Sunday 8 May 2011

CBR3 Book 40: "Mine to Possess" by Nalini Singh

Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 352 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Date begun: May 5th, 2011
Date finished: May 7th, 2011

This is the fourth book in the Psy-Changeling series, and the normal spiel about there being possible spoilers for previous books in the series applies, as always. This book, more than any of the preceding three does not make a lot of sense unless you've read at least some of the others, so if you haven't, go start at the beginning with Slave to Sensation.

Clay Bennett is a half-human leopard changeling who searched for acceptance until he found he found a place with the Dark River leopard clan. Talin McKay is human, and still marked by the horrors of her childhood. Abused and nearly killed by her sosiopathic foster father, she was saved by her best friend, the teenage Clay, who lost control of his inner cat and tore the man to pieces. He was sent to juvie for the crime, and believed that Talin died in a car accident shortly after.

Hence his shock is great when his Tally turns up very much alive twenty years later, begging him for help. Employed by the Shine foundation, a charitable organisation which helps gifted street kids, Talin is desperate to find out who is kidnapping and killing the children under her and her colleagues' protection. She turns to the strongest person she knows, even though a part of her is still terrified of him.

Clay struggles to get over the betrayal he feels that Talin committed by faking her own death. It's obvious to him that she's scared of him, even though, as children, all he ever felt towards her was protectiveness. Now, when both are adults, his fierce need to protect is reawakened, coupled with intense feelings of attraction. He agrees to help Talin find the children, both because the changelings value the young, and to ensure that she stays around long enough for him to convince her that she must never leave again. But Talin has a secret that she's keeping from him, and she's reluctant to get too close to him, even as she feels as drawn to him as he is to her.

As well as the romance between Clay and Talin (the first completely human protagonist of the Psy-Changeling novels so far), Mine to Possess continues the underlying plot line of the Psy wanting to increase control of the Silence (the process by which they are sealed away from all human emotion, and run on pure logic and intellect) and are working on an implant to ensure complete compliance from all Psy from childhood. The missing children are being used in experiments, but not all the Psy agree that the new protocol is the way forward. There is further sabotage from rogue Psy, and at least one plot line is set up that will continue in future books.

The book also features many of the characters from the previous books, and the day to day life of the Dark River changelings and their pack structure is further explored. I must admit that Clay and Tally's story didn't grab me as much as the continued plot line of Changelings vs Psy in this, and I'm more interested in seeing where things are going with the overarching plot arc in Hostage to Pleasure. 

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