Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh

Bonds of Justice by Nallini SinghDear Ms. Singh,

Being human in the Psy/Changeling world you’ve created must suck. Humans are at the very bottom of the Darwinian food chain, with both the Psy and Changelings well ahead of them in terms of mental and physical development. Or so it would seem from a peripheral reading and understanding of the world you’ve created. To make a human appear both desirable and powerful within this construct, without changing or giving him or her some sort of secret edge, isn’t easy. In  Bonds of Justice, you have accomplished it beautifully. I’ll make no bones about it: I  totallywant Max Shannon.

Max is a human cop in heavily Psy-influenced Enforcement, which shouldn’t automatically preclude him from advancing; the Psy think of humans as weak and malleable and when they want cops to look the other way they simply plant a mental suggestion that a human cop do so. But Max has a natural strong mental shield (no, this is not crazily unusual in humans), preventing the higher-ranked Psy officers (or anyone, for that matter) from planting suggestions, making him overlook evidence, or anything a "crooked" cop would do. Max also happens to be a very smart guy and an excellent cop, and realizes that he couldn’t live with himself knowing that his morals had been compromised.

After successfully incarcerating a serial murderer, Max is introduced to Sophia Russo, a J-Psy that has been put on the case after other J-Psy failed at extracting the location of the murderer’s victims. The J, or Justice, Psy have the special ability to delve into a person’s mind, extract a memory and project them in full to another person, a courtroom, or a jury. Unfortunately, the J designation is known to "retire" (read: be turned into a vegetable by Psy rehabilitation) early in their careers as a result of their special ability. When Sophia meets Max, she knows she’s getting close to rehabilitation, and had decided that the moment she finds out that she’s to be rehabilitated, she’ll suicide before being turned into a shell of what she is. She’s aware of her deterioration, but refuses to give up or give in.

Max is immediately intrigued by the juxtaposition of Sophia’s strength and vulnerability even though he knows that the chances of seeing her again are slim at best. Then Max is called by Psy Councilor Nikita Duncan to investigate a string of suspicious murders. Nikita has used her influence to have Sophia put on the case as well. On the surface, having a human cop work a case for a member of the Psy Council seems like a weak plot turn, but rest assured that there is nothing weak about the plot in this book. Nor is there anything weak about Max and Sophia’s relationship. Neither of them shy away from their obvious attraction. Rather than beating about the proverbial bush, they ask for, and receive, each others’ trust. There is  a lot going on in this book in terms of overall series plot; however, Max and Sophia’s interactions do not read like a secondary plot. They are riveting and I couldn’t get enough of them together. Max and Sophia were so hot together that before they even managed to have sex, I was sure the book was going to spontaneously combust in my hands.

I will mention it here, and I’ve said it in other reviews of the Psy/Changeling series: if you have not read the previous books in the series, you may be lost. The books are all interconnected, the characters reappear…and they don’t simply make Brandoesque cameos. Lucas and Sascha, the H/H of  Slave to Sensation, have a major role in the book, as do Clay, Tally, Faith and Vaughn along with appearances from Dorian and yes, Kaleb Krycheck (who happens to be at the absolute top of my to do list amongst the Psy/Changeling cast). The books seem to be following a similar arc as many of the characters do, but on a much larger scale: what started out as background is becoming more interwoven into the stories,more important to the plot of each book, and each character that is introduced is playing a role. All of these elements came together with amazing synchronicity in  Bonds of Justice. A.

~Shuzluva

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony | Kobo |

This is a trade paperback published by Berkley and subject to Agency pricing. (I bought Bonds of Justice at $5.49 at Kobo Books. Not sure how/why they are discounting but yay?)

Sydney (better known by her handle, Shuzluva) knew that she wanted to be Han Solo's copilot after seeing Star Wars at the tender age of 5. She fell in love with romance novels over 20 years ago when she got her hands on Sandra Brown's Texas! trilogy, and in the mid 90's was overjoyed to discover romance writers had branched out into the world of SciFi/fantasy. While she enjoys the occasional contemporary or historical novel, the world of SciFi holds an unshakable fascination for her. Some of her favorite authors include Nalini Singh, Catherine Asaro and Kresley Cole, and she's always interested in adding new authors to the list.

13 Comments

  1. madscientistnz
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 13:25:19

    Trade paperback? Because my copy is mass market.

    Even at three books a year, I don’t think Nalini Singh writes fast enough!

  2. Tweets that mention REVIEW: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 14:24:03

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sydney Hilzenrath. Sydney Hilzenrath said: RT @dearauthor: New post: REVIEW: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh http://bit.ly/dA7qzi [...]

  3. Janine
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 15:06:01

    I liked this book too, and would recommend it as well, but my enthusiasm for it isn’t quite as high. I’d give it a B/B+, I think.

    I really liked both Max and Sophia, but I found Sophia’s situation with regard to the PsyNet felt a bit similar to the one facing Katya in Blaze of Memory and some of the other Psy heroines.

    For this reason I’m really looking forward to Sienna’s story, because she will be a Psy heroine with a different problem, I think.

    I’m also keenly anticipating Indigo’s book, both because I want to see how the overarching plot about the PsyNet progresses, and because I’ve enjoyed the books with the changeling heroines more than the ones with the Psy heroines.

  4. Shuzluva
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 15:16:17

    @Janine: I’m glad you liked it too. I’m not surprised to see that you (and I’m sure many others) aren’t as enthusiastic as I am about this particular book. I admit that I’m drawn to the sci-fi heavy part of the Psy world and Silence.

    I hear what you’re saying regarding Sophia’s situation in terms of the PsyNet. I think that for all of the Psy protagonists we encounter that are in the ‘Net, their experience will be quite similar. As part of the series, it’s pretty clear that the ‘Net is deteriorating. I think Sophia’s situation was interesting (and different) due to her importance to the ‘Net, and her role is something we haven’t encountered with other protagonists.

  5. Janine
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 21:21:18

    @Shuzluva: I like the worldbuilding in this series a lot too. What’s happening with the PsyNet and the Psy Council has definitely hooked me.

    I hear what you're saying regarding Sophia's situation in terms of the PsyNet. I think that for all of the Psy protagonists we encounter that are in the ‘Net, their experience will be quite similar.

    True, and I understand that’s part of the nature of the world, but still, at this point in the series, it feels less fresh than it used to early on.

    Also, all the protagonists in the ‘Net so far have been female. At this point, I think it would be more interesting to me to see these issues portrayed through the POV of a male protagonist.

    Re. Sophia and her role in the PsyNet, I didn’t mention that in my post because I was trying to avoid spoilers, but I did appreciate that it was somewhat different.

  6. Shuzluva
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 09:06:34

    @Janine GAH, you’re right! I’ve edited comment to remove spoilers. Sorry folks.

  7. katiebabs
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 13:13:46

    I want Kaleb like you wouldn’t believe.

  8. Tiffany M.
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 14:27:34

    @katiebabs:

    Totally agree!

  9. CourtneyLee
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 18:04:48

    Oh, Kaleb. That Psy makes me melt into a puddle of hormones and he did it even more in Bonds of Justice.

    I finished it at midnight last night and loved it. I loved Sophia’s unique relation to the PsyNet and found it to be refreshingly different from the other Psy heroines. Max was a revelation: a human male who was every bit as dominant and possessive as the non-human males we’ve seen but very much distinct from them, very much an individual who can hold his own against those supposedly “superior” to him. I loved what this book accomplished in terms of the overall story arc; it was time for something like that to happen and I was very surprised at who was involved.

    As long as Nalin is writing, I’ll be buying, reading, and recommending. And that excerpt for Play of Passion at the end of the book? OMG squee!

  10. Angela
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 13:20:15

    I absolutely agree with your review. This is one of my new favorite books of Nalini’s. The plot, the characters, the developments and relationships all just continue to get better and better.

    I can’t wait to see the continuation of some of the storylines.

  11. missria
    Jul 14, 2010 @ 17:02:56

    Whilst I enjoyed this book as an addition to the series and in a continuation of the overall story arc I didnt love it as much as some of the other books in the series with hostage to pleasure, caressed by ice and branded by fire being my faves am really looking forward to
    indigo and sienna books. I agree Kaleb is so hot but Hawke really does it for me I can not wait for his book. For me this book felt like a filler to the series filling in the gaps and continuing the story arc forward without really seeming to involve characters that are more central to the overall arc.

  12. RStewie
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 20:20:19

    I read this over the weekend and I have to say that these books are great for the hot romance, but (Unlike cerhtain other series I could mhention) the overarching story is absolutely absorbing. I never find myself skipping ahead, and I am constantly trying to put pieces together to see what’s going to happen next…in the book I’m reading and the next ones in the series.

    Great storytelling.

  13. Authorial Voice: the many hued definitions | Dear Author
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 10:01:18

    [...] Singh, author of the Psy/Changeling series and the Guild Hunter series: Voice, by nature, resists definition. It is that certain [...]

%d bloggers like this: