Visions of Heat—Nalini Singh
How old were you when they started training you?" he asked his Psy. He'd found her first. Therefore, she was his. It was the cat talking and Vaughn didn't feel like arguing. (46)
I have to use the description of this book straight from its Goodreads page, because it is gold. Especially the last sentence. "Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous - aching need & exquisite pleasure." Faith NightStar, a new Psy character for the audience, pursues Sascha to try and find out how she managed to escape from the Psy, and meets Vaughn, who we met in Slave to Sensation. Pretty much insta-lust for him, and immediate possessiveness. Faith takes a bit more time getting into the relationship because of the typical Psy obstacles of not experiencing feelings. But when she finally gives in, look out.
This is the second in the Psy-Changeling series, the first of which—Slave to Sensation—was the third-ever Vaginal Fantasy read. I don't know why I thought that this one would be better than the first one. It wasn't. If anything, it had more of the same issues I had with the first book, most notably for me the domination and covetousness from the male lead (see above pullquote). I understand that they're Changelings, which means they're basically part animal, which means they feel the inherent desire to mark their territory and defend it; I think it's the idea that a person becomes their "territory" to be defended that rankles me.
In addition to that, perhaps my biggest problem with Vaughn was that he didn't respect Faith's boundaries at all. She asked him not to touch her because it was sensory overload, and he presumed to know what was best for her and what she could handle, even though he'd met her five minutes before. I read this line, "He paused, 'You're stronger than this.'" (58) and noted, "Dude you've known her for three seconds and you know absolutely nothing about her. It's not even like she knew Sascha before and you've heard a lot about her and have made these determinations. She's a complete stranger to you." This lack of respect for Faith's limits even manifests in a moment where she's basically begging him to leave her alone or she's going to have a seizure, and he doesn't, and she proceeds to indeed have a seizure. You would think Vaughn would learn from that, but he doesn't. He continues to push her. It's all well and good to have a partner who challenges you to be better, but if that challenge comes in the form of potentially life-threatening behavior, it may be time to rethink that partnership.
Faith was a bit Mary Sue for me. She can see the future, and she also has a high degree of technical ability—including knowing how to hot-wire a car—because she's been so isolated and had to fill up her time with something. I noted this passage, after Faith has escaped the compound where they'd kept her alone for most of her life and comes upon a lonely car: "She opened the door and slid in. Bending forward, she pulled open the control panel in order to bypass the computronic security. This wasn't something her ability had told her she'd need—it was a hobby, something that kept her mind occupied in the hours she spent alone. As a result, she could bypass most computronic hardware in seconds." (27) Of course she could. Of course.
I noticed during this book the trend with romance books that male leads have Fabio-like hair. I mean, that was all fine and good in the 80s and early 90s, but I just don't know that many men who can rock shoulder-length hair. It seemed like this book, and the three books I read on either end of it all had male leads with long hair. I like a shaggy man as much as the next girl, but come on.
I also didn't really understand why Singh would have done back-to-back female Psy/male Changeling storylines. There are obviously lots of romantic iterations possible using the characters she introduced in Slave to Sensation, but because they were essentially the same obstacles on the female end and animal possessiveness on the male end, I felt kind of bored.
One thing I actually really enjoy about these books is the world and the development of it. Singh did a lot more of that in this book, as we find out more about types of Psy who are different from Sascha (the female protagonist in Slave to Sensation). In addition to learning more about Faith and her future-seeing abilities, we also got to see more of the political machinations present within the Psy community, which was probably the most interesting part for me. I'd actually read a whole book focused on that without romance, but I imagine that the chances that will actually happen are slim.
I never do this, because I'm a completionist and compulsive about series, but I think I'm going to skip to number ten in the series. It's about Hawke and Sienna, and they were the couple I most wanted to see more from after Slave to Sensation. Then maybe go back and read the other ones. But maybe not. Or maybe. I don't know. They only take a few hours to read each, so I guess I just have to decide if the payoff of the romance scenes are enough to counterbalance how abysmally I feel about everything else. I am going to check out Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, because Felicia Day mentioned in the VagFan video about Slave to Sensation that it is better. Fingers crossed.