Hostage to Pleasure Mass Market Paperback – Sep 2 2008
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"One of the greatest pleasures of these books is their ability to deliver both an intensely personal love story as well as a riveting societal drama. Singh is on the fast track to becoming a genre giant!" ---Romantic Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China and the temples of Japan, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her the most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer.
Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand. For contact details and to find out more about the Psy-Changeling series, please visit her website.
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Dorian Christensen has a lot of bottled up anger inside him, due to his inability to go full leopard and the brutal murder of his sister. He can't stop blaming himself. If he could go full leopard, maybe he could have been a little bit faster in saving his precious baby sister. His rage at first holds him back from seeing Ashaya as his mate, the female who his latent cat has recognized as it's own. His moods shift dangerously from lust to anger and back again as he tries to come to terms with himself and the fact that Ashaya is protecting a Psy very much like the killer who destroyed his sister. Dorian is deliciously dominant with Ashaya who doesn't let him boss her around. She quickly learns that she needs to stand up to his cat if he is to respect her and listen to her. Ashaya is heartbreaking to read about in that she's a woman stuck between her need as a mother to protect her son and as an older sister trying to protect her younger sister. She doesn't flinch from what needs to be done and tries to execute everything as precisely as possible.
This is the fifth book in Nalini Singh's Pst/Changeling world and it was excellent. It has a slightly darker feel to it than earlier books and there's a definite tension running throughout that you can practically taste. She is steadily building a coming war between the Psy and the Changelings and she is also bringing the human world into the fight. After eons of being in third place, the humans are about to make their move, which is only muddying the waters and adding to the conflicts. Silence is breaking at a much faster rate within the Psy race, creating a power vacuum that could turn into anyone's game. While reading Hostage To Pleasure you can actually see the Psy/Changeling world developing under Nalini Singh's skill as an author and her seamless world building just gets better and better. This series is one of my favorites and I can't wait to read the next one!
Ashaya Aliene is an M-Psy, one of the smartest. She helped the pack recover two young children in the last novel. At that time she told them she might need help at some future time and now that time has come. She needs them to kidnap her son who is being used as a hostage to her good behavior.
This is a deeply sensual read, with a wonderful fully fleshed out world. The demarkation between good and evil has been clearly marked, but now we find shades of gray. Maybe there are some good Psy. Just as there are some evil shapeshifters. We also learn there are other players in the game. I found the story engrossing and captivating. The relationships between all the characters are growing and all will learn that they come from the same root stock.
Good book do not miss it.
The world-building is stunning---of particular fascination to me are the Psy in this book. They undertook something they call Silence (a forced suppression of emotion) in order to curtail the danger from emerging aggressive and unstable psychic abilities. Unfortunately this has backfired---those best able to be emotionless are the dangerous sociopaths. Over time these people have gone on to rise in the ranks and take over. As a result, Psy society is becoming dangerously unstable in new and different ways.
Ms. Singh has found a beautifully plot-based manner in which to keep her two would-be lovers apart. Dorian's presence threatens Ashaya's carefully-cultivated Silence, which for her is more than just a protection against her government's scrutiny. It's also a protection against an even greater threat that stalks her and her son in particular. Meanwhile, Ashaya threatens Dorian's sanity---his hatred and loathing for the sociopath-dominated Psy society is so great that the very idea of desiring one of them is nearly enough to send him off the all-too-close deep end. Giving in to their feelings for each other is very literally dangerous for both them and those they care about.
Action, danger, intrigue, a fascinating world to play around in---this book has it all. (Adult material warning: there's a mild amount of explicit sex as well.)
Ashaya is a very interesting Psy because she does feel emotion and pretends to embrace the Silence that is forced upon the Psy when they become teenagers. Ashaya must keep all emotions at bay, not because of what she is, but because of her twin sister, Amara who becomes more enraged and twisted whenever Ashaya feels deep emotion. Amara has no moral compass. She doesn't know the difference between right and wrong, she is an empty soul and it is up to Ashaya to keep her under control. If that isn't enough responsibility, Ashaya has the final answer for bringing the Psy Silence to the rest of humanity.
Dorian's inner leopard wants Ashaya badly. So much so, he wants to bite her and claim her as his mate. But Dorian is at odds with his beast because his human side can't stand the fact that Ashaya is a Psy, the same type of being that killed his precious sister. Dorian saves Ashaya and as they come to terms with one another, Dorian comes to the conclusion that there is more than meets the eye with this cold scientist. She doesn't hold back her emotions because of what she was made into, but rather it is to protect the ones she loves, which is her son, her amoral, unfeeling sister and eventually Dorian. Dorian wants Ashaya to let go and finally feel because she deserves it and owes it to Keenan. But again, Ashaya is all about sacrificing herself and she does this so everyone can be safe from the one person she connects with, and that is Amara. Amara is a ticking time bomb and if Ashaya can't control her sister, the outbreak of the Silence will be the least of their problems.
Hostage to Pleasure is a major turning point in this series. The Psy culture we were first introduced in Slave to Sensation is breaking down. They are no longer the all powerful beings of the world. There was one such speech Amara gives Dorian that caught me eye:
"It's the great irony of our race. Psy cling so hard to Silence because at the bottom of it all, they're terrified, afraid that if they let go, the monsters inside their heads will start crawling out, reducing them to the level of you animals once again."
And because of this fear and the eventual breakdown of the Psy, there will be an even more powerful enemy on the horizon where both Psy and Changeling may have to work together to stop them before they go too far. Former enemies will have to stand side by side together in the oncoming war that may change the world much like the Psy did when they founded Silence.
Dorian and Ashaya's relationship is on equal footing with the other couples in Nalini's past novels. These are two characters who suffer through their own personal hells. Dorian is on the cusp of becoming a renegade, a killer, because he can't get over his sister's death. Ashaya is a martyr because of her love for her family and of Dorian who wants to be a part of that. Their love is steamy and emotional; everything you would expect.
Nalini also gives us a small hint of things to come such as Hawke's possible mate. Something also caught my eye about Kaleb. Maybe because I am a big fan of the mysterious Psy, Kaleb, I may be looking too much into one small scene in this book, but it did make me happy because I believe Kaleb has someone out there for him.
What more can I say about Hostage to Pleasure that hasn't already been said before? The proof is in the writing along with the wonderful characters that you find yourself talking about months, even years after you finish reading. Hostage to Pleasure has met all my expectations and Nalini has a fan and supporter of her books for life.
Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changelings, Book 1)
Visions of Heat (Psy-Changelings, Book 2)
Caressed By Ice (Psy-Changelings, Book 3)
Mine to Possess (Psy-Changelings, Book 4)
'Hostage to Pleasure' was a good read. We had a varied cast of characters as always (shapeshifters including leopards, wolves and even rats), the Psy (Mr Spock-like beings who communicate telepathically) and occasional references to humans. We have characters who have their own bad memories, demons, difficulties, fears and a central love story which shows two people growing together and learning to gain strength from each other. Unfortunately for this reader at least the story felt a bit tired. Somehow I never quite felt I connected with Dorian Christensen, latent leopard shapeshifter and member of Lucas's pack, or with Ashaya Aleine, Psy scientist whose conditioning is not only fracturing but who may have never been properly conditioned anyway. It doesn't seem like a great deal actually happens in this story and for those who haven't read the previous books the cast of characters is fairly large and might get confusing. I was less than convinced by Ashaya's sister Amara and the ways in which the two interacted (and I also found the similarity of the names confusing at times).
Nalini Singh's worldbuilding continues in this novel with more about the council and another group, Pure Psy, which didn't always feel particularly connected to this story. I like the author's Psy/Changeling world but I found this book rather forgettable and nowhere near as good as 'Caressed by Ice'. It's a good read, worth the four stars, but not as good as some of the others.