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Monday, December 28, 2009

Review: Slave to Sensation

Title: Slave to Sensation
Author: Nalini Singh
Page Count: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was from my personal library

50 words or less: It's battle royale between the braniac Psy and the shapeshifting changelings. Caught in the middle are Sascha, a Psy that can feel things, and Lucas, a leader among the changelings. Sparks fly like a penny in the light socket, and a series is born.

Slave to Sensation is the first book in another series that I resisted checking out for a really long time. I'd heard so many people sing the praises of the Psy-Changeling series and talk about how awesome it was, and I figured it'd be the most hokey thing to ever sit on a bookshelf. Well, I'm happy to say that I was wrong wrong wrong. A pro tip before I get to the review: if you're going to read this seris then you need to get the first few books and have them on hand because you absolutely will not want to stop reading after just one volume. Consider yourself warned.

For me, what set Slave to Sensation apart from other paranormal romances is that there's a really engaging, vivid and dramatic world that serves as the backdrop for the story. If you've read any of my reviews then you know that good, effective world building is a big turn-on for me in a book. I'm willing to overlook a lot (and I mean a lot) of flaws in a book if I can really get sucked into the setting.

The book takes place in the future (cue the Scooby Doo music) and reflects a slight shift from the reality that we know now- namely, business and government are run by the Psy, a race of psychic beings conditioned to feel nothing at all. The rest of the population is made up of the changelings (werecreatures of various flavors) and humans, and the peace between the groups is tedious at best. The powder keg is set to explode, though, and when a serial killer starts preying on changeling women and the law enforcement folks aren't interested, the keg is just about ready to blow.

In the midst of all this saunters Sascha Duncan, the daughter of a powerful Psy with the embarassing secret of actually being able to feel things. Among those feelings she has are really vivid, grown up thoughts about Lucas Hunter, the alpha of the local leopard pack and, to Sascha's chagrin, her mate. Watching the relationship bloom between these two and meeting the cast of secondary characters is a real treat and makes me glad that I have the rest of the series ready to read as soon as I'm done writing this.

I do have one criticism of the book, and although it's a minor one in the grand scheme of things, it does bother me. I guess I'm not effectively wrapping my head around the "Psy don't feel things" facet of the story. I mean, having a preference for one brand of cereal over another is a feeling; ambition requires feelings, politics requires feelings. I was able to suspend my disbelief for the most part but I think this part of the story just made me not connect with Sascha as a character. She's really worried about the Psy finding out about her and hauling her off to basically reformat her mental hard drive, and it was hard to take those worries seriously when it became apparent that other Psy were doing the same thing. It doesn't detract from the story, though, and isn't a reason not to read the book, but it did bother me and seemed worth mentioning.

Quibbles aside, however, this is an extremely fun book with a satisfying ending that believably tied up the loose ends. It almost got a Scandalous Books warning but just isn't quite there in th smut department. It does get pretty spicy though. Who could ask for anything more?

Overall Grade: A-


ParaJunkee said...

Your quibble sounded rather big though. Little "big" things like that drive me mad though as I read. I like my books to follow logical paths. I've heard a bit of talk of this series but I haven't had the desire to pick up a copy. I have to space out my PNR. Great review, as usual. - Parajunkee

Emily said...

@Rachel- It was a tough call- on the one hand, I noticed this issue popping up for me over and over again, on the other hand, I devoured the book and am stoked to start the next one. I'm hoping that now that the first book is done, the world is established, and the rules of the game are down, we can get on to some more story. Thanks for the comment!

Cleverly Inked said...

That kind of a big flaw :( Though the rest sounds thrilling

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