Thursday, January 17, 2019

Nalini Singh - Ocean Light

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling.
Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine.
But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

Comment: Usually I can't wait to read the books in the psy/changeling series which is probably one of the top 5 series I like and devour the most. However, this book was released last year but some complications on my order at the place I got it made it impossible for the edition I pre ordered to arrive on time. I decided to cancel it and pre ordered the paperback, since it had been some time already, I might as well wait for a cheaper edition.
Therefore, only now I've managed to read it but thinking positively, the next one won't take as long!

In this second installment of the Trinity sub series we have the story of Bowen Knight, the most prominent member of the Human Alliance, the group representative of humans in this fascinating series by Nalini Singh.
For the past books it was understood humans have always been the weaker link of the three races in the psy/changeling world and the only threat they posed was how numerous they are but without any sort of power, strategically, they seemed to be overlooked. Bowen has always fought to make certain humans saw their rights acknowledged and, more important, that they wouldn't be easily attacked by those stronger, both physically and mentally. What he didn't count on was a shot through the heart but miraculously he doesn't die because he was rescued by BlackSea members, the water changelings who seem to be more active than never.
While resting and waiting for some tests are done to the lethal chip in his head, he meets Kaia, a BlackSea member who seems to have something against him...can proximity change the way they both think about one another?

As always, the author's imagination when it comes to these plots and characters and even better, the complete world building of the series is amazing. This is one of those fictional worlds where I wouldn't mind living in, if only I could be a part of the community/family of characters we've met in the books.

This book has an interesting vibe because it presents us with another group/family which is the BlackSea changelings and I confess I liked knowing more about the water animals they can turn into. Still a little difficult to imagine but fascinating anyway.
As for Bowen's interactions with them, I think he wasn't as amazed as he should, all things considered but I suppose I can discount the wow factor for his suborn and reserved personality. Understandably, he was too focused on the heath issue he's dealing with and all the responsibilities under his belt. I can respect the fact he wouldn't be believable if he acted silly but sometimes he just seemed a little too serious.

Kaia is a very interesting character but of course very secretive. Her past has some bad memories for her but thankfully she grew up in a loving community. Her attitudes and initial behavior towards Bowen make perfect sense, especially because, as the story progresses, we discover more hints about her fears.
In way, though, the fact both these characters faced complicated situations in their pasts unites them somehow but let it be said they both had a great support system during their childhood and teenager years. Both went beyond their regrets and quick growing up to become very stable people. Some negativity they reveal shouldn't be excused by their past, I'd say. But I guess they are cautious... which means the quick way in which they fall in love can look a little unlikely. I understand why but it wasn't such a positive aspect, even considering the demand to help Bowen in a specific time line.

There's a secondary plot going on regarding some treason and hidden moles here and there. I think this aspect was quite negative because it ended up concerning characters we've come to know and not just some abstract or undeveloped villains like in other installments. In a way, I think this made the book more emotional but, at the same time, made it more difficult to put aside the bad feelings.
There's also some advance in the relationships between the characters and the human factor for the balance of the psychic health of everyone, being it humans, psy or changelings.

I think the author was clever in mixing the different details to explore. It can be a challenge to balance the romance, the bureaucracies, if I can call it that, of how things work, of what characters are accomplishing without making it too stiff of a story or too focused on elements not everyone enjoys. I'm very glad this world the author created is fascinating and feels complete, feels very solid because everything in it gets interesting. I think the romance of Bowen and Kais isn't the best ever in the whole series but I like where the plots are at and I liked seeing them falling in love and be part of a strong community.
Grade: 8/10

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