were as well
- IIRC, the date for this book is roughly 2080 and the Psy implemented Silence about one hundred years prior
Why was my doofus ass thinking this was a reality much like our own, with societies that had sprung up out of the woodwork or from hiding? Why did I have no idea that these different races had actually been around for a long time, with Psy, humans and changling intermarrying till Silence was implemented? Yep, just chalk it up to Mommy Brain. But if you’re like me, never fear, this book will set you straight.
The near dismissal of “normal” humans till this book should have clued me in. No, not dismissal, merely Singh awaiting the right time to fully bring our race into the mixture for maximum benefit and potential. Interestingly enough, humans seem to be a bridge, one that could very well spell disaster for the Silenced Psy Council that is actively seeking total domination of their race. They, the council’s, intention is to create a hive mind via implants in what is a new version of Silence, one they call Implant Protocol, or Protocol 1. Some of the Psy, although stripped of emotion, are still some of the most egotistical beings around and they discount humans and any of their race intermingling DNA-wise with them as a non-threat. What they don’t yet realize, but are close to finding out with their experimenting on Psy/human and Psy/changeling children, is that mutations are occurring, and new Psy abilities are forming as a result. The Forgotten, a few Psy that chose not to be Silenced, escaped and chose to live secret lives with human or changeling mates and the offspring of these pairings could spell disaster for the Council. Gets pretty tricksy trying to control their race when powers are developing outside their PsyNet that could be even greater than theirs. Interesting point in the book was that humans are not as weak as they themselves have thought; they’re not just the “worker bees” of society, as Talin notes to Sasha at one point. Even Talin, with her slightly empathic way that she senses things about people, is not merely human as was thought at one time.
To make a long review short…
Mine to Possess is perhaps the most integral book of the series to date. Not only does it reach all the way back to Slave to Sensation (book one) and reinforce what we found out there, but it seems to be a major turning point in the Changling struggles against the more insidious Psy Council. So, it is heavy on info, but you’ll find no dumping of it here. As stated before, I believe we’re getting what we do because it’s vital, necessary and the right time in the series. Clay and Talin’s relationship, to me, never got dragged under because of it, but actually shone brighter because the dilemmas actually made them come together, closer than they’d ever been before. It helped them, sometimes forced them, to come to terms and I just don’t think that anything happening less plot-wise would have enabled that transformation in their conflict better, but hindered it instead or made it seem unbelievable. I loved the way they came together and how they came to terms with their interwoven past. Hands down, this is my favorite book of the series to date, as well as my favorite couple.
You can visit Singh at her website and learn more about the PSy/Changling series there. The next book up for grabs will be Hostage to Pleasure, (MAJOR SPOILER!!!!) DarkRiver sentinel Dorian and and Psy member Ashaya Aleine’s (whom we meet in MtP) story. Don’t forget to check out Singh’s blog for occasional tidbits and treats on the Psy/Changling universe.
Previous books in order: Slave to Sensation, Visions of Heat, Caressed by Ice