Karen Does Nalini Singh's Slave To Sensation...
So I read Nalini Singh’s Slave To Sensation. I can’t be arsed to write anything deep and meaningful at this point, so here’s the blurb:
Sascha Duncan lives in a world that disdains and denies emotion. A world that brutally punishes those who dare feel (bastards). Unfortunately for Ms Duncan, her growing tendency to emote, threatens her very existence. Which is why she must hide this most heinous of disfunctions from her people. The Psy.
Changeling, Lucas Hunter is the antithesis of the Psy. He craves for the very same sensations that they abhor. His race thrives on love and passion.
Sascha and Lucas first meet, when the Psy are forced to do business with the Changelings, after many years of uneasy peace.
During Sascha’s interactions with Lucas, he reveals that his people are investigating the brutal murder of several of their women. The perpetrator is known to be Psy.
At first Sascha denies that such a thing could be true, after all, the main reason the Psy had driven all emotion out of their people in the first place, was in order to avoid anti-social crimes such as murder and rape from occurring. (No rage = No anger = No murder, or something like that)
When Sascha discovers that there is indeed a vile murderer among her people, she is forced to acknowledge that the Psy way, is not the best way to live.
Together, her and Lucas must find the perpetrator of these violent crimes, before the Changelings wage war on the Psy, in an effort to avenge the deaths of their women-folk.
The more time Sascha spends with Lucas, the harder the struggle to hide the feelings that have begun to overwhelm her. Will she be able to control the desire she feels for Lucas, or will their interactions spiral into a passion that will forever enslave her to him?
How’s that for a fucking blurb? Shit, I could do this for a living! OK, maybe not.
I loved this book. I absolutely did. Jane darling, you were totally on the money.
Singh could have easily made Lucas Hunter an overbearing male, like so many other romantic authors are fond of doing, but instead, she created a character that was strong, sexy, and wasn’t a twat. In short, she created a hero that was easy to love.
Singh could have also created a ‘woe is me, I’m fucked, what should I do?’ wimpy-arsed heroine, but she didn’t. She created a character that this reader could believe in. She created a strong character who this reader was able to relate to, and empathise with. It was nice to not spend the majority of the book cussing the bitch out. Halle-fuckin-lujah.
Lucas and Sascha’s relationship was fraught with problems before it had even begun, (what with the fact that the gal was from a breed of people who prided themselves on their inability to feel sweet FA and all) but I was happy to see that Singh didn’t go the ‘I hate you, you scum sucking leech, so come on let’s have sex’ route that is guaranteed to send me into a total mind-fuck.
Also once Sascha realised that she was in love with Lucas, I was happy to see that, instead of drowning herself in self-denial for the majority of the book, she simply went with the flow, even though there was a distinct possibility, that she wouldn’t live out her life with Lucas.
As a romance reader, I love when an author is able to convince me that her characters are in love. You may scratch your head at that, but you can’t tell me that there aren’t times when you wonder what the fuck some of the heroes and heroines that you come across are doing together.
Singh managed to create a chemistry between Lucas and Sascha that was almost tangible, you really wanted things to work out for them. That’s what I call emotional investment, and it’s a great thing, when you feel that strongly about made-up people between the pages of recycled trees.
My favourite part of the book was when Sascha realises that she’s about to peg out from all the intense emotions that keep bombarding her, and she gets into her car, and programmes it to take her to the safest place she can think of. Lucas. For some reason, this scene really moved me. I can’t verbalise why this was. Perhaps it was the evidence of Sascha’s acceptance that Lucas was ‘it’ for her? Perhaps it was simply because it was a romantic scene, I don’t know, but I loved it.
I liked Singh’s use of the secondary characters, although most of them fairly screamed, ‘sequel’ to me, they weren’t surplus to requirements.
I like that Singh didn’t take the well travelled road of fashioning traditional villains. I spent the majority of the book trying to decide whether to trust Sascha’s mother, because although on one hand, that bitch wasn’t going to win any mother of the year awards, Singh managed to keep this reader from totally hating her, by, now and again, infusing her with tiny, almost indiscernible kernels of humanity. This made it more difficult for me to decide whether she needed an Uzi up her arse or not. Which I think is a good thing, don’t you?
Although I was able to easily guess who the real villain of the piece was, Singh still managed to weave a riveting, original story, replete with complex secondary characters, and two irresistible leads.
The terminology and world building could have been heavy and cumbersome, given the complex nature of the world that Lucas and Sascha inhabited, but I was gratified to see that Singh resisted the urge to junkify (yes, that’s my own word) Slave To Sensation, thus the average reader, is able to keep up with the plot, without the need for a science or engineering degree. Methinks this is a good thing.
Nalini Singh’s creation of an original alternate universe, is one that compels the reader to play the ‘What If? game. What if the ability to hate, cry, laugh, love and swear like a trooper was driven out of all us? What would the world be like? Would we be indeed better off? What if you couldn’t just slap a bitch down if she called your mama a bad name? The mind boggles huh?
For those of you who
Don’t just take my word for it, go read for yourself. You can visit Nalini Singh here, and buy Slave To Sensation here.
Next week, I’ll be reviewing Anne Stuart’s Black Ice. Erm maybe… if I get time… If I can be arsed…
Incidentally, has anybody noticed that Harriet Klausner has her own review site now? Is this just new to me, and has she always had it?