Review: BLAZE OF MEMORY by Nalini Singh

Review: BLAZE OF MEMORY by Nalini Singh

Dev Santos discovers her unconscious and battered, with no memory of who she is. All she knows is that she’s dangerous. Charged with protecting his people’s most vulnerable secrets, Dev is duty-bound to eliminate all threats. It’s a task he’s never hesitated to complete…until he finds himself drawn to a woman who might yet prove the enemy’s most insidious weapon.


Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor, and programmed to carry out cold-blooded murder, Katya Haas is fighting desperately for her sanity itself. Her only hope is Dev. But how can she expect to gain the trust of a man who could very well be her next target? For in this game, one must die…
Publisher: Berkley, November 2009

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Single Title/Series: BLAZE OF MEMORY is Book Seven in the Psy-Changeling Series. While Ms. Singh assures us that each book can be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading the series in order for the full, glorifying effect.

Cover Thoughts: So NOT my favorite cover. For some reason it just screams Miami Vice... Yup, definitely not a fan.

Why I Read It: I may not a fan of this cover but I am a die-hard fan of Nalini Singh and her Psy-Changeling series and I purchased this book soley for my own reading enjoyment.

My Review:

The Plot:

Devraj Santos is slowly becoming as cold as his Psy enemies. As the Director of Shine, an organization developed to unite and protect the Forgotten, Dev has been forced to utilize his ability to syphon the frigid energy of the metal that surrounds him more and more in order to remain lethally cold in the face of the danger that continues to dodge the heels of his people.

One hundred years ago, the Forgotten dropped from the PsyNet at the implementation of Silence, a protocol developed to condition all emotion from the mind-gifted Psy. Desperate to retain the love in their hearts for their children and families, the Psy that rebelled against Silence created their own Shadow Net and continued to mate with humans and changelings as the Psy once did. But their defection was not to be tolerated as one by one they were terminated. Those that survived passed their genes down to mingle and mutate with that of human and changeling. While some gifts were lost, new ones have developed. Gifts that the Psy would like nothing more than to exploit for their own cold gain. Now, as the Psy continue to eliminate the offspring of their rebellious Psy ancestors, they've exceeded simple execution and have begun to abduct and experiment with Forgotten children showing signs of new gifts. And it's up to Dev to be ruthless in the fight for their freedom.

When a Psy female is dumped on Dev's front door like so much garbage, his metal-encased heart begins to melt in the most alarming of ways. Either the Psy have read the desires of his soul or they've simply stumbled upon dumb luck for when Katya Haas opens her frightened eyes, paralyzed by the fear of having lost her memories, Dev's heart instantly beats in time with hers.

Katya, while frightened by her sudden memory loss, is instantly captured heart and soul by Dev. Despite having an acute sense that she's given up highly sensitive intel and is even perhaps programmed to murder Dev as the Director of Shine, Katya can't ignore the heated sensations he ignites within her. Noting that her Silence is broken and that she hungers for touch after being starved of all outside connections, Katya is torn with her desire to flee Dev's embrace because of the danger her presence creates and her helpless longing to just let go of everything and fall completely into Dev's strong hands.

When dissension amongst the Forgotten burden Dev with a decision that could change their fate forever, he's still determined to free his people and the woman who has stolen his heart. As horrific evidence proves that Katya is a ticking time bomb they've both feared with her programmed instinct to murder and the sick talons that encase her mind, death awaits no matter what the outcome. But to love and loose is better than never loving at all and Dev and Katya make the most of what little time they have. Wary to have dreams of a future but determined to hold tightly to the present, their love continues to grow strong despite the short life span its destined to have.

The Heroine:

Katya's journey is rather interesting in that she starts off the book understandably weak and frightened by the loss of her memories. Then, as they begin to come back, she's disgusted by the woman she once was and makes a stand then and there to start over, to do something right for change.

Katya's strength proves to be remarkably admirable. She doesn't shirk at the uncomfortableness of situations that have resulted from her past as a Council scientist but instead chooses to stand up for what her heart knows to be right, apologizing to those she's hurt and protecting those that could be damaged from the programming she's sadly suffered. Where a weaker person would crumble in the face of the adversity Katya stands against, this is a heroine that proves that love can embolden even the most damaged of souls.

Finally, with her Silence broken from page one, Katya reads more like a human rather than the Psy that she is. It's refreshing to not have to read through the tedious scenes where touch is experienced one agonizing finger at a time. Instead, Katya craves touch on a very basic and primal level that has her immediately thawing out her cold-hearted hero.

The Hero:

Dev, while as enigmatic as any other Singh hero, didn't progress character wise as much as Katya. Her development is so far reaching in scope to diminish Dev's progression and while still ruthless as ever, he perhaps changes only in the fact that he helps a woman he would have otherwise killed simply due to the danger she posed to Shine.

However, there is a notable protectiveness that's ingrained through to Dev's core that makes him admirable. The work he does for Shine is almost soul-sucking in that it demands so much from Dev. Everyday he makes brutal life changing decisions and to do that one must be strong of mind and heart in the face of a world that experiences more tragedy than joy. It's no wonder than that he's surrounded himself with the cool, unfeeling touch and guard of metal. But metal can heat and melt and when Katya arrives in his life, Dev's metal guard is at its thickest.

And while Dev is vitally strong with a decidedly animalistic sexuality, the simple truth is that he wasn't interesting to this reader. There's a missing connection. An unanswered question as to why he's willing to help Katya other than the force of the pull that drags them together. Sadly, by the end of the book Dev is still a mystery, one that I'm not all that interested in investigating.

My Final Thoughts:

BLAZE OF MEMORY, while integral to the over-reaching plot arcs, fell flat in the romance department. My heart never became vested in Katya's and Dev's plight except for with Katya herself whom I wanted desperately to survive the cruelty she'd suffered. She deserved to live and the puzzle that compromised her freedom was completely engrossing.

I must admit, I was never excited to read this installment of Singh's Psy-Changeling series. Dev never gave me the tingles where so many of her other heroes have. This admission has me wondering if I read the book ingrained with the adamant feeling that I wouldn't be interested. But no, I don't necessarily believe this thought for I gave the book a chance and I read it when I desperately needed something good to read, when I needed an author I could to depend on. It wasn't that I was let down for there were many parts of the book I enjoyed and hungered for but the hero/heroine pairing didn't make my romance heart sing.

The most telling fact of my disinterest in this couple was that I completely flipped past the sex scenes. If I don't feel that all consuming compulsion to read in detail the passion that my heroes and heroines feel for one another, then something is definitely missing.

However, there's no doubt that Singh has something special going on with this series. It's not often that she misses with me, in fact, there's only one other Psy-Changeling book that I didn't like: VISIONS OF HEAT. I couldn't get into the hero/heroine pairing there either. But regardless, the series draws me in and the need to know what's going to happen next in this fascinating world has me coming back time and time again. In other words, I'm still lovin' this author and this series.

For die-hard Psy-Changeling fans, BLAZE OF MEMORY is a must read no matter that you may feel the same disconnect with the hero and heroine as I did. Simply to read the progression of the over-reaching plot arcs makes this book a must. For new fans to the series, I still recommend reading the installments in order. They're all special and unique and I promise that the hours you invest are totally worth it. Enjoy!

3 Stars

More Reviews:

Babbling About Books, And More
Queen of All She Reads
The Good, The Bad, and The Unread
Scooper Speaks
The Book Smugglers
Dear Author
The Book Binge
What Book Is That?
Karen Knows Best
Shartyrant

11 comments:

Lizzielvr said...

I have to agree with you on this one, I had a tough time getting through it, so much that I'm hesitant to read Play of Passion... forgive me Nalini, I still love your books (LOL)!

Thanks VFG!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Lizzielvr!

Girl, I've started PLAY OF PASSION and hot damn, Nalini's back!!! You gotta read it. My favorite series installments are with the changelings and when Nalini pairs two changelings together, the sparks really fly.

Ugh, but BoM was a disappointment. I was really hoping for a good read too. Oh well, I still enjoyed the over-reaching plot arcs.

But seriously, don't skip PLAY OF PASSION. You'll be smacking yourself on the head later when you finally do pick it up.

(((hugs))) VFG

Lizzielvr said...

Alright, you've convinced me!

Blodeuedd said...

Not my kind of pairing but will still read this book cos with Singh, I want to read them in order :)

Mandi said...

I didn't like this as much as her shifters...but I liked how the story moved along.

Is it time for Hawke's book yet? ;p

VampFanGirl said...

*Claps* Yay Lizzielvr!!

Hugs, VFG

***

I agree Blodeuedd, Singh's Psy-Changeling series should definitely be read in order. I think readers will get so much more from all the foreshadowing that way.

Hugs, VFG

***

Me too, Mandi. The Changelings are my favorite.

Oh, so dying for Hawke's book! Especially after all the juicy tidbits we got from PLAY OF PASSION.

Hugs, VFG

Barbara said...

Sorry this one didn't work for you, I know what a huge fan of Nalini's books you are.

"The most telling fact of my disinterest in this couple was that I completely flipped past the sex scenes. If I don't feel that all consuming compulsion to read in detail the passion that my heroes and heroines feel for one another, then something is definitely missing."

OMG, I'm the same way! If I'm not feeling the emotional part, romance and the desire to see the H/H final together, the sex scenes seem completely mundane to me.

Modokker said...

I have read her Hunter guild seris and love them. This is actually the only psy-changeling sering books i've read. I was a little lost but enjoyed it. I figure i was lost because i had not read any of the previous books.

Lisa B

Smokinhotbooks said...

There were 2 maybe 3 scenes with Hawke and Sienna - yes, totally worth it to read this one just for those scenes, lol

Pamela {Spaz} said...

Yes I'm with KC - there are some scenes with Sienna and Hawke that make this book worth reading. I still enjoyed it, cuz I enjoy the series, but it definitely wasn't my fave :D Give me CHANGELINGS!! Wait til the next one girl!

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks for your condolences on this one, Barbara. Such a disappointment but it'll by no means prevent me from lovin' this author. She sealed me as a fan long ago. ;)

And ain't it the truth? Who wants to read about sex between people you don't even care about? And this book surprising had a good deal of sex for Nalini Singh. Ugh, I wish it had been a different H/h pair!!

Hugs, VFG

***

Hi Lisa B!

Me too! LOVE Singh's Guild Hunter series. Raphael is uber delicious and so specatcularly dominant!! Just a few more days until we can get our hands on ARCHANGEL'S CONSORT. YAY!!

Glad you weren't too lost starting the Psy-Changeling series with BoM. Props to you! But yeah, I still think you'll love everything that much more if you read them in order.

Hugs, VFG

***

Hey KC!

Yeah, for the Changelings and the over-reaching plot arcs, BoM is definitely a must. I'm just so in love with this word that even with this disappointment, I'm in no way deterred from future installments. BoM did not kill my fan love. Whew!

Hugs, VFG

***

Hi Pamela!

Ooo yeah, lovin' me some changelings myself. Thank the book gods for PLAY OF PASSION. The changeling pairings are my favorite and I'm dying for Hawke in KISS OF SNOW. Can't wait!!

Hugs, VFG

 
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