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    Book Review: Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
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  • Published: Aug 25th, 2008

singh_hostagereveiw.jpgReviewed by Kati Dancy
5 stars

I first heard of Nalini Singh on Squawk Radio. Christina Dodd could not stop raving about Singh’s terrific paranormal debut, Slave to Sensation. In that book, Singh introduces two races: the Psy, a race of psychically gifted people, who defeat a rampant psychosis that seemed to come along with their gifts by breeding emotion out of their day-to-day lives, enabling them to be dispassionate about everything. The Changelings are werekind, in most cases for her series, predators. In the case of Nalini Singh’s newest book, Hostage to Pleasure, leopards.

Dorian Christensen is unique among his pack, he is a latent leopard, meaning that he cannot shift to his animal form. This doesn’t stop him from being both a sniper and a sentinal for the DarkRiver pack when he mets Ashaya Aleine, an M-Psy (meaning she specializes in medical related psychic work), who has called in a favor that she did for his pack recently. She wants the DarkRiver pack to kidnap her son, Keenan. Ashaya is heading up a medical group that is working in secret to create a neural implant that will effectively enslave her race. She objects to the work she is doing, and refuses to allow the Psy council, the ruling party of her race, to use her son against her. So, she asks for him to be kidnapped by the Changelings. Keenan is taken by DarkRiver and is secreted away. At the same time, Ashaya fakes her death in order to escape and is very quickly sent to be protected by DarkRiver as well, by a mysterious entity that we’ve met throughout the series, but do not know, the Ghost.

When Ashaya arrives with DarkRiver, Dorian is immediately drawn to her. This infuraties him, as he has a tragic and horrible history with the Psy that has left him deeply scarred, and terribly angry. Ashaya finds herself fascinated by Dorian, but also quite intimidated by him. Her son, on the other hand, has linked himself psychically to Dorian and trusts him utterly. Ashaya herself has many secrets, ones that could get her killed and endanger her son. She and Dorian spend a lot of time circling around each other somewhat like magnets, both drawn and repelled. Dorian can’t fight his attraction to her, and yet is enraged by what he sees as her lack of emotion, especially towards her son. Ashaya is terrified of all of the emotion she is feeling and fears she is becoming insane. On top of that, she has others, unknown to DarkRiver, that would be endangered should she reveal her secrets. But her attraction to Dorian is threatening to overwhelm her ability to remain dispassionate and imperical about her life and those responsibilities.

I found this the fifth book in the series to be the most emotional. Which of course, is ironic, as the Psy feel no emotion. As Ashaya fights against her emotions and her feelings for Dorian, she is slowly uncovered to be a heroine of deep and abiding loyalty and a mother with a ferocious protective instinct. She is strong willed and dynamic, and possesed of an iron backbone and therefore is a more than ample foil to Dorian’s dominant instinct. Dorian, although latent, is a powerful force in the pack and is fighting his own demons. But once he realizes that Ashaya is his mate, her pursues her with the relentlessness of, well, a predator. He is protective and fierce and as loving and tender as one could wish a hero to be. This entry in the series is among my favorites, although I’d be hard pressed to choose which book I love best — they are all fantastic. The book stands alone, although readers who begin with this should be forewarned to have the other books in hand when you start. Once you start this series, you’ll want it to go on and on and on.

11 Responses to “Book Review: Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh”

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  1. Helen
    on Aug 25th, 2008
    @ 3:15 pm

    Great review I am soo looking forward to this book I love this series by Nalini. I have ordered it and am awaiting its arrival

    Have Fun

  2. VampFanGirl
    on Aug 25th, 2008
    @ 4:43 pm

    Awesome Review! I so needed that tiny morsel of goodness to get me through till next week. I can’t wait for this book! And you’re right; I don’t think I could pick a favorite out of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series as well. I love them all.

  3. Marisa
    on Aug 25th, 2008
    @ 8:38 pm

    Hey MK – great review, and since I love this series I’m really looking forward to this one. I’m so curious, particularly because you say this is the most ’emotional’ book in the series.

  4. PJ
    on Aug 26th, 2008
    @ 4:10 am

    I don’t know why I haven’t read this series yet. I remember Christina raving about the first book at SR and people all over the internet have raved about the books since. I’m thinking I need to move these books up the tbr!

    Terrific review, Kati!

  5. Buffie
    on Aug 26th, 2008
    @ 6:01 am

    Great review, MK!!! You know I’ll be getting this book.

    PJ, you really should read this series. It is fabulous. Possbily the best paranormal series I have read.

  6. AndreaW
    on Aug 26th, 2008
    @ 6:31 am

    Alas, another series I’ve yet to read. But, your terrific review makes me want to rectify that, MK!

  7. MaryKate
    on Aug 26th, 2008
    @ 6:34 am

    PJ, I have to agree with Buffie. You know I read a ton of paranormal, but this is probably my favorite series out there. What astounds me is that she’s five books in, and the books are CONSISTENTLY excellent. Most authors have one or another book that might be a little off the pace, but Nalini’s work is just so consistent and wonderful.

    I defy you to read Slave to Sensation and not fall in love with Lucas Hunter, the hero. He’s one of my all time favorites.

    Oh! So, now I’m listening to Naked in Death by JD Robb on audiotape. It’s superb. The woman who reads it has NAILED Roarke. *swoon*

  8. Pam
    on Aug 26th, 2008
    @ 8:23 pm

    I’m with Mary Kate, my favorite paranormal series right now, fabulous world-building, romance and emotions, she does it all so well, and consistently I agree. She gets you so into the character’s story, yet still keeps you intrigued with the underlying plot, neither takes from the other, and then there’s that very interesting Net Mind. PJ, definitely move this series up top of your pile. Need to get out and find it this week if I can.

    I’ve been expecting Dorian’s story to be an emotional one along because of his inability to shift. Lucas is my favorite changeling, but Judd is still my favorite of them all so far. I know MK found him too cold, but I found that edgy and that despite that, he was able to fall in love so much that he’s even finally is making some attempts at humor, something so “alien” to him. I think there’s a lot more depth to him if you see past that Psy coldness driven into him, and we may yet still see more of that depth to come from him.

  9. MaryKate
    on Aug 27th, 2008
    @ 8:56 am

    Pam – I have to say, that I’ve warmed up to Judd since he got together with Brenna. He’s a touch warmer, which I like. And Caressed by Ice is still better than most of the paranormals out there. So, no complaints from me! I just…like the “heat” of the Changelings. I like how passionate and fierce they are.

    The one I can’t wait for a story on is Hawke. I simply cannot wait. It’s killing me that Nalini is dishing out teeny little tidbits as each story goes along. I’m hoping that we’ll get more with Mercy’s book, which is up next.

  10. Pam
    on Aug 27th, 2008
    @ 3:11 pm

    You know we won’t bet getting Hawke’s story anytime soon I’m sure, lol, let’s just hope we get a few more insights into him in the next ones. Have you noticed how exasperated he gets with Sienna, who’s still got some growing up to do.

  11. anne gracie
    on Aug 28th, 2008
    @ 8:52 am

    Hey Nalini, it was great meeting you at the NZ conference. This book looks like it’s going to be another winner. Congrats on the fab review. Can’t wait to read it.

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