Title: Hostage to Pleasure
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: Some psychos in the Psy community have a really horrible idea for taking Silence to the next level. Ashaya Aliene is ready to go rogue and expose the plot, but she's going to need Dorian's help. Dorian's going to need her too, in ways he didn't expect.
At last, Dorian's book! Dorian has been one of my favorite characters since the beginning of the series so it's fantastic to see him finally meet his match. Dorian's unique within the context of the story because he's a latent, which means he can't shift into his leopard form. As you might expect, that's left him with a pretty big chip on his shoulder to begin with, but add in the fact that his sister was murdered by the same serial killer that wreaked havoc in the earlier novels in the series and Dorian has not only some serious emotional issues, but a whole lot of anger directed at the Psy.
Enter Ashaya Aliene, a top Psy scientist who's supposed to be working on a top secret project to enhance Silence, the brutal training that supposedly keeps the Psy from feeling any emotion, and basically provide the tools to turn the PsyNet into a hive mind and eliminate all dissent of any kind. Too bad Silence didn't take with Ashaya, and not only does she feel things, but she has a very strong sense of responsibility and a conscience, so she's fully aware that what she's being asked to do is abhorrent. Ashaya made an appearance in the last book so we already got a read on her character, but she gets to fully develop in her own right in this book.
One huge component of this story is Dorian having to let go of the rage he's been harboring towards the Psy because of his sister's death. It doesn't come easy for him; I've read some critiques of this book that say the story is kind of repetitive, and in a way it is, but I'm going to go on record saying that I think that makes the story more authentic. I would have to call malarkey if Dorian just woke up one day and didn't hate the Psy anymore for the sake of the pacing of the story. Emotional wounds are nasty, dirty things, and hatred and prejudice are proverbial boils that have to be lanced.
The rebellion that first started percolating in Caressed by Ice reaches a boiling point here when Ashaya Aliene leaves the world of the Psy. Word is getting around that Silence is not a good thing and that the Psy Council has been deceiving people; now the match is being put to the powder keg.
The blossoming relationship between Dorian and Ashaya splits time pretty evenly with the political storyline in this book, which is a nice shake up. There's also the addition of Keenan, Ashaya's son, who I think goes a long way in helping Dorian to get ready to move on from all the damage of his past. Ashaya, too, is fiesty and spirited and helps Dorian to heal hurts he didn't even know he had; Dorian gives it right back and doesn't let Ashaya take responsibility for things that are not hers to worry about. All of the regular characters are here as well, and we get to check in with them and how they're doing, and that's something I always appreciate in a series. There are a ton of neat subplots going on here too that make this a fun, engaging read.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is a series to read in order. Each book builds on events in the previous books and in order to get the full effect, readers need to be familiar with everything that's happened up to this point. With that said, giving the series as a whole would make an excellent gift for someone, especially who loves paranormal romance and shapeshifters and what have you. Just saying.
Overall Grade: A
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