Tangle of Need (Psy/Changeling #11)
May 29, 2012
blurb via Amazon:
Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past–one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.
For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.
Their coming together is an inferno…and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realize that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.
I hate to do this, but I’m going to anyway. I was asked if I wanted to review this book and I did not hesitate to pass Go and collect a copy as soon as humanly possible. The book arrived in my mailbox, and maybe I was under the Influence of Tired because I could’ve sworn the public relations sheet that came with it said the release date was at the beginning of July. So I put it aside for a bit to try to finish a book I’d already started, thinking I’d have plenty of time. Then the actual early June release date came and I was pretty embarrassed to have missed it even though I technically didn’t receive the hardbound finished copy from the publisher till a little less than two weeks before release. I’d also forgotten that dayum, this series now initially comes in the upper echelons of book piety, the hardback form. I really can’t do those. I’m often reading flat on my back in bed, close to bedtime and I’ve whacked myself in the face with one enough times, thank you muchly, as I inadvertently dosed off for, apparently, much needed sleepsies. It’s not the books, it’s my inability to stick to a restful schedule.
The thing I’m going to do that I hate to do is confess that I couldn’t finish a book in one of my most favorite series. After realizing the hardback lying in wait was actually overdue for a review (and way much more so by the point of writing this), I quickly and unhesitatingly bought a Kindle version for Honey Child and started immediately. And I was almost immediately turned off by the hero. Riaz wastes no time in getting under the heroine’s skin – and mine – by giving her the stereotypical Ice Queen role simply because she’s not melted butter at his feet and banging his Gong of Awesome that lets everyone know how spectacular he is. I totally get that this is setting up their major conflict on the road to love, being a seasoned romance reader I know all the signs, but it’s still not a favorite tactic of mine. And it’s one thing if this is some initial deal and the hero realizes his mistake and rectifies, but Riaz continues to figuratively bash at Adria’s shields for quite some time, as well as push aggressively in a physical manner due to their obvious attraction. He lambasts himself mentally for doing so, yet continues to do it. Both have been hurt greatly by loving someone, yet Riaz doesn;t really seem to feel this in any way justifies Adria’s feelings towards him, while at the same time holding his past hurts as a shield as well. I felt like he was this one way street and Adria could like it or not, but if she disliked it, that made her a cold, frigid bitch. This attitude of Riaz persisted just long enough for me to feel not so receptive to him overall. I got 40% into the book on my K Fire and never really felt able to connect to the main couple as a result.
Another thing that stuck with me was how fragmented the book felt in terms of main romance, subplot romance and the overall series arc. This is an aspect I’ve always felt was done well in past books. I have enjoyed how Singh keeps us connected to past characters through little cameos. I’ve all-out loved some of the subplot romances as much as the featured main ones. And the series arc has been one of the most interesting in all of PNR-dom, especially given how long the series is. But you know what? It tears me up, but I feel like the series has gotten too long. I personally, after getting almost halfway through Tangle of Need, don’t understand why a whole book for Riaz and Adria was necessary. Maybe it would be more clear were I to push on through, but it wasn’t beginning to make sense at the point I got to. This time it felt like there was way too many characters to revisit. At eleven books in, plus some room allotted for short stories, there’s just going to be a lot of good characters to revisit. But it felt like every single one of them was on a checklist, and down it we were going. I kept waiting for such niceties to finish up so we could focus on Riaz and Adria.
But then came Hawke and Sienna. Again. Who made it feel as though Tangle of Need was really Kiss of Snow 2.0. KoS featuring, finally, Hawke and Sienna, was hot. The tension building up to their explosive book via past books was well done. But their post-mating bliss in Tangle of Need felt over the top to me. Blissfully happy Hawke and Sienna felt cloyingly sweet instead. Maybe if they hadn’t featured so heavily in that first 40% I wouldn’t feel that way, but they did. In fact, they seemed to take up most of that 40%. I won’t say why because I want to avoid spoilers. On one hand, it made sense, but again, this was not supposed to be their book. I felt like their situation could have been furthered better had it actually played out as a subplot and not such a major part of what was supposed to be another couple’s book.
And as for the series arc, I’m, frankly, just about as uninterested as I can get anymore in it. It was hard to maintain interested in the Council’s machinations or care who Ming wants to control, let alone the mystery behind the Ghost, the NetMind, DarkMind and…just all of it. I think one reason is it feels like it’s been moving at a snail’s pace the last book or two and there’s not much exciting as a result. Not only do beloved past characters begin to feel rehashed when they seem like they’re on a checklist, but that and the series arc feels a little same old same old. Like I’ve read the same kind of character conflicts (talking mostly about Riaz and Adria’s instant hate-lust mostly right now) one time too many, and when it was already done much better, as well as the same Council chapters over and over. The series, while younger and therefore still fresh, felt pretty exciting plot-wise with each successive book. Now it’s as if I’m reading the same issues again and again. It feels like a favorite series put itself on auto redial.
These things, they made the book feel like all major parts were fighting with one another to gain the most attention, instead of this smooth, flowing river the books have always felt like. This was probably the biggest distracting factor to me, as if it could not be decided which issue needed to take center stage. Personally, I was reading this in anticipation of an excellent main romance, with the rest complimenting it. I didn’t feel that happening here.
I tried hard to find some incentive to keep going, but the fact is that, this time, none of what I loved before was doing it for me this time because it just wasn’t present and accounted for. I think there’s only so many times you can read something, feel like you’ve read it before and be okay with it. I guess I’ve reached that point in this series. I’m honestly not sure I’ll continue, but, having grown bored with this one I skipped to the end. If the next picks up where it seems it might, I might give the series one more go. But as much as it tears me up in my sensitive reading heart to type this – this could be the end for me with the Psy/Changing books. One thing’s for sure, though, I’ll have plenty of fond alpha-yet-not-douchy-male/equally-strong-female/sexiness-oh-my/tear-jerking/blissful-sighing moments to keep me company. For that, I will always be grateful.