REVIEW: Branded by Fire by Nalini SinghFriday, August 28, 2009 13:00
Nalini Singh just busts up all my neat little genre categories. Her books are undoubtedly science fiction, unquestionably urban fantasy, solidly paranormal, and very firmly romances. Hot, hawt romances. She also mixes in healthy servings of romantic suspense, mystery, and sometimes a little bit of horror. I love her books and just roll with the genre morphing, knowing that no matter what they are, I’ll enjoy myself.
Our hero and heroine are introduced earlier in the series. Mercy (heroine) is a Leopard shifter and sentinel (read, warrior/pack protector) and Riley (hero) is a Wolf shifter and lieutenant (also warrior/protector of his pack). Mixing them is a bit like mixing fertilizer and diesel fuel – strong enough on their own to do their job and explosive together. Of course Singh has to make them fall in love/lust and complicate everyone’s lives. I mean, we ARE talking romance here, right?
I won’t spend too much time reviewing the plot in this review – if you’ve read any of Singh’s Psy-Changeling novels, you know that the world is complex and the bad guys are remorseless and legion. There’s a little bit of bad in every faction involved, also some good, and some “positionally evil” as well (evil depending on where you stand on issues). This makes for interesting plot twists and very exciting reading. Singh does a terrific job pacing the revelations and plot movement, so you’re never left with a dull moment.
In Branded, the romance between the hero and heroine is steaming hot and sweet. Mercy and Riley are undeniably attracted to each other, but because they’re both alpha and different animals, they’re left with a “hopeless love” kind of thing. Neither one of them knows what to do with their emotions at the beginning, but they figure it out by the end. Mercy is a bit slower to accept the relationship, but Riley’s steadfastness – even when he’s a bonehead trying to control Mercy – makes up for her doubt.
This book is a fast-paced good read. You get to hear about the couples from the earlier books – the characters playing logical roles in Branded without being simple reunions or sequel bait. The romance is sweet and sad a few times because of the alphaness of both main characters and because of the different species. Nevertheless, there’s an HEA that is very interesting. It makes me wonder if there will be more inter-pack couples in future books. I wonder what a kid who can shift into either a wolf or a leopard would be like… 8).
In this book we’re introduced to a new Changeling faction – the Hawks. We’re also reminded of The Forgotten – the Psy who didn’t follow Silence from the first, who have been hunted by the Psy who did follow Silence, and who have since melted into society by intermarrying with other races. This will prove key in the next book in the series, Blaze of Memory (excerpt here), coming November this year.
As always, I highly recommend Singh’s series and this book to anyone looking for some genre olio and a hot summer read. While it could standalone, I believe you’ll get much more from it if you have read at least one or two of the earlier books.
Read more reviews of, and information on, this series by following its tag here.
Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.
But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man-before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by fire…
Read an excerpt here (scroll down).
Other books in the series:
|The Cannibal Princess|
|A Gift For Kit|