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Mine to Possess is the fourth book in Nalini Singh's amazing Psy/Changeling paranormal romance series. Mine to possess tells the story of Clay Bennet and Talin McKade. Clay is a powerful changeling who was raised by his human mother in the human world. Talin, is a human and was Clay's best friend when they were children. After an unpleasant event separated them as children Clay was told that Talin was dead. When she turns up in his life years later, a grown woman who needs his help, Clay is stunned but can they both make peace with their past?
I love this series, this is one of my favourite series of books ever. So when I say that this book far surpassed any other book in the series so far, that's really saying something. The other books were great, this one was phenomenal. I think the main thing that I liked about this book was the romance. It's a romance novel so I guess that's what you expect. All of the couples in this series have been really compatible but Clay and Talin were just perfect. I think part of it is that they do have a history together and that background makes the relationship that they have now deeper somehow. There was this...I can't even say spark between them, it's more like a full on fire burning. Their relationship managed to be extremely hot and sexy while maintaining intimacy and tenderness. On the romance side of this novel Singh gets full marks.
Although the romance part of it was what really made this book stand out for me, the other aspects of the book were great too. Singh manages to deliver it all in this novel. The characters were so well developed and written. This really links in with the romance side of things, the romance was good in part because of the characters. Clay is possibly one of the more dominant males in this series...which is perhaps a little unfair as all the male characters are dominant but certainly in his relationship with Talin he's more dominant than other males in the series. I think this is in part because of Talin's vulnerability. She's not a weak character by any stretch of the imagination. In fact she's a strong, independent woman...when you look at her background and what she's made of her life she's really quite extraordinary but because she's human she does have a vulnerability that other female characters haven't had. Both characters have an edge to them that I really liked.
Singh continues to explore the alternate universe in this novel, one of my favourite parts of any fantasy novel. Humans have been largely neglected in the series and this book tips the balance a bit. I don't really want to say too much about what happens in terms of the world development because it's so crucial to the plot and I don't want to ruin it! The overall plot of the series is developed quite nicely and really left me wanting to read the next one to find out what was going to happen. I think the reason why Singh's fantasy world building works so well within what is a romance novel is that she weaves it so perfectly with the romantic plots. Throughout the novel I felt like I was really drawn into the romance between the two main characters and would have found it frustrating if I was taken away from that but the way that Singh develops her world goes hand in hand with the developing romance. The romance doesn't take away from the fantasy aspect of the book and equally the fantasy aspect doesn't take away from the romance. Instead they seem to compliment each other perfectly. I read a lot of paranormal romance and I think that Singh is in a league of her own when it comes to striking the right balance.
I loved this book. In my opinion it's the best book in the entire series and I couldn't put it down. I loved both of the characters. I loved Clay's dominance, I loved that Talin had a vulnerable side but was still a strong woman. I loved that there was a real humanitarian message in there. The psy/changeling series has always been a good one but this novel takes it from good to amazing. This will be a hard book to live up to!
Mine to Possess is the fourth in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series of paranormal romances and, to my mind, is the weakest of the series so far. Although this is part of the Psi-Changeling series, this book doesn't deal with a romance between a Psy and a Changeling but between a Changeling and a human, and I think that is partly why this book fails to capture the imagination in quite the same way as previous and subsequent books in the series.
Nalini Singh is a Fijian, now living in New Zealand, who rocketed to immediate success with her first single title of this series, 'Slave to Sensation'. The series is set in a futuristic world where humans have split into three distinct groups. Some humans have remained as they always have been but some have developed an ability to change their nature from human to animal or bird, usually of a predatory nature and are known as Changelings. The main Changeling groups in this series are the DarkRiver leopards and the wolves of the SnowDancer pack. The third group, and to my mind the most interesting, decided that the problems of the world were caused by human emotional response and they have conditioned themselves to eradicate all emotion and deal only logically, in a rather Spock-like way, and have embraced a condition known as Silence.
Clay Bennett is astounded when Talin McKade makes contact with him. He had known, and loved, Talin some twenty years before and had killed a man in order to protect her. She had then disappeared from his life and he had been told she had been killed in an accident. Now, it seems, Talin had deliberately disappeared and has only re-entered his life because she needs his help in finding out what is happening to children in her care who are disappearing. As Clay and Talin work together to uncover the mystery, they also have to come to terms with what has happened in their past and discover whether there is any change they may have a future.
Price and availability:
This book is currently available from Amazon for £6.39 although it's being reissued in February 2011 for £4.61. Used copies are available from Amazon Marketplace from £1.34.
This book came as something of a disappointment after the previous three books in the series which had featured leading men and women of the Psy and Changeling world. This book has a Changeling male lead, Clay, but the main female protagonist is a mere human! Not only is she human, she's a social worker - not the most glamorous profession in the world - and, unfortunately, this particular social worker, Talin, is a tad sanctimonious with it.
Clay and Talin had known each other as children and been very close until Clay allowed his animal nature to take over and kill someone who was harming Talin. Clay was immediately sent to a reform school and Talin was so shocked by the events she'd witnessed that she disappeared from Clay's life, allowing him to think that she'd been killed in a car accident. When they meet up again many years later, Clay is amazed to find that someone he regarded as the love of his life is still alive and he's more than a little distressed to discover that she had deliberately removed herself from his life. They both have a lot of ground to make up before they can even contemplate a happy ever after.
Clay was a lot easier to like than Talin. He's a Sentinel with the DarkRiver leopards which means he's one of the most trusted lieutenants of the pack leader, Lucas, who featured in the first book of the series 'Slave to Sensation'. Clay is definitely a loner, dark and enigmatic, who treads a fine line between good and evil, human form and animal, and at the beginning of the book it's clear he's a man on the edge who could topple off at any moment. He's had to deal with his inner darkness ever since he lost Talin.
When Talin re-establishes contact and asks him to help investigate the disappearance of gifted children in her care, he's overjoyed to discover she's still alive but all his deep-seated hurt and anger is brought to the surface, when he discovers the deception that Talin had perpetrated. He's understandably angry and this causes some friction between the two and helps to build the sexual tension of the story at the same time.
It wasn't difficult to empathise with Clay's feelings as I felt that he'd been dealt a cruel blow by someone he thought loved him as deeply as he loved her, and this did make me find it hard to retain any sympathy at all for Talin. It's obvious that she still has feelings for Clay but has some deep reservations about his control over the animal side of his nature, something that, as a human, she has difficulty coming to terms with anyway. Nalini Singh does a good job of trying to make Talin likeable but, for me, it wasn't enough and I just couldn't warm to her at all. Even if Clay found it in his heart to forgive her deception, I'm afraid I couldn't. As the book progresses, we discover that Talin has terminal brain condition which is making her have blackouts but, again, I found I really didn't care!
The secondary characters were well drawn and some of them were people from previous books in the series, who only made brief appearances but added to the general authenticity of this strange and compelling world that Nalini Singh has created. There was also a secondary storyline being developed within the book, which will reach it's conclusion in the next in the series, 'Hostage to Pleasure', and there were times when I found myself wanting to read more about that storyline than what was happening with Clay and Talin. With this series, I find the Psy world much more intriguing than either the human or Changeling worlds.
There's no doubt that the series as a whole is very enjoyable and Nalini Singh has created a very unusual fantasy world in which her characters live or, in the case of the Changelings, prowl. However, as with many long running series, there is often one book that is less good than the others and, for me, 'Mine to Possess' was that book. At times it was hard to engage with Talin, one of the major characters and also it was difficult to keep concentrating on the book's main plotline when what I really wanted to do was find out more about the new secondary characters which had been introduced.
This is far more of a paranormal romance than it is a fantasy because the main emphasis of the story is always on the relationship between Clay and Talin making this book, and indeed the series, unlikely to appeal to those who prefer books that are plot-driven rather than character-driven. All that being said, this isn't a bad book and I did enjoy it, just not as much as others in the series.
Although it can be read as a stand-alone novel, it would be better to read the entire series as the world of the Psy-Changelings is developed over the course of several books and many subtle nuances of this world would be lost otherwise.
Books in the Psy-Changeling series:
1. Slave to Sensation
2. Visions of Heat
3. Caressed by Ice
4. Mine to Possess
5. Hostage to Pleasure
6. Branded by Fire
7. Blaze of Memory
8. Bonds of Justice
9. Play of Passion (to be published in 2011)
10. Kiss of Snow (to be published in 2011)