Monday, March 19, 2007

Review: Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

**This review was originally posted on Twisted Kingdom.

I first heard of Nalini Singh when Slave to Sensation, her first book in the series, was released and getting good reviews in blogland. Both Cindy and Kristie as well as others were screaming "KEEPER, KEEPER, KEEPER" and seriously, I had to search for it for two entire weeks before getting my hands on it! And I just absolutely loved it :D So this time, I didn't take any chances and pre-ordered it :D Lucky me, it even arrived to my house before the release date, unfortunately, this and that have prevented me from reviewing it T_T I guess better late than never!

Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh: 4.25/5
published by Berkley in March 2007
Faith Nightstar is a F-Psy, i.e. a foreseer, who has had predictions since she was 3 years old and has been on the dot 99% of the time. As a result, her abilities are highly sought by business enterprises to predict the market trends and so, she is very precious to her clan. However, F-Psy are known to be the most fragile of the Psy and have a tendency to plunge into madness in their forth of fifth decades. Thus, most live in reclusion without physical contacts, because they trigger visions, and Faith is no exception - although she has more control than most. However, Faith has been troubled lately by dark visions and is afraid that her descent to madness has started. She knows that if her body breaks, it won't stop the Psy community to use her brain - for visions or for research to understand the mind of F-Psy. Thus, her only chance of a "normal" life would be to run away and drop from the Psy-net... However, no Psy can live without the feedback provided by the Psy-net... Except for Sascha Duncan, the mate of Lucas Hunter, alpha of the Dark River, the leopard changelings clan. Faith will do anything to stay alive and so, decides to go look for Sascha for help or at least, explanations... while slipping out of her compound, she runs into Vaughn D'Angelo, a jaguar changeling and Sentinel of the Dark River clan.
Genre: paranormal romance, shapeshifters, psychics
Series: Psy-Changeling world, Book #2

Review: I liked and enjoyed this book, but not as much as Slave to Sensation (StS). However, I still think that as a sequel, Visions of Heat is very good and does not disappoint. The story is good and enjoyable, but it's just I didn't connect with Faith and Vaughn as much as I connected with Sascha and Lucas. As a couple, Sascha and Lucas were more interesting in my opinion.

The Characters - Faith is an interesting heroine and certainly not TSTL. She has a head on her shoulders and knows how to use it. She's got a personality and can stand on her own. She's a bit ignorant of the outside world, but why go outside when it's dangerous for you? I guess you could say she's as much a loner as Vaughn and so, they fit well. The only thing I thought annoying a little was she kept warning Vaughn to not touch her - and that, I understand... but the repetition of the warning got tedious near the end, esp. when it was obvious Vaughn would not back up. As for Vaughn, I found he played with fire as he kept touching - I don't know, when someone tells you they might die because of something you're doing, if you really care for them, maybe you should consider stop doing it? I understand Vaughn's side, as he believes if Faith is to live outside of her compound, she must get accustomed to touch... but seriously, he didn't have to push her that fast. Otherwise, I liked Vaughn and thought of his story really interesting and actually, quite sad. No wonder he's such a loner and doesn't want to get that close to others. By the way, if you've been wondering, Vaughn is as yummy and alpha as Lucas, but I thought there was more chemistry between Lucas and Sascha than Vaughn and Faith.

We also get to revisit many, many characters, which to me is always a pleasure. I have to say however, that I'd like to see more of the other Sentinels and learn about them. I also love Roman and Julian, Tammy and Nate's cubs, they're just so, so, so cute! Talking about Tammy and Nate, I hope Ms. Singh doesn't do like  J.R. Ward and kill off one person of the couple - it's a very bad idea, Ms. Singh! We like balance and we don't need all the males to be single! Two other interesting characters, Kit - the possible next alpha. To know that there's already a next heir/successor apparent makes me a bit nervous, because I don't want Lucas to die :P but then, I guess Lucas could step down and that's an interesting idea/plot. The other interesting character is Judd Laurens, a Psy and something else. I wasn't expecting to see him in this book, but it was good to see him. Especially since he is the main character of the next book, but kudos to Ms. Singh, because his presence is very subtle. It doesn't scream: I have to start advertising for my next book! I have to make people wonder about Judd for my next book! Most importantly is that Judd does not steal the spotlight.

Story & Writing - The world Ms. Singh created is fascinating and quite complex and she did a good job in StS, setting it. So you don't have that much new information in this book. The only aspect of the world that is still quite unknown to the readers are the humans, but I'm sure that's coming up. What I really liked in StS and Visions of Heat is the flow between them. Not every author is capable of using what was written in the previous book to its full potential, but Ms. Singh was able to and the transition smooth. I guess what I mean is that the two books are continuous, as opposed as two separated stories within the same world and that is great.

The Cover - Hmmm, I don't dislike it, but I don't like it either...

Am I keeping this book? Yep :D

Anything else? Not really... Oh well, perhaps yet. If you go to Ms. Singh's website/blog, you'll see that she got her new cover. Her next book is called Caressed by Ice, coming out in September if I'm not wrong... and she has a story in Wild Thing, an anthology, for October :)