Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nalini Singh - Wild Embrace

The “alpha author of paranormal romance”* presents a stunningly sensual collection of four all-new
Psy-Changeling novellas, in which taboos are broken, boundaries are crossed, and instincts prove irresistible...
Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander...
A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play...
Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…
Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries...

Comment: As a huge fan of the Psy/Changeling series, I couldn't not read the stories in this new anthology, especially because they are all brand-new, meaning they haven't been individually released or were part of other anthology before this edition. As soon as I realized that, I got really interested in all the stories because I really think Nalini Singh has invented one of the best PNR worlds out there and all her books in the series - whether better or not as good - are winners and all show glimpses of the complex but wonderful structure that it is the society in which they belong. There's something about the world that just makes it all amazing and then the interactions and relationships between characters make it all worth it.

I was curious about all the stories and I'm glad to say all were good but nothing is ever perfect and all had their strengths and weaknesses. Each one happens at different moments within the timeline we are familiar with.
I'll go one by one with just a few lines.

Echo of Silence is an interesting story featuring a Psy and a human. This is not a mix we see very often and I was curious to have another story with this pairing. I liked it, but Tazia begun as an incredible character, sort of lonely and shy, sad...I felt empathy towards her and longed for her romance with Stephan. When we realize her sadness comes from a situation in her past concerning her family, things start to go a path any reader ca follow and the conclusion was rushed. I know this is a short story and things must happen quickly but it was still too much and to em didn't reward the connection Stephan and Tazia begun not too long before the relationship was settled.

Dorian is a sweet mix of scenes from Dorian's life, from his childhood, teenage years and now as an adult with his leopard finally free. They were all very sweet glimpses, not exactly a normal story but still very cute. It surprised me how good one is left feeling after reading it.

Partners in Persuasion was probably my favorite story. It features Desiree from the DarkRiver pack and Felix, from SnowDancer. The interesting thing here is how the submissive and dominant roles are what we aren't used to. I was curious to see how a submissive male would treat Desiree and how would he deal with the relationship. Things were complex and I liked it but feel sorry this was only a novella. A book dedicated to this would have enlightened this situation much more, plus the pack's link, the family, the whole hierarchy, the different species...everything was done well, but very superficially and I'd like to have seen more complexity. It was done well, don't get me wrong but I also can see everything that could be more developed. All in all though, Desiree and Felix won me over.

Flirtation of Fate is the longest story, features Kenji and Jem, two lieutenants from SnowDancer who have been in love for a long time but never really got along to admit their feelings. This was one of those stories I don't appreciate much because it's a lovers reunited kind of plot, I know they've never been together intimately but there's a story between them and obviously they keep thinking and talking about it. It works in terms of plot development for a novella but personally I'm not fond of it. The biggest issue here was why weren't they together, they have loved each other, they trust one another, they are friends, colleagues...when we learn the why it makes sense but it's something that shouldn't take years to be discussed which makes this rather unlikely. I loved the pack interactions and the characters but the romance wasn't as powerful as I imagined.

All in all, all stories were good, I still consider them special and wonderful snippets of (mainly) the changeling world because we can gorge on changeling characters and structure but yes, all could be a little stronger in delivery. Still, the writing is as precious as ever, the amazing world is there and all the little details about how the characters live, their work, why everyone matters is reinforced here. I liked this aspect a lot.
Not the best in the series but a great new addition and a way for some characters to have air time.
Grade: 7/10

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