Thursday, August 31, 2006

Slave to Sensation - Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation
Nalini Singh
Berkley Sensation


In a bid to remove violence from their ranks, the Psy began a program called Silence. A century later, in 2079, all emotions have been removed from members of the Psy race. They function based on logic and order. Indeed, no Psy living today remembers any other way of life. Sascha Duncan is a Psy. Daughter to one of the members of the ruling Psy Council, she should be placed to take a position of power. But Sascha is keeping a secret. She is seriously flawed. She feels emotion. All her life, she has worked to conceal this fact from everyone, including her mother. She knows that, should her secret come to light, she would be sent for rehabilitation; a process that would, at best, destroy her mind.

The Psy share the world with the human and changeling races. The Psy consider themselves superior and have long held sway over politics and business. But things are about to change. Lucas Hunter is the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack. In recent months, several changeling women have been tortured and killed. The fact that these murders have been covered up by authorities convinces Lucas and others that there may be a Psy serial killer roaming loose. As part of his duty to protect his pack, Lucas has decided to attempt to infiltrate the Psy and find the killer.

To that end, he proposes a business partnership with the Psy family that controls the San Francisco area. Sascha’s mother, unaware of her daughter’s fragile state, appoints her to act as liaison between the Psy and the changelings. There’s plenty of money to be made, and, logically, it’s a sound business plan. From their first meeting, however, Lucas senses that Sascha is different. She seems to know things, understand things that an emotionless Psy simply shouldn’t know or understand. For her part, Sascha feels assaulted by the sensory world in which humans and changelings live. This both attracts and terrifies her, given the consequences.

This talented author writes with amazing assurance, skillfully blending genres. The sterile world of the Psy is fully realized and includes almost cyberpunk details like the PsyNet, through which all Psy are connected. Sascha’s internal turmoil is portrayed quite convincingly and makes her a very sympathetic character. It’s fairly clear from the start where the interaction between Sascha and Lucas is going, but that doesn’t make the journey any less fun. The issue of the ongoing murders, and Lucas’ suspicions add extra layers of interest. While this story wraps up nicely in this volume, I’m pleased to know that there’s a sequel planned for next summer. It will be interesting to watch this series develop.

Rating: 8
September 2006
ISBN# 0-425-21286-6


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