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Slave to Sensation: Book 1 (The Psy-Changeling Series) Paperback – March 4, 2010
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In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of 'rehabilitation' - the complete psychic erasure of her personality ...
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murder of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her.
Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation ...
- Publisher : Gollancz (March 4, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0575095660
- ISBN-13 : 978-0575095663
- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.08 x 0.91 x 7.76 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,278,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2020
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Why not 4 or 5 stars. The plot was decent, if not a little slow at times, but it was hardly all that the rave reviews made it out to be. I've read more engaging stories. I found I was able to put this down and do other things. There are also lots of typos, but they weren't so distracting I was put off by them. They were noticeable, though. I didn't judge too harshly for this considering, apparently this was the author's first book. There were also some instances in which it wasn't really clear who was speaking, and I had to backtrack to figure it out. There were also a couple of things that sort of contradicted the whole Psy premise. Such as Sascha memorizing a book of sexual positions. If the Psy rarely, if ever, do it, then why would they retain that info? And why, of all things to memorize, would she pick that if she was trying to tamp down her differences with other Psy? I don't even know why that was written in the story considering she never actually uses them. Also, were ALL emotions really gone? It didn't seem like it. They hungered for money and power. They held onto curiosity and arrogance... Even so, that's not what drastically dropped my rating for this book.
Here are my main 3 reasons for the anorexic 3.5
1. As stated in some of the other reviews, the writing is HEAVY on the repetitions. This is one of my pet peeves. Especially with all the praise for her writing, which again wasn't bad. But there were lots of words/phrases that popped up several times: night-sky eyes, ebony eyes, tangling tongues, to name a few.
2. The climax, what climax??? Exactly! It was so anti-climactic as to not even be shown but given in exposition basically...
Warning: light SPOILERS to follow...
Since the heroine was actually incapacitated when the villain (& don't even get me started on how predictable THAT was-needless to say, it's exactly whom I'm sure everyone initially thinks it is) was finally taken down, we don't get to see it. We only get the details that what was done to the kidnapped girls was reciprocated. I don't want to give too much away, so I won't say any more than that. So there is no real climax scene, at least not in action-again, I don't want to give it away.
END OF SPOILERS
3. The third reason that lowered my rating was its level of hotness. And, I know I'll probably get some negative feedback for saying this, but it has to be said, b/c it doesn't seem like anyone else has. Mind you, I bought the book after reading the sample in the 1-5 collection, but I never bothered to read any reviews-a first for me. The extended sample drew me in, and I had high expectations for the remaining 2/3 of the book. I almost bought the set. OMG, I'm so glad I didn't!! I would have been super mad at myself. I'm woman enough to admit, I'm a little pervy by most standards, maybe a lot. I'm okay with that. When I pick up a PNR, I've come to expect a certain level of heat. It's one of the main reasons I've become so enamored with them since discovering the genre a few years back. Since then, I've read so many I couldn't even begin to count. Some just the first couple of books, others the entire series. Besides YA books, which don't really interest me, I've noticed a recurring theme in PNR, lots of HOTNESS, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!! I don't even mind the hetero stuff, if the author is that good.
After I finished this book, I went back and forth on reviewing it. I almost didn't because I didn't want to not give it a high rating since this author has provided something seldom seen in romance: a wide variety of physical appearances in her characters. For example, the heroine is part Japanese, part Russian, and part something else that all comes together and makes for a woman that is "the color of dark honey" with exotic eyes and wild, curly hair-LOVES it!! So not clichéd! I even gave her back half a star just for the diversity. Yeah, I said it. It is why I wanted to truly love this book. Anyhoo, I digress.
I thought the love developed sweetly between the main characters, even though I don't think he ever says the words to her (I could be wrong, but I don't recall it). I'm just confused by all the reviews talking about how sexy or erotic or the story is. Uhmmm not really. Okay, I have to put this in to perspective so anyone debating can get an idea of my personal hotness scale (1-5). I'll do my best since I realize not all the following writers are going to be familiar to everyone.
I'd give this story about a 2 (Tepid). I kept waiting for it to heat up.
Stephanie Rowe's Order of the Blade series: 3.6 (Hot)--4.0 overall for the actual series, I think more than anything, I like to see in what order the couples will complete the stages to their bonds. I really like this dark, interesting series, but my biggest issue is that they're usually battling for their lives and when they get a moment and are sharing a little freaky time, no one EVER bathes!! Not even after. That bothers me big time but not enough to stop buying them when Rowe puts them out. This series is different. They're demons. No Vamps or wolves to be found. First book in the series is free!
Evangeline Anderson's Kindred series: 4.0 (Very Hot)--4.0 stars for series overall, SFR done right! And definite page-turners. Plus cheap!! That's on price, not quality of plot. Her books are very entertaining and some are even laugh-out-loud hilarious, especially the first one.
Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series: 4-4.25 (Sizzling)--4.75 for series overall, PNR at near perfection. Warning: her stories will ruin you for other authors'. Really. Seriously. This is pretty much a general consensus.
Tina Folsom's Scanguards series: 4.25-4.5+ (Sssmokin')--3.5 for series overall (1st 3 books) I'm waiting for the box set for books 4-6, so I've only read the first three. The first single book is free if you want to give it a try!!
Emma Holly's Upyr series: 4.5-4.75 (Pull out the fire extinguisher)--4.5 overall for series. These books are well written and so sexy, I recommend reading them with a bed partner you can utilize afterward. Real talk. I will also say this. I USED to be partial to her books. She holds a special place in my "heart". Hers was my very first ever PNR story, and I found it at my local library-Catching Midnight, but she seems to have fell off writing on this series in lieu of her self-published stuff, which I'm mostly not a fan of. I haven't gotten into them since they seem to be heavy on M/M and M/F/M and M/M/F, and I'm not interested in that dynamic AT ALL. If there's some bi-ness in my stories, I want it to be F/F/M (like many of Selena Kitt's stories-heat=5.0, for sure-but she doesn't do full length or PNR or SFR). That being said, Holly's Upyr series doesn't have any M/M. Her Hidden as well as her Demon Tales series do offer lots of MFM and FMM, if that is your thing.
** And as a side note, I must say I'm utterly shocked at how many stories have recently saturated the market involving MM & MMF and even MMMMMMFMM, or something like that, geared towards women. I'm not a straight woman, never been one, but I just always assumed that would be off-putting to a hetero woman. Interesting that it doesn't seem to be.
Now that I've let anyone reading this into my deviant mind, I'll get back to the review of this book. There's only ONE sex scene here people! In a book well over 300 pages, that is not hot, even if the scene is extensive, which the one in here is NOT! It's actually pretty brief and not very detailed. There are a couple of shared dreams involving some quick foreplay, but that's about it. The couple has sex a few more times after the initial, but it is only told to the reader before moving on to the next scene. No description or details are given. I guess I just expected more from a PNR story about a woman who's never really been touched or felt emotions suddenly meeting her soul mate, a shifter with innate desire to be close-physically & emotionally. I thought there was so much Singh could have done with that scenario, but she just didn't go there. I expected a lot more.
Final thought: Would I recommend this book? Hmm... Probably not. At least not to someone who likes the kind of stories I like-3.5 or higher on my hotness scale. I'm not even sure I want to power on through the series even though all the books have consistently high ratings. I'm guessing that those who've made it to say, book 5 or 6 in the series just really likes this type of story. I read reviews for later books to see if I might want to continue, and many of them stated that this was "still their favorite of the series" or it was still the best... Not the best endorsement for me. I would, however, highly recommend all the series listed above if you like it spicy, and I like it Indian food hot (mmm Aloo gobi!) Hope this helps!
I’ve read a few Nalini Singh books throughout the years and she truly is one of the best writers we have in the romance genre, especially paranormal romance. Her worldbuilding is top tier and reading this book I was full engrossed in the psy-changeling world.
Slave to Sensation is about Sascha, a Psy who is assigned to work with a Hunter changeling on a business project. Sascha has been hiding from the entire Psy community her entire life what she truly is: broken. For if they found out she could feel, she would be eliminated. Lucas is drawn to her right away, but most importantly he needs her to help track a Psy serial killer.
I really enjoyed this book and I am glad there are already so many books in this series because I can just dive into all of them if I want to. I love in shifter romance when we get a possessive yet loving hero and Lucas was just perfect. Mostly I loved Sascha’s journey of discovering what her life could be and letting go of her toxic community and background. I think a lot of this book was a metaphor for leaving toxic home situations and a new life with a found family. I absolutely loved it and I am excited to read more.
There are three types of people in the world, the psy, who have an assortment of mental abilities (telepathy, telekinesis, etc), the Changelings, who can shift into whichever animal they were born with, and the humans. In the beginning all the races intermingled, lived, laughed and loved together. In a desperate bid to save their race from the high levels of insanity and serial killers that are born from the mental strain of their abilities, the Psy Council instill the Silence Protocol: to condition out all emotion.
100 years have passed since the success of Silence, the psy race are emotionless robots that rule the world, especially the business world where they make ruthless decisions based in logic not emotions. According the the Psy Council, the insanity levels are minimal and there are no longer any serial killers among the psy but the changelings know that to be a lie.
Sascha Duncan is the daughter of Councilor Nikita Duncan and a defective cardinal psy. To be a cardinal means that her power should be off the charts but they never manifested. Sascha is slowly breaking apart and trying to keep everything hidden, to reveal that she is starting to feel emotion means rehabilitation, which is a certain death. Nikita puts Sascha in charge of the revolutionary construction deal with the DarkRiver leopards. Such a partnership between the changelings and the psy would be the first of its kind since the start of Silence.
Lucas Hunter is the alpha of DarkRiver and is willing to deal with Councilor Duncan in hopes of getting close enough to get information about the serial killer he knows she is hiding. Lucas knows the council has to know and helped covered the murder up. The pack won’t rest until the murderer of one of their own is brought to justice. When Sascha is assigned as liaison, the powerful daughter of a councilor is the next best thing, the problem is, something about Sascha ruffles Lucas’s fur in all the best ways.
Sascha and Lucas dance around each other as they each try to figure out what it is that bothers them about the other. Sascha is unlike any other psy Lucas has ever encountered and he has to decide whether he can trust her with the truth and ask for her help. At the same time Sascha has to learn whether or not she can trust Lucas with the truth of her failing Silence and the fact that she may have to betray the only world she knows in order to help the one she desperately wants to be apart of but knows she never will be.
To this day this is still of of my favorites in the series. It is such a powerful story and the concept of the entire series is so unique and amazing. I know my review doesn’t even come close to giving this book the justice it deserves but I swear if you take the chance on it, you won’t regret it.
I am currently re-reading this series for probably the 6th or so time and I feel like I learn something new each time or I understand a foreshadowing reference better or a clever hint I didn’t understand before. These books never get old, I truly hope you give them a try and that you love them as much as I do ❤️
Top reviews from other countries
So when Sascha meets Lucas, a changeling and alpha of the DarkRiver pack, and her emotions start to take control, start to crack her carefully crafted facade, she believes she is finally descending into madness. She knows it’s only a matter of time until she is discovered by the Psy and sent to rehabilitation. But she doesn’t want to die, even if it’s just mentally.
Lucas introduces her to new emotions and experiences, pushes her boundaries, and truly shows her how to live. He refuses to let her go because she belongs to him and his panther, and they belong to her alone.
Can they overcome all their obstacles to be together, and save Sascha’s life? Or is their end inevitable?
Wow. Wow wow wow! Another book I went into totally blind purely on the recommendation of a fellow bookstagrammer and she was so right. This is only book one in a series of 15 books and I already know I’m going to be so broke buying the rest of the series!
The writing is so incredibly immersive, I could picture the world she created so vividly. I kept swaying back and forth on who I thought the killer was, and what Sascha truly was. I was absolutely hooked! This series definitely needs to be hyped up more! Go.and.get.this.book!!! Right now!
To those Neto Nalini Singh this is what is called season 1 and she has just begun season 2 great books you just have to read over and over.
Our main characters for this instalment are Psy Sasha and Changeling Lucas. Sasha has always known how different she is from the other Psy and learnt from a young age to keep her feelings closely hidden - even from her mother who would never understand her behaviour. As the daughter of an important Council member Sasha knows more than most just how dangerous it would be if anyone found out just how different she is and she knows that not even her mother would protect her if she is discovered. Lucas is the alpha of the DarkRiver Leopard pack and he is working to track down the Psy who has been brutally murdering Changeling women. The latest victim was a member of his pack and he will do whatever it takes to make them pay, even if that does mean working with Sasha and trying to use her to get the information he needs.
I absolutely adored this book, I loved the world building, I'm fascinated by the Psys (although I wouldn't want to be one!) and I always enjoy reading about different kinds of shapeshifters. Above all I loved the relationship between Sasha and Lucas, Nalini Singh takes the time to develop their relationship slowly and I enjoyed every minute of it. The way Lucas cares for his pack is heart warming but it was so good to see the way he began to care for Sasha and how determined he was to protect her and keep her safe from harm. Sasha had never been allowed to freely express herself so she finds it hard to even understand all the emotions that Lucas brings out in her, she instinctively knows how to love but she is so used to locking all her feelings away that she finds it hard to express herself. Lucas never pushes her beyond what she is prepared to give though, he understands how hard it is for her and he teaches her how to care for him and his packmates. One of my favourite things about the couple was the banter between them and when you have conversations like the one below it is very hard not to laugh out loud:
"I could turn your mind to mush if I wanted"
"But then who'd lick you to orgasm?"
Slave to Sensation was a fantastic start to the Psy-Changeling series and one that has left me very excited to find out more. We have been introduced to a great range of side characters so I'm happy that each book focuses on a different couple but I'm also interested to see how the ongoing storyline of the political relationship between the Psy and Changeling races will play out. If Nalini Singh wasn't already on my list of favourite authors this would have earned her a place there so if you haven't read any of her books before then you really should do as soon as possible!
Fantastic read with a new world with new species its like a breath of fresh air in the paranormal theme. Lots of possibilities can happen in this series the doors are wide open for anything to happen which makes it hard to predict what can happen next.
Nalini Singh is fast becoming a favourite of mine. 💖