Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy–cool, calm, emotionless…at least on the surface. Inside, she’s fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper’s embrace.
DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard’s rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian’s agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules…
Book 0.5: Beat of Temptation (See Wild Invitation Review)
Book 0.6: Whisper of Sin
Book 1: Slave to Sensation
Book 2: Visions of Heat
Book 2.5: Echo of Silence (See Wild Embrace Review)
Book 3: Caressed by Ice
Book 3.5: Stroke of Enticement (See Wild Invitation Review)
Book 4: Mine to Possess
Book 5: Hostage to Pleasure
Book 5.25: Dorian (See Wild Embrace Review)
Book 6: Branded by Fire
Book 7: Blaze of Memory
Book 8: Bonds of Justice
Book 9: Play of Passion
Book 9.5: Declaration of Courtship (See Wild Invitation Review)
Book 10: Kiss of Snow
Book 10.5: Texture of Intimacy (See Wild Invitation Review)
Book 11: Tangle of Need
Book 11.1: Partners in Persuasion (See Wild Embrace Review)
Book 12: Heart of Obsidian
Book 12.1: Flirtation of Fate (See Wild Embrace Review)
Book 13: Shield of Winter
Book 14: Shards of Hope
Book 15: Allegiance of Honor
I’ve been a little surprised a couple of times on this re-read, my millionth since first picking up the series, and going into this book I was slightly worried that it was going to come off worse.
When I first read this series I was INCREDIBLY forgiving of almost anything the male characters did. I’m not sure why this is, but I’ve noticed that it was common for me at that point in my reading-life. In fact, it was pretty common for me up until a couple of years ago. Being a woman, I thought I’d always very strongly supported women. And I did (and do) in real life. But I’ve come to realize that I was being unfair in my judgments of characters in the books I read. Women were judged more harshly, men were more easily forgiven.
Some would ask, ‘What does it matter? They’re characters.’ That’s true. They are characters. But if I can’t be fair in fiction, if I can’t call out misogyny in my books, if I can’t recognize rape-culture there….how can I effectively fight against these injustices in the real world? That’s the question that occurred to me a few years ago. And now these things just pop out at me in books, tv, movies. Which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy them anyway. Sometimes, even spotting the problematic elements, doesn’t mean that I don’t end up loving something. But seeing them, acknowledging them, calling them out – it’s important to me now.
This has become a review that has very little to do with this book and more to do with me. But because I’ve changed so much, and how I read books has changed so much, I went into this book worried. Even back then I was irritated with how Dorian treated Ashaya in the beginning of the book. His anger cuts through damn near everything, but he still pushes her romantically. Almost against his will, and with rage filtering through – it’s a bunch of mixed signals that he gives Ashaya – and it’s a bit of a personal sort spot for me.
I worried that on this read, I would see Dorian’s actions in a more glaring light – that he would become less the male that I loved throughout the series, and more someone I couldn’t care about.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Dorian is conflicted. He has a lot of rage in his soul, since losing his sister to a sociopathic member of the Psy race. To feel himself have feelings for a Psy, one who does everything in her power to maintain the Silence that he so hates….it’s hard for him. He’s not always nice, and he’s quite often mean. I still don’t like that. But it wasn’t as bad as I was fearing. I understand why he acts the way he does. And what’s better is that Ashaya doesn’t stand and just meekly take it. She challenges him, expects respect, and demands that he deal with his issues.
I like Ashaya a LOT more on this re-read. I know that I loved her before, but I love her even more now. She’s as much a dominant as anyone in this series.
The forward movement in the world, the fleshing out of the intricacies of relationships (on a large and small scale), is absolutely perfect. The overall story-arc is one of my favorite things about this series. It’s so intricate and beautifully done, with enough tension and realism as to how things play out.
I love this series. Going back through now, re-reading, is so much fun. All the more so because now, years later, I still love them as much as I did the first time.