Mating Bond versus Unconditional Love
I have been reading Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Series since being bowled over by the first book, Slave to Sensation, which, like all that follow, is a fantastically sexy and phenomenally original read. I love the world that she creates, where the Psy, a race with powerful and sometimes terrifying mind powers, who have rejected emotion, vie against the Changelings and the Humans, in what threatens to culminate in a brutal war of cataclysmic proportions. The series contains palpable sexual tension and passionate lovemaking scenes, which contrast sharply with the political machinations and unspeakable acts of violence from some characters who are true sociopaths. There are also others who fight to defend their own race and foster harmony and some whose motives we are never quite sure of. The central romance in each book is set against the overall story arc, told in the manner of a master storyteller. You are advised to read the series in order for maximum enjoyment.
Tangle of Need follows on after book 10, Kiss of Snow, which covers the romance between Hawke, the alpha of the SnowDancer pack and Sienna, the powerful X Psy, and the battle against some of the Psy. At the heart of Tangle of Need is the romance between two wolf-changelings, the soldier Adria and Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant. The journey to their HEA is emotional and it pulls at the heartstrings. Adria has returned to the SnowDancers after a disastrous union with another, where she felt compelled to suppress her natural dominance. This has damaged her self esteem and she hides her true self under a prickly exterior, fearing commitment. Riaz, a lone wolf, has returned from Europe, where he met his true mate, only to be devastated when he finds that she is married to another she is very much in love with.
These two wounded individuals are initially drawn together by an overwhelming physical attraction, despite their initial dislike of each other. There is a hugely sexually charged scene early in the novel, where this attraction is left in no doubt. However, Riaz subsequently rejects Adria when she proposes that they come together for physical pleasure alone. However, constantly thrown together in the course of their work, they begin to form a strong friendship, which soon progresses into ever stronger ties, unable to resist the primal draw that pulls them together. Yet what future do they have when Riaz knows in his heart that Adria will never be his mate and the guilt of betrayal holds him back? Also how will Adria cope with the fear of being second best and coping with yet another dominant male? In this novel Nalini Singh explores the strength of the mating bond versus the free will of true, unconditional, love and she does this beautifully. As usual the lovemaking scenes are supremely hot, especially in this novel, where Adria and Riaz are both powerful dominants.
Riaz and Adria, strong, yet vulnerable individuals are characters whom I really feel for. Adria is a seasoned soldier, but with a gentle and giving side to her nature, which Riaz starts to value more and more as they get to know each other. I loved how once he made up his mind to pursue Adria, after cruelly rebuffing her, he really went for it, despite his initial guilt over betraying his mate. His actions were very romantic and the novel is a real tear jerker before it reaches its conclusion.
There is a lot going on in the tale, apart from the main romance, not least the continuing sickness and disintegration of the Psy-Net and the power play between the Psy Councillors, which not only threaten the Changelings but world peace. In particular, Councillors Ming, Henry Scott and Kaleb make several key appearances and impact on the plot. Into this mix there is also the growing strength of the Pure Psy and the Human Alliance. In terms of the Changelings, we see little of the DarkRiver leopards in this book. Instead we catch up with those in the SnowDancer pack, especially Hawke and Sienna, who we see a lot of. We also meet other characters again, such as the Ghost, Alice, the brilliant researcher from the past who is recovering from being in statis, the Arrows and other factions which reveal themselves, seeking to align with others in the face of the oncoming war. The many sub plots, which exist alongside the central romance, make the book another gripping read and a great addition to the series.
I recommend this book to those who like to read paranormal romance or romance with a Futuristic/Sci-Fi theme. with deliciously sexy scenes, set within a complex world and overall plot which holds your interest and keeps you in suspense throughout. Like all of Nalini Singh’s fans I am also itching to read the latest book in the series, Heart of Obsidian, which is a much anticipated read.
Cover design by Craig Fraser
Photo copyright Aleksej Vasic/Getty Images
Great review Tina – I found that I didn’t like this one as much as some of the others. I think it’s because this is more of a ‘filler’ type book, tying up a few loose ends from the series arc. It’s still a great book though, Nalini writes such awesome books 🙂
I know what you mean Sabrina – there was such a lot going on beyond the central romance and I would have liked to have seen more of Riaz and Adria, but I can forgive Nalini this for as you say it sets the scene nicely for the next awesome book, which Staffordshire libraries has just made available to me! I have read your review on Heart of Obsidian and I can’t wait to read it. 🙂