Publish Date: Originally 2006/ Rereleased May 2015
Reviewed by: E
How I got this book: Purchased (multiple times) /ARC from publisher via Netgalley
Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.
This blurb came from Goodreads.
Back in the day when the town I was living in had three(!) brick and mortar bookstores I had to strictly ration my book spending money (still do but for the sake of this idealistic opening lets agree to ignore that) I limited myself to a certain amount per bookstore per month. Each bookstore while containing a lot of overlapping titles also had their own little niche, hence why I had to visit all three. One was known for stocking books on the shelves BEFORE their release day by less than a week but still it was early. One actually stocked shelves of erotica/erotic romance, which I couldn’t find anywhere else. And the last was actually the closest physically to where I lived. I don’t remember which one I was browsing when I encountered a NEW AUTHOR (Nalini Singh) but I remember pulling the paperback off the shelf reading the back and promptly adding Slave to Sensation to my stack of books purchase. I thought the idea of a world containing shapeshifters or Changelings, the Psy deliberately unemotional people with mental powers, and regular humans sounded intriguing. Especially when you looked at what the lack of emotion could do to an individual person let alone a significant chunk of society.
Slave to Sensation really focused on the Psy and the Changelings and provided an introduction to their stark differences and the complexity of the world. I loved the closeness of the Changeling Packs and how they were willing to work together to protect their own, but at the same time struggled to handle territorialism and cross-species tension. Even though the Psy supposedly controlled several high profit sectors of society, it appeared as if the Changelings were starting to become a factor in the business world. The Psy also intrigued me because for all of their vaunted lack of emotion and position at the pinnacle of society they were facing internal challenges beyond their usual cutthroat politics. I really wondered how the Psy managed to function and what sorts of decisions/bargains were made in their unfeeling vacuum answers which started to become evident in this story and were fleshed out more and more as the series continued.
Singh packed an incredible amount of emotion in this story. From the back and forth dance between Sasha, a “failed” Psy and Lucas the Alpha of the local leopard changeling pack to the search for a serial killer, to the grief and anger from the changelings whose packmates were murdered, to the betrayal of trust. I cheered, teared up, and lost track of anything going on around me as I read. The climatic hunt to find the serial killer not to mention the extremely close call with Sasha’s life had me holding the paperback so firmly, my fingers felt cramped when I tried to put the book down.
I really liked how no one person had all the answers or all the skills but instead did what they could with what they had and kept striving for more. The Changelings didn’t suddenly love or trust Sasha nor did she after a lifetime of denying a large part of herself suddenly become comfortable with changeling intensity. But it was really neat to see the start of trust and it gave me hope for their future. Slave to Sensation introduced so many fascinating characters I couldn’t wait to learn more about. Lucas’ Sentinels, Hawke and his Lieutenants, all had distinctive personalities and while in a supporting role left a mark. I was also very very curious about the Lauren family (hidden defected Psy) and what role they might play.
I absolutely loved Slave to Sensation and so started my desire for all things Singh which shows zero sign of abating. Thankfully, Singh has an abundant backlist for those discovering her now and continues to keep me hooked with every new release. I have also found her books extremely satisfying on rereads as little clues or threads she has placed in one story become evident several stories later. I almost wish I could experience the same intense rush of discovery with each new friend who becomes hooked so I do my best when I reread the entire series for the nth time to prepare for each new release and as reading whim strikes me. I am so glad I decided to take a chance when I spotted this book initially years ago.
BP Note: Shards of Hope, Book #14 releases today and our review goes up tomorrow!
I give Slave to Sensation an A+