Title: Slave to Sensation
Author: Nalini Singh
Published: 2006, Berkley
Category: Paranormal Romance
The Ja(y)nes at Dear Author can be happy to know that their viral blogging experiment worked. At least on me. After seeing this everywhere in blogland, I had to pick it up and give it a try. And OMG it was really good!
I was totally surprised because let me count the reasons I shouldn't have liked it:
1)Cheesy title and cover. Twin has been making fun of me all weekend. "Are you a slave to sensation??!!" And I said, "No, but I'm a slave to this book!" Because I could not put it down. Even after the weather turned all beautiful, all I wanted to do was finish it.
2)It's very paranormal-y. Not my favorite category.
3)It has A LOT of sex. And gratuitous sex generally bugs the hell out of me. I mean, if I want erotica, I'll read erotica, thank you very much. Explicit sex scenes in regular novels are just distracting to me. But it worked here because it actually helped move the story along.
4)Hero is a total alpha. Literally, he's the alpha of a pack of panther/humans. Not my favorite kind of hero.
But despite all these things, this book sucked me in and didn't let me go till the very end. The reason is because it is simply a very compelling story.
In this alternate reality, there are three species of humans--regular humans, changelings (people who can change forms into animals), and the Psy. The Psy are like regular humans except that they have special mental abilities, like telepathy or telekinesis. A couple hundred years before the start of the book, the Psy were having trouble with a rampant murder rate among their population. Their solution is to condition children from birth to have no emotions. They don't love, or hate, or feel jealousy, they don't have any feelings at all, even simple things like food preferences. They're just super-efficient robots.
Sascha Duncan is a Psy who believes that she is terribly flawed--though she has been through the normal conditioning, she does feel emotion. Emotions that keep getting more and more overwhelming. She has to hide this from the rest of the Psy because if they find out, they'll send her to this institution where her mind will be cleared and she'll be turned into a vegetable.
She meets Lucas Hunter, the alpha of one of the most powerful changeling packs. He's a panther and rrrowr. Yeah, he's sexy. He is investigating the death of several Changeling women, and suspects that a Psy is the culprit. Sascha agrees to help them. And she's introduced to the world of sensation and feeling. Not only does she fall in love with Lucas, she also begins to understand the support and affection given by a family--something that is alien to most Psy.
I just thought the premise of this was so interesting. The battle between hot-blooded emotion and cold reason. We all feel overwhelmed by emotions sometimes, but what would we be like without them? And what makes us human? Our emotions or our ability to overcome our emotions with intelligent logic? Maybe I'm overthinking this, as it is just a romance novel, but I was rather fascinated by the world that Singh creates.
One minor complaint which is also a spoiler: The identity of the bad guy was obvious. We knew it was a male Psy and we'd only been introduced to one character that fit that description. So duh, maybe it's him! But it did little to spoil the enjoyment.
So I loved this book. I loved seeing Sascha emerge from her cold little shell. The romance was very romantic--star-crossed lovers who don't end up dead at the end. ;) I thought it was really original and very different from anything I'd ever read before. There's a sequel due out in the spring. YAYY!