Monday, 5 March 2007

Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Visions of Heat (VoH) by Nalini Singh, and I am pleased to say the second book in the series is another fascinating peek into the Psy/Changeling Universe.

For anyone who hasn't read the first book (Slave to Sensation (StS)) VoH is set on an alternative history Earth, where the planet is populated by three races :- Changelings - shapeshifters who rely on their animal instincts, The Psy who are emotionless and cold, and human beings. I would recommend you read Slave to Sensation first if possible, as there are plotlines started there that continue into VoH.

Blurb from the back cover:-

Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous-aching need...exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.

Changeling Vaughn D'Angelo can take either man or jaguar form, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar's instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith's sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced-and keep her from Vaughn...

I'm going to try and be really careful here as I don't want to give away too much of the plot.

Vaughn is incredibly alpha - almost to the point where you'd like to smack him in the face with a brick. Initially leaving me wondering why he didn't have more problems with Lucas (Slave to Sensation) who is the actual alpha of the Dark-River clan. Vaughn is more directly dominant, he's focused on what he wants. Very much the image of a predator that once it locks onto it's prey doesn't allow itself to be distracted by anything. Whilst Lucas is more subtle and manipulative, and as a consequence could be underestimated. (I'd read StS just before VoH, which was why this contrast was so at the forefront of my mind.)

I've read on some reviews that there is a preference for Sascha (the heroine of StS) over Faith. I however, like Faith, she's a contradiction - she's incredibly fragile, but at the same time so single-minded she manages to push herself farther than she thinks she can go. Even more than Sascha, I think Faith illustrates the dichotomy of the Psy - the fact that they have all of this power, and yet it's a brittle thing, and (so far) it's only when they let go, that they become truly strong.

Possibly my favourite part was Faith's initial decision to leave the compound and her escape, because she made the choice to do this before she met Vaughn. And I think he pushes her so hard later on in the story that it's important for this to be here. I accepted Vaughn's dominance because it was always in the back of my mind that Faith would have eventually got to where he's pushing her, by herself.

It almost seems like the relationship between the two of them shouldn't work. Vaughn the irresistible force urging Faith to take on more. Faith the immovable object giving in. And yet they fit, in a way I don't think either of them would be able to with anybody else. (For instance I couldn't imagine Vaughn with Sascha.) Eventually I think they'll find a balance with each other and within the pack. I wish the book had been longer so we could see this relationship evolve even further.

I'm not 100% sure about the Netmind/Psynet, but this is a new development, so I'll wait and see how it...develops. :)

There is a continuance of plot threads from StS woven into VoH - we meet up with Sascha and Lucas again, and it's interesting to see how much Sascha has changed between books. I felt she was much more accepting of herself here. There has also been fallout from the incident at the end of StS and this is still being dealt with by the Psy Council, who, if possible, got scarier. (Please share if you found Kaleb disturbingly attractive in a disturbing kind of way.) There are wheels within wheels at work and I very much like how the overall arc is developing. Nalini Singh starts to increase the tension in Visions of Heat and I think the days of Psy perfection in Silence are numbered.

Other Psy/Changeling books:-

Slave to Sensation (Book 1) - 2006 available now
Caressed by Ice (Book 3) - Sept 2007


Marg said...

I am very much looking forward to getting this one! It is coming in the same package as LR....I wish it would hurry up and arrive! I'm very impatient to get hold of both books!

LesleyW said...


I'm lucky enough to have read both of them, I hope your package of books arrives on a day when you'll have the free time to just sit down and enjoy them.

LR and VoH in one package, that's definitely something to look forward to.