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 the form of either man or jaguar, 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.
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
To be honest, this, Visions of Heat, has always been one of my least favorite books in this series – I’m not sure how much that’s actually saying, considering most of these books rate beyond my scale of awesomeness, but there are issues (and I look over my previous notes after this re-read, it didn’t always hit me as strongly as it did this time, but the issues were always there for me).
My number one biggest issue? Vaughn. Especially in the first 35% or so of the book. He’s a pushy asshole. There’s a quote in the book that I think encapsulates my problems with him, especially in the beginning (and I’ll get into why it’s not as bad later in the book).
Careful, Faith. He won’t stop when you tell him to.
Now, this is one sentence out of the entire book, but it’s where my problem lies. Some background: Faith, a cardinal F-Psy (‘F’ for Foresight) has been isolated from the time she was three, THREE, years old. She’s had close to no physical contact (other than the occasional medical exam or treatment), and she’s been conditioned to believe that interacting with people, or touch, could set her off into a cascade that will leave her insane. Clinically insane. Showing more strength than even she knows she has, she walks into DarkRiver territory, looking for Sascha and help, and runs into Vaughn.
He doesn’t know her. He doesn’t trust her. I get all that. What I don’t get, and what I’m not okay with, is him using his body – his sexuality – to make her uncomfortable. I’m not okay with the fact that he uses touch, and his judgment on what’s enough or too much, against her express wishes. No Means No. Also, Silence Does Not Mean Yes. Only Yes Means Yes. These are not catch-phrases. They need to become reality and truth and the only acceptable idea.
Vaughn argues that he’s trying to make her stronger, to “sensitize” her to the world. It doesn’t matter that he actually is making her stronger. It doesn’t matter that Silence is wrong. It doesn’t matter that she’ll be better off once she’s able to accept feelings and emotions. Within a couple of hours of meeting her, HE is making decisions that could affect, not only her welfare, but her physical and mental health. What matters is that though she finally does concede to *some* touch, he still doesn’t stop when she says enough.
It does matter that when he starts to lose control, and become more cat, that she puts aside her own welfare and concern to ensure that he’s taken care of. To touch him as he needs. Never mind her needs. Never mind the fact that the pain is so intense – and she never lets him see it – that it makes her lose consciousness.
None of this is okay. I know that in my thoughts on this book before, I’ve articulated that it’s not one of my favorites, that it’s a weaker entry in the series, and that Vaughn’s pushiness irritated me. It went beyond that this time. I get what is trying to be done, and on one level I understand. The Changelings are not human, they never will be. There are different rules at play in this world. But what I’ve come to realize this read through is that no matter the world, Yes needs to be the only thing that means Yes.
Now, that I’ve gotten that rant out of the way, I’ll say that when Faith gets her feet under her it levels out the power disparity that permeates the first third of the novel. She doesn’t let him push her around, though – it could be argued that he’s getting his way as she’s becoming more sensitized to touch and emotion, but I’m not sure I want to go there right now. Faith becomes more than powerful and strong enough to take on Vaughn. But this book suffers because he’s too domineering in the beginning and she’s made extremely helpless. In the later half of the book, I really begin to love Faith.
The story itself is intriguing. There’s more revealed about the Psy machinations and reality in particular. But it’s the world that really continues to build in this series. We learn more about the Psy, expanding into other groups and affiliations. We learn more about how they respond, how they think, and you begin to see just how huge the problem is that faces everyone in this world. Trust me when I say it’s the tip of the iceberg.
And trust me when I say that the next book, Caressed by Ice, is absolutely freaking amazing – with none of the problems that this one suffers. In fact, I can’t think of another book in the series that suffers from the issues I laid out here.
This continues to be a favorite series, and a comfort read for me, but I couldn’t ignore the problematic issues in this particular novel anymore.