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JOINT REVIEW: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

READERS PLEASE NOTE: This review touches on the  topics of depression and suicidal ideation, and in the comment thread below, these topics are elaborated on at length and explicitly, and genocide is also discussed.

Janine: Both Jennie and I read an ARC of Nalini Singh’s Shield of Winter at roughly the same time, so we decided to review it together in a discussion format. But first, a plot summary.

Shield-of-WinterI’ve waited a long time to read a full length novel about one of the Arrows again – Judd’s book, Caressed by Ice, is probably my favorite in this series (I’ve read it three times and I rarely reread novels). Ten books later comes Shield of Winter, the thirteenth book in the Psy/Changeling series, whose hero is the tormented Vasic.

Vasic’s past is dark indeed. Recruited into the lethal Arrow squad at age four, he was made into a killer against his will using pain-inducing brainwashing techniques. In Vasic’s adult years the former leader of the Arrows, Ming LeBon, betrayed the squad by drugging them to make them into mindless killing machines. Vasic was deceived by Ming as well, and as a result committed evil acts he thought were for the greater good but later found out he had been ordered to carry out only for Ming’s selfish ends.

Now that the Arrow squad is no longer led by Ming, but by Vasic’s only close friend, Aden, Vasic has had to face up to his past deeds, but doing so has robbed him of his will to live. For the past two years, he has been going through the motions for the sake of his fellow Arrows and of the innocents in the PsyNet, whom he feels he should protect, but his desire to live is dying out.

So is his left forearm, which has been fused to a computronic gauntlet as part of an experiment Vasic volunteered for knowing it had a 25% chance of killing him. As Shield of Winter begins, Vasic is hanging to life only by a thin thread, numb and indifferent to the fact that his deathwish may soon come true.

Aden comes to Vasic with a theory that originates with Kaleb Krychek, the de facto dictator of the Psy race, a dangerous man with whom the Arrows are cooperating for the time being

A malevolent infection is threatening the PsyNet, the neural net that connects the Psy. This infection strikes in specific geographic locations and causes the Psy who live there to lose their minds and lash out with lethal violence against their neighbors.

The infection is now in danger of turning virulent and Kaleb—or perhaps his new mate Sahara—believes that the empaths known as E Psy may have the power to protect the Psy race from possible extinction.

The problem is that the E’s have been persecuted for their inability to observe the former protocol of the Psy race, Silence. Under Silence, all emotions had to be suppressed and the empaths could not do that. Many were subjected to “rehabilitation,” a treatment that turned their brains into vegetables. Others learned to hide their emotions. Still others were “reconditioned” through painful and harmful techniques.

Among the last group is Ivy Jane, an E whom Vasic is tasked with approaching and presenting with a job offer. Kaleb wants to hire ten E’s whom he knows have begun to awaken to their suppressed psychic gifts and use this group to test whether the infection can be combated.

But Ivy and her parents have gone into hiding at an apple farm, and when Vasic, a teleport-capable telekinetic, first appears from nowhere in the middle of the orchard, he terrifies her. Ivy believes her day of reckoning has arrived—that Vasic is there to take her to be rehabilitated.

Despite her fear, Ivy is fascinated by the ice cold, seemingly unemotional Arrow. And once Vasic makes it clear that he means her and her dog Rabbit no harm, she accepts the job offer he presents to her.

Along with nine other empaths, Ivy relocates to a remote area held by the SnowDancer and DarkRiver changelings. There the empaths begin to test their nascent powers. Each empath has an Arrow assigned to protect him or her, and Vasic is assigned to Ivy. Soon Ivy begins to think of him as “her Arrow.”

It doesn’t take Vasic long to return these feelings. As the two fall in love, Vasic realizes he wants to live after all. But threatening Vasic and Ivy’s happiness is the infection in the PsyNet, Ming Le Bon, who wants to drug Vasic again in order to reacquire his teleportation services, and worst of all, the faulty gauntlet whose fusion with Vasic’s brain may mean that Vasic’s days are numbered.

There are many characters from the previous books who make return appearances in this novel. Not only Vasic and Ivy, but also Aden, Kaleb and Sahara, Nikita and Anthony, Ming, Sascha and Lucas, Hawke and Sienna, Alice Eldridge, Judd and other Arrows.

We also briefly see Devraj Santos, Mercy and Riley, Ashaya, Dorian and their son , and we spend significant time with Zie Zen, who turns out to have a surprising connection to Vasic.

Perhaps because of the inclusion of so many other characters, or perhaps because the external plot about the infection takes up some of the wordcount, the Vasic/Ivy romantic relationship gets less attention than I wanted it to, and consequently Vasic and Ivy’s characters also aren’t explored as much as they could have been.

Jennie: I felt like a lot of time was spent with Kaleb and Sahara, in particular. More than I needed; I like them fine, but I got enough of them in their book. I was interested in Alice Eldridge, because she’s an intriguing character who hasn’t had her own book (yet?), but in general I don’t need to spend so much time revisiting past couples in romance series. Once I’m done with them, I’m done.

Janine: It probably was too much time, because there wasn’t quite enough reading time left for Ivy and Vasic, but it didn’t annoy me the way some of the time spent with Sascha and Lucas after Slave to Sensation or the time spent with Hawke and Sienna post-Kiss of Snow did.

Back to Ivy and Vasic–I found Ivy warm and caring and sweet, a little too much so. At one point Vasic thinks of her as “Strong and stubborn and loyal and with flaws that made her unique.” When I read that, I thought “What flaws?” She didn’t really have any. She didn’t even seem to bear scars from her near-rehabilitation or from years of being lied to about the nature of her abilities.

Jennie: I think that’s a good point – she was depicted early on as having been deeply traumatized by the rehabilitation attempt, but it only comes up a few times and Ivy is surprisingly unwary of the Psy power structure given her experience. I would have liked to have seen Ivy have a little more edge.

Janine: Yes, or other signs of trauma. After Heart of Obsidian, I didn’t feel the need for another heroine who’d been through the wringer but emerged unscathed. With Sahara at least there was a token reason for that, but here, there wasn’t any rationale beyond the one that Ivy was strong and resilient.

Still, I liked Ivy a lot for the way she told Vasic she loved him regardless of the things he had been forced or deceived into doing in the past. I also liked her for the way she cared for vulnerable people in the course of the story, and for her dog.

Ivy’s small and loveable dog, Rabbit, added a heartwarming touch to the novel and was a great addition to the cast. Sometimes I wondered if Rabbit had Psy abilities. He seemed to read Vasic and Ivy’s needs and moods with uncanny accuracy and even knew that Vasic might be running out of time.

Jennie: I liked that he was wary of Vasic at first and then came to accept him. I thought it mirrored Vasic’s own opening up nicely.

Janine: Vasic was strong, sexy, and haunted by the deaths and cover-ups he’d had a hand in. However, I felt he was portrayed pretty differently in this book from the way he’d been portrayed in earlier ones. Based on my reading of him in prior books, I had expected his book to be a darker one.

Jennie: This was one of my problems with Vasic and it highlighted a problem I have with the series in general. Vasic is dark and tortured over having done bad things, but when you get right down to it he is pretty much entirely blameless. He was first tortured and brainwashed then drugged to comply with Ming’s orders. I understand why he would feel guilty but I guess I still would have liked to see him actually be at least partly responsible for some of the bad things he did.

I feel like Singh sets up these characters to have edges but then pulls back. Another example is that in this book and certainly in others, the Changelings are portrayed as being so fiercely protective that they will lash out at any perceived threat to their loved ones. Which makes them sound tough, indeed.

I was half-watching one of the Twilight movies on television the other night – don’t judge me – and there was the scene where Jacob explains to Bella that Sam once accidentally attacked his mate in a rage while in his werewolf state. As a result she has facial scars, which Sam (rightfully) feels enormous guilt over.

People can say what they want about Twilight, and they are probably right, but I liked that in that one scene that Meyer commits to showing the animal nature of the werewolves, even the bad parts of it.

In contrast, with the changelings, none of them actually ever do attack, even when provoked.

Spoiler: Show

At one point Vasic teleports to the home of a Changeling and into the room where the Changeling’s wife is caring for their infant. The Changeling’s reaction is pretty much, “If you ever do that again….”, but it’s toothless (no pun intended) because if there was ever a time to attack, that was it, and the Changeling didn’t. I understand why – you can’t have one of your past heroes mauling your current one – but it reminded me that so much hot air is blown about how these heroes are dark and dangerous and animalistic, but it rarely manifests in any significant way.

Janine: You’re right, there is an inconsistency between the tough game the changelings talk and the way they actually behave. It didn’t bother me in that particular scene because Vasic had a good reason for teleporting there, but maybe, for consistency’s sake, he should have been mauled and then healed by Judd after the fact! (I’m half joking here.)

Jennie: I think a little mauling would have been reasonable. (Kidding. Sort of.)

Janine: The other problem that you had with Vasic not being truly guilty of much didn’t bother me—though that bothered me with Kaleb in Heart of Obsidian. Vasic, on the other hand, has been so tortured over his past deeds for so long that I had always assumed he was forced into them. He seemed to have too strong a conscience to have carried out these acts in the first place otherwise.

Jennie: Hmm, good point. Now that I think of it, maybe it would have bugged me less if it weren’t for Kaleb; his book was last and he was very present in this one, as we’ve discussed, and he’s definitely a character whose bark appears to be worse than his bite.

Janine: Back to Vasic, when I said that I find his portrayal here inconsistent with his portrayal in the earlier books, I was referring to how easily he got over his guilt.

I discussed this book on Twitter briefly with Mandi from Smexy Books and Ronnie from Paranormal Haven, and Ronnie made the excellent point that she expected Vasic to be at least as tortured by guilt over his actions as an Arrow as Judd had been in Caressed by Ice (given how Vasic behaved in earlier books, I would think he would be even more so), but he got over those issues a lot faster.

Jennie: I think I just assumed he was healed by True Love.

Spoiler: Show

I appreciated that Singh had him address some of his actions with the victims and relatives of the victims, though in a way that just highlighted how destructive those actions were, if that makes sense. I almost think it might have been better as a reader not to be reminded that he’ll always carry the guilt for harming innocent people.

Janine: I disagree on the last point—if he’d done nothing to address his guilt the book would have frustrated me even more than it already did.

In the romance genre we have so many special ops heroes and so few books that question the justness of those heroes’ actions that I was really glad to see this book acknowledge that troops can be misused in ways that aren’t in line with their own beliefs and values. It would have pleased me even more had Vasic retired from combat for that reason, but I’ll take what I can get.

Another, related issue I had with Vasic’s character is that in the earlier books, Vasic had valued his life so little that he volunteered for an experiment that had a not insignificant chance of killing him. Yet soon after he began working with Ivy, he started falling for her, and not long after that, his deathwish faded away. We didn’t even see Ivy use her powers to influence his emotions to make him feel better and to change his mind. It happened on its own as a result of his falling in love with her.

In real life, suicidal depression isn’t permanently healed via falling in love, so I felt a little cheated by how easily this problem resolved itself here. I’d been looking forward for a few books now to seeing Vasic grapple with his lack of desire to live, and to have it go away as early as it did felt a bit too easy.

Jennie: I can see what you’re saying. For myself, I sort of felt like there was a scene missing; in one moment, Vasic was determined that he could never have a real relationship with Ivy, and in the next, he had decided that he would make the changes that he needed to in order to be with her. If there was an epiphany in between, it was a little too subtle for me.

Janine: You’re right that a transitional scene would have been helpful, but I needed more than just that—I needed the suicidal tendencies to be the focal conflict of the book. This guy had spent two years wanting to die. Then Ivy shows up and boom, he’s over it? Permanently? Without any outside help? And before he’s even dealt with the underlying guilt for the crimes he was forced to be party to?

Because while Vasic still had some guilt to deal with even after he decided he wanted to fight for his life, it no longer seemed debilitating, and this conflict was not at the center of the novel either. Instead the primary conflicts were the infection in the net and the defective gauntlet that was killing Vasic.

Jennie: I can see how that would bother you – it’s frustrating when you’re expecting something to be the crucial conflict in the book and instead it gets swept under the rug.

Sometimes I get indignant at the author on behalf of characters when I feel like they aren’t acting or reacting the way I expect them to. In a sense, it’s because I feel like I really know and understand the character, so in that way it’s actually a compliment to the author (but still annoying).

Janine: Yes, you’re right—it shows that the author has created a character whose journey I care about.

In this case, I also feel it would have made for a fresher conflict to explore Vasic’s guilt and his desire to die, instead of focusing on the gauntlet, because the character that cheats death at the last minute is a trope that has been used so many times in the Psy/Changeling series’ past.

Jennie: I’m a little over the close-calls-with-death aspect of the series, only because we’ve been told so many times that x character is definitely, almost certainly, really probably going to die, and the more it’s said the more I’m just reminded that duh, I know he’s not going to die, because he’s the hero.

I guess what I’m arguing for both here and in my complaint above about the semi-toothless Changelings is greater subtlety. The more I’m told that a characteristic or a situation is unchangeable, the harder I roll my eyes when there is the inevitable change.

Janine:

Spoiler: Show

Something that felt odd to me is that there was a point in the story in which the infection was expected to kill everyone in the PsyNet, yet Vasic and Ivy were still focused on the gauntlet, as though that were a greater tragedy.

It felt contrived because if they were truly convinced there was little chance of turning back the infection, then it shouldn’t have mattered so much that Vasic’s lifespan was limited. At that point he was no different from any other Psy in that regard.

Jennie: The lack of subtlety is a problem in the prose for me, too. On practically every page there is an example of writing that feels overemotive to me:

“Understanding crashed into her for the force of a freight train”

“…the sheer unfairness of the blade hanging over Vasic’s neck making her want to rage and scream and throw things in useless fury.”

The very intensity of these characters’ emotions starts to have the opposite of the intended effect on me, I think. It starts to feel kind of campy.

Janine: I can see how it would feel that way to another reader, but for me the intense emotions are a big part of what makes Singh’s books addictive. It’s not my idea of beautiful writing, but it’s visceral and it activates an emotional response in me.

I was recently in a Twitter discussion of cracktastic reads, and I said that in my opinion, the number one factor that helps an author bypass my judgment and get straight at my emotions is a strong voice. That is something I think Singh has in spades.

It’s not that I don’t see your point, because I do—there’s something almost bludgeoning about the force with which her character’s emotions come at the reader—but I think those big emotions are an integral part of her voice and the passion with which she writes is what makes me eager to pick up her books, even with the issues I have with them.

In fact I think it’s Singh’s style of writing emotion that helped make Vasic’s impending death and the battle against the infection compelling enough conflicts despite the aforementioned issues I had with them, and that’s one of the reasons I’m grading this book as high as I am.

Another reason is that though I wished Vasic and Ivy’s characterizations and relationship had been developed more, I liked them as a couple. They felt well matched, their interactions were romantic, each supported the other and was there for him or her equally, and I also loved that their relationship served as a beacon of hope to the other Arrows.

Jennie: I did think they were complementary to each other as a couple; in spite of Vasic’s great power as an Arrow, there didn’t feel like much of a power differential. I also liked that Vasic was aware of what the change in him meant for the rest of the Arrow team.

Janine: There were exciting developments in this novel in terms of the overarching plot, too. While the war between the Psy Council and the changelings may be over, it is a struggle on multiple fronts for the PsyNet to survive the infection, and in the process of battling it, new alliances are forged between characters who haven’t always trusted each other in the past.

Judd is my favorite character in this series so not surprisingly, I liked a scene in which he and Vasic discuss… no, I won’t spoil it.

Jennie: Hah – that was awesome!

Janine: There was some discussion between Kaleb and Sahara of why the Psy race needs the Ruling Coalition and Kaleb’s de facto dictatorship. I get it that not every society is always ready for democracy, I really do, but still, I can’t bring myself to see a dictatorship, however benevolent, as a good thing.

Jennie: In theory I agree with you, but knowing what is in Kaleb’s mind – knowing that he’s not actually a megalomaniac – made it easier for me to take.

Janine: It did help a bit, even for me.

Further points in Shield of Winter‘s favor are that this book kept me up late and also had me in tears more than once, especially the scenes with Zie Zen, with the Arrows, with children being rescued, with the cute little dog… I admit it, I am a sap. The ending was sentimental but also heartwarming.

Jennie: I think for me the negative issues that I have are larger than Shield of Winter and have more to do with the series as a whole and the world Singh has created. This, of course, begs the question of why I continue to read the series. I will say that I think most of my grades for the series are in the B range, and I am generally loath to give up on series once I get a few books in. Also, there is definitely something compelling (and unique, I’d say) about the world that Singh has created here.

That said, my issues with the Psy/Changeling series are as follows: I’m not comfortable with the juxtaposition of the intellectual Psy race and the intuitive, emotional Changeling race. Specifically, with few exceptions, Changelings are portrayed as good and Psy as bad. It feels unbalanced to me. At times, it feels almost…political, for lack of a better word, to me. This may just be my take on it, based on my own world view and experiences, but I don’t love the championing of “feeling” over “thinking.” I would like it so much better if Psy and Changeling were each portrayed as having negative and positive inherent qualities.

To be fair, it’s not that the Psy are all portrayed as bad. Silence is bad, certainly. Psy themselves seem to fall into three categories: 1) good, but needing to become more emotional (Changeling-like) to be happy and fully realized; 2) evil, sadistic and/or crazy; 3) sheeplike (the majority of the Psy who are not introduced as characters but referenced, certainly, several times in this book).

Changelings, on the other hand, are pretty much all good. There are perhaps a few exceptions, which Janine might remember better than I do, but they aren’t major characters, I don’t think. Other than that, the negative qualities that Changelings manifest are all of the “virtues masquerading as faults” type, which romance readers are certainly familiar with: possessive, love too much, just too damn masculine (the males, that is), imperious and high-handed.

I think this makes me uncomfortable because it feels like Changeling society is held up as better than Psy society (which, fair enough) AND Changelings are portrayed as inherently better than Psy, as a race. The latter is problematic and the combination of the two is really problematic.

Janine: You’ve brought this up before, and I agree it’s problematic. I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me that much; maybe because I’ve accepted this is the premise of the series, or maybe because I also read Singh’s other series where this conflict between emotion and thought doesn’t play out?

But as I said earlier, I also think there’s something about Singh’s voice that bypasses my judgment. I see the problematic stuff but I enjoy the books too much to care about it.

How would you grade Shield of Winter? I’m giving it a B-.

Jennie: I gave it the same grade, B-, though it’s on the edge of a C+ for me.

 

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Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.

161 Comments

  1. Willa
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 08:46:20

    Awww – sorry to read this, I have been hoping that this book was going to get back on track with one that focused on the h/h and *their* story and give the series a much needed (inho) punch such as Carressed By Ice did!

    Will wait for the paperback coming in December I think.

  2. Willa
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 08:50:56

    @Willa: @Willa: Ack! can’t type! *slurps more coffee* CaRessed By Ice and iMho!!

  3. JewelCourt
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 09:18:22

    I’ve had mixed reactions to this series, so I’m not sure if I’m going to pick this up. Like everyone else it seems, my favorite was Judd and Brenna’s book, but the others haven’t worked so much for me. I picked up on the Changelings are awesome and everyone else not so much vibe, too, and I wish there was a little more nuance. The one book (I can’t remember which one) where it was built up how dominant the female Changeling heroine was and how she couldn’t respect a less dominant mate really pissed me off. It seemed so regressive. If you’re going out of your way to portray relationships that aren’t egalitarian, then why couldn’t the woman be on top for a change?

    I think Jennie articulated my problem with the writing style when she said, “The very intensity of these characters’ emotions starts to have the opposite of the intended effect on me, I think. It starts to feel kind of campy.” I completely agree. It actually starts to numb me as a reader, sort of the word choice version of writing in all exclamation points.

    There are so many good ideas in this series, but the execution doesn’t always work for me.

  4. Mo
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 09:31:12

    Oh! I am so disappointed to see Walker not on your list of recurring characters. Since learning more about him, I admit to believing he would have a greater role in both Vasic’s and Aden’s stories because of how instrumental he was in their childhoods.

    As for Vasic’s deathwish, (I haven’t read the book obviously) from what I got from the earlier books, it felt very passive to me. He wasn’t going to jump out a window but if he happened to die, then he wouldn’t be sorry for it. I watched my mother go through exactly that after my father died. She just stopped caring for a while. And truthfully, I have no problem with that issue being resolved for Vasic the way it is described in your joint review because that’s pretty much what happened with my Mom too. She found something she loved doing and it just dried up and went away.

    I get what you are saying about suicidal depression but there are vast differences in types of depression and for me, Vasic’s was always like my Mom’s, very passive. Even with the implant, he isn’t hoping that 25% chance kicks in, he just doesn’t care if it does.

    Even knowing of his depression for several books and having said all that above, I find it interesting that we are talking about Vasic and depression. After all, in theory, he should not be suffering from it. Critical breach in conditioning?

  5. Janine
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 10:28:00

    @Mo: I think Walker was mentioned as part of Vasic’s past but I don’t remember an on page appearance of his in this book.

    I have discussed depression with a good friend who is a professional in the psychiatric field. What I gleaned from that conversation is that passivity is a sign of deep depression, and therefore it is true that at the deepest level of depression, people rarely commit suicide, but when the depression begins to lift, the depressed individuals gain energy to, in some cases, carry out their plans to end their pain.

    Perhaps I didn’t articulate it well, but what I meant by “suicidal depression” was depression so painful that the person wants to die rather than live with it. Clearly, Vasic wanted to die. He wanted to die badly enough to take a 25% chance of losing his life by volunteering for the gauntlet.

    I don’t know what the statistical odds are for depression going away on its own without intervention and never returning, but regardless, I see a key difference between your mother’s situation and Vasic’s. While your mom’s depression was triggered by grief, Vasic’s was motivated by guilt for past deeds.

    Because his depression was guilt induced, I felt that in order to recover, he would need to either atone for his guilt or change his thought pattern about it (come to believe that he wasn’t to blame) *before* his depression lifted. That didn’t happen that way in this book.

    I’ll also add that fiction needs to be more convincing than real life. Things happen in life all the time that we would not necessarily believe in a work of fiction, and that’s because fiction has to follow its own internal logic, while life does not. If I had a good friend who was a 35 year old secular virgin, I would believe it. In a novel it’s cause for an eye roll.

    Even knowing of his depression for several books and having said all that above, I find it interesting that we are talking about Vasic and depression. After all, in theory, he should not be suffering from it. Critical breach in conditioning?

    It’s been a while since I read the book but I don’t think there was a critical breach that early on.

  6. Mo
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 10:48:54

    Janine,

    I appreciate the response and agree with pretty much all you wrote. I think the difference is that I see Vasic as not caring if he lives and I think you see him as wanting to die, which in my mind are two different things.

    I’m afraid my comment about a critical breach in conditioning was meant to be snarky. Sorry about that. I should have added a qualifier to it. My point was “How is a Psy man, an Arrow, no less, suffering from depression without having had a breach in conditioning? Isn’t that basically impossible? He shouldn’t be feeling at all: no guilt, no depression, no nothing. So what has triggered that and how and where?”

    My first thought was that if it is a passive I don’t care if I live or die it might not trigger his conditioning, judging by the mindtrip Judd took when he broke his conditioning. If it’s a more active I want to die, I would think it would trigger his conditioning on some level. Clearly I am going to have to read the book to find out, but these are just some of my questions and reactions to the review.

    I love it when a review makes me think and question and get interested the way this one does.

  7. Amy
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 11:06:01

    Argh, I wish I had waited to read this review. I’ve been anticipating this book all week; I’ve reread three of the previous books just to get my head back into this world. Your joint review raises many issues that have troubled me in the past about Singh’s writing and the characters in this series; but for one reason or another I have been willing to overlook them (or at least not let them get to me so much that I stop reading the series.). I have stopped following many author’s long paranormal romance series, so there is clearly a point where I am willing to end a relationship even after investing my time, $, and emotion into many books. Singh’s two series are the only ones I continue to follow. I will try to tune out this review tonight when I read the book, and hope that this isn’t the book that’ll drive me to say goodbye to this world.

  8. Janine
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 11:38:53

    @Willa: I hope you enjoy it the book!

    @JewelCourt: I’m hoping Jennie weighs in on your comment since it seems like you two are on the same page. I think the book you’re thinking of is Play of Passion, Drew and Indigo’s book.

    @Mo:

    I think the difference is that I see Vasic as not caring if he lives and I think you see him as wanting to die, which in my mind are two different things.

    You’re right, I don’t see a big distinction there. The drive to survive is a strong one in most human beings; for a person not to care if he lives or dies takes a strong reason not to live. Perhaps if Vasic had ever looked at the gauntlet experiment as worth a great risk or personal sacrifice, I would have seen him differently, but I never saw the gauntlet presented that way. Nor did the other Arrows seem to have ever thought that Vasic’s volunteering for the gauntlet experiment was worthwhile. It was presented as a bad idea, an excuse to die, pretty much the whole time.

    I thought your critical breach comment might be snarky, but I didn’t want to respond that way if it wasn’t. When you come down to it, pretty much every Psy protagonist in this series has felt emotions. It’s hard (impossible?) to write a romance with an unemotional main character.

  9. Janine
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 11:46:22

    @Amy: I’m so sorry! I hope that this review doesn’t take away your joy of reading. For what it’s worth, I can think of weaker books in this series (Hostage to Pleasure, Blaze of Memory, Tangle of Need). I enjoyed this book pretty well, warts and all. Singh’s writing has so much passion and her plots are so entertaining that I can overlook a lot. I hope that you’ll be able to do the same.

  10. Kati
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 13:16:51

    Nodding my head a lot here.

    This one didn’t work as well as I’d have liked for me. I mostly attribute that to the fact that Psy heroes generally don’t work for me. *ducks flying tomatoes*

    My least favorite of the series are the ones featuring Judd, Kaleb and now Vasic (although I liked Walker’s story alot). I just prefer the fire and overt alpha nature of the Changelings. I’m really hoping she goes back there next book.

  11. library addict
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 13:53:25

    Waiting to read the review until I read the book. But seeing Kati’s comment, the next book will be Aden’s book. Which I don’t mind as the Psy are mostly my favorite characters and its the changeling heroes that sometimes I don’t enjoy as much.

    Also, Nalini has said she thinks the next book will wrap up the major story arc. So after that she may write what she calls her tangent books (I am really hoping we will get Adam’s story. But also on my wishlist are a D’Arn/Sing Liu novella and I would love to see stories for Silver and Teijan, though not together ;) )

  12. cleo
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 14:42:25

    Waiting to read the review until I have a chance to read the book – I’m getting ready for a major trip and can’t really justify reading it until we leave next week. (We’ll see if I last that long). My favorite couples so far have been changeling – changeling (Mercy / Riley and Indigo / Drew are tied for being my most fave) – which is odd, because I’m normally not into alpha heroes at all, but this series tends to break all of my normal preferences.

  13. Janine
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 15:46:42

    @cleo: I loved Mercy and Riley! But more because of Mercy than because of Riley. In terms of the heroes, I prefer the Psy to the changelings. Judd is my favorite. I’m looking forward to Aden’s book. Will he be paired with Alice, I wonder?

  14. Mo
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 15:57:15

    Janine,

    I have to agree with you. CbI was actually the first book I read in this series and Judd is still my favorite, though now followed closely by Kaleb. A lot of people’s favorite couple is Hawke and Sienna, though that is actually my least favorite couple and least favorite book in the series. It is also the only book where I felt a sort of deus-ex-machina was used to save the day (and I promptly sent a very ranty email to a friend of mine with all the places where I was mad over it).

    A lot has been made of Alice, of course, but as a character, she doesn’t interest me at all. I think partly because I see this sort of shriveled husk of a human with no hair, no frame of reference for society, and some vague, unwavering belief in a man long dead. She is another deus-ex-machina to me, not a real person, not yet. I sincerely hope she is not who Aden ends up with. I’d rather he and that female Arrow (in Europe, whose name escapes me at the moment) get together. I may not remember her name, but I really liked her character. They would be a strong pairing.

    I thought (touching on an earlier post of yours) that Blaze of Memory was one of the strongest books and the most pivotal (until HoO anyway) in the series. The intense backstory of the Forgotten and the amazing abilities that came out of that really intrigued me. I know Nalini has talked about this arc ending and side stories to come later. I sincerely hope the Forgotten will be included in that.

  15. Janine
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 16:20:56

    @Mo: Kaleb is a very, very romantic character; however I have a problem with the way he was presented as caring only about Sahara to such a degree that he was willing, or said he was willing to (let’s not put too fine a point on it) genocide the Psy if it turned out she was dead.

    It’s this very thing that makes him compelling, but it’s also problematic in my eyes. I thought Heart of Obsidian was one of the best books in the series, absolutely, but I’m conflicted about it because of this issue.

    I loved Kiss of Snow but that was as much for the way the Psy vs. Changeling war exploded in that book and was resolved as for Hawke and Sienna’s romance. But while I loved that book I did not love Hawke and Sienna’s scenes in the following book (Tangle of Need?) and they actually diminished the Hawke/Sienna relationship in my eyes.

    I agree with you that Alice is not that exciting a character right now but (A) we haven’t had much access to her POV yet and (B) I think if she comes back to full life then a book that focuses on such a transformation could be wonderful. Just thinking about all the grief a person would feel if they were uprooted from their own time that way, all their loved ones lost to them, and moored in a world they don’t recognize, with societal and technological changes beyond their immediate grasp– I think this could be a terrific story, so I hope she gets her own book, if not with Aden, then eventually.

    Re. Blaze of Memory, I loved the scenes at the Sunshine Station but honestly the way Devraj kept thinking about killing Katya early on turned me off to him. Rereading my old review, I also see that I felt the development of the romance was repetitive in the first third or so, and didn’t need the rehash of what Silence is in the epistolary segments.

    We agree on Caressed by Ice, though. Best book in the series! It’s between that and Archangel’s Blade for my favorite Nalini Singh.

    Thank you for the trip through memory lane!

  16. Jennie
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 00:14:45

    @JewelCourt: Yes exactly (re it being the equivalent of writing in exclamation points). It’s also almost like boy who cried wolf. Save the dramatic writing for truly dramatic moments.

    I agree with you as well (and have complained before) about how even the supposedly dominant changeling women have to pretty much be trumped by their men in the end. The sexual politics in these books -oy.

  17. Mandi
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 07:44:54

    I really like the point you make about Singh writing the characters that have dark, serious edges, but then pulling back. In previous books I’ve read, I’ve commented about the lack of this and even the lack way back, when the Psy would get onto Changeling territory and there was a confrontation – the way it was resolved always felt a bit lackluster to me.

    But changing the subject to Vasic – I haven’t reread the later books in this series, so I can’t remember exactly how Vasic was portrayed – but in this book I didn’t feel as though Vasic was suicidal and depressed because he has depression – just that he never had anything good to live for so he didn’t care if he died. Once he had Ivy, he had a reason to want to deal with his guilt (not that he really deals with it). It is a tiny case of love cures all, but I don’t’ think this love cured clinical depression. It cured loneliness.

    I wish we had gone deeper with Ivy and explored her more. She seemed to transition so well to her new surroundings and situation in life. Otherwise I liked this one

  18. Janine
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 12:02:07

    @Mandi: Good point about the confrontations with Psy entering changeling territory in the past!

    But re. Vasic, I actually think what you’re describing when you say “he never had anything good to live for so he didn’t care if he died,” is depression. Maybe not the deepest, most agonizing depression but still depression. And I would go beyond “he never had anything good to live for” and add that he hated what he’d done in his past and it pained him. Emotional pain and hatred of things you’ve done in the past also fit in with the depression picture, IMO.

    As for his portrayal in earlier books, well, he volunteered for the gauntlet (25% chance of dying!) without much conviction that the gauntlet was a great thing for humanity. Is that the behavior of someone who is emotionally healthy?

    Also, I found this quote from the end of Heart of Obsidian (This is in Aden’s POV, with Kaleb speaking to Aden about Vasic):

    Kaleb was quiet for a long time, the two of them watching the arcing blue flare of weapons fire as Vasic tested another setting of the gauntlet. When he spoke, Kaleb again said the unexpected. “You’re here so that if something goes wrong, Vasic doesn’t die alone. He’s so close to the edge, you aren’t ceratin he wont’ engineer a fatal accident.”

    There were very few people in the world who knew Vasic that well. Kaleb Krychek was not one of them, and yet he’d come to the right conclusion.

    That is a pretty clear cut case of clinical depression, IMO. Shortly after this Kaleb shows Aden and Vasic his bond with Sahara to give them some hope, so yeah, I agree “love cures all” is what Singh is going for. Where we differ is on the diagnosis of Vasic.

  19. Mand
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 12:23:40

    @Janine:

    Ah yes – that IS depressing/depression I suppose ;) I can definitely see your point. I think in a different book, this character would not work for me….but Singh and her broken characters and romantic ways…get me :)

  20. Janine
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 12:44:07

    @Mandi:

    I think in a different book, this character would not work for me….but Singh and her broken characters and romantic ways…get me :)

    The interesting thing is that they get me too. I care about her characters and I am very happy for them when they find happiness. So even though I see these flaws I really enjoy the books! That’s why the B- grade.

  21. Sunita
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 12:53:56

    @Janine: I appreciate that comment threads can go off in a number of different directions, but I think maybe you guys might want to alert people that you are discussing types of depression and suicidal ideation explicitly and at length. It’s not necessarily what someone reading the review would expect (at least I didn’t expect it to this extent after reading the review) and it could be quite uncomfortable for someone who didn’t anticipate it.

  22. shawn hilton
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 13:15:02

    When it comes to Ivy having just finished reading the book, I am forced to disagree with something you said above. Yes it is described as ivy was brutalized, but it is very clearly pointed out that accept for the problem of her abilities putting pressure on her brain causing the bleeding from her nose. She had healed most of what is her, before she had ever met Vasic. In fact there is a whole chapter in which she tells Vasic of her healing herself as he cared for rabbit. So the hardest thing that I see she was ment to deal with in this book was the knowledge that she was not flawed, and to begin to learn to use her powers.

    As for Vasic I am a retired soldier, and i do agree with you that it does read as he was suffering from depression. But I disagree that love heals all wounds, instead my take is this. I see a lot of the way I felt after I got out, and the way a lot of friends felt as per their statements. Was/is it depression probably, there are times when you want to give up. But like in my case i have three children, and finding a new cause for myself, the taking care of and raising of them, did not heal me but it gave me the reason I needed to get up everyday. Over time i did eventually heal, and I think at the end of the story NS did a good job of portraying that he was not totally healed, but he could be. and Ivy was his path to it. he doesn’t have to be healed in order to love her. But simply recognize that she is his chance at healing or redemption which ever he is seeking most.

    As for what you said about the mentioning of previous characters. This is a series, these are not stand alone books. While yes they have a different couple as the center romance of the story. The series as a whole has an overlying story that requires the mention of past couples. I would agree with not mentioning past couples anymore if this was a stand alone series where each book was only minor connected to the others. Such as the Carpathians in early books. But with a series such as this with such a deep over all story line, I find myself disagreeing with you that past couples should not be mentioned as much and we should just move on from them

  23. Mo
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 13:31:18

    Drat! I think I am losing my mind! I could have sworn I posted a message for Janine, but I don’t see it at all.

    Janine, I hope you get Nalini’s newsletter. The short this month immediately made me think of your comments here about Kaleb.

    Revisiting an earlier discussion point re: an unemotional hero/heroine not working when speaking of Psy and emotion, I took a quick inventory of Psy leads off the top of my head and tried to see if I could remember what the deal was with their conditioning and this is what I remember:

    Sasha: Conditioning never really worked on her because she is an E.
    Ashaya: Her conditioning was breached by Amara and then Amara protected that breach.
    Faith: I had trouble remembering the reason given or if there even was a reason, but her conditioning was failing even while in the PsyNet.
    Katya: Her conditioning was breached and rewired by Ming. I’m not sure if there was something before that or not. I can’t remember now.
    Sophia: Her conditioning was expected to be compromised by her J responsibilities.
    Kaleb: His conditioning was never completed.
    Sahara: Her conditioning was never completed.
    Walker: He has the ability compartmentalize so conditioning never fully took hold.
    Sienna: Taught by Walker to compartmentalize.
    Judd: Taught by Walker to compartmentalize? I don’t really know if he was taught or not; I’m not sure it was made clear.
    Vasic and Aden: Possibly taught? I know that he worked with them both, to help them. But the quotes from SoW suggest that Vasic was completely broken and fully conditioned.

  24. AlexandraM
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 13:32:32

    Warning: I have no control.

    The Psy issue of governance was also something that came to the forefront of my concerns in Heart of Obsidian and then in Shield of Winter. I like politics and this series is chock full of it – one of the many reasons why I love it. The idea of a dictatorship, even a benevolent one, also sits uneasily with me. It is highly disturbing that a man who considered destroying the entire Psy race is, for a time, holding them back from total annihilation (though it does provide an interesting bent to the story). I want to point out that in the P-C world everyone lives within other political realities; they are still subject to the laws of sovereign nations and peacekeeping forces. I would even go so far as to argue that Changeling pack structure is extremely similar to the Council, and in the case of changelings there is ALWAYS only ONE individual at the top of the hierarchy. What makes a pack different is the size of its scope (even one as large as SnowDancer vs. every Psy in the Net) and the fact that it has a healthy, functioning, strictly-observed chain of command that seeks to give everyone a voice, includes checks and balances and is designed with mutual protection in mind. There is a very symbiotic attribute to changeling pack structure that is fitting to their proximity to nature and dual status as human and animal.

    Although Singh doesn’t extrapolate much on how the Council functioned before Silence I think it is understood that Silence enabled the Council to become all-powerful. I think its purpose before Silence was simply a body that maintained the interests and stability of the Psy race as a whole – much as the rules regarding Enforcement’s jurisdiction among changeling-only disputes exist. It’s never mentioned, but I assume, apart from ignorance on behalf of humans and changelings, that’s why rehabilitations were also possible and accepted by Psy outside the normal justice system.

    It makes sense that in the P-C world these caveats would exist as a layer among sovereign, religious and cultural institutions, especially for the Psy since only a Psy can access the PsyNet (which probably shouldn’t exist in anarchy because it is necessary to their survival – yet another reason such oversight is needed); therefore the Psy as a whole have a form of separate governance. I reason the Council once functioned much like a changeling pack does. Part of my acceptance of the changeling system stems from the fact that they are human AND animal, and we know many species of animals function in this manner. In the same respect a body such as the Council is necessary for the Psy because the Psy as a people have just as unique needs as changelings. Sahara even reflects in HoO that Psy are even more social creatures than changelings; a pack seems to operate like a strange combination of family and commune while the Net, though not entirely comparable, meets a lot of the same requirements on a much grander scale.

    While something closer to a pseudo-democracy seems more ideal imagine the scope of a body that is democratically elected to represent millions (billions?) across the entire planet. Also remember that Silence wasn’t simply enacted by the Council. It was argued about over the course of years by every individual in the Net. We know this from Blaze of Memory and SoW. We also know that the situation in the Net at that time was not unlike the situation in SoW where mass violence and deaths were threatening the collapse of the entire Net. This demonstrates how active the Psy were in interacting with their leadership before Silence and serves as further evidence that the Council itself wasn’t the problem – Silence was. Because of the eventual disaster caused by the Council I do think it’s prudent for the Psy to develop a better system…but I also think it unfair to malign the Council system itself without examining some of these issues.

    Silence is what caused the divergence between the effectiveness of the Pack vs. Council systems.
    More than once in SoW Kaleb Krychek thinks of the Psy as “sheep”, and Sahara responds “If they are, it’s because they’ve been trained to be that way for a century.” By the end of the book a new, healthier ruling coalition is formed that I think is a huge step in the right direction. Keep in mind that Singh has created a society that has not only been lied to, has few freely-established information channels beside discussion in the Net (which was previously forbidden, policed and restrained by dissonance) and has forever lost crucial information about its history in previous Council purges. Look at history and all the ways a revolution can go wrong (the French Revolution, for example) and think about what it would take for one to succeed on a GLOBAL SCALE. That doesn’t even factor in the mass confusion created by lack of information (partly because nobody, even Kaleb, really knows what they are doing), mass violence, disease, dissenting opinions, I could keep going…

    I do feel somewhat skeevy defending Kaleb’s position as de facto leader, but I want to point out that some forms of government contain provisions for allocated and absolute power during times of war and emergency. With the disease situation in the PsyNet during SoW the expedient decision-making allowed by such governance, to me, is essential in the race against the clock, particularly amid all the chaos already in place. However, we also all know from history that such contingencies have a way of backfiring. I’m not entirely happy with the coalition solution (three former councilors, the Arrows and empaths) but it is still a good change.

    This type of political inspection would be a MASSIVE undertaking for any author – and this is a paranormal romance series where, while politics plays an important role, it is only one of several main focuses. I commend Nalini Singh for what she’s done, especially since she makes it so interesting. Although I do wish there were a few more prolonged passages examining these issues I admire that she gives her readers the pieces and allows them to put them together and also leaves some interpretation up to us as well. If anyone read all that reward yourself by accepting a virtual cookie from me.

  25. AlexandraM
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 13:38:59

    @Mo: I feel the same about Hawke and Sienna, which is odd because KoS is one of my favorites in the series. I loved all the technical details about Sienna’s abilities, the buildup to the armed conflict with Pure Psy and the race to stop Sienna’s powers from spiraling out of control (also there was lots of Judd – CbI is my second favorite in the series). Unlike some readers I even enjoyed Sienna and Hawke’s constant interruptions ;) However, once they finally got together it just rubbed me wrong. I think Sienna is the strongest heroine in the series but I felt like she kind of let Hawke steamroll her despite her verbal insistence that she wouldn’t let him lead her on, take orders from him, etc. I was really disappointed by that. I get that’s Hawke’s personality and I think it was just a personal thing for me as a reader. Hawke didn’t size up for me as a romantic hero and he ruined Sienna for me in the process.

    I also agree about the deus-ex-machina solution – but only for the Pure Psy conflict. I find it unbelievable that no SnowDancers died or even suffered permanent injuries while an entire army was wiped out. However, I did like Singh’s solution to Sienna’s problems with her powers. If I recall correctly, Walker’s “helix” was first mentioned all the way back in CbI so it wasn’t something she pulled completely out of left field.

    Along the same vein I agree with the joint review that Nalini Singh tends to “pull back” after setting up her characters to be edgy. As in my example from KoS she does this with her plot lines to some extent. She has a tendency to build up (something that is compounded by Singh’s highly emotive style of writing) seemingly insurmountable obstacles. My problem with that isn’t so much her solutions – as opposed to other PNR series I stopped reading for the sole reason I couldn’t stand the deus-ex-machina resolutions – but that there are never any real sacrifices. Everyone gets to have their cake and eat it, too. I was honestly glad Vasic had to lose his arm to rid himself of that gauntlet – and even then it wasn’t so bad because his Tk abilities made it less of an issue than it would be for a normal amputee. I really appreciate that healing is a series theme but Singh’s constructed the Psy-Changeling world in such a realistic, technical manner that doesn’t gel with the lack of real-world sacrifices on behalf of the characters in order to achieve their HEAs.

    I am willing to forgive this because, on a global scale, the costs are astronomical. Remember in Heart of Obsidian that over 200,000 people BURNED TO DEATH in Hong Kong. That doesn’t include the violence and horrors we witnessed previously (like the Sunshine Station in Blaze of Memory) and in SoW. However, in the same vein, I’m also disappointed in myself for not feeling as much personal horror over these events as I do over the characters’ personal demons. I can assign a certain amount of desensitization and the fact that this is a fictional world factors in, but I still feel that a few more permanent personal losses on behalf of Singh’s characters could have lent these events more credibility in their hideousness.

  26. Janine
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 13:46:34

    @Sunita: Thanks! You’re right. I didn’t think to do that and that was insensitive of me. I just put a notice at the top of the post.

    @shawn hilton: My point about Ivy was that she was described in the book as ““Strong and stubborn and loyal and with flaws that made her unique” but I did not see the flaws in her character. So what I was trying to say is that her experience of being lied to her whole life as well as nearly turned into a vegetable had no discernible negative impact on her character — it didn’t make her cynical or distrusting or leave her with psychological trauma. Physical trauma, yes, I agree with you. I just didn’t see it affect her psychological development and I would normally think something like that would.

    Re. Vasic, I can definitely see your point that having Ivy gave him something to live for, and I really respect your perspective as someone with experience in this arena. But I too have personal experience with depression, both personally in myself and in multiple other people I know. To me the transition from wanting to die to wanting to live felt abrupt. And given the weight placed on Vasic’s psychological issues in earlier books, I expected this book to focus on them more than it did.

    With regard to the characters from the earlier books, I think we are having a miscommunication. I am glad to see them pop up in later books again and again. It is a series and so it should be. I would like to see the other couples, it’s just a question of how much page space should be devoted to them, as opposed to with the main couple. I would not have wanted this book to focus solely on Vasic and Ivy to the exclusion of all the others, but in this book the balance between time spent with them and time spent with the rest felt off to me, and I wanted more time with Ivy and Vasic than we got.

  27. Mo
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 14:01:22

    @AlexandraM:

    I also agree about the deus-ex-machina solution – but only for the Pure Psy conflict. I find it unbelievable that no SnowDancers died or even suffered permanent injuries while an entire army was wiped out. However, I did like Singh’s solution to Sienna’s problems with her powers. If I recall correctly, Walker’s “helix” was first mentioned all the way back in CbI so it wasn’t something she pulled completely out of left field.

    Yes, the PurePsy conflict where no one got hurt bothered me a lot too. That was one of my ranty mcrants about KoS. But Walker was my second. I know that helix was introduced way early in the series, but the more I thought about it, the more it made no sense for it to be Walker who has it. It made more sense for it to be Toby. Here’s why: Walker is older than Sienna. Why would you put the one thing that can stop an X into someone who will die before said X? Second, I love Judd, he’s hands down my favorite, but I feel like he his Tk-Cell abilities have been taken way out of proportion. I get that we and he need to see that his abilities can be used for good, but he’s already shown that. Being able to reproduce the helix in himself just didn’t work for me at all.

  28. shawn hilton
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 15:00:53

    @Janine:

    I agree that I did not see many flaws in her either. So I am gonna leave that one alone..lol.. But going back to Vasic I think, because he was a character for so long, we had seen his mental state that she did not feel we needed to see more of it to understand it. Was his finding the will to live to quick? maybe but there is that fine edge of when has it dragged out to long? When has it become to much. Like with the sparkly vampires book, when the lead female went on her I don’t want to live because he left me tangent. It dragged out to long. here I am thinking she did not want to walk that fine edge. we had seen enough of his mind set in other books I do not think she wanted to repeat it to us again all over again. But thats just me…lol..

    As for the other characters, it may have been the other person in the review chat that said what I was answering and I am sorry if it was. But what was said was something along the lines ‘I am more the when their story is told move on kind of person.’ Thats why I said what I did so if that wasn’t you then I do apologize. My point was more the way I look at the story of the series is more like a tv show would play out, there are a lot of characters but while the main focus in this episode is what is happening with this character, there is still a whole cast who does have to get air time..chuckles

  29. Janine
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 15:19:04

    @shawn hilton: I get your perspective on Vasic; there is definitely a potential downside to dragging things out for too long, and I’ve seen that in a couple of Singh’s other books. Your comment also makes me glad I quit the Twilight series when I did, after the first book!

    Maybe Jennie will weigh in on her comment about the other couples. I interpreted what she said differently than you did– I thought she doesn’t mind seeing characters from earlier books from time to time, but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time wallowing in their wedded bliss. I felt that too much time was spent with Lucas and Sascha and with Hawke and Sienna, but it didn’t bother me with Kaleb and Sahara.

    We get a lot more time spent with the alpha couples in Singh’s books than we do with the other couples, and I’m not so keen on that. I tend to feel that once they’ve achieved their HEA, they’re rarely as interesting as they were before that, and therefore better reserved for shorter cameos. There are exceptions to this for me, but this is why I thought Jennie meant something similar. I may be reading my own perspective into her words, though!

    ETA:

    @AlexandraM: I’m still thinking your comments over. Thank you for posting such thought-provoking words!

  30. AlexandraM
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 15:41:24

    @Mo: Your thoughts about Toby never occurred to be but it absolutely makes sense especially since there is a some 20+ years between Walker and Sienna. That same idea also means, though, that Toby is younger than Sienna and therefore wouldn’t have been able to help her then (but the fact that he has E abilities and is more closely related makes me think he’d be more fit for the role).

    This also leads me to ask that wouldn’t it be possible Judd could train his mind to act as Walker’s does in the case Walker died early – of if Toby acted as the neutralizer for Sienna’s power and something happened to him?

    As for Judd himself, I guess I really didn’t see it as a way for him to find redemption – I just kind of included it as part of his fidelity to his family. His scenes with Sienna throughout the series are among my favorites. I do agree, though, that we don’t need to see any more of him finding new ways for his Tk-Cell to be “good” instead of “bad”. That would just be over-the-top, and even with Tk-Cells who lacked control in the past wouldn’t one of them at some point tried to use their powers for good things before totally dismissing them as wholly destructive? That type of black and white thinking isn’t really consistent with what we know about the Psy even under Silence.

  31. shawn hilton
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 15:42:13

    @Mo:
    While i do agree with you about the no death battle. The thing with the Helix because of this line from Kiss of snow.

    “No one had ever been able to explain the reason for the odd moving helix that had become apparent long after he was past childhood.”

    I am led to believe that it had formed after Sieanna was born. It also states that he had been more a father than anyone she had ever known. So I would have to ask would it not form because of the fathers need to protect his daughter for all intensive purposes. As for Judd being able to mimic it, that was a worst case and they did mention that it could jump to Toby, if i remember right, but the Judd thing was just incase that it didn’t. Just my two cents.

  32. Mo
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 15:58:49

    AlexandraM,

    It seemed to me like the helix was a passive thing. Walker and Judd had already put the kids to sleep so they wouldn’t hurt before dying. Walker had no idea what would happen with his helix. So, even a young Toby, in theory, would have been able to passively do what Walker did. That’s the impression I got, anyway. It’s been a while since I read the book.

    That would just be over-the-top, and even with Tk-Cells who lacked control in the past wouldn’t one of them at some point tried to use their powers for good things before totally dismissing them as wholly destructive? That type of black and white thinking isn’t really consistent with what we know about the Psy even under Silence.

    I agree with you! I can’t for the life of me figure out how there was no experimentation going on. My best guess is that a child is more prone to anger and frustration than the delicate “fix-it” abilities Judd uses later and since most Tk-Cells would have first killed as a child as a result, people just didn’t bother.

    shawn hilton,

    You are right that Judd’s offer was a just in case scenario. What bothered me was that he could do it at all. There’s something just too powerful with Judd the way it has been built up. Now he can create body or mind parts out of nothing? I love Judd, but he needs to have some vulnerability to him, imo.

    For all,

    How is it no one has seen the helix before with the X designation? I can’t believe there were no stories of Xs going nova and it turning out ok; nowhere is this even mentioned. It’s like Walker is the first one to have it happen and I just have a hard time believing that.

  33. shawn hilton
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 16:07:20

    @Mo: Actually i have an answer for that. Silence, being a childs father, or as my oldest calls it daddy has nothing to with blood. it has nothing to do with being the sperm doner. Its an emotion a feeling. So in the walls of silence it would not be present. BUT here it was, they make it clear he felt that she was his daughter even while they were in the net. She was the daughter he could not protect. But his abilities were saying Ahhh but you are protecting her you just don’t know it. She also points out that the E designation and the X designation have the least known about them, and that the X is usually taken from tehir families ver young. So it may very well have been there but the family tie was severed which is why no one knew She was the first to get to stay with her family.

    As for Judd mimicing it, he does say he would not be as effective.

  34. Jennie
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 19:09:22

    @Mandi: I kind of feel like the reason we don’t see more conflict between the Changelings and the “good” Psy is because they’re the good guys, and good guys are supposed to get along. But given the Changelings’ animal nature, it would be perfectly in keeping with their instincts to react with violence if threatened.

    Don’t get me wrong; I think the alliance forged by the Changelings and the good Psy is interesting and makes sense; I’d just like to see the Changelings act and react the way that we keep being told they should when they perceive a threat. *And* I think it’d be interesting if there were fallout from such a confrontation.

  35. Jennie
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 19:22:31

    @shawn hilton: I don’t have problems with seeing the other couples, but I think it’s a matter of balance. First of all, in a series this long, there are a *lot* of couples, and SIngh seems to be reluctant to let go of a few of them, so we get more time from their perspective than I think is necessary. It is one thing to have the characters (alone or together if appropriate) be part of the action, but when we’re visiting them just to see them be all lovey-dovey…I don’t know, it doesn’t bother me excessively but again, it feels like too much time was spent on that and the main plotline suffered as a result.

  36. library addict
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 23:25:07

    @Mo:The helix appeared in Walker when Kristine (Christine?) was pregnant with Sienna. Toby wasn’t born until years later. Sienna even says they theorized the ability would likely manifest in one of the other Psy in their web if something happened to Walker. Agree somewhat about Judd learning to mimic the helix, but it didn’t bother me.

  37. library addict
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 23:34:16

    Kaleb is a very, very romantic character; however I have a problem with the way he was presented as caring only about Sahara to such a degree that he was willing, or said he was willing to (let’s not put too fine a point on it) genocide the Psy if it turned out she was dead.

    I am curious how Kaleb thinking this is different from Lucas thinking how he would destroy anyone who so much as bruised Sascha. Or Hawke wanting to take out all of the high-level Psy as retaliation for Brenna’s kidnapping or being “…a man who’d savage the world for his mate”? (per this book). Is it just that Kaleb is more powerful and thus could have actually done so? I think we discussed this before but I just don’t see a major difference between Kaleb’s attitude re: Sahara and Lucas or Hawke’s attitudes re: Sascha and Sienna.

    FTR, my favorites of the series are Sascha & Lucas, Brenna & Judd, Tamsyn & Nathan, Sophia & Max, Lara & Walker, and Kaleb & Sahara. Honorable mention goes to Annie & Zach, Katya & Dev, Ria & Emmett, and I’ll now add Ivy & Vasic as well. I originally read Kiss of Snow first, so I didn’t have the vested interest in Hawke and Sienna that many did. Overall, I like Sienna as a character more so than Hawke. I don’t dislike their romance, it’s just not a favorite of mine.

    As for Shield of Winter, I thought the net sickness wasn’t explored enough. Or maybe it was that the “battle” scenes had so little emotional impact overall. They were exhausted/upset, but then the issue was dismissed while they dealt with the gauntlet. Rinse and repeat. I wanted to see more of the empaths actually working together and with Sascha. I always love the appearances by other characters and think mostly these scenes do advance the plot(s). I thought the Kaleb/Sahara scenes here were not that numerous. But I like them so I didn’t feel they were intruding. The only book where I felt “past” characters were out of place was the huge page count for Sienna & Hawke in Tangle of Need. The balance in this book felt to me like 75-80% Vasic and Ivy so I really felt they were the focus. Speaking of the series’ huge cast of characters, it really irked me in this book that Tamsyn and Lara were never mentioned by name (just referred to as “the pack healer” or “The other woman”). It took me out of the story.

    I do wish Vasic’s depression had been addressed more in depth. I like @shawn hilton’s explanation of what happened. I guess like Janine said I just wanted his turning point explored with more depth. But overall I liked his character arc.

    Knowing the next book will more than likely be the last in Nalini’s original story arc, I assume a big chunk of it will deal with Ming. There’s also the priest dude (blanking on his name) and Nina to tie up. And I think we’re still waiting for the answer to who Henry was talking about way back in Slave to Sensation when he was tagging those files and made that cryptic statement about the youngest boy being cause for concern. At least I don’t remember that mystery being solved. I am really hoping Aden is paired up with Silver now (that thought never occurred to me until reading Shield of Winter).

  38. library addict
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 23:46:10

    Oops, I also meant to add I liked that none of the empaths were able to cure the net just by using their instincts as Ivy had assumed they would. And that Alice didn’t magically remember. The trial and error they all went though worked for me.

  39. shawn hilton
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 06:42:17

    @library addict: I do agree that Kiss of snow had a lot of face time with extra characters, but at the same time. I think that Kiss of snow was the push me forward book. preparing you for the next leg of the series, and hopefully not the last.

    I see a lot of people mention their favorite books, and i am starting to wonder am I alone in wishing that she would show more of Clay and Talin? But then they could make their appearance in the next part of the story. You see while yes the defeat of the infection may well be all but over. The freeing of the net may be one step away from done. But there is still a need to form an alliance a true triumvirate or their may be another name as I am unclear if the forgotten see themselves as more than human at this point. So the changlings and the Psy will need their mated pairs, because they are the proof that the two races can work really well as a unit. The humans and changling will need theirs and if the forgotten do see themselves as more than human, then they will need theirs. So still a whole lot of story to tell there.

    I find myself going back to the Love conquers all statement, and I knwo it was not you that made it. So i am just putting here as this is the space i have. But I think who ever said it was wrong, that is not what Nalini has been saying with the series. I think the over all theme, the over all statement she is trying to make is more that Emotion, the ability to feel is what makes us what and who we are. Emotion conquers all, that feeling of family that is what holds us together in the times where you want to give up. That need to know you are not some burning bright star alone in the dark, just waiting for a moment in time when your light goes out. That is what conquers all, love is just a byproduct of that.

    As for Vasic I just reread the book, and I have a take on it I have not seen mentioned. We have said that we wished that his turning point had been explored more, but I wonder if that was not the point? It was not a Oh my god I love her moment, it was more gradual. I enjoy her being around, i enjoy her touch, I need to protect her. When exactly did I fall in love with her? To me it felt more real and that I think is why of my favorites Slave to sensation, Mine to possess, branded by fire, and play of passion. I would have to add this to the list because if you actually think about it. In both Branded by fire, and play of passion it was the female who went through that exact same gradual shift. That same slowly realizing that they not only wanted the mating, but needed it. This is really the first time I have seen her do it with the male, and being male I can tell you it happens all the time for us too..lol .. But in romance you don’t see that very often, allot of times we are portrayed as knowing what we want, and going after it. It is seen as very manly, but it is not always the reality, and allot of times we don’t realize we are in love and need our partner, until at some point you wake up and realize you would not be the same with out them.

  40. AlexandraM
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 09:52:23

    @shawn hilton:

    I find myself going back to the Love conquers all statement, and I knwo it was not you that made it. So i am just putting here as this is the space i have. But I think who ever said it was wrong, that is not what Nalini has been saying with the series. I think the over all theme, the over all statement she is trying to make is more that Emotion, the ability to feel is what makes us what and who we are. Emotion conquers all, that feeling of family that is what holds us together in the times where you want to give up. That need to know you are not some burning bright star alone in the dark, just waiting for a moment in time when your light goes out. That is what conquers all, love is just a byproduct of that.

    While I do think the importance of emotion is a major theme in this series I would argue that the primary message is actually the importance of balance, and I think part of that argument is the truth that there is no “perfect” solution for anything. The Psy felt everything before Silence – and it was painful. We know from Blaze of Memory and Shield of Winter that its implementation was an agonizing decision. From SoW:

    Kaleb knew the answer wasn’t as simple as Silence, and yet Silence was the core. “We attempted to become a race without flaws.”

    The Psy tried to solve one extreme with another, and it is reiterated throughout that though Silence is rotten it taught the Psy some important lessons and gave them invaluable tools for fighting the violence and insanity they are so susceptible to. For example:

    She could still taste the shock that had rippled through Judd’s telepathic touch when they’d first discovered the second intricate level of dissonance programming. But that hidden knife blade of pain had made perfect sense to Sienna – it wasn’t tied to emotion and had nothing to do with Silence except in that the mechanism had been developed as a result of the Protocol. Instead, this level of dissonance only kicked in when her X abilities triggered without her conscious awareness, a blaring warning that she was about to go active (Kiss of Snow).

    I don’t want to start a philosophical discussion by saying this (because then I’ll get nothing done today) but it’s not so much that “love conquers all” because some people do terrible things in the name of love. Does that mean their horrific acts negate their love? It’s a matter of opinion, but I don’t think so. I think the message about love here is more “love saves”, and I think Vasic and Ivy’s relationship in SoW emulates that.

  41. shawn hilton
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 10:00:51

    @AlexandraM: I actually agree 100%

  42. Amy
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 11:19:06

    I finished this book yesterday and I’ve been wondering whether I can add anything new to the discussion (as so many of you have made the exact comments that I would have made). I’m not sure I can. I agree with the B-/C+ grade for many of the reasons you’ve all identified here.

    I do want to vent a bit. I’m getting a bit frustrated about the lack of guts when it comes to Ms. Singh’s portray of events/main characters. She is all tell (with huge and evocative words) and no show when it comes to injuring or killing *named* (as opposed to nameless) characters. For example, as many of you already pointed out, she hasn’t even truly showed us that the overprotective changelings will in fact seriously attack and ask questions later when their loved ones are threatened. That scene in S of W involving the changeling alpha’s cabin should have resulted in something more than the mild cut that we saw. And I’m one of the readers who was really frustrated that no one from SnowDancer even suffered serious long-term injuries after that battle in K of S.

    And I wish Ms. Singh would stop telling me how horrific certain characters’ experiences have been and not show me how horrific their experiences were. Ivy is almost a carbon copy of Sahara. (I wanted to throw my Kindle to the ground when Ivy said things like “My Vasic” — echoing Sahara’s “My Kaleb”; where do these Psy learn to talk like that?!!) She has suffered no apparent long term or lasting consequences from what Aden described as “one of the most brutal sessions I’ve ever seen, a hairsbreadth from a rehabilitation.” Vasic observed early on that “it was a miracle she’d survived without severe brain damage.” From these remarks (and others made by Ivy and her family in the early chapters) I expected to see some damage. But nothing. Ivy has no physical damage and no mental impairment (that the reader can see). At least Sahara had a couple of post-traumatic stress scenes (though even how easily she recovered was unbelievable).

    @AlexandraM: I, too, want to thank you for the thought-provoking comments re the politics in this series. I agree with your observation that “[t]his type of political inspection would be a MASSIVE undertaking for any author – and this is a paranormal romance series where, while politics plays an important role, it is only one of several main focuses.” Ms. Singh does shine in this area and the fascinating world she’s created in the P-C series is a key reason why I continue to follow the series.

    @shawn hilton: You’ve made an interesting observation about some folk’s critiques re Vasic’s turning point. I agree with you that it is more realistic to not have an OMG moment. For me, the best romance/falling in love story in this series is H of O: you can see/feel S and K fall in love over the years via the flashbacks. But the problem I had with Ms. Singh’s portrayal of how V fell in love with Ivy here is the fact that she didn’t show the reader how V overcame his long standing depression/death wish so suddenly after working with Ivy. How does someone like V (based on his past portrayals) have the capability of truly falling in love so quickly? It makes me question how real it is. I still can’t believe how quickly V characterized Ivy as his “mate”!

    The last thing I want to say is that I love this nuanced discussion of S of W. No where else have I found the varied and intelligent critiques of Ms. Singh’s works that I have found here; it’s primarily a love fest elsewhere on the web.

  43. shawn hilton
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 11:55:08

    @Amy: Actually Amy your not totally wrong. But your not totally right either. She kinda did show you vasic coming out of his shell for her, It was just very very subtle. I am gonna break what I saw in three parts. First the start of the book she was his mission, she was his to protect, during that time he found he liked to be around her. That he liked her teasing and even started to tease back… But he still had times where he was frozen, where he went right back into his shell. Part 2 she wasnt just another E that was his mission to protect she was his E, but even then he was still the outsider looking in at something he now knew he wanted, but he believed he was not worthy of having. Then part three she finally tells him ok thats enough, I am done with you brooding alone.

    Now I may be projecting the way i started to heal from my depression on the story, and if it feels like i am i am sorry. But that is much how it was with me, the only difference it wasn’t a love i needed to recover for. But all the stages were there.

    as for the about just telling about brutal pasts and not showing them. I would like to point out these are romance novels, not horrors there are some limits that publishers will place on what you can put in to keep you in your genre. Like mine made me remove a rape scene, or they would not classify it as romance. Even though that scene was there just for what you are talking about. Showing the hell someone went through. So some of that may be beyond her control.

    I do agree about fight scenes not having perm injuries, but then again she may have just not shown them or in the case of the snowdancer purepsy battle , I would have been bothered more i think if she had not shown a good reason why they were all healed, which she did.

  44. CD
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 12:38:20

    I haven’t had time to read through all the comments on this but just to mention that I will, as of this moment, be stalking Jennie as I basically agree with every single point she made in the review – particularly on the Changeling = emotion = good vs Psy = Intellect = bad. And Singh’s writing sometimes drives me up the wall: “I need to park by this” he said “tree because” he whispered “the tree is” he growled softly “good”. OK, that sentence was an exaggeration but not by much… I feel so sorry for that poor narrator on audible.

    However, I still eat Singh’s books up like crack…

    BTW, is no one else annoyed at how Singh consistently pushes the whole “love/protectiveness beyond anything else” thing? I get that it can be romantic and it definitely works very well with a character like Kaleb who is portrayed as having few ties to anyone outside of Sahara. However, it just drove me up the wall with other heroes, and particularly Hawke. I have multiple problems with Hawke and Sienna as a couple but the absolute straw was that scene when he, a supposed responsible alpha, completely disregards the lives of his pack, not to mention Sienna’s wishes, when her powers started going critical. And instead of being framed as a danger of over-emotionalism, it’s actually framed as something incredibly romantic that shows the depths of his love rather than being more about his own selfish needs above the wishes of his partner (and presumably his pack).

    Anyway, as I said, I do love the series despite this and the very very dubious sexual politics. HEART OF OBSIDIAN and CARESSED BY ICE are favourites but I really love MINE TO POSSESS and TANGLE OF NEED which are the books that never get any love [sniff sniff].

  45. CD
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 12:41:11

    And yes, I’ll be reading Vasic’s book although it is looking like a paler version of HEART OF OBSIDIAN…

  46. Janine
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 13:25:48

    @AlexandraM:

    Also remember that Silence wasn’t simply enacted by the Council. It was argued about over the course of years by every individual in the Net. We know this from Blaze of Memory and SoW. We also know that the situation in the Net at that time was not unlike the situation in SoW where mass violence and deaths were threatening the collapse of the entire Net. This demonstrates how active the Psy were in interacting with their leadership before Silence and serves as further evidence that the Council itself wasn’t the problem – Silence was. Because of the eventual disaster caused by the Council I do think it’s prudent for the Psy to develop a better system…but I also think it unfair to malign the Council system itself without examining some of these issues.

    Silence is what caused the divergence between the effectiveness of the Pack vs. Council systems.
    More than once in SoW Kaleb Krychek thinks of the Psy as “sheep”, and Sahara responds “If they are, it’s because they’ve been trained to be that way for a century.” By the end of the book a new, healthier ruling coalition is formed that I think is a huge step in the right direction.

    Good points. I don’t disagree with the thrust of your argument here, but I really dislike seeing human beings called sheep by the man who rules them.

    I do feel somewhat skeevy defending Kaleb’s position as de facto leader, but I want to point out that some forms of government contain provisions for allocated and absolute power during times of war and emergency. With the disease situation in the PsyNet during SoW the expedient decision-making allowed by such governance, to me, is essential in the race against the clock, particularly amid all the chaos already in place. However, we also all know from history that such contingencies have a way of backfiring. I’m not entirely happy with the coalition solution (three former councilors, the Arrows and empaths) but it is still a good change.

    Yes, I agree with all of what you just said too. But, and this is a big but–what bugs me is the statement (made over and over, though not in precisely these words) that Kaleb is so innately powerful that he will always be atop the heap. Is he in charge because it’s an emergency, or is he in charge because he’s a central character in the series whom Singh favors and wants to bestow this kind of power on, even when it’s not necessarily always going to be the best option?

    What I mean to say is that you can’t have it both ways. Either the Psy are transitioning to a healthier system and inching toward democracy (however flawed) with demonstrations, a free press, etc., which means that their eventual elections will mean something and they will actually be able to choose their own leaders, for good or ill, OR Kaleb is so inherently powerful that he will always be top dog. But pick one, and don’t keep reiterating both.

    Now, I suspect what Singh will do down the road s write an election in which Kaleb is democratically chosen to lead the Psy, and this may even be realistic and believable (after all the Psy don’t know that he once gave serious consideration to killing all of them, though if they did, I’m sure they wouldn’t vote for him, which makes me feel like he’ll be conning them if/when that day comes). Considering all that the Psy have been through, they will want a strong leader, I get that.

    BUT you can’t have a free election *and* have it said over and over that Kaleb is predestined to rule. A free election means a chance that he won’t. And right now it’s portrayed as if his being in power forever is a done deal. If it really is written in stone, then what is the point of all the improvements to the coalition?

    @AlexandraM:

    Along the same vein I agree with the joint review that Nalini Singh tends to “pull back” after setting up her characters to be edgy. As in my example from KoS she does this with her plot lines to some extent. She has a tendency to build up (something that is compounded by Singh’s highly emotive style of writing) seemingly insurmountable obstacles. My problem with that isn’t so much her solutions – as opposed to other PNR series I stopped reading for the sole reason I couldn’t stand the deus-ex-machina resolutions – but that there are never any real sacrifices. Everyone gets to have their cake and eat it, too. I was honestly glad Vasic had to lose his arm to rid himself of that gauntlet – and even then it wasn’t so bad because his Tk abilities made it less of an issue than it would be for a normal amputee. I really appreciate that healing is a series theme but Singh’s constructed the Psy-Changeling world in such a realistic, technical manner that doesn’t gel with the lack of real-world sacrifices on behalf of the characters in order to achieve their HEAs.

    +1 to everything you said here.

    I am willing to forgive this because, on a global scale, the costs are astronomical. Remember in Heart of Obsidian that over 200,000 people BURNED TO DEATH in Hong Kong.

    For me this kind of thing just makes the lack of sacrifices by the characters we care about more glaring. So many nameless, faceless characters die but until this book, not a single of the characters we know and care about was ever seriously injured? What are the statistical odds of that?

    (I brought up this issue in my review of Archangel’s Legion. I felt that a side character whose fate mattered to the reader should have died, at the very least.)

    @Mo: I agree that for Judd to duplicate the helix is a bit much. But if the helix appeared when Sienna’s mom was pregnant with her, then it stands to reason that when Walker dies, another helix will appear in the family. It’s a bit convenient, yes, but I don’t agree that it should necessarily be Toby.

    @Mo: I think the reason given for the lack of information on the X (including past history with the helix) is that it was expunged from all the history books. Remember Nikita sent Sascha Alice’s book about the X designation when little was known about it. X is a rare ability, but yeah, I agree, it’s a little odd that, even if it wasn’t written down anywhere, there wouldn’t at least be spoken stories passed down through generations, given how spectacular a display the X ability can cause.

    @Jennie: Thanks for clarifying this for me and for Shawn.

  47. library addict
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 13:46:12

    @Janine: The book Nikita sends Sashca is about the E designation which was the one purged from the net. The X designation had never been as prevelent. And though Alice had planned to write a book about it, it was never released. She destroyed all of her notes so the Council wouldn’t get their hands on them, though they did try. That’s what many of the end of chapter emails (recovered from computer…) were in Kiss of Snow. So the X designation was acknowledged after Silence, but it was not as known to populance because of the rarity rather than being a designation which they pretended didn’t exist so far as the public was concerned like with the Empaths.

  48. library addict
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 13:55:25

    @shawn hilton: The facetime for extra characters did not bother me at all in Kiss of Snow. The Sascha and Lucas helping Sienna and Hawke scenes are some of my favorites in that book. As was Naya’s birth. It’s Tangle of Need where Hawke and Sienna seem to have almost as much page time as Adria and Riaz that I have issue with. I think Kiss of Snow is a book which finally gave a lot of answers. Tangle of Need is much more of a bridge/set-up for the rest of the series book to me.

  49. Janine
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 14:58:46

    @library addict:

    I am curious how Kaleb thinking this is different from Lucas thinking how he would destroy anyone who so much as bruised Sascha. Or Hawke wanting to take out all of the high-level Psy as retaliation for Brenna’s kidnapping or being “…a man who’d savage the world for his mate”? (per this book). Is it just that Kaleb is more powerful and thus could have actually done so?

    No, or rather not only. I really, really dislike Hawke and Lucas’ attitudes too–glamorizing vigilante justice bothers me (though at least in their case it is portrayed as an aspect of their animal nature, which is something changelings have to grapple with and try to control, not always successfully). And savaging the world for your mate (I’m not sure which character that line was describing) is wrong too, downright deranged! It should not be romanticized either. All these books disturb me.

    Even so, glamorizing ethnic cleansing is a whole ‘nother ball of wax in my book.

    There’s a difference between the latter and vengefully getting back at those people who wronged you or whom you have good reason to hold responsible for something that happened to a loved one. Yes, Singh doesn’t generally use words like “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” or “racial purification” in describing what Kaleb contemplates doing, but that’s what it is, and it’s racist.

    Kaleb wants to kill all the Psy because they are Psy and (correct me if I’m wrong, but this is how I remember it) he doesn’t even decide to exempt children from his plan until one of the later books.

    The fact that Kaleb is racist toward his own race doesn’t mitigate the virulence of his racism. And I dislike that this is used to make the book romantic, of all things. We’re meant to think it’s romantic that he loves her so much he will kill everyone of a certain race, for being of that race for her.

    True, the changelings too display some racist tendencies (Esp. in earlier books, all that stuff about most Psy having an unpleasant metallic smell? I also wonder, if almost all Psy , except for the “good ones,” have that smell, which signifies complete Silence, why do we later learn that most Psy care about their families?). But at least they exempt the average Psy, and kids especially, from their violent plans.

    Admittedly, my reasons for feeling this way are personal. I lost relatives I would have otherwise known and had in my life as a result of genocide. I’ve had other encounters with anti-semitism I could detail here but I don’t want to make this discussion about me. We all bring our personal experiences to reading, and so, even though I agree with CD that Heart of Obsidian is one of the best-crafted books in the series, I still find this aspect of it upsetting.

    I think we discussed this before but I just don’t see a major difference between Kaleb’s attitude re: Sahara and Lucas or Hawke’s attitudes re: Sascha and Sienna.

    Yes, we have and I don’t want to go another ten rounds about it. I will just quickly add that aside from the racism issue, there is also a difference of scale between planning to kill a few people and planning to kill millions or billions.

    As for Shield of Winter, I thought the net sickness wasn’t explored enough. Or maybe it was that the “battle” scenes had so little emotional impact overall. They were exhausted/upset, but then the issue was dismissed while they dealt with the gauntlet. Rinse and repeat.

    Yes! The net sickness could have killed almost all the Psy. It should have been much bigger source of angst than the gauntlet.

    Speaking of the series’ huge cast of characters, it really irked me in this book that Tamsyn and Lara were never mentioned by name (just referred to as “the pack healer” or “The other woman”). It took me out of the story.

    I noticed this too. It was odd and jarring.

    There’s also the priest dude (blanking on his name) and Nina to tie up.

    I can’t wait for that!

    I am really hoping Aden is paired up with Silver now (that thought never occurred to me until reading Shield of Winter).

    What a fabulous idea. That could be a great pairing.

    @shawn hilton:

    As for Vasic I just reread the book, and I have a take on it I have not seen mentioned. We have said that we wished that his turning point had been explored more, but I wonder if that was not the point? It was not a Oh my god I love her moment, it was more gradual. I enjoy her being around, i enjoy her touch, I need to protect her. When exactly did I fall in love with her?

    If that was what Singh intended, then even a couple of sentences like the last two you wrote here would have gone a long way toward making me feel as you do.

  50. AlexandraM
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 17:19:16

    Did anyone else catch the mention of the Arrow from the Venice defector group, Alejandro? It was stated the damage done by Jax was done to his organic brain. That got me thinking about Keenan and Noor…

    If Nalini Singh wrote a story about two Arrows (Alejandro and Zaira) I might just keel over from excitement before I even get my hands on the book.

  51. AlexandraM
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 17:28:10

    @Janine: First, your system rejected me as a spammer the first time so I apologize if my comment appears twice. I guess that would kind of make me a spammer. Heh.

    BUT you can’t have a free election *and* have it said over and over that Kaleb is predestined to rule. A free election means a chance that he won’t. And right now it’s portrayed as if his being in power forever is a done deal. If it really is written in stone, then what is the point of all the improvements to the coalition?

    What is the point of a ruling coalition, indeed. Luckily I like to highlight as I read so here is a compilation of evidence from Shield of Winter that reinforces the reiterations you mentioned:

    “Part of the problem with the Council was that everything was done in the shadows, ‘justice’ meted out on an arbitrary basis. We need to return to an open system, where men like this can be tried and punished according to our laws.” (Aden, Ch 9)

    Democracy, as the humans understood it, didn’t work in the PsyNet. It was populated by too many powerful minds that could careen out of control if not kept in strict check – which meant the people at the helm had to be ruthless and powerful themselves (Ch 41).

    As the most powerful Psy in the Net, Kaleb would always be at the top. The fact was, without him, no one would take any ruling body seriously – because he could change everything in a heartbeat (Ch 41).

    Kaleb knew he’d always be a power and that was how he wanted it…he needed to create an institution that wouldn’t collapse if he stepped away – and that wouldn’t eventually become rotten to the core, as had happened with the Council (Ch 57).

    I don’t see a free election happening based on what Nalini Singh has told us so far about the need for stringent control in the PsyNet (remember that past Councilors tended to have massive psychic power – and this makes sense considering the importance of anchors in the Net). There are certain limitations caused by the nature of the Net itself that prevent this type of system. However I concur that you can’t have it both ways.

    I do think it’s logical to state the populace wouldn’t have faith in a system that didn’t include Kaleb after witnessing both his telekinetic and telepathic feats. Contributing to this in a massive way is the fearful and confused state of Psy society. It doesn’t make them sheep (I really disliked that comparison, too) – but it still means they are accustomed to very few with most of the power (this is also logical considering, again, the nature of the Net and that Psy differing proportions of raw psychic strength). That is a sad reality because despite the epic blunder of Silence I see the Psy as highly intelligent – they are their minds – and they deserve better.

    What concerns me most is that whatever system is developed is setting itself up for failure because Nalini Singh has also explicitly told us that Kaleb will always be top gun in the Net even if it’s from the shadows. What happens in another one hundred years when Kaleb isn’t around anymore? What was the whole point in creating a system that includes a clause for Kaleb Krychek in its foundation? Won’t that make it susceptible (and the populace more amenable due to acclimation and/or complacency) to someone else with more nefarious intentions seizing power after he is gone?

    I’m really interested to see how Nalini Singh pulls this off, and I hope the rebuilding of post-Silence Psy society and governance is a main focus of the next book. Frankly a break from the “action” would be refreshing because in this series it is pretty gruesome.

  52. Amy
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 02:17:34

    @CD: I agree with you said about that battle scene “when he, a supposed responsible alpha, completely disregards the lives of his pack, not to mention Sienna’s wishes . . . .” I think you’re the first person who has mentioned this point (that I’ve seen online); that scene bothered me, too, for precisely the reasons you stated.

    @Janine: I, too, find it troubling (and not romantic) when we hear Kaleb say he is willing to wipe out almost all Psy for Sahara. His willingness to sacrifice his race for her is akin to Hawke’s willingness to sacrifice his entire pack for Sienna. I find neither portrayal necessary to the plot.

    Does anyone have a plausible idea regarding what Aden’s real power may be? I can’t recall any clues in past books and I’m really intrigued by his psychic strength (portrayed in this book). I’m wondering if there is another hidden designation (like the E); otherwise how could childhood tests not revealed his true designation (and made that part of records accessible by Kaleb)?

  53. shawn hilton
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 03:24:05

    @AlexandraM: Yes I caught that too, and I agree, my mind did jump right to the two small ones. So I can see that coming, the problem I will have with an Arrow to Arrow book though is this. The Arrows are being portrayed as soldiers yes? But not just any kind of soldiers, damaged and abused by those who are supposed to protect them, granted all soldiers in this book or in real life are taught that the only people you are supposed to be able to trust above all others is your unit. they are family who understand you better than anyone. But in order to heal in the way that those kind of soldiers need too, you need someone who is not damaged themselves. Yet you still find away to trust, someone who is willing to stand beside you, and help you through the stages you need to go through to heal. A book showing two extremely damaged soldiers would have to be done very carefully.

    As for what you and Janine pointed out about free elections. I would like to point out that democracy is handled differently all over the world. The parliament system is nothing like the American congressional system yet works just as well. Even the United States system is based on the original Roman empire system, but it is not exactly the same and that system worked very well for 2000 years. That system had free elections, but you did not elect Cesar, you elected congress, and they made the laws. Cesar could veto any law congress made, BUT if he got to out of hand he ran the risk of a new Cesar killing him and taking his place. By that measure What Nalini is describing is very similar to the Roman Empire form of Democracy. One strong leader that you do not elect, that can only be removed from power by someone more deadly, with a congress of senators who make the laws, that he can veto to ensure that they do not go blindly back into the dark or said senate doesn’t try to become the all powerful entity it was before. Still democracy just different than what you may used to. But there is no such thing as a one system works for all, because everyone is different and with the psy a race where your strength is your power, personally and politically I get exactly what she means when she says the human way wont work for them.

    Janine as for what you said about Genocide from kaleb, I think you are really missing a big point with kaleb. He has no conscience, none, zip, zero. Saharra is his conscience. In his search for her yea he had those thoughts, of coarse he did, because he had one mission and one mission alone find her, save her, punish anyone who harmed her or had a hand in harming her, and after Enrique he blamed silence and anyone who supported it. Once he did find her though there was a fundamental shift in him. His connection with her caused that shift.

    You see it all through SOW where instead of simple killing all the silent voices for their decent, he even goes to talk to the leader to convince her that her views are wrong. The kaleb your describing would never have done that, he would have simply killed her and be done with it. Which brings me back to what I said earlier in the thread, and Library addict added to my wording to make it more clear. Emotion is the start, while kaleb was silent of coarse killing the whole psy race to punish them for their part in harming her would make sense to him. He doesn’t care about them, he rose to the rank of councilor for one reason, and one reason only.

    To what you said about vigilante justice i would like to point out what she is describing through out the series is a civil war that turned into a revolution. There are two terms that have been used to describe revolutionaries through out history, some are still called these two words even today. The only reason they are is because their revolution failed. history is written by the victors. It is not a set thing, written history is fluid ever changing and the ones who hold power are the ones who change it. those two words Vigilante and terrorist.

    And for what you said about if she had just added the small sentences you would believe as I do. i took all those straight from the book i just reworded them in my own words. They are there.

  54. shawn hilton
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 03:36:29

    @Amy: Actually I have an idea about that. I think he has an Ability that was talked about early on that you do not hear much about. I think it was Sasha who had a minor version of it, and it was part of what helped her to hide she was an E even when her shields were fragmenting. I may be wrong but I believe it was something about being able to hide her true power from everyone. I took that to mean that she would appear as a lower point in the gradient to anyone she did not want to know what she was. I think if I am right Aiden is the same. I think he is able to hide just how much power he actually has, from a political point of view that could come in very handy and allow him to portray himself as simply a medic when he is really much much more.

    To everyone else to add to what I said in my last post.

    The romantic part was not Kalebs hunt for saharra, or how he felt during said hunt, or who he wanted kill during that hunt. The romantic part is what came after, this strong deadly man be so very gentle with her. Caring for her, loving her.

  55. Laura
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 10:11:55

    Whew! Just finished reading the review and all the comments! I don’t think I’ve seen such in-depth critical discussion about this book, or the series in general, anywhere else and it was just what I was looking for. Most other places are squee fests and that’s fine, but just not what I wanted to read. I agree so much with this review as well as with many of the comments.

    I completely co-sign Singh’s melodramatic prose. There are times when I like the intensity and get wrapped up in it, and there are other times I just want to look Nalini in the eyes and say, “Chill”. Also her tendency to hammer personality traits in your head is annoying. I think there’s a drinking game to be had in how many times she uses the word “possessive”, especially in the first few books.

    Amen to the dubious sexual politics in the books as well as the incredibly enforced gender roles. WE GET IT. All the guys are dominant and aggressive and possessive and really tall. I hate how in the end of Play of Passion, there’s a convo where it’s mentioned that Drew may well become more dominant than Indigo one day. It’s like she gave us a couple where the dynamics were slightly different and then was like, “Psych! Can’t POSSIBLY have a dominant woman and slightly less dominant man together, at least not FOREVER. No no no no no! That just isn’t done!”. Ugh.

    Yet, with all these glaring problems, I keep coming back to read the next book! This series is my guilty pleasure.

  56. Mo
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 10:21:40

    @Laura:

    It’s like she gave us a couple where the dynamics were slightly different and then was like, “Psych! Can’t POSSIBLY have a dominant woman and slightly less dominant man together, at least not FOREVER. No no no no no! That just isn’t done!”. Ugh.

    That’s how I felt when Ashaya gave Dorian his cat. I was furious. It was something that made Dorian unique and I felt that he lost that when he got his cat. It was almost like saying “You, Dorian, are not good enough as you are. I have to fix you now.” I loved how he was latent, how he was able to help Brenna because of it, how it made him tougher in so many ways. And all I could think of was now he was just like everyone else.

  57. Mo
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 10:35:59

    @CD:

    Anyway, as I said, I do love the series despite this and the very very dubious sexual politics. HEART OF OBSIDIAN and CARESSED BY ICE are favourites but I really love MINE TO POSSESS and TANGLE OF NEED which are the books that never get any love [sniff sniff].

    I lost an earlier post about this but am coming back to it now. Mine to Possess is a very problematic book for a lot of people. Part of the problem, imo, is that Nalini does subtlety too well sometimes. A lot of people loathe that book and it all starts with Tally. They hate her and think she isn’t good enough for Clay. Some have outright said he doesn’t deserve to be paired with a slut.

    I understand that her issues stem from her abuse as a child and that “promiscuity” is one of the normal reactions to that kind of abuse. But it’s just not stated explicitly enough. Her brain degeneration is also not explained well enough, again imo, for people to understand what is really happening with her. Because I’ve studied psychology, I understand a bit better the concept of fugue state. Some of those things were more obvious to me, but I truly think that was because I was educated in it.

    In the end it doesn’t surprise me that Clay and Tally really haven’t been making repeat showings, though imo, I think Tally could have been “redeemed” if she had been shown as having a strong place in the pack.

    Don’t get me started on Tangle of Need, I still consider that a Tangled Mess. I never warmed to either of them and the muddying of the mate waters started in KoS and completed in ToN drove me insane. I finally came to the conclusion that Hawke was wrong as a child and that others in the pack only thought she would be his mate because he was so sure of it.

  58. Laura
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 12:35:26

    @Mo: Yes, exactly! I rolled my eyes so far back when that happened I’m lucky they’re not stuck. It was just sending the message that your life will never be complete and perfect unless your “lack” is “fixed”. I know Nalini probably just thought she was giving Dorian his HEA and everything is unicorn and rainbows, but I’m pretty sure I don’t need to say why that’s problematic.

  59. library addict
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 14:55:45

    I hate how in the end of Play of Passion, there’s a convo where it’s mentioned that Drew may well become more dominant than Indigo one day. It’s like she gave us a couple where the dynamics were slightly different and then was like, “Psych! Can’t POSSIBLY have a dominant woman and slightly less dominant man together, at least not FOREVER. No no no no no! That just isn’t done!”. Ugh.

    @Laura: Agree.

  60. library addict
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 14:57:38

    That’s how I felt when Ashaya gave Dorian his cat. I was furious. It was something that made Dorian unique and I felt that he lost that when he got his cat. It was almost like saying “You, Dorian, are not good enough as you are. I have to fix you now.” I loved how he was latent, how he was able to help Brenna because of it, how it made him tougher in so many ways. And all I could think of was now he was just like everyone else.

    @Mo: I would have felt this way if we hadn’t known long before his book that he would eventually be able to shift. But since we were told this in the second book it didn’t bother me.

  61. library addict
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 15:00:59

    @Mo: My issues with Mine to Possess were mostly with Clay not Tally. But I didn’t really connect to either character. I did enjoy their book more the second time I read it, but it will never be a favorite.

  62. Janine
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 15:19:20

    @Amy: I’m so glad you’re enjoying the discussion. I’ve seen critical discussions of the Psy/Changeling books elsewhere too, but you’re right that there is a lot of love for them in the community. They are vastly entertaining books, and I usually find them very enjoyable when I read, despite my gripes, so I can understand why that is the case.

    @CD:

    However, I still eat Singh’s books up like crack…

    Any theories on why? Also, good point about Hawke risking his pack for Sienna.

    @CD: Shield of Winter is pretty different from Heart of Obsidian . There are more differences than similarities IMO. For one, Vasic has a stronger conscience than Kaleb.

    @library addict: You’re right, the book Nikita sent Sascha was about the E designation. I got mixed up because there was a passage about the X designation in there that Sascha came across at one point. I’m trying to remember if that was what Lucas and Sascha speculated was one of Nikita’s reasons for sending it, or if that’s just my imagination. But I think maybe I am and you’re right that the X’s weren’t hidden from the population as the E’s were.

    @AlexandraM: Sorry about the spam filter; the whole site was frozen for several hours yesterday while we were transferred to another server, so none of us could post anything during that time.

    You may be right that the Psy are not heading toward free elections.

    What concerns me most is that whatever system is developed is setting itself up for failure because Nalini Singh has also explicitly told us that Kaleb will always be top gun in the Net even if it’s from the shadows. What happens in another one hundred years when Kaleb isn’t around anymore? What was the whole point in creating a system that includes a clause for Kaleb Krychek in its foundation? Won’t that make it susceptible (and the populace more amenable due to acclimation and/or complacency) to someone else with more nefarious intentions seizing power after he is gone?

    Yes. The problem is that such a system equates most powerful with best for everyone. And we know from the Council days that that isn’t always so. What if Kaleb was more like Enrique in personality, but had the same powers he has now? Would his leadership still be a forgone conclusion? We’ve been told that his power, ambition, and intelligence are what ensure his leadership, not his wisdom, and an evil leader can be just as powerful, ambitious, and bright as a good one.

    @shawn hilton:

    By that measure What Nalini is describing is very similar to the Roman Empire form of Democracy. One strong leader that you do not elect, that can only be removed from power by someone more deadly, with a congress of senators who make the laws, that he can veto to ensure that they do not go blindly back into the dark or said senate doesn’t try to become the all powerful entity it was before.

    But the fact that he can only be removed from power by someone more deadly is the problem. It presupposes that if an evil leader rose to power, that more deadly someone would be good, and things would be balanced out by that.

    Janine as for what you said about Genocide from kaleb, I think you are really missing a big point with kaleb. He has no conscience, none, zip, zero. Saharra is his conscience.

    I’m not missing anything. I discussed this in detail in the Heart of Obsidian thread which you can find here. I enjoyed Heart of Obsidian a great deal. I think it’s one of Singh’s most romantic books. But the fact that Sahara is Kaleb’s conscience is part of what I have a problem with. What if something happens to Sahara? What if she had died in Tatiana’s hands? Would Kaleb have wiped out the Psy? A human being (especially one romanticized as a hero) should have his own conscience, not rely on someone else’s. Mind you Heart of Obsidian was one of my favorite books of the year last year, but that doesn’t make me unaware of its problematic aspects, or of Kaleb’s.

    In his search for her yea he had those thoughts, of coarse he did,

    Why of course? Would anyone have reacted the way Kaleb did when she was taken, and decided to wipe out his race if she died or if he didn’t find her? There are people whose children are kidnapped and sometimes raped or otherwise harmed, and while they search for their children, we don’t see them plotting to kill every member of the one race.

    Once he did find her though there was a fundamental shift in him. His connection with her caused that shift.

    Yes, and the shift was romantic, but that doesn’t negate the problems I brought up.

    Emotion is the start, while kaleb was silent of coarse killing the whole psy race to punish them for their part in harming her would make sense to him. He doesn’t care about them, he rose to the rank of councilor for one reason, and one reason only.

    I thought there was a fissure in his Silence? I never saw his reasons for wanting to punish them as Silent and emotionless. They stemmed from possessiveness and protectiveness which is, in Singh’s world, the opposite of Silence.

    Re. the fluidity of history, I agree there. You make a good point about the vigilante thing– perhaps you are looking at in a wider political context while I’ve been looking at it in a more personal one. I have no problems with the idea of killing in self-defense, but vengeance isn’t an impulse I admire. The Psy/Changeling world is one in which justice is often absent, so it’s true the characters have to dispense justice themselves, but the way they think about lashing out violently first, and asking questions later, makes me feel it is more about vengeance than justice.

    And for what you said about if she had just added the small sentences you would believe as I do. i took all those straight from the book i just reworded them in my own words. They are there.

    Touche. I said they would go a long way, but I guess they didn’t…

  63. shawn hilton
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 16:24:18

    @Janine: First off I want to make sure you get i am not coming down on your for your opinion. I am just discussing it, and I like the disagreement.(probably wrong word, but I live in Germany, and have for a long time, and I have noticed that my english is getting fairly simple words..lol) That being said.

    “But the fact that he can only be removed from power by someone more deadly is the problem. It presupposes that if an evil leader rose to power, that more deadly someone would be good, and things would be balanced out by that.”

    no I don’t think that is what is meant, evil leaders can come to power no matter how they get there. Rather it be by strength of their ruthlessness, or by election. Case in point taking from actual history the Romans had no shortage of bad ceasars, and good ones. Both of which rose to power on the ruthlessness, and strength. BUT Hitler was voted into office and he was arguably the most evil leader of recent history. But he was voted into to power, he did not kill anyone to get there, he won the vote in free elections. What he did after he got that power doesn’t matter. But the fact he was elected in an election that is closer to the type we use today does, and the fact he was reelected does as well. By that case if evil people want power and to hold it, they are going to. It doesn’t matter if they have to kill to get it, or be sneaky and convince the masses that they want to elect him.

    “Would Kaleb have wiped out the Psy? A human being (especially one romanticized as a hero) should have his own conscience, not rely on someone else’s.”

    I don’t think so, and the reason I say that is because he didn’t. he has been shown to have so much power that when he was free of, (oh good lord brain lock..lol) The serial killer guy..lol.. He could have easily whiped out the council, yet he didn’t instead he started a quiet revolution. Yes he was ruthless in the way he fought the war to that point, but there are 7 books leading up to his and Saharra’s. Yet not once does he actually do it, no matter how much he may have considered it. So in a way he maybe does have a conscience, maybe he was just being practical. Who knows honestly but the point is he no matter how much he thought about it, he never actually did it, even though he has been shown that he had mroe than enough power.

    “Why of course? Would anyone have reacted the way Kaleb did when she was taken, and decided to wipe out his race if she died or if he didn’t find her? There are people whose children are kidnapped and sometimes raped or otherwise harmed, and while they search for their children, we don’t see them plotting to kill every member of the one race.”

    I think it was you earlier who said something about antisemitism when you used the word genocide. If not I apologize now. But I will try to keep my point the same. 1945 the Nazis were defeated, by 1948 most if not all the high leadership had been placed on trial for what they did to the jewish people. Now fast forward to the year 2014. there are still groups whose sole job is to hunt down Nazi war criminals. Why? the war has been over for a very long time, all of them would be old men living in nursing homes. The answer to punish them for their actions in world war 2. Though some of these men were simply following the orders from those above them. They could not have said no even if they wanted to, but the mind set of they have to be punished for their actions against the Jewish people is still there. Now i don’t want to turn this into a discussion of history, and I believe they should be punished as well. My reason for stating it is this. Not all Germans were Nazis, but at the end of world war 2 Germany was split into two countries and a multitude of its land was given to other nations, to punish the whole of the German people for the actions of its leaders.

    We know from biographies, and the writing of the allied leaders of the time, they did not care if the Germans Nazi or not lived or died after the war in a great many cases and, obviously punished all Germans for the actions of some. now to really state my point. i think yes anyone would have had those thoughts, if a powerful group of people were responsible for the pain and or death of our love ones, of our families. That makes you human, rage, love those base emotions, make you what you are. So having the thoughts of I could kill anyone who had anything to do with this circumstance yes that is normal. What would have not been normal is if he had actually carried out the thoughts. That is a crime, thinking about it is not, that is why even in real life we don’t punish someone for what they think about, I can think about killing a leader because he is a bad leader, but I am only punished for it if I actually do it.

    “I thought there was a fissure in his Silence? I never saw his reasons for wanting to punish them as Silent and emotionless.”

    Actually i got something different from the portrayal. What i got was that he blamed them all for being silent like you said. But he blamed them not for their silence and silence alone. I got he was blaming them for allowing monsters like Enrique..that was the name..lol.. to be able to come to power, and inadvertently being responsible for the taking of her and the way he was abused growing up. She does make it pretty clear at least to me, that up until Saharra he is silent, the only crack he shows is towards Saharra that being said his silence was complete to everyone else, including himself.

    But anyway lets keep going i am enjoying the debate..lol

  64. Brie
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 17:45:45

    This discussion is amazing. I feel like I enjoyed reading all your comments more than the book, and I’m very glad I waited to read the review and thread until today ;-)

    I feel like I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said, much better, by you guys, but I did want to say to @Mo that I love, love, loooove Tally and that Mine to Possess is one of my favorite books in the series, so you’re not alone. I wasn’t aware that people disliked her, though, but I’m, sadly, not surprised that there’s an element of slut-shaming to it, so now I’m sad. I also really liked Bonds of Justice, another book that gets no love.

  65. library addict
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 18:08:29

    Kaleb could also have easily allowed more Psy to die when the net collapse happened in Tangle of Need and/or during several of the events on Heart of Obsidian but he didn’t, he saved as many as he could. And in Shield of Winter when he said many of the Psy were like sheep I thought he was rather disappointed in them, but maybe I am reading too much into it. Either way his actions speak lounder than his thoughts for me. Also having just reread the entire series, the early scenes from the Ghost’s POV really help to flesh out Kaleb’s character IMO. Even in this book when he thinks of Sahara’s connection to DarkRiver as being “A good thing to have in her arsenal” and she says that it’s about family, it illustrates that he just thinks of everything as how it affects Sahara. Everything is filtered through that lens for him. But at the same time, some of the outrageous things he says to Sahara about cutting the Silent Voices group off to their own part of the net, etc are as she says to show his dark sense of humor.

  66. library addict
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 18:13:11

    @Brie: Bonds of Justice is one of my favorites, too.

    That’s one of the great things about this series, each book has at least a little something for everyone and everyone can have their own favorites. Even the books where I’m not a fan of the romance (which are very few overall) there are the rebillion/political scenes. And the early books lay the foundation and all of the subsequent books contribute something to the overall story arc. So there is not one I regret reading and there are none I won’t reread in the future.

  67. Janhavi
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 18:15:57

    Wow- an amazing comment thread.

    With Vasic, I think part of the reason we are supposed to believe in his recovery is that Ivy is an empath, and it is clearly stated that their Psy power is to heal emotional wounds. In SoW it is shown that the Arrows who are connected to an empath are more emotionally stable, and this has been throughout the series- way back in Slave to Sensation, Sascha heals Dorian without conscious effort (the sparkles enter him), and in Visions of Heat concludes with how Sascha’s ‘multi colored sparkles’ are basically resolving Faith’s minor issues.

    Now, one may not find this plausible, but it doesn’t seem worse than changeling healers curing spinal injuries and F-Psy foretelling the future and teleportation and Judd reversing missiles and so on.

    **
    I didn’t know people dislike Tally for promiscuity. Huh. Its one of my least favourite books too, but thats because I cannot stand Clay’s slut shaming, so I guess I have the opposite reaction.

  68. shawn hilton
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 18:18:23

    @Brie: See what I asked that earlier if I was alone, in wishing for more Clay and tally where were you?….lol… Just kidding I loved that book it is my absolute favorite of the series. i don’t get why people don’t like it either. I love of the idea of young love being broken up by life, just to find its way again later. As for the people who someone said was saying things like she is a slut or whatever. It just goes to show that in it clay points out that tactile touch was normal for him and the shapers. Sex was normal for him and the shapers, I just think they are being unfair honestly, what he can do so should she. There is no double standard. chuckles…

    library addict

    I absolutely agree, I think just because he needs that filter of Sahrra doesn’t make him a bad person. If that was the case then any parent that ever judged their actions by how will this effect my children would fall in that same classification, and no politician would ever need to use the line think about the children to get something they don’t like banned. So yea..lol

  69. Lindsay
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 19:49:46

    What a great comment thread — I love hearing peoples’ perspectives and takes on these books. They are still 100% cracktastic to me (caregiver alpha is catnip like whoa), but interestingly enough as much as I love the series, I would be very much okay with named characters dying. I remember reading the end of Visions of Heat for the first time and going “You know, it’d be totally okay if she died. I will uglycry but if that’s where we need to go, we need to go.” I think I had the same reaction in Blaze of Memory, too. I understand that the Romance Contract says happily ever after, so I’m okay suspending disbelief, but I really would be okay with characters dying. Maybe because I read the books in more of a SF/F state of mind than romance!

    For Mine to Possess, Tally actually was a huge epiphany moment for me, because until that point I had never realized that promiscuity (especially without regard to safety) was totally common for survivors of abuse, and it actually started me on the road to my own counselling. It was such a “oh shit” moment that I will always keep that book close.

    I just finished Shield of Winter today and I did enjoy it, but I didn’t feel the same urgency of the world ending (despite the world ending!) that I did from Heart of Obsidian, maybe because a lot of it was from a distance. I’m a little sad to hear the next book wraps up the major storyline, but I’m pretty hopeful we’ll get to see lots more set in this world — and that any world Nalini Singh builds, I will be a very happy person to be a part of.

    TW for depression/suicidal ideology, for someone this is a very intimate subject, I was okay with Vasic’s depiction and changes, although I would have liked more therapy and care involved (I guess you get to magic some of that away with an E). There have been many times in my depression where I was numb and hurting inside and would like very much to just lie down and stop breathing, but this was a feeling of being overwhelmed and not having the energy to keep living my life. To me it is a VERY different feeling of full-blown ideation (which is another step from having-a-plan-this-is-a-crisis-help, but a shorter step) — I definitely got the feeling that Vasic wasn’t involved with ideation because it IS an emotional reaction and a howl of pain, whereas depression is more of a low moan that doesn’t stop. I have gotten extremely good at pinpointing where I am and what it means, and I can spend a lot of time in would-like-to-lay-down-and-stop-now, but it means there is still enough of a spark left that you’re putting one foot in front of the other (for him, duty, especially to the other Arrows, seemed to be what was keeping him going). Ideation is desperation to stop the pain and tends to have more panic involved, and while he was punishing himself, punishment is supposed to hurt, so he didn’t actually want to stop the pain. He felt like he deserved it (this is a big part of depression and why talk therapy can take sooooo long).

    That’s how I read it, anyhow. I really enjoyed Vasic and Ivy, I thought their exploration of themselves and each other was ADORABLE (“I read a manual!”), I really want to know what Aden and Walker were talking about at the end, and I’m so interested to see where the last arc of the story goes.

    I’m also totally uncomfortable with the dictator-of-the-world system of government, but then pack alphas are also not exactly something I’m comfortable with as a system of government either. That’s cool, I still like to see how different ones play out (spec fic/sci-fi is all about that), even if the system of government is determined by strange women laying in ponds distributing swords.

  70. Janine
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 21:01:29

    @shawn hilton:

    The romantic part was not Kalebs hunt for saharra, or how he felt during said hunt, or who he wanted kill during that hunt. The romantic part is what came after, this strong deadly man be so very gentle with her. Caring for her, loving her.

    But why was it romantic? IMO it was romantic precisely because it turned him from someone who might have killed millions of Psy had Sahara died into a loving, caring mate for her. Because he was so cold and ruthless to others, but warm and considerate to her. It was this contrast that made it romantic. You allude to that, when you say “this strong deadly man be so very gentle with her” — it’s the deadliness that made his gentleness uber-romantic.

    So I don’t think we can really separate the two– the deadliness from the romance. If Kaleb hadn’t been a deadly threat to the Psy race and perhaps by extension to the whole world, than Sahara’s love healing him would not be such an epic, towering love.

    @Amy: I forgot to reply earlier to your question about Aden’s power. I have no idea what it could be, but likely it will be something needed for the challenges the characters will face in the next book–dealing with Ming maybe? Maybe someone else will have a theory on this; I’m very curious about Aden’s power myself. He’s a character I like a lot so far.

    @Laura: I’m glad you are enjoying the discussion Your comment coincides really well with @JewelCourt‘s, and with a lot of what Jennie said. I can understand the way you guys feel about the writing style, but that aspect of Singh’s voice sucks me in.

    @Mo:

    Mine to Possess is a very problematic book for a lot of people. Part of the problem, imo, is that Nalini does subtlety too well sometimes. A lot of people loathe that book and it all starts with Tally. They hate her and think she isn’t good enough for Clay. Some have outright said he doesn’t deserve to be paired with a slut.

    I enjoyed Mine to Possess a lot when I read it, but I have little interest in revisiting it, because I was also uneasy with the sexual politics of that relationship. I didn’t dislike Tally at all but it really bothered me that her sexual past was a bone of contention between her and Clay. I can’t recall what words Clay used but I got the sense that he felt Tally had thrown herself away. Maybe it was just my interpretation, but I read his words as having an element of blame. If other readers felt he was blaming her for her sexual history as well, maybe instead of being angry with him for shaming her, as I was, they got angry with her?

    @shawn hilton: Thanks for explaining that you’re debating but not coming down on me for my opinion. I appreciate that. It can sometimes feel that way, particularly when several people are arguing with me at once, so it’s good to be reminded that it’s not the case.

    Yes, evil leaders can be elected, but they can also be replaced in four years’ time or so if the system remains democratic. It’s when the democratic process is corrupted by special interests or replaced with a dictatorship, as happened with Hitler, that they stay in power much longer. And they don’t have Psy powers to aid them in our world, but think how much worse it could be if they rose to power by virtue of those.

    This is off topic, but with regard to Nazi hunting, that’s a complex situation. I don’t doubt that there are some who were just following orders, but then the question is why? Because of a threat of death, or an obedient nature, or ambition to rise through the ranks? It’s a very, very complex situation and if they are never put on trial, how can we find out more? Then there are also Nazis like Josef Mengele whose horrific crimes I won’t recount here but had to learn about in grade school. He died of a stroke while swimming in a Brazilian resort, and remained unrepentant, I believe.

    The metaphor of comparing Kaleb, with his genocidal thoughts, to hunters of Nazis really doesn’t work for me.

    i think yes anyone would have had those thoughts, if a powerful group of people were responsible for the pain and or death of our love ones, of our families. That makes you human, rage, love those base emotions, make you what you are. So having the thoughts of I could kill anyone who had anything to do with this circumstance yes that is normal.

    Sure, thinking “I could kill this person” in that situation isn’t abnormal. But thinking “I could kill everyone of this person’s race” is a lot more far out. And then there is a far cry even between having a passing racist thought like that, as awful as it is, and thinking it for years, when you’ve had plenty of time to rethink it — and not just thinking, but actually considering doing it to the point that the closest thing you have to a buddy (Judd) thinks of taking you out, if it comes to that.

    @library addict: I agree that Kaleb’s actions are very different than his thoughts. But the problem to me is really not just Kaleb but rather the way his storyline relies on genocidal thoughts to make him into the sexy, dangerous guy who is redeemed and healed by love. As I said in my reply to Shawn just now, it’s romantic because he’s so dangerous and deadly to begin with. So his thoughts aren’t meaningless in the context of the series, even if he never acts on them.

    @library addict: I don’t regret reading any of the books either, but I’ve only reread a couple.

    @Janhavi: I thought of that too, until Ivy said that she didn’t use her ability on Vasic. If she didn’t use it, how can it have healed him?

  71. Janine
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 21:14:27

    @Lindsay: Do you feel that about Vasic (that he didn’t have suicidal ideation) strictly based on this book, or based on the whole series? Because if you’re speaking only of this book, I agree, but in earlier books (see for the quote from the end of Heart of Obsidian in this comment) I felt he was portrayed differently, and that inconsistency was my biggest issue with Shield of Winter in a nutshell.

  72. library addict
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 21:49:59

    @Janine: I don’t think his thoughts are unimportant at all. Just that his thought process still relies somewhat on him being an unreliable narrator. Overall I think we agree more than we disagree about Kaleb.

  73. shawn hilton
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 23:05:53

    @Janine: never a problem your oppinion is yours, I very rarely attack for an opinion, I wont say never because that would be a lie..lol.. My point in compairing Nazi hunters and Kalebs thoughts. Was this, in real life people are not immune to blaming members of a whole people, or people with the same ideology for the crimes of people of the past who had that ideology. That being said in this setting where Kaleb did not have the ability to lock all the people he blamed in a jail, so how else would he punish them? On that Note Death is a viable option even in real life so why not here?

    I also went back and looked, and in the main section where he had that thought that I could find, the way i read it, is that he could kill them all. Not that he would or that he actually planned on it. Just that he could. I may be wrong but that is all i am seeing for now. I read that more as if it came down to it he could and would with out a second thought. I again stress even if I am wrong on my reading of it. Thinking it is normal people do it all the time, how many times have you heard someone say “screw it turn the sand in the middle east to glass we can drill through that for the oil.” That is basically the same thought, the difference is we would not actually do it I hope.

    As for hitler was elected in 1932 and reelected in 1938 he did not change it to a full dictatorship until after that election, when his party had won the majority of the votes. my point was to show that Elections for the leader or not, if evil wants in then it will find its way in. And to basically show that there are other forms of democracy, that do not need to elect the strong leader or take him/her out of office after a very short time. Hell in the united states the only reason we have a limit of two terms is because the people kept electing a president who served 13 years in office, and the opposition could not get them to stop. because they liked him that much and he died of natural causes in his chair. So it was put in effect just so the people could not keep electing a leader they wanted over and over again, but especially from the opposing party.

    Yes he is a sexy character, yes he is a romantic character, but actions speak louder than words and in this case thoughts. You may think something when you are angry, that you would never actually do. Does it make you any less a person because you had the thought? No of coarse not, does it make you any less a sweet caring person because you lost your temper and thought about going postal over the price of a package, No. Again that is a normal thing, we all think about going postal, on a person or a group of people sometimes. But in the end its our actions that matter.

  74. Janine
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 12:54:39

    @library addict: It’s not just his thoughts that established that Kaleb was a danger to the Psy race, though. Kaleb also said things to Judd that made Judd (and I believe the Arrows too) prepare for the possibility of killing Kaleb, in Judd’s case even though Kaleb was an ally/friend.

    But regardless of whether Kaleb was a real danger at one time or not, I would have preferred that a different set of thoughts be used to romanticize Kaleb and Sahara’s relationship.

    @shawn hilton:

    I also went back and looked, and in the main section where he had that thought that I could find, the way i read it, is that he could kill them all. Not that he would or that he actually planned on it. Just that he could. I may be wrong but that is all i am seeing for now.

    I’m sure I could find multiple examples from the books that show that this thought was on Kaleb’s mind for years; that he considered it seriously enough that Judd knew he might have to kill Kaleb if Kaleb reached that point of actually doing it. I’m pretty sure Kaleb even said the Psy race might be too flawed in one of the books. I don’t have time to dig for examples but his doing something looked like serious possibility at one time. Later that changed, but that doesn’t alter the fact that his genocidal thoughts were part of what was used to show he was dangerous, and part of what Sahara and her love pulled him back from.

    I read that more as if it came down to it he could and would with out a second thought. I again stress even if I am wrong on my reading of it. Thinking it is normal people do it all the time, how many times have you heard someone say “screw it turn the sand in the middle east to glass we can drill through that for the oil.” That is basically the same thought, the difference is we would not actually do it I hope.

    I’ve heard statements like that a few times (mostly when I was in high school), and it horrified me. My thoughts at the time were that those kids spouting it had zero concept of what genocide is like.

    My early childhood was spent in Israel in the 1970’s and a bit into the 1980’s — we weren’t that far removed from the genocide of the Shoah. I was exposed to a lot of survivor experiences and many had lost loved ones, too. I heard and saw some of it in graphic detail while I was still a child.

    I think we are just coming at this from two different worldviews. I don’t even believe in the death penalty, personally.

    People have all kinds of creepy thoughts when bad things happen to their loved ones, but I like to believe that most of us realize those thoughts are wrong and feel immediate remorse. We have never seen Kaleb feel remorseful over the fact that he might have killed all the Psy at one time.

    Yes he is a sexy character, yes he is a romantic character, but actions speak louder than words and in this case thoughts.

    That’s not the point. The point is that those thoughts were used to make him a sexy and romantic character. Yes, racists talk about nuking the gulf states, but we don’t typically make them into heroes.

  75. library addict
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 16:38:53

    @Janine: I think it goes back to what Nalini answered in the second question in the Heart of Obsidian Book Club discussion

    Kaleb is not a black and white character, and so there can be no definitive answer on this point. I think any answer is going to depend on each particular reader, and how he or she interprets not only what Kaleb says, but what Kaleb does.

    The same with Judd wondering aloud to Xavier if he’d have the strength to kill Kaleb knowing Judd could have been the same in another life. Yes Judd asks the question, but that doesn’t mean he could have it or that he really planned to. He just knew it was possibilty. Either way to me it’s another moot point because Kaleb did get Sahara back.

  76. library addict
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 16:39:59

    Oops, that should be “could have done it or”

  77. Janine
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 17:05:19

    @library addict: Yes, I agree with you and with Nalini Singh. And I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy HoO or find it romantic, because I did. I enjoyed reading about Kaleb and his romance with Sahara. I gave the book a B+ and that’s a high grade from me. I nominated it for DABWAHA, too. I have no problem with other people loving the book, either. I’m just saying that the use of genocidal thinking in a redemption romance is problematic.

  78. library addict
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 17:25:56

    @Janine: I totally see and agree with that point. That’s why I said earlier I think we agree on this issue more than we disagree.

    On the subject of how Vasic was “cured” so easily, even if Ivy wasn’t consciously healing Vasic’s emotional wounds, the rainbow sparkles would have been present in the net with all of the empaths “waking up” and they affect all of the people in the net as needed rather the empath is doing anything or not. Yes the empaths can gather the other person’s negative emotions and distill them on an individual basis, but their mere presence in the next affects everyone as well. At least that’s the way I understand it.

  79. CD
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 17:27:53

    Sorry for not getting back earlier. I still haven’t read through all the comments although this is a fantastic discussion!

    @Amy:
    “I, too, find it troubling (and not romantic) when we hear Kaleb say he is willing to wipe out almost all Psy for Sahara. His willingness to sacrifice his race for her is akin to Hawke’s willingness to sacrifice his entire pack for Sienna.”

    I think Janine and others have commented on the unfortunate wider implications better than I could. My problem with Hawke’s actions, however, is more related to the romance, and to a lesser extent, character. As I mentioned, Hawke is portrayed as an alpha with responsibility over the lives of his entire pack who have placed their trust in him – and he essentially betrayed that trust by that action, and is never called out for it because it, unbelievably, all worked out. For me, that dynamic with a character like Kaleb who is essential a sociopath aside from a very few exceptions.

    However, my main issue with his actions is more about the romance. Sienna spent the last few books basically tortured by whether she would go critical and kill everyone that she has ever cared for – that’s been hammered home time and time again. And Hawke knew this. And yet, even when he was faced with the every evidence that that was actually happening, he didn’t respect her wishes and real fears, and stop her. Yes, it worked out because it was a romance, but what does that say about their relationship and how he cared for Sienna as a person rather than as possession. That pissed me off SO much. I never really liked Hawke anyway and he was doubly annoying in his hot/cold treatment of Sienna in his own book – but that took the biscuit.

    On the wider political implications, as I find the world-building in Singh’s PSY CHANGELING series to basically be wallpaper, it’s not something I can take very seriously. Politics doesn’t work in the way that Singh seems to think it does, so I just treat it as basically Disneyland with two sexy races in the mix, and leave it at that.

    @shawn hilton:
    @Lindsay:
    “@Janine:

    I can go on and on about my love for MINE TO POSSESS. To me, I found it to be the only book in the series where I felt the hero and heroine were really equal – without all that dominance crap that pervades the rest of the series, which is strange as Tally is probably the heroine with the least powers, being “just human”. However, I felt in many ways that she was the strongest heroines in the series, with the possible exceptions of Mercy and Brenda. I just loved how she was obviously damaged but had largely risen above it and dealt with it matter-of-factly, and I really loved her snarky, smart-aleck comments – and even her bitchy thoughts about Faith. I get tired of all these perfect gentle heroines who love everyone and are self-sacrificing to the point of martyrdom.

    As for Clay, at least he has his own personality and doesn’t meld into “Generic Changeling Hero” which an alarming number of Singh’s heroes do (do they have their own names?). I loved him mostly because he holds his own with Tally (“Bully, Brat”), but also for his faults – the way he broods and also how he sometimes blurts things out without thinking. It’s actually pretty endearing. And the way he cares for Tally makes a lot more sense than other heroes due to their complicated history.

    For those readers who slut-shamed Tally – if they exist, then they really haven’t read the book. For those who think Clay slut-shamed her himself, I really don’t think that that was the case. Perhaps a little at the beginning but Tally calls him out for that pretty rapidly by questioning his own history – and she makes it very clear that she’s not going to abase herself on his alter of purity, or words to that nature. The way I read it was that it was more that he hated how she sold herself so cheaply and abused herself – particularly as he had killed and went to prison to stop that from happening to her. Which is fair enough even that Tally felt the same way. I’ve known people who have gone through trauma and I think Singh really did make an effort with this book to get people to be more aware of the effects of trauma on people.

    Anyway, I do love the whole childhood friends turned lovers trope so that’s probably part of it. And how they knew each other so well, including each other’s faults and insecurities – and Singh really brought that out with small comments here and there. God, I think it’s because they’re just so bloody sweet together…

    I think I’ve obviously reread MINE TO POSSESS more times than is healthy!

    As for TANGLE OF NEED, it’s not as good as MINE TO POSSESS for me, and it is problematic in many ways. But I loved how Singh was trying to do something different with two mature wounded people finding each other – both having previously experienced heartbreak. And it was refreshing to have something that points to “human” love being just as binding as this mating/bonding stuff. However, I can understand why people have problems with it.

  80. CD
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 17:39:44

    I tried to post a long-ish comment but it came out as spam so hopefully someone can dig it up!

    On a separate note, I finally got round to reading SHIELD OF WINTER and found it a bit of a “blah” book with neither Vasic nor Ivy registering much with me. There was no real conflict in the romance which was nice for Vasic and Ivy but rather dull for the reader. Like Janine, I thought that Vasic’s book would have been a lot darker and more painful but in the end, it just felt like surface. I was rather more interested in the larger world happenings – put zombies in anything and I perk up! However, I found both the pacing on that and the resolution to be rather disappointing. It felt like all the interesting bits were skipped over in short paragraphs with all this really heavy stuff being resolved off-page to go back to the rather dull romance.

    So yes, it was a bit disappointing. I’ll probably still try Aden’s book out of curiosity but not with any fangirl expectations.

  81. shawn hilton
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 17:40:08

    @Janine: and you may be right we are looking at it from two different view points. But I am retired soldier I served in both Bosnia and Kosovo. I did not just growing up with around it I have seen the direct results of a genocide. So believe me when i say that I am no fan of genocide. But I am going to throw in something here that may change the whole point of this.

    Kaleb was in line to be the leader of his people we agree on that correct?

    If the answer to that is yes, maybe it should be pointed out that every single leader of every single free country including Isreal has a plan, that they can implement in case their country devolves into a civil war, so that they can win the war quickly. This includes a worst case senerio in the United States we call it the Nuclear option, this plan involves the use of Nuclear weapons against the enemy side but this is no less the people of the united states. But they are not alone, as I said every single country has one. I think we can both agree that would be a form of genocide. Now it doesn’t change that there are lvls of plans before that. plan a peace talks, plan b armed conflict, plan c whatever plan D the nuclear option.

    Now in the books yes kaleb has that plan, he is fighting a revolution that turned into a civil war. He thought about his nuclear option, But he had a plan A through plan whatever. But he was prepared of the Nuclear option, he was thinking about maybe I have to do it. To me this is no different that the president of the US pulling out the presidential football and having it sitting on his desk that he just has to punch in a few numbers, and bang genocide. The same thing can be said about every single leader in the free world. So again I do not see a problem with his thoughts because as a leader of his people if he did not think about the steps he would need to take to protect his people, or defeat the deserters(maybe wrong word.) should they seek to oppose him and his decisions that he is making to protect his people, then it would have been unreasonable.. But anyway thats my thoughts on it.

  82. AlexandraM
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 20:51:06

    @shawn hilton: I see what you mean about an Arrow/Arrow pairing. I still think it would be a great read but definitely difficult to pull off.

    In regards to your thoughts about Kaleb…

    @Janine: Your observations about Kaleb really resonate with me. He’s both the most romantic and most disturbing hero I have ever read. But he is not a good person*. He’s a very morally ambiguous character and I think Nalini Singh wrote him to be up to interpretation – to an extent – for her readers. Some might debate whether Kaleb really would have ended the Psy and what he would do now if he lost Sahara after she returned to him but that doesn’t change the fact that this is definitely romanticized:

    …his Sahara for whom he would’ve burned down an entire civilization…except that she’d asked him to save it (HoO Ch 46).

    As a disclaimer I don’t mean that genocide is romanticized, except peripherally in that Kaleb would go to such lengths out of his feelings for one person and one person alone. I personally think he would have ended the Psy if he found Sahara had died. Not only did he contemplate it – he had a plan in place ready to execute (the reset button in the Obsidian Archive or backup drive of the PsyNet). We could probably have a discussion thread just dedicated to Kaleb because, hero or villian or something in between, he is a masterpiece of a character. My favorite thing about him is that for all his amazing Psy abilities he’s really a politician – he relies mostly on strategic alliances and manipulation to get what he wants. Do his Psy powers help make this possible? Yes, but I have a weakness for masterminds and that’s what makes him so gravitational for me.

    I started the Twilight series when I was fourteen (a few years before it exploded in popularity) and shared it with a friend. In discussing it we had a huge disagreement where I couldn’t understand how Bella and Edward’s love could be so all-consuming that nothing else mattered but the other person. I felt the romanticism in this but my friend wouldn’t agree with me when I told her that I would never and couldn’t even imagine ever loving someone like that. I think many people agree that Twilight isn’t a healthy depiction of a relationship (and I’m not hating on it), but the lesson with Twilight is the same for me as it is with Kaleb – I can only justify my love for him as a character because it makes me uncomfortable.

    *I think the definition of a “good person” is relative. Do good people necessarily make good leaders? I don’t mean to say they make bad leaders either, but that’s kind of the point. This is a thought that comes full circle with SoW because I see Vasic as a good person with a strong conscience – and as Aden says in the book Vasic’s guilt over what he’s done eventually overwhelms him, despite Silence. He’s not built to make ruthless decisions without it crushing him.

    @Janine: Wow. You (and Shawn) both gave me a lot to think about…

    Shawn: But there is no such thing as a one system works for all, because everyone is different and with the psy a race where your strength is your power, personally and politically I get exactly what she means when she says the human way wont work for them.

    I think we can all agree about this?

    Shawn: By that measure What Nalini is describing is very similar to the Roman Empire form of Democracy. One strong leader that you do not elect, that can only be removed from power by someone more deadly, with a congress of senators who make the laws, that he can veto to ensure that they do not go blindly back into the dark or said senate doesn’t try to become the all powerful entity it was before. Still democracy just different than what you may used to.

    Janine: But the fact that he can only be removed from power by someone more deadly is the problem. It presupposes that if an evil leader rose to power, that more deadly someone would be good, and things would be balanced out by that.

    Shawn: no I don’t think that is what is meant, evil leaders can come to power no matter how they get there. Rather it be by strength of their ruthlessness, or by election. Case in point taking from actual history the Romans had no shortage of bad ceasars, and good ones. Both of which rose to power on the ruthlessness, and strength. BUT Hitler was voted into office and he was arguably the most evil leader of recent history. But he was voted into to power, he did not kill anyone to get there, he won the vote in free elections. What he did after he got that power doesn’t matter. But the fact he was elected in an election that is closer to the type we use today does, and the fact he was reelected does as well. By that case if evil people want power and to hold it, they are going to. It doesn’t matter if they have to kill to get it, or be sneaky and convince the masses that they want to elect him.

    Shawn I agree with both your statements here…except for the part where you stated if evil people want power nothing will stop them. That thought is a little cynical to me, but then I like to think life hasn’t beaten the idealism out of me yet. It’s not usually the system that enables evil people to rise to power – it’s a personal lack of conscience and single-minded ambition.

    While your example of Roman governance is excellent, the point I (and I think, Janine) are trying to make is that the Psy in particular are creating a trait in their democratic system that would allow such (evil) persons to prey upon it in a bid to rise to or abuse power. Strong leadership, namely stability, is a key component in a successful revolution, and that is why I think there is a need at this time for someone like Kaleb as leader of the PsyNet. However, what is critical here is Kaleb won’t always be around, and I don’t think the Psy should construct their system of government around such a short term variable. A vital component of effective government is a relative amount of elasticity that allows for change…but that flexibility should exist within a more fixed framework.

    We also have to keep in mind maybe the Roman system worked for a long time but that was many years ago. For all that the Roman Empire was one of the largest ever it still has nothing on the scope and breadth of the PsyNet, and the PsyNet exists alongside other sovereign states as well as changeling society. There’s more layers to it. No perfect solution exists and by striving for it we do ourselves a disservice – striving for perfection is how the Psy got into such a mess in the first place.

    @Mo: The one thing I flat out dislike about this series is the idea of a “mate” – and I don’t like this concept in any PNR. It’s not exactly a fated, there is ONLY one person out there somewhere for me kind of thing (like it is in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series) but it still seems to have rules that apparently only Nalini Singh herself knows (or doesn’t know based on KoS and ToN). I feel like she kind of sets her readers up to be slightly disappointed when there is lack of a mating bond (BoJ, ToN). I also feel the presence of a bond quantifies love to some extent and just plain cheapens other displays of commitment (humans really get the short end of the stick in this world). And I’m still trying to figure out if changelings have something to make mating as legally binding in the wider world and if there’s some sort of provision in the justice system for it.

  83. Janine
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 14:46:05

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I don’t have time to reply right now, but I’ll try to catch up late tonight or tomorrow.

  84. MikiS
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 21:22:01

    Wow. Really glad I read the book before I saw this because I actually pretty much loved it. And…just a warning…this will be long because I wanted to comment on some of the comments, too.

    I will say that I think Nalini had to compromise on both storylines (“saving the Net” and “Ivy and Vasic fall in love”), so it could be fair to say that neither one got the full amount of screen time they could have.

    Didn’t anyone want to ask – after both this book and after Heart of Obsidian – how these previously Silent or psuedo-Silent people are so natural at sex, though?? I was looking forward to a bit more bumbling when we got our first Psy-Psy pairings. There was *one* comment in this book about how they bumped noses, but c’mon. Believe me, I read a lot before I actually had sex and had some great ideas on things to try, but that didn’t mean the execution was anything graceful on my first few times around! Remember how in the first couple of books she made a point of saying that the Changelings had to be taught to kiss and make love face-to-face? (I’m pretty sure that was this series, wasn’t it?) That’s kind of dropped off.

    I’m at the point with these I was actually glad this book didn’t have as many sex scenes as previous books, but that’s probably also affected by the fact that I’m listening to them. I must skim more of the sex scenes than I realize when I read, because jeezus when a love scene takes 30 frickin minutes to get through on the audiobook it’s just too much. I so wish Audible would insert bookmarks at the end of those scenes so I could just jump over them when I’m doing a “re-read”.

    Now, to some of the comments:

    I didn’t have a problem with Vasic’s turnaround – but I don’t think I put him in that heavy depression that some did. My first thought when I read those comments though, was that his love interest was also an E, so you’ve got that constant behind-the-scene healing go on there.

    Regarding the various cameos of previous h/h, I believe that Nalini uses those scenes to avoid too much over-explaining. Instead of giving us a couple paragraphs of exposition on how the Psy and Forgotten came to be working together on the issue, we get a scene with Kaleb and Dev, for example. I actually remember thinking that when I was reading those – “Hmm, trying to avoid an info dump here?”

    Regarding Ivy, I agree with the commenter who pointed out that years have gone by since her trauma. I don’t think she’s another Sahara at all.

    Regarding the over-the-top emotional language – I didn’t really notice that until I got the books in audiobook format. Holy crap. No one is disappointed, they’re devastated. They’re not pleased, they’re ecstatic. And yes – since I’ve started listening to the books – I have noticed the “interrupted sentences”. I blame the audiobook narrator for how those sound, though. She makes each section sound like separate sentences, and she shouldn’t. Actually, I normally like that method for inserting a mental pause without the use of ellipses, but Justine whatever-her-name-is reads them all wrong!

    My favorite books are books that include at least one Psy main character. Mine to Possess was not a fave – but it was Clay’s behavior, not Tali’s, that annoyed me. I pretty much hated the romance storyline in Tangle of Need. I wanted to like Riaz (from the previous books) but he was a just a jerk for too much of his book. And I was so sick of “the dominant female who couldn’t be dominated” by the time I got to this book I wasn’t willing to give his heroine any slack.

    Regarding the overuse of words like “possessive” (and “dominant Changeling male”), don’t you think that’s actually a problem with much of romance today? I’m so sick of authors *telling* me a male character is “dominant” I could spit. (And just an aside, but I’ve always felt Andrew was more “gamma” than dominant, myself, regardless of what the author told me was true. He was just too easy going and comfortable with everyone – in fact, at one point, I thought Indigo should go away because she didn’t deserve him!)

    And yes, yes, yes…Hawke’s behavior in Kiss of Snow was just not…right. He was not portrayed very sympathetically in the first part of the series, although I warmed to him more as he teased Lucas about Sasha and as we learned how he took in the Walkers despite his prejudice against the Psy. But I took thought it was unlikely he truly would just turn from his pack at the end of that book. On the other hand, I loved at the end how Sienna’s power turned all the healer’s in “superhealers” and they were able to heal everyone. That scene in the conference room where they’re all talking about how they all experienced their extra energy is one of my favorite scenes in the series.

    And finally, regarding the survival rate of the main characters. Sorry, but I’m with the person who said this was a paranormal romance series, not horror (or Dark Fantasy). I might expect (more deaths/disappointments/failures) from an urban fantasy series, although I’d hate it on a personal level (I have a love/hate relationship with Harry Dresden, for example, because he has to pay such a price for everything), but not my romance. So I fall in with the unwashed masses on this one – give me my happy endings and don’t make them bittersweet! (And I don’t doubt that if Nalini keeps writing in this universe, someone will find a way to build Vasic an arm).

  85. Janine
    Jun 08, 2014 @ 16:10:13

    @library addict: Thanks, that theory makes sense to me, though it’s still less satisfying than seeing Vasic do emotional work.

    @CD:

    Hawke is portrayed as an alpha with responsibility over the lives of his entire pack who have placed their trust in him – and he essentially betrayed that trust by that action, and is never called out for it because it, unbelievably, all worked out.

    I interpreted that differently than you did. I thought the only way to stop Sienna from going critical was to kill her, or give an order to do so, which Hawke could not do because he was already in the mating ritual, very close to the bond, when Sienna went critical. My interpretation was that the pack and Sienna forgave Hawke because he wasn’t capable of killing his own mate or near-mate–something all but impossible for changelings to do, and especially so in Hawke’s case since he’d already lost a mate in childhood.

    I find the world-building in Singh’s PSY CHANGELING series to basically be wallpaper, it’s not something I can take very seriously. Politics doesn’t work in the way that Singh seems to think it does, so I just treat it as basically Disneyland with two sexy races in the mix, and leave it at that.

    I don’t agree that the worldbuilding is wallpaper; it’s evident that Singh puts a lot more thoughts into the political twists and machinations of the Council and others around them than many authors of paranormal romance put into their worlds. She sets things up early on in the series that have big payoffs several books later. That’s takes great plotting chops, but also good worldbuilding. However, some aspects of the world seem better thought out than others.

    Re. Clay and Tally in Mine to Possess:

    The way I read it was that it was more that he hated how she sold herself so cheaply and abused herself – particularly as he had killed and went to prison to stop that from happening to her. Which is fair enough even that Tally felt the same way. I’ve known people who have gone through trauma and I think Singh really did make an effort with this book to get people to be more aware of the effects of trauma on people.

    I appreciated the latter aspect of the book too, but “sold herself cheaply” (not sure if that’s your wording or Singh’s) bothers me in this context. Had a guy made the same choices Tally did, would we say he had sold himself cheaply? If nothing else, there’s a double standard in those words. The word cheap has been applied to women in slut-shaming contexts, so it’s hard not to respond negatively to it.

    Re. Tangle of Need:

    And it was refreshing to have something that points to “human” love being just as binding as this mating/bonding stuff.

    That was my favorite part of that book — the ending with the elderly human couple.

    @shawn hilton: Let’s please not have a contest comparing genocide experiences; I would say that I’ve seen direct results too, just different ones than those you saw, and I respect your experiences very much, but that was hardly the point of my post– I was not comparing myself to you but to American teenagers I knew in high school who said things like “We should nuke Iran” or “We should just nuke Russia” without understanding what they were saying.

    I agree that Kaleb was in line to lead his people, but the analogy you make between Kaleb and leaders of the free world doesn’t work for me, because I didn’t see Kaleb as motivated by a desire to save his nation from destruction (about the only reason I could imagine the leaders of the free world nuking a country) but rather, motivated by feelings for only one person, Sahara. If this was supposed to be an example of Kaleb’s leadership, it was lousy.

    @AlexandraM:

    Some might debate whether Kaleb really would have ended the Psy and what he would do now if he lost Sahara after she returned to him but that doesn’t change the fact that this is definitely romanticized: “…his Sahara for whom he would’ve burned down an entire civilization…except that she’d asked him to save it (HoO Ch 46).”

    Yes!. Thank you for the quote, that’s exactly the kind of thing I mean. And you make my point to Shawn for me– he wouldn’t have been doing it for his people, but for Sahara.

    I think you also articulated my concern about the Psy political system much better than I did.

    I think the mating bond has its problems, but like the big emotions in the writing, it’s one of the things readers read keep coming back to the series for. Same with all the dominant/possessive stuff. These elements are problematic, and we complain about them with good reason, but I think if Singh yanked them out, her books would not be as habit-forming.

    @MikiS:

    I was looking forward to a bit more bumbling when we got our first Psy-Psy pairings.

    Me too. I remember feeling this way about the sex in Caressed by Ice and Heart of Obsidian, too. Those psy heroes are fast learners!

    And finally, regarding the survival rate of the main characters.

    I could be wrong, but I thought the suggestion was more that some changeling should have died in the war in Kiss of Snow. Not necessarily a main character, it could have been a side character, but it was unbelievable that no one had more than light injuries.

  86. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 05:21:27

    @Janine: Turning into a debate about who has more experience with Genocide was not my intention. I was answering the fact in several of your posts you state your experience with Genocide. That you appeared at least to me you were doing to add weight to what you were saying. I was simply showing my as well. So that being said. I actually typed another post that answered some of your points before this. BUT for some reason my posts keep getting caught in the word press spam filter, and the page is set that i cannot use my global account to sign in. Not sure why. So I will try again here hopefully it gets through.

    In a world of silence, a world where emotion is cut off Kaleb would not feel an over whelming responsibility to his people. He like many of the leaders of the Psy he would only care about the success and failure of his own goals. So in that sense to him the goal of controlling the net and early on of finding something he is looking for endlessly. So that being said in a world where silence ruled, and he was silent early on. killing anyone and everyone that got in his way, that was reasonable. He had no conscience, because your conscience is build by your emotions. Its the little voice in the back of your head that tells you right and wrong, because emotionally something with in you says this is not something you can do and just accept. He was silent ergo no emotion, ergo no conscience.

    In the military you are taught the only thing that stands between you and success of your mission, life and death is your motivation. How much do you want to go home to wife and children in one piece, how much do you want to serve your country and then when you know the answers to those questions, what are you willing to do ensure your success. if need be could you kill anyone who is a risk to your mission. Even if they may seem to be an innocent bystander, that is the hardest thing that allot of soldiers have to live with after. But it is a consequence of the job, Kaleb it was pointed out repeatedly that the arrows saw him the same as they were. Soldiers saw him that way. So by that standard with silence as the most relevant part of him, as I said earlier he did not care about his people only the success of his goals and if the whole of the psy race stood in his way. Then the whole of the psy race would have to die. That is simply cold logic. But Kaleb is not alone in that thought process.

    Most of the council is that way I mean one councilor tried to wipe out the whole of snow dancer to ensure the success of his goals. One councilor used mind control to make the human alliance willing to wipe anyone and everyone who stood in the way of the missions she set them on to accomplish her goal, and arguably I see that worse than killing. Because as bad as it sounds at least when someone dies rather they wanted to or not, they do not have to live with the knowledge that they were forced to do something they would have never done because of that conscience I talked about earlier.

    Now in a that world, when Kaleb starts to shift because of his emotions for Saharra, she becomes his conscience not because he has more or less emotion but because he now has little voice in the back of his head that says would Saharra be able to live with this. That shows when he finds her, because it specifically pointed out that kill everyone, shifted to well I will save the children, then later it shows from him not instantly killing anyone who speaks against him as he may have done earlier.

    She became his light in the dark, and he is not the only councilor who has this, but for different reasons, Faiths father begins to be shown he has started making his decisions on what is best for his daughter. and Sasha’s mother though much more subtle the same and then her grand daughter. By that standard he Kaleb was to shown as the one with the most conscience of the whole council. Motivations are personal for everyone, we cannot honestly say leaders don’t just use nukes. It would be easy to say that they could not live with it after, but that implies a conscience. but where does that persons conscience come from? Is it formed because of their love of man kind, or because they do not want to see their children raised with the knowledge that their mother or father killed millions of people.

    You said before that you think that a leader should not be shown to have genocidal thoughts, but as i said i do not think that was the point. i think the point was that despite having those thoughts in the beginning, he learned to be more, to care more, and all because of his one person who he cared if she lived or died, and then later what would she be able to live. I was a Sniper, my job was kill who i was ordered to kill, I could not say no. My job was to do as I was ordered, So I had to learn to suspend my conscience inorder to that. Now I am retired but there is a saying once a soldier always a soldier. I can still to this day suspend my conscience when it comes to death and the way you do that is by not asking your self those questions of can I live with this, could my children live with this could my wife live with this.

    In the end my is no different that the man who sits in a bunker with his finger on the nuclear launch button. Mine on a one to one scale his on a massive genocidal scale. But both our jobs are at the whim of the leaders above us. If the president says shoot, or launch we have to do it. So we spend an enormous amount of time praying that the leaders above us ask themselves those very questions before they give us the orders to do our jobs, so I guess it makes it easier for me to accept his only not doing it because of his love of Saharra. Because I only care they don’t say shoot, they don’t say fire. I don’t care why they don’t just that they don’t

    @AlexandraM: as I said above I had typed another post where I was shamelessly teasing you about Ideals, it got grabbed by the spam filter and even though you probably would have laughed I have no desire to type it all again…lol.. The summary of it was your right I am a cynic, and hope that the world never beats the ideals out of you(it was this statement that made me laugh and caused t he teasing from the cynic. it was all meant in good fun.) The world needs idealists as much as it needs cynics. With out our debating the world through two different eyes it would fall apart.

    That being said sadly my thoughts on evil gaining power if it wants, is not cynisim it is more fact. The stats prove in allot of ways sadly that democracy while it gives voice to the small man, it also makes it easier for evil to gain power, and while it also makes it easier to remove them when that evil shows, it does not change that it made them able to get there in the first place. That is one of the main reasons when an evil person does get into an office Via vote the first thing they do is make it so they can’t be removed with it. Because dictators are hard to remove, but if you have a benevolent king the same things that make him impossible to remove, are what make it harder for evil to remove him. But once it does evil learns and makes it even harder to remove him.

    That being said we meet Kaleb when he is 27 years old, and very young in his political career. So we do not know what he will be 100 years from now. He could be the ceasar who takes power to stabalize his people and then hands it to the council when he is ready. Life evolves, views change he could think now one thing just to have it turned on his head later in life. Right now I see kaleb as a hopeful character, oh not him personally but him as a hole. because starting with his love of saharra and as I said above his growing a conscience that started with him asking himself if I do this will Saharra accept it. There is hope that he will do the right thing for his people as a hole as time goes on.

    That was really all you said I wanted to answer accept for one thing that you said to Mo: A writer uses the word mate in this setting because over time a plethera of writers have and they have all explained what it means. Mate means Happily every after, a mate never chooses to leave the other half, and I know you probably get the idea, that’s not why i said it. paranormal romance has this term, but we are by no means alone in the use of the idea, other terms that mean the same thing for genres Soul mate, other half. It is the same Idea as sleeping beauties kiss, or snow whites happily ever after. Over time we have divided the world of literary work into Fairy tale, eroctica, Romance and I am not sure where the dividing lines for these are, it seems different for different people. But in the end they are all actually the same, if you look closely the psy changling series is no less a fairy tale as Snowwhite and the seven dwarves. Snow whites mate being Prince charming, the sealing of that bond the kiss while she lay in the glass coffin.

    The word mate and the idea that goes with it, in its own way tells you what happens when the story is done. A mate never chooses to leave their partner, a mate would die if their partner dies, or at least live in a world of darkness and pain. But the idea is not a new one, it simply gives you something subconsciously that Snow white did as well. But where snow white says at the end and they all lived happily ever after, the one word Mate has rendered that line unneeded, because you know a mates who are together, always live happily ever after no matter what they face together.

    hopefully the spam filter leaves this to answer you all but we will see.

  87. Mo
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 09:25:53

    I’m sure I have missed some comments from over the weekend. I tried to catch up, but if I missed a comment directed my way, I’m sorry. I’ve been thinking a lot about Kaleb over the weekend. Hard not to since he is my second favorite Psy (Judd will always be my first). And all of a sudden it kind of hit me. Kaleb is like Magneto. Yes, yes, I know Magneto is mostly a villain and that’s part of the point. But both backstories have a lot in common and both seek to protect through aggression.

    In Kaleb’s case, here’s what I see. I’m not saying he’s not problematic, but just bear with me for a couple and see if my thoughts/ideas make sense to you. Kaleb is never actually fully Silent. I think it’s made pretty clear that Enrique deliberately did things to scare Kaleb and he reveled in it, so yes, Silence never fully took hold. Kaleb fools himself into thinking he is fully Silent though because it is the only way to protect himself. Fast forward to Kaleb the adult looking for Sahara and being the Ghost and meeting Judd and all his “kill all Psy” thoughts. Here’s where I see the Magneto parallels.

    Kaleb thinks these things believing himself capable of it. And he is. He’s a dual Cardinal who in a moment of weakness created a gorge so deep he considers it as having no end. I mean, he has sex and causes earthquakes. He’s powerful. We get it. If he discovered that Sahara had been killed, his grief in that moment could have wiped out the Psy. That’s just being realistic. And Judd is right to be wary. He knows what Kaleb is capable of, to some extent. The question is despite his thoughts, would he have been capable of doing it on purpose. And my answer is “I’m not sure.” There is no doubt in my mind that he would be capable of doing it in a moment of fury or grief though. Here’s why I am not sure:

    1. He shows intense compassion and acts on that emotion several times: Annie on the train, Max and Soph and finding the girls’ bodies, Sahara in the entirety.

    2. He loves Sahara and measures himself at all times by what she would want. He knows that she would not want, would never want, him to kill all the Psy. It’s a clear check on him.

    As for why he even considers it a good idea. A lot of the comments seemed to center on very personal reasons: Sahara and himself. And yet, like Magneto, I see it having to do with much broader reasons. He and Sahara are part of a larger pattern, one that he remarks on at some point (I can’t remember which book, maybe with Judd and the priest at some point?) about how the Psy prioritize things. Enrique was an anchor, considered so necessary to the PsyNet that his atrocities were aided and abetted by the Council and other Psy. And he wasn’t the only one who was aided and abetted in his depravity. Other anchors were too. And he killed Marshall not to gain entrance into the Council but because Marshall knew and did nothing, he stood by or helped. And so, Kaleb sees the whole of the Psy race as having stood by at worst or even helped feed monsters in the name of security and safety, having prioritized those monsters as more important than others. I see this in Magneto too, this broader anger. And frankly, I can understand that broader anger. No matter what else he may think, the truth is he is right to fight against that mindset and that mentality.

    In the end, I guess, I look at his actions and I look at his words. I see that they are at odds with each other. My instinct is to look at his actions over his words. Neither can be dismissed but his actions and his feelings make me wonder if he would be capable of actually doing what his words say he would.

  88. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 09:32:26

    @Mo: DING DING DING… Exactly what I have been saying, and you say it very very well.

  89. Sunita
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 09:42:00

    @shawn hilton: I’m pretty sure the reason you and others get caught in the spam filter is because each linked reply (using the “reply”) feature counts as a link, and 3 links automatically goes to the spam filter. If you use the @ sign with the name and don’t link, or only link once or twice, you won’t automatically go.

    That doesn’t mean it won’t grab the comment for other reasons, but those seem less predictable.

  90. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 09:46:20

    Ok i didn’t think I was linking to more than one person..chuckles.. But ok it doesn’t matter really as long as we can get it fixed pretty quickly…smiles… Thanks

  91. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 13:37:12

    @shawn hilton & @Mo: Yes, Kaleb is partly a product of Silence (though Mo argues he’s not Silent), but he still could have been constructed differently. Vasic is a product of Silence but unlike Kaleb he has a conscience, too.

    I feel we keep getting bogged down in the minutiae of Kaleb’s personality, in would he have done it or would he not have, was it a danger or wasn’t it, but none of that is the real point to me.

    To me the point is did the author have to construct him the way she did? Did she have to put genocidal thoughts in his head, about one race being too flawed and needing to be cleaned away? And did she have to make such a character a romantic hero? Did she have to use these thoughts to show how much he loves the heroine? Did she have to make the heroine his conscience (or state over and over that the heroine is his conscience), instead of giving him one of his own?

    My answer is no, she did not. And it’s these choices I find problematic.

  92. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 14:17:38

    @shawn hilton: I forgot to respond to this part:

    That you appeared at least to me you were doing to add weight to what you were saying.

    No actually, my initial comment to Library Addict (and there may have been others before the one about the high school kids, I can’t recall) was meant to explain why I’m being so stubborn on this topic. I lost family members in a genocide. That doesn’t mean my opinion trumps anyone else’s but it does mean the topic feels very personal to me, and therefore I won’t back down. If you expect me to feel hunky dory and be a-okay with the way racism and genocide are used in Heart of Obsidian, that won’t happen.

  93. AlexandraM
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:10:59

    @shawn hilton: I just meant that your statement was cynical to me. I didn’t mean to insinuate that you are a cynic since I don’t like labels…but your acceptance of the term tracks with what I think a cynic would do. I know I’m digressing, but a cynic sees the world as it is and not for what it could be. That doesn’t mean they don’t see it for what it could be – just that they see those two things separately. Anyway, your comments in this thread seem to stem from a worldview planted in personal experience and I want to thank you for sharing those experiences because the real-world examples you gave provide a lot of insight for someone – like me – who doesn’t have similar things to draw upon.

    I think as a society we spend too much time arguing about what is right and what is wrong when really there isn’t a correct answer because everything is relative. Pure democracy is a statistical improbability, but just because even a partial democracy is targetable by those trying to gain a foothold of power doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and give up. Evil will gain power if it wants but does that mean we shouldn’t try to stop it from doing so anyway?

    The term ‘mate’ in the context you describe doesn’t phase me. I agree that romances, especially paranormal romance, are akin to fairy tales for adults and that the idea of a mate reassures readers all will be well with characters we love long after we leave their worlds…it’s the application of matehood in the Psy-Changeling world specifically that I don’t like.That’s why I used the example from the Immortals After Dark series. If you’re unfamiliar with it certain supernatural species, such as Lykae or werewolves, have a mate. In their immortal lifetime they only get one and it’s completely fated. Often the main conflict in these stories is the Lykae convincing his fated mate of a different species, species that aren’t given a fated mate, that they should be together.

    This notion doesn’t translate well to real life; there are seven billion people on the planet and the idea that out of those seven billion people there is only one absolutely perfect person that fits me is a sad thought. This lack of realism draws me out of the story. If I believed the same to be true in real life I’d be insanely lucky to find that person – and luck is another thing I don’t set much store in. I grew up going to parochial school and we were told in so many words that if you weren’t Catholic you were going to hell – Christian or not. This experience has made me very leery of fatalistic thinking in any setting.

    TL;DR My skeptical opinion on ‘mates’ in PNR comes from personal beliefs but I enjoy these books anyway. Does that make me delusional or just a dreamer? ;)

    @Mo: Loved the Magneto comparison. Judd is my second favorite after Kaleb, too, and I hope we see more appearances and character development from Kaleb like we did with Judd. That’s a huge part of Judd’s appeal for me. I went back and looked at the discussion thread from Heart of Obsidian, and out of everything said here and there I think you nailed Kaleb down best of all. I think the divergence in this thread isn’t coming from disagreement about your examination (and Shawn’s agreement) of Kaleb’s motivations.

    We could continue to argue about Nalini Singh’s use of Kaleb’s contemplated genocide but she is a talented enough author that we don’t need the constant reminders of it to demonstrate his love and devotion. Kaleb was a magnetic character (that Magento comparison really is fitting in more ways than one) before HoO and she doesn’t need this over-the-top iteration to reinforce it. Here is the evidence:

    A waiting silence from the man who would’ve annihilated an entire civilization in vengeance for her, ending the lives of millions, innocents and sinners alike (HoO Ch 15).

    “Sahara, that race is only alive because you told me I couldn’t destroy them” (Hide and Seek, newsletter short story).

    His kiss was a branding, a reminder that he would’ve destroyed an entire civilization for her (SoW, Ch 27).

  94. Mo
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:11:07

    @Janine:

    To me the point is did the author have to construct him the way she did? Did she have to put genocidal thoughts in his head, about one race being too flawed and needing to be cleaned away? And did she have to make such a character a romantic hero? Did she have to use these thoughts to show how much he loves the heroine? Did she have to make the heroine his conscience (or state over and over that the heroine is his conscience), instead of giving him one of his own?

    My answer is no, she did not. And it’s these choices I find problematic.

    You are right. She did not have to do any of those things. I think she chose to do them in an effort to tackle very tough subjects, something she has done in this series with mixed success (Clay and Tally come to mind).

    No, she did not have to put genocidal thoughts in Kaleb’s head. I ask myself, is that realistic? Under those circumstances, would someone end up with those thoughts in their head? My answer: Yes, it is realistic. Did she have to make him a romantic hero? No. I think that’s really the heart of the problem. If she had left him more like Magneto, a character who is mainly a heel but with a few short forays into babyface territory, it might have been easier to deal with his negative facets. It’s because we are meant to then understand and possibly even sympathize with him and his genocidal thoughts that he is so problematic. Did she have to use those genocidal thoughts to demonstrate his love for Sahara? And did she have to make Sahara his conscience? No. But she did. And Sahara is his conscience now. But she wasn’t when they met and he certainly had one when Kaleb and Sahara met. He was broken up about what Enrique was doing but he had no way to escape. At least, I got the sense he was broken up about it based on some of the passages in HoO. And, he didn’t go rescue Annie, for example, because Sahara told him to. He did it because it was the right thing to do. I think the fact that Sahara is his conscience now is something that will change as they grow together.

    Unfortunately, Kaleb is one of those characters where all the talk and all the action just don’t mesh. No matter how I try to parse it, they just don’t. There are too many mixed signals. The problem is I see Kaleb as a very realistic character. And I think that Nalini uses him to further paint how awful the Psy are while trapped in Silence. She is very clearly casting judgment on the Psy race and yes, she is saying that the Changelings and the Humans and the Forgotten are better than the Psy. Amara is another clear example of this. She is a sort of Dr. Moreau, if you will. Both make it clear that when you look at things from a strictly rational point of view, even the indefensible (to us) can be made to look defensible because in a purely rational risk/reward, ends justifies the means way, it makes sense. That doesn’t make it right; though, and I think that’s part of what she is trying to show.

    Janine, I want to be clear. I am not trying to be argumentative or say in any way that Kaleb isn’t problematic, that there aren’t serious issues. I am trying to look at those issues and find a way to make sense of them, figure out why they are there. I am convinced there is reasoning behind it, that it is deliberate and that if we can see the purpose it might give better insight into the P/C world and what Nalini is trying to say through him.

  95. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:25:27

    @Janine: Thats not what I want at all, I don’t want you to feel ok with it at all. In fact I am glad you feel so strongly about it, but but the point i have been trying to make. That you keep missing, and you do keep missing it, and I am not sure if it is because your stubbornness on the topic, or my trying to clarify it I don’t know. My point has been and always will be yes, she did have to show him having those thoughts and not acting on them. Because of your reaction all along. Because you have locked on that thought of how bad a thing genocide is. you see it through out the books, when Kaleb debates it and he prepares for it, yet never acts on it. There is always something that stops him from just taking that final step.

    Rather he was truly Silent in my examples or rather he has just convinced himself that he is, doesn’t really matter, because either way he was acting as a silent man would. His book was more than just a romance it was a redemption story, it was him seeing the light in the dark and finding his way out of it. People do have genocidal thoughts, sometimes powerful people, we can’t change that. But what we can do and this is the same moral of the story as Pandora’s Box, we can hope. That when someone does have those thoughts, that they can find their light in the dark. The thing that Keeps bringing me back to answer you is not me wanting to convince you that Genocide itself is ok. It is me trying to get you to understand that Actions will always speak louder than words or thoughts.

    I know that you say your not trying to use your experience to add weight to your words with your experience, and if we were simply talking about genocide as a practice not only would I hear every word you say I would listen, and take it all to heart. But we aren’t are we? We are talking about A story where a man who thought genocide might be his only action and reaction to a people gone wrong, and then finding that one thing that shows him it is not just unnessary but wrong over all. People think these things all the time and act on it, the proof of that, is the fact that you lost family, and I took a bullet in the chest in Joint Endeavor as I was protecting a group of Muslims. But here neither of our experiences should matter at all, because we are not dealing with what a person did, but instead of what he thought and as proved by the fact Genocide WW2 Jewish slaughtered in mass, yet 50 years later it was still required for me to take a bullet trying to stop a genocide, people not only still think it, they still think it is a good idea, futher proving the point that people think it all the time, A nuclear weapon is the ultimate genocide device, It can wipe out a whole people all on its own, and if the world was a perfect place where people did not think about it, they would not be needed and we would have done away with them when we saw what happened in Japan. But here we have a man who thought it, and found reason after reason why he shouldn’t do it.

    The writers way of saying with the story, thinking it is one thing, acting on it is another and if you are thinking, keep looking for a that light in the dark, that one reason not to do it. So your stubbornness on the topic I am glad you have it. In real life that stubbornness is needed.

  96. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:56:58

    @AlexandraM: I don’t think Delusional at all..lol.. Just because you are a Idealist, doesn’t mean you can’t be a cynic on one topic pr two or three. Like in my case I am a cynic, you didn’t give me that label I did, and I own it willingly. BUT I am an Idealist on the very topic that you are a cynic on. Your right you would be very lucky to find that one perfect match for you. But just because they are the one perfect match, doesn’t mean it wont be hard…lol.. I don’t give relationship advice to anyone ever..lol.. Because I have been married three times and the only people I ever made happy during it are the divorce lawyers, and my last marriage i was sure and in some way still am sure that that was my one, and I screwed it up, as surely as andrew disregarding indigo at the most wrong possible moment.

    But I still get up, and I still hope that one day I can make it right, or it will find its way like Tally and clay, when they have both found their way to who they they think they should be. Doesn’t make me anymore an idealist. and now i got off topic, but i see the use of Mates here as more a chance at the one. You still have to work at it, because the woman can still say no. There are more than one possible mate, because Hawke had found the pull of his bond, and she died yet he could still had a chance with Sienna. Riaz found his mate, but now he found the possibility at love and maybe they can build a mate bond.

    Actually now that i am typing in answer to you, I think that the use of it here is the more real use of it that i have ever seen. We all have that attraction to someone, that person you see across a bar, or you see when you pick up your nephew from school, that explainable pull that makes you stand up straight and go “oh well hello, here is my bedroom key.” And each time that happens there is a chance that they could want to marry us and be together for the rest of our lives, the way our grandparents were. But it is just that It just a chance, you have to work for it, you have to earn it, or one can say no. But that is not the only chance you will have if you fail, your chance at love is still out there. Just not here, so keep looking keep trying and most of all never give up..

    So you be the cynic here and I will be the Idealist and you be the Idealist everywhere else and I will be the cynic..chuckles… Either the way the world will be a better place for both our POV’s

  97. Amy
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 16:04:52

    @Mo: I like your Magneto comparison. There are some obvious differences but it is very apt for the reasons you stated. (I often think Magneto is the most interesting and complex character in the X-Men movie series.)

    I am trying to look at those issues and find a way to make sense of them, figure out why they are there. I am convinced there is reasoning behind it, that it is deliberate and that if we can see the purpose it might give better insight into the P/C world and what Nalini is trying to say through him.

    I’m not sure it is possible to make sense about many of the tell/show discrepancies and other problems in these stories. I’m starting to think that to some extent, Singh’s writing style/voice and world view limit her ability to address the many issues that we’ve identified to my/our satisfaction.

  98. Amy
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 16:05:46

    Oops, the quote above is not from Mo but from AlexandraM. Sorry I forgot to add the tag!

  99. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 16:46:00

    @Mo:

    No, she did not have to put genocidal thoughts in Kaleb’s head. I ask myself, is that realistic? Under those circumstances, would someone end up with those thoughts in their head? My answer: Yes, it is realistic. Did she have to make him a romantic hero? No. I think that’s really the heart of the problem.

    Yes, I agree with you.

    Unfortunately, Kaleb is one of those characters where all the talk and all the action just don’t mesh. No matter how I try to parse it, they just don’t. There are too many mixed signals.

    +1, I couldn’t agree more.

    And I think that Nalini uses him to further paint how awful the Psy are while trapped in Silence. She is very clearly casting judgment on the Psy race and yes, she is saying that the Changelings and the Humans and the Forgotten are better than the Psy.

    In the review, Jennie said she found this problematic, that the Psy are portrayed as a more flawed race than the others. If someone was to write a book set in the real world based upon the premise that one race isn’t as good as the rest, people would be up in arms, with good reason.

    The idea that emotion is superior to reason is also problematic, as Jennie has said. Both qualities have things in their favor and not in their favor. There are situations in which I would not want to be ruled by emotion alone any more than by reason alone.

    I am not trying to be argumentative or say in any way that Kaleb isn’t problematic, that there aren’t serious issues.

    In that case we are in agreement.

    I am convinced there is reasoning behind it, that it is deliberate and that if we can see the purpose it might give better insight into the P/C world and what Nalini is trying to say through him.

    I’m not so sure. Often authors simply write the books they most wish were out there for them to read. And Kaleb’s questionable morals certainly help make him an exciting character.

    I was recently in a Twitter discussion where I said (rather badly) that sometimes the less on board we are with a character’s choices and actions, or with an author’s choices, the more exciting that character is. Sometimes the very things that make a book problematic are the same things that make it what readers refer to as addictive. I had Kaleb and his story arc in mind when I said that, and I still stand by that statement.

    I don’t think readers would be as crazy for Kaleb and HoO if it hadn’t been for his genocidal mindset, and I think that may be the deliberate reasoning behind his character, as much as anything.

  100. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:06:46

    @AlexandraM: You didnt give me the title cynic at all, so no worries, I did that myself and I own it happily, and trying to stop it was never what i mean’t. What I meant was that over all we may not agree with the way NS has started to craft the psys move into Dimocracy, rather it be as in my example the roman style, or not. saying they are wrong for doing it that way, or that they are opening themselves up for evil to abuse it, we can’t really say that. We may not understand the way that they are doing it, but that alone doesn’t make it any more or less easy for evil to abuse their way. The way we may do it is no less open for the abuse of evil, that was my point.

    I had typed another post prior to this, where I gave you a long answer and it Vanished into the depths again. I tthink i know why now, you answered me as I was typing to janine and if they show back up again has been hit or miss so i will try to recreate it again now and hope this goes through.

    Strangly the one thing that you are a cynic on I am a Idealist on…lol.. Looking at the way Mate is used in this series I honestly think it is the most real version, I know you are rolling your eyes but hear me out first..lol.. I listened to your Idealism so you get to listen to mine..chuckles playfully… I never give relationship advice ever. The reason being i have been married three times, and the only people i made truly happy were the divorce lawyers. the final one, third times the charm, i still beleive was my one, and I screwed it up as assuredly as Andrew not showing his support for Indie at the very wrong possible moment, and then not saying he was sorry in a way that made her need to forgive him. Yet i still have hope that one day maybe after the two of us have gone different routes and found ourselves again, then maybe Like Clay and Tally we will find our way back to one another, and what we had. Not exactly the same thing but something that the new experiences will make stronger. But if not then maybe Like riaz I can find another chance at love.

    I don’t think the series paints it as there is only one. I think that it shows thats what they beleive. But what you believe is not the truth, I think here the mate bond is a chance at happily ever after. But if it was set in stone, then why does the woman have a choice, and if she says no what does the male live in a world of pain because of it? If there was only one for each person how was Hawke able to find sienna as his mate after his first chance at a mate died? and Why is it that Riaz can realize that he loves adria more than the one that is “set in stone” and how could he possibly have a chance to maybe even build a matting bond with her, but not one the universe says is right, but built on the strength of their actions to one another.

    We all have that feeling attraction once in a while, the man you see across the room, the woman you meet when picking up your nephew and the attraction and pull you feel towards them doesn’t mean that they will be your one. It means there is a chance that they can be, They can always say no, you could always screw it up or they could. Yet if you do there is more than one chance at your MATE bond with someone. I think the way it is shown here, is that if it goes wrong, like with Hawke and Sienna then Riaz and Adria there is another chance you just have to look for it. But you can be a cynic in this case while I am the Idealist, and I will be the cynic everywhere else with you as the idealist, and in the end the world will be a better place for it.

  101. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:18:46

    @shawn hilton:

    The thing that Keeps bringing me back to answer you is not me wanting to convince you that Genocide itself is ok. It is me trying to get you to understand that Actions will always speak louder than words or thoughts.

    I think the character of Kaleb is open to interpretation. I saw him as further along than just thinking and talking about genocide, to also planning for that possibility (an action). Yes, ultimately his other actions were different than that. Believe me, I do understand that. Had he carried out his genocidal plans, I would see him differently than I do. That I still see him in a different light than you do is because we are two different people with different feelings about the same character.

    That is okay. As an author once said, a book is a collaboration between the author’s imagination and a reader’s imagination. Different people will bring different life experiences and different imaginations to the same book, which results in different interpretations of the same character. I don’t see anything wrong with that. To the contrary, it’s a sign that a book is doing its job, which is to come to life in the minds of its readers.

    So it’s not that I don’t agree that actions speak louder than words. Because if Kaleb’s actions had been different, I would have thrown my kindle across the room and been out a $139 device, instead of giving Heart of Obsidian a B+ and nominating it for DABWAHA.

    Let me be 100% clear, in case I wasn’t before. I have the utmost respect for your military service (Most of my relatives and all of my early childhood friends served in the Israeli military. I would have too had we stayed in Israel until I turned 18 and would likely have tried to become an officer since my dad was one).

    I also don’t think you’re trying to convince me that genocide itself is OK. I never thought that, never, never in a million years. I have the sense that you are a good person who doesn’t condone that.

    Nor do I think that Nalini Singh thinks genocide is okay, not at all. That’s not my issue. My issue is that Singh uses genocidal thoughts in the mind of a heroic character. That she chooses this as the way to portray both his transformation through Sahara’s love for him, and the lengths he would go to for Sahara. By doing this, she makes it part of the romance.

    That’s problematic to me and to other readers. The fact that it’s problematic doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the book, or appreciate the plotting, or find it romantic, or think that in many ways it’s a strong book.

    We all like problematic books sometimes. Liking them doesn’t make us bad people. It just means that these types of stories can appeal to us despite and sometimes even because of their problematic aspects. Why that is would be a very interesting topic to investigate, IMO.

    (My personal theory is that it’s kind of like sports — a form of entertainment that has to do with catharsis and exploring parts of ourselves that many of us would not want to encounter, much less express, in real life.)

    Most romance novels I can think of have problematic aspects and some of my favorite books are incredibly problematic.

    We can discuss Kaleb and his motivations, thoughts, words and actions from now until 2020 but that won’t change the fact that his arc from a man who might have committed genocide to a romantic hero and leader of the very race he considered annihilating is something I find problematic.

  102. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:35:19

    @Janine: and you are right it is in someway problematic. But isn’t that also what makes him feel more real? Therefore the story feel more real. I mean honestly we have all had thoughts maybe not on the scale of Kaleb, but we have all had thoughts like that, I guarantee if you watched your father and other family who were military. Especially in Isreal they had the thought at least once, you know if we just wiped them out no more of my family, or friends would die. It doesn’t make them bad people, and yes while technically they thought it. Maybe even in an act of rage over something or other maybe thought of a thousand ways they could do it. But they never did, and they probally even went out and did something that was in direct opposition to what they had been thinking.

    I know I have, the whole time I was fighting to stop a genocide, something would happen a friend would get hurt, I got shot I had thoughts of God damn can we just make them all pay for this. I never went as far as planning to do it. not in the typical sense of the word planning. But man I had a lot of ways it could be done. So here I was a real person having genocidal thoughts while in action i was trying to stop one.. It is a complete opposition, but it is reality.

    Thats how I see kaleb and that’s why I like him as a character, not because he had Genocidal thoughts persay, but as someone who has been there, who has been in that place, the opposition of his thoughts and his actions felt real. Then his love of Sarrah being the final step that says yea ok I may think about it, but I wont do it. Because as I said to you before she was his light in the dark, she was the final thing that anchored him, for me it was my family, my children.

    For him it was saharra so that is how i see it. I like him more as a character because he is the one how felt the most real to me, not the only one mind you, but the one who felt the most real. Ideal wise for a relationship will always be Clay and Tally. But as a defined character over all Kaleb will always be in my top ten.

  103. library addict
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 18:16:48

    I know we’ve discussed this previously, but I don’t think Kaleb’s genocidal thoughts are that different from Hawke’s. In Shield of Winter when Lucas and Hawke are discussing the fact neither of them could have seen themselves working together much less with the Psy five years ago, Hawke thinks

    Not simply an alpha who would bleed for his pack, but a man who’d savage the world for his mate.

    (toward the end of chapter 10). So it is not just Kaleb who has those type of thoughts.

    One thing I’ve been wondering about as I reread Shield of Winter is Faith’s knowing in Caressed by Ice that the Ghost would one day become important to DarkRiver. Do you think it’s just the fact that he rescued Sahara so he’s in someway connected to the pack through her or is it something else? As I said earlier one of my disappointments with this book was that Lucas still doesn’t know Kaleb is the Ghost. I’m hoping the matter is addressed in the next book.

  104. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 18:21:27

    @shawn hilton:

    and you are right it is in someway problematic.

    Thanks, that’s really what I was trying to get to this whole time.

    But isn’t that also what makes him feel more real?

    I’m not sure. I think for a lot of readers Kaleb is the character who resonates most and that certainly argues that Singh is doing some things right with him.

    For me, the character who resonates most is Judd. There is a scene and I can’t recall if it’s in Kiss of Snow or Tangle of Need, where Kaleb (as the Ghost) says to Judd, “You could’ve ruled,” as if realizing it for the first time– that Judd had the power to rise to the top in Kaleb’s place. And Judd says, “I never wanted it.”

    That is one of my favorite moments in the series, along with the scene in Caressed by Ice where Judd repairs Drew’s heart. I think that Judd would (and did) sacrifice a lot to be a good person, and that is important to him in a way that it isn’t to Kaleb.

    I don’t know which one is more realistic; there is a dichotomy in Judd too since his hands certainly aren’t clean of blood. A lot of people might not give up as much as Judd did due to his conscience and love of others, but it is equally true that few people would go as far as Kaleb to hold power, and Kaleb acted partly out of love too.

    I think the appeal of Kaleb isn’t necessarily about realism (after all how many of us can will a massive earthquake into being) but rather about resonance.

    Re. Israel, I don’t want to get into Israeli-Palestinian politics because that is a can of worms that could keep us here for the rest of our lives. Yes there are people who have those thoughts on both sides of that conflict; some of them even say things like that, and that’s one of the reasons that conflict has yet to be resolved. More deaths are clearly not the solution, they only entrench both sides in opposition to each other.

    I started writing a long thing about my family in Israel, who are soldiers but also peace activists. It got TL; DR so I deleted it, but at least when I lived there, those roles weren’t (or didn’t seem to me to be) as far in opposition to each other as they seem to me to be in the US. So yes, you’re absolutely right that there are dichotomies in all of us.

  105. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 18:27:15

    @library addict: Oh I definitely agree there. there are a few things that still need to come to Lukes attention, Not just kaleb being the ghost and the knowing. Because I do not think for even a second that his connection through Saharra is it. I have a theory, I think will have something to do with Luke and Sasha baby. I don’t know why, i don’t have any actual proof for this at all. But every time i think about it that jumps in my head. we all like to go off the assumption that the baby will be an E like Sasha, but haven’t we been shown enough that your parents gifts have no barring on your own at least not always.

    What if she has a gift that only Kaleb, can help teach her about? Like the child from the forgotten? Or was he Psy i can’t remember that Judd had to start teaching him to use for medical. I mean there has to be a reason why Sasha keeps going back to wanting to learn control so she can teach her child about her Possible gifts, and I used that word because it was made a point to say that. But what if those possible gifts is something more than her and the rest can handle, what is she is a dual cardinal? Who will teach her about that Kalebs the only one we know about.

  106. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 18:33:07

    @library addict: Hawke’s thoughts are problematic too, no argument from me on that. I don’t think Hawke went as far as to plan a way to kill all the Psy, so he’s not as problematic to me, but this is a small difference of opinion, not a big one.

    One thing I’ve been wondering about as I reread Shield of Winter is Faith’s knowing in Caressed by Ice that the Ghost would one day become important to DarkRiver. Do you think it’s just the fact that he rescued Sahara so he’s in someway connected to the pack through her or is it something else?

    The rescue of Sahara is part of that but hasn’t Kaleb as the Ghost also passed intel to the packs through Judd? Was that for the rescue of Ashaya, Amara and Keenan? They’re part of DarkRiver, but I no longer recall all the details of that operation.

    As I said earlier one of my disappointments with this book was that Lucas still doesn’t know Kaleb is the Ghost.

    Can you elaborate on why? I actually hope the Ghost’s identity remains a secret from most people.

  107. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 18:41:56

    @Janine: Oh good god no Israeli Palestinian politics . Wasn’t my point in bringing it up..lol..you saw my point just fine…lol..and I agree I like Judds story as well, but Kaleb I look at as if every one who could have been a great leader, did not want it or was ignored because in rage he was a normal human once in awhile. Then there would never be a good leader who actually leads you know.. and when I said more real, I did not mean it was real and i was talking about his personality anyway..lol..

  108. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 18:51:58

    @shawn hilton:

    i was talking about his personality anyway..

    There are aspects of Kaleb’s personality that don’t feel very real to me at all, like the way he thinks he doesn’t care about anyone but Sahara. In real life most people are either sociopaths who don’t care about anyone, or they care about several people, at a minimum, and not because they think someone else would want them to, but because human connection is natural and necessary to them.

  109. cleo
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 18:54:24

    Ok. I’m on vacation and I just finished SoW. I’m so glad the conversation is still going strong so I can chime in.

    I agree with the B- grade – I enjoyed this a lot while reading it (it’s really a good airport / airplane book) and I had some issues with it.

    I loved the early sexual tension between Ivy and Vasic – I loved the flirting and slow build up. I thought Ivy went from flirty crush to commitment to “my Vasic” a little too quickly for my taste. And I agree with the comments about Psy being fast learners when it comes to sex. Judd’s advice to Vasic was great though.

    I liked the first half better – I liked the tight focus on Ivy and Vasic and the group of Es and their Arrows and their mission. Once they went out in the world and started fighting the outbreaks, it lost something for me. I think I don’t like the epic parts as well. Plus I had trouble completely believing that such a small group could save the whole world. I did tear up when the psy net transformed at the end – even though I was skeptical about the logistics of setting up the honeycomb, I wanted to believe because it was so emotionally satisfying.

    I’m surprised no one’s mentioned Samuel Rain. I’m so intrigued by him (and can someone with a better memory tell me if he appeared in another book?). I think he and Alice seem more likely than Aden and Alice.

    And to Janine’s question about what makes this series book crack ( at least I think Janine mentioned this) – for me I think it is the over the top emotions that grab me and keep me coming back. Plus the metaphors resonate with me – I identify with the Psy suddenly having to learn to feel and to deal with their emotions and I identify with the changelings having to control their beasts (emotions).

  110. cleo
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:03:43

    A couple more thoughts – I agree that Nalini S seems to pull back from the edge – she definitely did it with the Arrows. Although I like this version of the Arrows better, so I’m mostly ok with her pulling back this time.

    I really liked Aden in this story – I like his character development. I liked learning more about the Arrows. And I even liked how Ivy seemed to turn into a sort of den mother to all the Arrows by the end.

  111. cleo
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:04:21

    Argh. The system thinks I’m a spammer again.

  112. library addict
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:06:14

    Can you elaborate on why? I actually hope the Ghost’s identity remains a secret from most people.

    @Janine: I agree his identity should be secret from most people, but I want Lucas and Sascha to know.

    I think part of it goes back to my issues with Tangle of Need and Hawke not involving Lucas at all in the alliance discussions. There must have been some off page discussion about WindHaven since Nate was mentioned to be DarkRiver’s liaison. But it took so long for DarkRiver and SnowDancer to become friendly and there are still issues to be worked out like the inter-pack dating rules. So it bothered me that Lucas’ didn’t appear to have any input about BlackSea. And it wasn’t as if Nalini didn’t write scenes with Hawke calling or going to see Lucas because she did. So a sentence or two addressing Hawke and Lucas having a discussion would have been enough to satisfy me.

    Lucas’ big secret from Hawke was about Anthony being part of the rebellion. But Hawke has known that since the end of Play of Passion as Mercy knew and she and Riley made it clear they wouldn’t keep secrets from each other. Therefor Riley knows and he would have told Hawke.

    Plus I really just want a scene between Lucas and Sascha and Kaleb and Sahara. It was mentioned in Shield of Winter but we didn’t get to actually see it.

  113. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:07:35

    @Janine: Ok that we will have to disagree on, only because I have known people like that, which only care about one person, or believe that they do, I don’t know which and I am not a psychiatrist. But I think that falls into my idea of what I said about there only being one mate for someone in this world to AlexandraM. Just because its what you believe, doesn’t mean that its the truth. he is shown that he believes that, but his actions say something else. So in truth he may care about the rest of his race. So I think its a case of believing one thing while the truth is another.

  114. library addict
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:09:00

    Oops that should be Hawke has known since Branded by Fire which is Mercy and Riley’s book.

  115. library addict
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:11:24

    @cleo: Samuel Rain has a few scenes in Branded by Fire.

  116. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:12:22

    Your not alone Cleo,

    Janine I think that is a case of believing one thing while the truth is something else entirely, I disagree that there are only two kinds of people as you said, but only because I have known people who did only care about one person, or that is what they believed, But I am not a mental doctor, so not gonna comment on that other than to say, just because it is what you believe doesn’t mean its true. But if we all understood reality absolutely all the time, There would be so many people that we need in everything from politics to mental health that all be so out of work.

  117. library addict
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:27:38

    I know Kaleb tells himself he only cares about Sahara, but that’s not true. He’s friends with Judd and Xavier. He may think of it only in terms of them being people he wouldn’t betray, but that’s the way he justifies the relationships to himself.

    It’s like when he says he’s incapable of feeling empathy, yet he comforted Vasquez as he died.

    Plus the way he doesn’t want future Arrows to be trained the way they were and makes that clear to Aden.

  118. AlexandraM
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:41:40

    @library addict:

    As I said earlier one of my disappointments with this book was that Lucas still doesn’t know Kaleb is the Ghost. I’m hoping the matter is addressed in the next book.

    In HoO Kaleb mentions that the Ghost will eventually fade from the limelight. With Kaleb’s control over the Net and the fall of the Council and Silence the Ghost has completed his objectives, so I don’t see a purpose for revealing his identity to anyone who doesn’t already know. You’re right that it seems dishonest Hawke wouldn’t share this knowledge with Lucas but it makes sense in that it’s not his secret, it’s Judd, and Judd kept that secret for a long time. Telling Lucas, even if it never went any further, would be a huge betrayal. Judd earning Kaleb’s trust is quite a coup. As for Judd telling Hawke, per Judd’s conversation with the Ghost in CbI he understands that Judd’s first loyalty is to Brenna and SnowDancer.

    I wish Kaleb and Sahara’s meeting with Lucas and Sascha hadn’t been glossed over either. Even a page or two would have been nice. All that said, I was hoping for at least a mention of the Ghost in SoW. Despite the revelation of his identity as Kaleb I don’t think that plot line is totally complete. I have a mental list of things I’m hoping Nalini Singh brings to a close in the next book and the Ghost is one of them.

    @shawn hilton:

    I don’t think the series paints it as there is only one. I think that it shows thats what they beleive. But what you believe is not the truth, I think here the mate bond is a chance at happily ever after. But if it was set in stone, then why does the woman have a choice, and if she says no what does the male live in a world of pain because of it? If there was only one for each person how was Hawke able to find sienna as his mate after his first chance at a mate died? and Why is it that Riaz can realize that he loves adria more than the one that is “set in stone” and how could he possibly have a chance to maybe even build a matting bond with her, but not one the universe says is right, but built on the strength of their actions to one another.

    Oops. The Immortals After Dark (IAD) is a set-in-stone example, and I know that’s not the case with the Psy-Changeling series. My issue with IAD is the idea of a fated mate. My issue with P-C is that it’s not exactly fate but it’s not completely up to just choice – and Nalini Singh never actually gives us any rules for it. And maybe there’s not rules, but that’s just another personal preference thing. I like there to be rules.

    My other problem with ‘mates’ is the thought that this person is so deeply entrenched in you that if they die you can’t go on (and Hawke doesn’t count because he wasn’t mated). Remember Adam, the leader of the falcons? He became alpha after his grandmother died, and it was mentioned she only outlived her mate by six months…like they just lose the will to go on after their mates die. The same happened with Hawke’s and Lucas’ parents. To me that’s selfish, and I don’t like that not being able to live without that other person is romanticized (disclaimer: I realize Nalini Singh is probably not trying to directly romanticize this – its simply an adjunct of using the mating concept in her series).

    Dying for a cause is admirable but in most scenarios you’re going to accomplish more alive than you are dead, and dying for love (as in just giving up after the one you love dies – NOT dying FOR that person) is one of those unworthy scenarios (read: selfish). The Twilight series caught a lot of fire for this reason, and rightly so because it’s a YA series read by a lot of young, impressionable girls. In that case sending the message to young readers that giving up the will to live over love is dangerous and contributes to narcissistic behavior and black-and-white thinking.

    @cleo: The parts with Samuel Rain were among my favorites. I really want to see him again! He did appear in another book – that was Branded by Fire. I agree with you about what makes this series “book crack”. For all that I don’t like some of the over-the-top descriptions and also feel Nalini Singh builds things up too much I have an undying love for drama, so while I can stand back and criticize these things I keep coming back. The television show Grey’s Anatomy did this for a while. After the season finale with the airplane crash I was like “this is absolutely ridiculous, I am so over this program.” And guess what? I still watch it.

  119. Janine
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:46:40

    Those with comments going to the spam filter, please bear with us. We check the spam filter periodically and fish out comments from there.

    @cleo:

    I loved the early sexual tension between Ivy and Vasic – I loved the flirting and slow build up. I thought Ivy went from flirty crush to commitment to “my Vasic” a little too quickly for my taste.

    Agreed.

    And to Janine’s question about what makes this series book crack ( at least I think Janine mentioned this) – for me I think it is the over the top emotions that grab me and keep me coming back. Plus the metaphors resonate with me – I identify with the Psy suddenly having to learn to feel and to deal with their emotions and I identify with the changelings having to control their beasts (emotions).

    Thanks, I’m so glad to see someone engage with this question. I couldn’t agree more that the “book crack” aspect is directly tied to the over-the-top emotions. And great point about the metaphors– the ones you mention resonate with me too.

    @cleo: I agree on Aden, but he’s a character I’ve always liked. I also really like Anthony and I hope we get his story at some point. I liked Ivy’s role as a den mother to the Arrows too.

    @library addict: Ah, I see, thanks so much for explaining! I took issue with the exclusion of Lucas from Hawke’s meeting with BlackSea in Tangle of Need also. Actually Nalini Singh told me on Twitter that by having that meeting in a DarkRiver-owned building, she intended to show that Lucas was in the loop on that, and on board with those negotiations. But when I was reading ToN the use of the building didn’t adequately convey all that to me, so I completely understand where you are coming from on that issue.

    I feel differently about Kaleb’s Ghost identity though. I think Hawke telling Lucas in that Kaleb gave them intel for operations that involved DarkRiver (this happens in Shield of Winter) is sufficient. It implies Kaleb may be the Ghost without spelling it out. Lucas is smart and probably can put two and two together, but I don’t think Hawke should out Kaleb because Kaleb (and possibly also Judd) wouldn’t take kindly to that.

    There’s a delicate balance to be maintained between Kaleb and the changelings, and outing Kaleb’s secrets may make it harder for me to believe in that balance. So if Singh is going to do that, I hope she at least takes her time with that, and that it doesn’t happen until Kaleb and the pack leaders have more trust in each other.

    I don’t know that I want a scene with Kaleb and Sahara and Lucas and Sascha either. Maybe it will come and I will love it when it does, so I’m not saying I’m strongly opposed to it, either. But I don’t want these characters to get cozy with each other too fast because another issue I had with Tangle of Need was that the alliance with BlackSea happened too fast. It took DarkRiver SnowDancer several books to get to the level of trust they have now, and I felt those same slow steps were skipped with BlackSea. I don’t want them to be skipped with the Psy, too.

    @shawn hilton: I never said there are only two kinds of people, I said most fall into one category or the other. The sociopath-with-one-exception aspect of Kaleb doesn’t seem like the most believable part of his characterization to me. I agree that beliefs aren’t the same as reality; however my reading of Kaleb is that before he finds Sahara, he’s very close to the reality of that scenario. YMMV, of course!

  120. library addict
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 20:05:53

    I’m not saying Hawke should be the one to tell Lucas about Kaleb. Or Judd. I just want Lucas to eventually know.

    And I agree it should take time for them all to trust one another. I don’t see Kaleb ever becoming buddy-buddy with Lucas or Hawke.

    I liked in Shield of Winter that just because the packs trust Judd that level of trust did not automatically transfer to the other Arrows.

  121. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 20:43:00

    @AlexandraM:
    “Dying for a cause is admirable but in most scenarios you’re going to accomplish more alive than you are dead, and dying for love (as in just giving up after the one you love dies – NOT dying FOR that person) is one of those unworthy scenarios (read: selfish). The Twilight series caught a lot of fire for this reason, and rightly so because it’s a YA series read by a lot of young, impressionable girls. In that case sending the message to young readers that giving up the will to live over love is dangerous and contributes to narcissistic behavior and black-and-white thinking.”

    Yea i see what your saying, but I disagree a bit. Not completely but some. Did you know in real life, (if not i didn’t untill I looked so don’t feel bad.) That according to statistics that around 78 percent of people in relationships that last longer than 20 years die with in 6 months of their partner, and an further 10 percent last a year after. So in essence you could say that the mates did not out last their partner. In the animal world Mates don’t live more than 6 months after their partner dies, that is an absolute proven fact. Some do, but a great many don’t that is just how it is.

    Twilight caught more shit about the fact that the “Love and Romance” in that series was more Obsession than anything else. It wasn’t so much the problem with mates that I saw and I saw allot of those threads. (there is a story to that, but i wont do it here.) and most teh problems that I saw was always that Twilight taught young impressional girls that you can’t live with out a boyfriend. Two different ideas completely, Your mate is not your boyfriend, and it is not always something you get as a teenager, Some times it happens but it is very very rare. Look at all the mates in this series and many others. Mating is a decision that you choose to accept, and your right t here are no rules presented and their shouldn’t be. Because in real life there are no rules to love. I mean have you ever had a friend that has a boyfriend that they are head over heels about and you keep asking your self why? There is no rules to it.

    Mating bonds as it is portrayed here and in most proper paranormal romances is like marriage, but it is more than marriage at the same time. if you mean the mate bond with Jacob the most I saw about that was the fact she was a baby and he was an adult, and she did a horrid job of explaining it. But even that is not how a mate bond is normally portrayed, but that was a minor thing when you compare sparklie vampires.

  122. cleo
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 22:46:07

    @Janine: I find the question of what makes this book crack fascinating – I’m glad you brought it up. I keep trying to understand why I love this series so much, because it goes against a lot of my usual preferences. I don’t like to read about serial killers or alpha males and I stopped reading complicated, long running series that require me to remember picky details many, many years ago – and yet here I am, 13 books later and still firmly committed to reading the next one.

    Another addictive quality, for me at least, is the sense of community and of a shared experience – I probably wouldn’t have pre-ordered SoW if I didn’t expect DA and other blogs to have a review out the week it came out. But half the fun of reading this series is talking about it afterwards and I wanted to participate in the conversation (and I don’t regret my purchase at all). It reminds me of watching LOST or some of the Star Trek series. Or reading Harry Potter. There’s something exhilarating about reading or watching something at the same time as a lot of other people. I often miss big pop cultural moments (without feeling like I’m missing anything), but every once in awhile I really enjoy participating in that communal sense of discovery.

  123. shawn hilton
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 23:03:20

    AlexandraM Dying for a cause is admirable but in most scenarios you’re going to accomplish more alive than you are dead, and dying for love (as in just giving up after the one you love dies – NOT dying FOR that person) is one of those unworthy scenarios (read: selfish). The Twilight series caught a lot of fire for this reason, and rightly so because it’s a YA series read by a lot of young, impressionable girls. In that case sending the message to young readers that giving up the will to live over love is dangerous and contributes to narcissistic behavior and black-and-white thinking.”

    Yea i see what your saying, but I disagree a bit. Not completely but some. Did you know in real life, (if not i didn’t until I looked so don’t feel bad.) That according to statistics that around 78 percent of people in relationships that last longer than 20 years die with in 6 months of their partner, and an further 10 percent last a year after. So in essence you could say that the mates did not out last their partner. In the animal world Mates don’t live more than 6 months after their partner dies, that is an absolute proven fact. Some do, but a great many don’t that is just how it is.

    Twilight caught more shit about the fact that the “Love and Romance” in that series was more Obsession than anything else. It wasn’t so much the problem with mates that I saw and I saw allot of those threads. (there is a story to that, but i wont do it here.) and most the problems that I saw was always that Twilight taught young impressional girls that you can’t live with out a boyfriend. Two different ideas completely, Your mate is not your boyfriend, and it is not always something you get as a teenager, Some times it happens but it is very very rare. Look at all the mates in this series and many others. Mating is a decision that you choose to accept, and your right t here are no rules presented and their shouldn’t be. Because in real life there are no rules to love. I mean have you ever had a friend that has a boyfriend that they are head over heels about and you keep asking your self why? There is no rules to it.

    Mating bonds as it is portrayed here and in most proper paranormal romances is like marriage, but it is more than marriage at the same time. if you mean the mate bond with Jacob the most I saw about that was the fact she was a baby and he was an adult, and she did a horrid job of explaining it. But even that is not how a mate bond is normally portrayed, but that was a minor thing when you compare sparkle vampires.

  124. library addict
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 00:29:02

    I have a mental list of things I’m hoping Nalini Singh brings to a close in the next book and the Ghost is one of them.

    @AlexandraM: I have a list as well, some of which I’m confident will be resolved as it is part of the main story arc, some is just stuff I’m curious about:
    •Ming
    •Xavier & Nina
    •Nikita & Anthony – what, if anything, is going on?
    •Nikita meeting Naya
    •Who was Henry talking about in Slave to Sensation when he was tagging the records and made the cryptic statement about the youngest boy being cause for concern?
    •Why did BlackSea need to form an alliance with SnowDancer?
    •Lucas finding out Kaleb was the Ghost
    •How many pupcubs will Mercy have and what types?
    •Will Annie/Zach know Kaleb was the one who rescued her?
    •Aden’s parents
    •What is Aden’s real designation?
    •Where is to Shoshanna?
    •Faith’s thought re: The Ghost becoming important to DarkRiver in Caressed by Ice

  125. Amy
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 02:28:13

    @library addict: Great list! But I would prefer that Lucas never find out about Kaleb’s identity as the Ghost (unless Kaleb volunteers the info). I don’t think the alliance with SnowDancer requires Hawke to break his packmate (Judd)’s confidence) as the hierarchy of loyalty is owed first to one’s mate/spouse/family, then to one’s pack, and then to members of any alliances.

    I would add:
    • What exactly did Walker teach Aden and the other young Arrows?

  126. Amy
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 02:32:35

    @library addict: Oops, I just saw your earlier post where you said “I’m not saying Hawke should be the one to tell Lucas about Kaleb. Or Judd. I just want Lucas to eventually know.” So disregard my comments re Hawke above. I just really see a need for Lucas to know.

  127. Amy
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 02:33:33

    Argh. I wish we could edit our posts! I meant to say “I just really DON’T see . . . .”

  128. library addict
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 04:31:58

    @Amy: I agree my wanting Lucas to know is not truly necessary for the story. It’s just one of those things that’s stuck in my head.

    One thing I forgot on my list is how/if Kaleb (or others) will be able to get the NetMind and DarkMind to merge.

  129. AlexandraM
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 10:56:19

    @shawn hilton: Statistics are nice but notoriously unreliable. What was the sample size of the data from where your statistic came from, and what group of people did it use as a sample? Cultures vary widely in standard relationship practices. Did that data take in the ages of those couples? Were they relatively healthy and in their forties and fifties or were they in their seventies and eighties and already likely fighting some of the health issues that come with age? I didn’t see a citation about mated animals in the wild. While there are SOME species that mate for life there are still exceptions within that. An animal following it’s lifelong mate into death doesn’t make evolutionary sense and is not a productive trait for species survival.

    Mating bonds as it is portrayed here and in most proper paranormal romances is like marriage, but it is more than marriage at the same time.

    No. Nalini Singh explicitly states in the P-C series that mating is NOT marriage. It also explicitly states that mates in the P-C NEVER cheat. Like I said before it’s this type of end-all, be-all nature to mating IN THIS SERIES that I don’t like, because while similar long term relationships do exist most don’t work like that in real life. This is fiction, though, and part of its attraction is the heightened emotions and higher stakes. I said somewhere else in this thread that I love drama, and that’s true here. However, the ‘mating’ concept is just something I as a reader find it difficult to buy into. I respect your opinion, and thank you for the data, examples and personal experiences you shared, but my dislike of the mating idea comes from personal beliefs and you won’t convince me otherwise in the discussion thread of a book we both agreed earlier has similar qualities to a fairy tale.

    @library addict: It’s like you read my mind. I’d just add these two things:

    1. The Psy as a people are still prone to violence and madness – how will they address this post-Silence and what tools they learned from Silence will they apply to this situation?
    2. Along similar lines what changes will be made in the Arrow training program?
    3. The DarkMind – that’s another thing I was hoping to see more of in SoW

    @cleo:

    Another addictive quality, for me at least, is the sense of community and of a shared experience…There’s something exhilarating about reading or watching something at the same time as a lot of other people.

    ME TOO! I’ve enjoyed discussing SoW far more than reading it.

  130. Janine
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 12:27:23

    @library addict: As Mo said, Kaleb is a contradictory character. It’s not surprising that there’s disagreement about him, because in Mo’s words he’s “one of those characters where all the talk and all the action just don’t mesh.”

    In many ways he certainly behaves as if Judd and Xavier are his friends, but not only does he not think of them as friends, when he plans on killing all Psy, that includes Judd’s other friends in the Arrow squad. That’s not the behavior of a friend. I’d like to think of him as their friend, since I certainly think of them as his friends, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

    One of my disappointments in Heart of Obsidian was that Kaleb never admitted that Judd and Xavier had been any kind of positive influence on him and his plans. It was all Sahara, Sahara, Sahara all the time.

    @AlexandraM:

    The parts with Samuel Rain were among my favorites. I really want to see him again!

    I’m not as keen on Samuel Rain as you and Cleo. His character seems situated in one stereotype of scientists — that of the crazy scientist. I’ve worked with or known many scientists and while they can be dogged in pursuit of their work, the ones I’ve known aren’t such wild-eyed obsessive types. Ashaya is a better example of a scientist, for me.

    I agree with you about what makes this series “book crack”. For all that I don’t like some of the over-the-top descriptions and also feel Nalini Singh builds things up too much I have an undying love for drama, so while I can stand back and criticize these things I keep coming back.

    That’s a great point about the build ups– I don’t know if I’d say Singh builds things up too much but the build up to some books is phenomenal. The last scene of Tangle of Need had me salivating for Heart of Obsession for months.

    @Library Addict:

    I’m not saying Hawke should be the one to tell Lucas about Kaleb. Or Judd. I just want Lucas to eventually know.

    I see! Sorry for misunderstanding what you said before. I can’t see Kaleb confiding this to Lucas, though, so really the only way for Lucas to know is for him to put two and two together, or for one of the other DarkRiver leopards to do so, and go to him with that information. If it has to happen, I’d rather he figured it out on his own, but like Amy, I don’t see the need for him to find out.

    @Cleo:

    I keep trying to understand why I love this series so much, because it goes against a lot of my usual preferences. I don’t like to read about serial killers or alpha males and I stopped reading complicated, long running series that require me to remember picky details many, many years ago – and yet here I am, 13 books later and still firmly committed to reading the next one.

    It goes against a lot of my usual preferences too. It’s the only series this long I have kept up with and the mating bond stuff isn’t usually my thing (I make another exception for Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series, but there the bond comes before they get to know each other and acts more like a marriage of convenience). And as you can see from the discussion, the possessive-to-the-point-of-scorching-the-earth aspect is one I find problematic. I could nitpick a hundred other things, too (and I may have already done so in this thread). But I keep coming back! And I enjoy the books.

    Another addictive quality, for me at least, is the sense of community and of a shared experience – I probably wouldn’t have pre-ordered SoW if I didn’t expect DA and other blogs to have a review out the week it came out. But half the fun of reading this series is talking about it afterwards and I wanted to participate in the conversation (and I don’t regret my purchase at all). It reminds me of watching LOST or some of the Star Trek series. Or reading Harry Potter. There’s something exhilarating about reading or watching something at the same time as a lot of other people. I often miss big pop cultural moments (without feeling like I’m missing anything), but every once in awhile I really enjoy participating in that communal sense of discovery.

    Thanks. I’m really happy to have the opportunity to participate in an in-depth discussion like this too.

    @shawn hilton:

    That according to statistics that around 78 percent of people in relationships that last longer than 20 years die with in 6 months of their partner, and an further 10 percent last a year after.

    I’m skeptical of these statistics.

    @library addict: Great list! I agree with:

    •Ming

    I don’t even question that this will be answered

    •Xavier & Nina

    I cannot wait!!! Xavier is such a departure from most of the male characters in this series that he’s a breath of fresh air. I’m rooting for him.

    •Nikita & Anthony – what, if anything, is going on?

    This too will almost certainly be answered. I’d love us to get inside Nikita’s head more than we have so far.

    •Nikita meeting Naya

    Yes!!! But I hope this doesn’t make Nikita too soft. I don’t exactly like her as she is, but if she softens up too fast, it might be hard to buy.

    •Who was Henry talking about in Slave to Sensation when he was tagging the records and made the cryptic statement about the youngest boy being cause for concern?

    I don’t recall this scene. Can you remind me of the context? Was it something important or just a way to demonstrate that Henry was a villain?

    •Why did BlackSea need to form an alliance with SnowDancer?

    Agreed, we need an answer to this. It shouldn’t just be that BlackSea are a way to generate interesting future protagonists.

    •Aden’s parents

    I have no doubt we’ll learn more in Aden’s book.

    •What is Aden’s real designation?

    Again, this is bound to be revealed soon.

    •Where is to Shoshanna?

    If you mean where is Shoshanna, I don’t doubt we’ll find that out.

    I disagree with the following:

    •Lucas finding out Kaleb was the Ghost

    I don’t really see the need

    •How many pupcubs will Mercy have and what types?

    Oy! I wish those pupcubs hadn’t been conceived. I don’t want to be a grinch but my heart really is two sizes too small when it comes to this pregnancy. While it may be a way to bring DarkRiver and SnowDancer even closer together, I fear it will soften Mercy too much for my taste.

    I loved Mercy’s unapologetic strength and sexuality in Branded by Fire and giving birth to multiples isn’t where I wanted to see her character go. I want her to stay a sentinel and continue going into dangerous situations since she loves her role, but I can’t imagine Riley and the pack leaders not wanting to protect a mother of four or so kids, or else Mercy not stepping down from her role, given how rare births are among changelings to begin with.

    As to the number of types, my guess is that she’ll have four– two pups, boy and girl, and two cubs, also boy and girl.

    •Will Annie/Zach know Kaleb was the one who rescued her?

    Kaleb should get to keep his secrets. Maybe if Annie meets him she’ll figure it out though, and thank him. I would enjoy that, as long as the secret is revealed through Annie recognizing him, and not by another means.

    •Faith’s thought re: The Ghost becoming important to DarkRiver in Caressed by Ice

    My speculation is that it’s connected to the rescue of Ashaya, Amara and Keenan. I’m not sure this should be resolved further. Tying up too many loose ends at the same time has a way of making books feel unreal.

    @Amy: I don’t need to find out in more detail what techniques Walker taught the young Arrows, but I wouldn’t mind if it’s shown in Aden’s book.

    @Library Addict & AlexandraM: Yes the reunion of the DarkMind and the NetMind definitely needs to happen or be addressed. I’m sure it will be.

    @AlexandraM: I agree it would be great to see the Psy deal with the violence issue in detail. I loved the scene in I forget which book (was it Blaze of Memory?) in which Judd taught the young Forgotten boy to use his Tk-Cell ability to heal.

    @Everyone: I might not get back to this thread until late today or sometime tomorrow. I need to get some work done as well as produce other reviews.

  131. library addict
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 13:15:16

    I don’t recall this scene. Can you remind me of the context? Was it something important or just a way to demonstrate that Henry was a villain?

    @Janine: It’s in chapter 16. Sascha is hiding out in Henry’s mind during her attempt to find out if the Council knows who the killer is. After the Council meeting, Henry is talking to Shoshanna and says “Yes. You were right again—the indicators are present in several members of the extended family, but it’s the youngest boy who might become a cause for concern.” I’ve just always wondered who he was talking about. And IIRC Nalini said in previous Q&As we would learn who it was.

    As far as Kaleb’s friendship with Judd, I took the end of HoO when they talking about each of them having gone to the village where Nina is supposed to be as proof. And Judd views him as a friend and Judd isn’t stupid. Plus Sahara considers them Kaleb’s friends after she’s seen inside of Kaleb’s mind. So all of that convinces me they truly are his friends regardless of him thinking of them only in terms of trust and loyalty.

  132. library addict
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 13:22:58

    @Janine: I agree with you about the pupcubs. Four (one of each) would be entirely too convenient so I hope that’s not what happens. I’d like to see all girls.

  133. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 17:06:27

    @AlexandraM: Statistics are nice but notoriously unreliable. What was the sample size of the data from where your statistic came from, and what group of people did it use as a sample? Cultures vary widely in standard relationship practices. Did that data take in the ages of those couples? Were they relatively healthy and in their forties and fifties or were they in their seventies and eighties and already likely fighting some of the health issues that come with age? I didn’t see a citation about mated animals in the wild. While there are SOME species that mate for life there are still exceptions within that. An animal following it’s lifelong mate into death doesn’t make evolutionary sense and is not a productive trait for species survival.

    I am going to complexly disagree with this whole statement. Yes Stats can be unreliable, if not done right. But they are not notoriously so. If that was true then no Scientist would start their presentation, for any theory with the words “Statistically we have shown.” Which they do allot. Do not make the mistake please because I said I was a retired Soldier, don’t assume that is all that I am. You may not have, but I did get that feeling. As for all the things you added into of the stats, No idea and doesn’t really matter all that much, the statement was couples who were in a relationship of 20 years or more. The rest of things you asked for would be useful for breaking the statistic groups into smaller control groups, and would change the numbers slightly or greatly by adding those factors in those groups, It doesn’t effect the over all numbers at all for the question at hand.

    A mate who follows it’s mate into death may not make evolutionary sense right now, in 20 30 40 years it may, or it may never make sense. That is the beautiful thing with life and why scientific theory works so well. Remembers the first thing my professor said. “Never ever assume you understand the world based on what you see, or think you know. The world doesn’t always make sense, your results will not always be what you expect, so you suit yourself better by expecting nothing. because what you expect to happen could taint your experiments, or cause you to ignore a result that you did not expect.” We don’t know why it happens, just that it does and you are right there is exceptions to the rule, but that doesn’t make the rule invalid, and yes there are animals that do not mate forever. But it does happen in the ones that do. Are humans made to mate forever? I believe not, but then again sometimes they do.

    The main point is that we have seen over and over again that emotion, is the hardest thing for anyone to quantify. It makes no sense at times, and everyone reacts differently to different things. something that makes you sad, may make me angry, what makes me angry makes you sad. Assuming that we understand anything about emotion, that is a perfect trap, because the most you can do is say in 50% this happens. To get more relevant results you need to look at each individual, and there is just not time for that….lol..

    “No. Nalini Singh explicitly states in the P-C series that mating is NOT marriage. It also explicitly states that mates in the P-C NEVER cheat. Like I said before it’s this type of end-all, be-all nature to mating IN THIS SERIES that I don’t like,”

    No what she says is in StS, it is not marriage, then in MtP she explains it more, and what she explains is exactly what a marriage is supposed to be, just more so. Mates Never cheat, mates never choose to leave one another, mates always come first. In a marriage if the couples followed these rules, then the marriages would not have issues. But that rarely happens doesn’t it? Going back to stats….lol.. Majority of marriages that end are due to adultery, and that is a broad word. Because it has different meanings for different people. For instance Some would say it is the sleeping with an external partner, while some could say it is as simple as flirting on facebook with an external partner. Which again brings us back to the idea quantifying emotion is not the easiest thing to do, because even when you think you understand it, you will be surprised. The way she does it leaves it to interpretation, while the Changeling may say it is not like marriage, how do they really know? They don’t do marriage they do matting and long standing relationship. Then you have the problem of what my Idea of what marriage is supposed to be, and what your idea is. I have had three wives. The first was a shotgun wedding, neither of us chose it, it was forced on us, so as soon as we could we divorced. She is now happily married to my younger brother and has been for the last 17 years. My second wife and I were together for 7 years, we had two beautiful children, but we met when I was a soldier and constantly being deployed, of that seven years we were probably actually together ehh 4, are tempers were to volatile. She was gasoline and I was the fire, we could have moments that there was so much passion in such a range of directions that Sex could look like a fight, and a fight could look Charlie manson was throwing a party at our house and had simply invited us to play along.

    We broke up and to this day we are still friends, and still talk regularly, its all good as long as she has her life and I have mine. Then there is my third marriage, we were together for 8 almost 9 years, and we were good, until the last couple of years, and outside people put pressure mainly on me, and allot of mistakes were made especially by me. The point of telling you this is that I can point to all three and tell you exactly what was done wrong, and all three were mistakes that mates never do. All that it means when a changeling says Mates don’t do this, could mean that the magic makes it so they don’t,or it means that the bond gives them such insite to their partner that they never choose to….LOL..

    Ok we have officially started breaking a story into scientific theory, I have a 100 dollar NS is laughing at us..lol.. But the reason for all this is simple, there are marraiges even in real life that last for long long times. My grandparents on both sides were married for 50 years each, More for on my fathers side, my both my grandfathers met my grandmothers in school when they were children. I could not imagine that mainly because the way my married life has been, and while Life has beaten the Idealist out of me in allot of things. In this the memory of watching my grandmother Dieing of cancer and on the night she died my grandfather never cried, not once and on the day he past away a year later, he was peaceful about it because he was going to see her again. His belief not necessarily mine, but it was his, has been enough for me to never lose faith in this one thing I guess.

  134. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 17:11:00

    Spam filter grabbed my replay again. Can anyone please tell me why I cannot use my WP global account?

  135. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 17:31:51

    and I have now officially looked the spam filter is grabbing it every time that I directly answer anyone. Linking their post to mine. As long as I do not it is usually not grabbed.

  136. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 17:34:12

    AlexandraM: Statistics are nice but notoriously unreliable. What was the sample size of the data from where your statistic came from, and what group of people did it use as a sample? Cultures vary widely in standard relationship practices. Did that data take in the ages of those couples? Were they relatively healthy and in their forties and fifties or were they in their seventies and eighties and already likely fighting some of the health issues that come with age? I didn’t see a citation about mated animals in the wild. While there are SOME species that mate for life there are still exceptions within that. An animal following it’s lifelong mate into death doesn’t make evolutionary sense and is not a productive trait for species survival.

    I am going to complexly disagree with this whole statement. Yes Stats can be unreliable, if not done right. But they are not notoriously so. If that was true then no Scientist would start their presentation, for any theory with the words “Statistically we have shown.” Which they do allot. Do not make the mistake please because I said I was a retired Soldier, don’t assume that is all that I am. You may not have, but I did get that feeling. As for all the things you added into of the stats, No idea and doesn’t really matter all that much, the statement was couples who were in a relationship of 20 years or more. The rest of things you asked for would be useful for breaking the statistic groups into smaller control groups, and would change the numbers slightly or greatly by adding those factors in those groups, It doesn’t effect the over all numbers at all for the question at hand.

    A mate who follows it’s mate into death may not make evolutionary sense right now, in 20 30 40 years it may, or it may never make sense. That is the beautiful thing with life and why scientific theory works so well. Remembers the first thing my professor said. “Never ever assume you understand the world based on what you see, or think you know. The world doesn’t always make sense, your results will not always be what you expect, so you suit yourself better by expecting nothing. because what you expect to happen could taint your experiments, or cause you to ignore a result that you did not expect.” We don’t know why it happens, just that it does and you are right there is exceptions to the rule, but that doesn’t make the rule invalid, and yes there are animals that do not mate forever. But it does happen in the ones that do. Are humans made to mate forever? I believe not, but then again sometimes they do.

    The main point is that we have seen over and over again that emotion, is the hardest thing for anyone to quantify. It makes no sense at times, and everyone reacts differently to different things. something that makes you sad, may make me angry, what makes me angry makes you sad. Assuming that we understand anything about emotion, that is a perfect trap, because the most you can do is say in 50% this happens. To get more relevant results you need to look at each individual, and there is just not time for that….lol.. The effect by the way is called the widower effect

    here is a good article on it.
    dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2507829/You-really-CAN-die-broken-heart-Surviving-spouses-66-higher-risk-dying-months-partners-death.html

    “No. Nalini Singh explicitly states in the P-C series that mating is NOT marriage. It also explicitly states that mates in the P-C NEVER cheat. Like I said before it’s this type of end-all, be-all nature to mating IN THIS SERIES that I don’t like,”

    No what she says is in StS, it is not marriage, then in MtP she explains it more, and what she explains is exactly what a marriage is supposed to be, just more so. Mates Never cheat, mates never choose to leave one another, mates always come first. In a marriage if the couples followed these rules, then the marriages would not have issues. But that rarely happens doesn’t it? Going back to stats….lol.. Majority of marriages that end are due to adultery, and that is a broad word. Because it has different meanings for different people. For instance Some would say it is the sleeping with an external partner, while some could say it is as simple as flirting on facebook with an external partner. Which again brings us back to the idea quantifying emotion is not the easiest thing to do, because even when you think you understand it, you will be surprised. The way she does it leaves it to interpretation, while the Changeling may say it is not like marriage, how do they really know? They don’t do marriage they do matting and long standing relationship. Then you have the problem of what my Idea of what marriage is supposed to be, and what your idea is. I have had three wives. The first was a shotgun wedding, neither of us chose it, it was forced on us, so as soon as we could we divorced. She is now happily married to my younger brother and has been for the last 17 years. My second wife and I were together for 7 years, we had two beautiful children, but we met when I was a soldier and constantly being deployed, of that seven years we were probably actually together ehh 4, are tempers were to volatile. She was gasoline and I was the fire, we could have moments that there was so much passion in such a range of directions that Sex could look like a fight, and a fight could look Charlie manson was throwing a party at our house and had simply invited us to play along.

    We broke up and to this day we are still friends, and still talk regularly, its all good as long as she has her life and I have mine. Then there is my third marriage, we were together for 8 almost 9 years, and we were good, until the last couple of years, and outside people put pressure mainly on me, and allot of mistakes were made especially by me. The point of telling you this is that I can point to all three and tell you exactly what was done wrong, and all three were mistakes that mates never do. All that it means when a changeling says Mates don’t do this, could mean that the magic makes it so they don’t,or it means that the bond gives them such insite to their partner that they never choose to….LOL..

    Ok we have officially started breaking a story into scientific theory, I have a 100 dollar NS is laughing at us..lol.. But the reason for all this is simple, there are marraiges even in real life that last for long long times. My grandparents on both sides were married for 50 years each, More for on my fathers side, my both my grandfathers met my grandmothers in school when they were children. I could not imagine that mainly because the way my married life has been, and while Life has beaten the Idealist out of me in allot of things. In this the memory of watching my grandmother Dieing of cancer and on the night she died my grandfather never cried, not once and on the day he past away a year later, he was peaceful about it because he was going to see her again. His belief not necessarily mine, but it was his, has been enough for me to never lose faith in this one thing I guess.

  137. AlexandraM
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 19:06:34

    @shawn hilton:

    I am going to complexly disagree with this whole statement. Yes Stats can be unreliable, if not done right. But they are not notoriously so. If that was true then no Scientist would start their presentation, for any theory with the words “Statistically we have shown.” Which they do allot.

    I’m not going to debate semantics over my use of “notoriously”.

    Do not make the mistake please because I said I was a retired Soldier, don’t assume that is all that I am. You may not have, but I did get that feeling.

    If I gave you the impression I think you’re just a retired soldier that was absolutely not my intention, and that thought never even remotely occurred to me.

    As for all the things you added into of the stats, No idea and doesn’t really matter all that much, the statement was couples who were in a relationship of 20 years or more. The rest of things you asked for would be useful for breaking the statistic groups into smaller control groups, and would change the numbers slightly or greatly by adding those factors in those groups, It doesn’t effect the over all numbers at all for the question at hand.

    Yes, it matters. Any statistic is just an arbitrary number if you don’t consider when and where it came from, how the data was collected, who collected it and what the purpose for the study was in the first place (e.g. selection bias).

    A mate who follows it’s mate into death may not make evolutionary sense right now, in 20 30 40 years it may, or it may never make sense.

    No, it wont. Evolution doesn’t work like that.

    That is the beautiful thing with life and why scientific theory works so well. Remembers the first thing my professor said. “Never ever assume you understand the world based on what you see, or think you know. The world doesn’t always make sense, your results will not always be what you expect, so you suit yourself better by expecting nothing. because what you expect to happen could taint your experiments, or cause you to ignore a result that you did not expect.”

    What a beautiful and sensible quote. We are not in disagreement over this.

    We don’t know why it happens, just that it does and you are right there is exceptions to the rule, but that doesn’t make the rule invalid, and yes there are animals that do not mate forever. But it does happen in the ones that do. Are humans made to mate forever? I believe not, but then again sometimes they do.

    I honestly don’t know what more to say at this point. I think we have veered so far away from the original discussion that we are both wasting our time. Are either of us getting anything productive out of going back and forth over this?

    The main point is that we have seen over and over again that emotion, is the hardest thing for anyone to quantify. It makes no sense at times, and everyone reacts differently to different things. something that makes you sad, may make me angry, what makes me angry makes you sad.

    Yes, emotion is a mystery.

    The way she does it leaves it to interpretation, while the Changeling may say it is not like marriage, how do they really know? They don’t do marriage they do matting and long standing relationship. Then you have the problem of what my Idea of what marriage is supposed to be, and what your idea is.

    Yes, the definition of marriage itself and what qualifies as a good, happy or healthy marriage is largely dependent upon individual perceptions.

    The point of telling you this is that I can point to all three and tell you exactly what was done wrong, and all three were mistakes that mates never do. All that it means when a changeling says Mates don’t do this, could mean that the magic makes it so they don’t,or it means that the bond gives them such insite to their partner that they never choose to….LOL..

    Jennie’s part of the review mentioned:

    I’m not comfortable with the juxtaposition of the intellectual Psy race and the intuitive, emotional Changeling race. Specifically, with few exceptions, Changelings are portrayed as good and Psy as bad.

    Jennie brought up something interesting here. I don’t want to debate her statement with you, but it was discussed elsewhere in this thread that often even the changelings’ “bad” traits and decisions are justified in this series e.g. they will go to extremes (killing if need be) if they feel their mates are threatened but that’s okay because its protective and romantic. Bringing up their dual animal nature will just create another tangent, so please don’t counter with that – I’m using this as an example to support Jennie’s statement. I’m responding to your statement by playing the devil’s advocate and asking: following Jennie’s argument maybe mated changelings don’t make mistakes in their relationships because they are set up to be more inherently “good”?

    Ok we have officially started breaking a story into scientific theory, I have a 100 dollar NS is laughing at us..lol.. But the reason for all this is simple, there are marraiges even in real life that last for long long times. My grandparents on both sides were married for 50 years each, More for on my fathers side, my both my grandfathers met my grandmothers in school when they were children. I could not imagine that mainly because the way my married life has been, and while Life has beaten the Idealist out of me in allot of things. In this the memory of watching my grandmother Dieing of cancer and on the night she died my grandfather never cried, not once and on the day he past away a year later, he was peaceful about it because he was going to see her again. His belief not necessarily mine, but it was his, has been enough for me to never lose faith in this one thing I guess.

    I thought I’d mentioned it several times but maybe I haven’t been clear enough: the majority of my position in this discussion on mating comes from my dissatisfaction with it as a plot device. Some of that comes from my own life: I grew up observing a marriage that had plenty of love and minimal respect and it affected me deeply. I prefer the Psy heroes in this series because, to me, they are less overprotective and possessive over their partners. This type of behavior can be romantic in this setting but is suffocating and disrespectful to me in real life, so it’s more difficult as a reader to buy into it.

    I’m not trying to crush or cause you to question your faith in love and commitment. Like I said before, I’m not going to change my personal views…and I’m not trying to convince you to change yours. I’m not disagreeing with you and I’m not attempting to win an argument with you, because this isn’t a game. I think we are coming to a point where we just need to agree we have different – not wrong – opinions.

  138. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 20:17:19

    AlexandraM: and I am not trying to make you change your personal views. BUT that it is not realistic. By the way two of your points were addressed in the Article I linked in the second posting of what i said.
    Here is the link again to what I was talking about and as I said in my post, what you asked for doesn’t change the numbers at all for what I said. I asked a specific question that had a specific answer from the Stats. What you asked about added to that question changing it completely.
    The first one ended up in the spam filter because i linked directly to your post. The effect by the way is called the widower effect

    here is a good article on it.
    dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2507829/You-really-CAN-die-broken-heart-Surviving-spouses-66-higher-risk-dying-months-partners-death.html

    You can also find this on the Harvard website under the name of the effect.

    I think the series does very very well, to show that mating is not the same for everyone in it, and no relationships are the same. Your right the Psy men are not as Over protective and Possessive but that doesn’t make it wrong or disrespecting for the ones who like the Changling mates, and I would not answer with their animal natures, because there are humans like that, and I am not getting into a discussion of a humans animal nature. For you personally yes it might, but that is because of your life experiences. Which is exactly what I said. But that doesn’t mean that it is everyone. The best scene for this in the series, Indigo to her mother, “Mom doesn’t dad ever make you mad, with his Dominance?” “No dear It is where I am comfortable, it is right where I am supposed to be. BUT you.” The point of this scene to me is to say that no two people are the same.

    But there will be someone out there for you that believes the same as you do for what a relationship is supposed to be, someone who is just for you.. Winks and hides from t he thrown object.. Oh wait that’s your monitor..lol.. I am just teasing you now with that part I know in typed txt it doesn’t always translate.

    following Jennie’s argument maybe mated changelings don’t make mistakes in their relationships because they are set up to be more inherently “good”?

    Actually I do not believe that at all. Yea she shows the Psy belief that silence is the best way as evil. BUT that doesn’t mean that the Psy themselves are. Obviously shown Shasha is heroine number one. Judd he is Psy so if the psy are evil, then he would not be your favorite. Infact I would go as far as to say that through out the series one of the things that I have seen complained about Has been the Psy are bad and the changlings are good. I don’t think this at all, I think she does a great job of showing they are just different. Who turned brenna over to be tortured and Killed? A changling, why he was a drug dealer? Wait the changlings can have problems with drug abuse as well. Oh here we go. Yes they can but it is stupid,

    What I see most of all through out the series is that you do not get a good and bad split, accept when a changling pack gets mixed, and accepts A mixing of the races. Where the psy in silence do not. But the psy who allow themselves to feel emotion, they have their own ways of mating, and its a bit different, than the changlings in some cases does it make it better? No just different. As for what she says from the eyes of changlings about the psy being evil, thats the eye of the beholder POV, and to them it would be evil that doesnt mean it is, and the narrator of the story never once calls the psy evil, not once in any of the books.

  139. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 20:21:46

    Am starting to truly hate the spam filter

    AlexandraM: and I am not trying to make you change your personal views. BUT that it is not realistic. By the way two of your points were addressed in the Article I linked in the second posting of what i said. Here is the link again to what I was talking about and as I said in my post, what you asked for doesn’t change the numbers at all for what I said. I asked a specific question that had a specific answer from the Stats. What you asked about added to that question changing it completely. The first one ended up in the spam filter because i linked directly to your post. The effect by the way is called the widower effect

    here is a good article on it.
    dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2507829/You-really-CAN-die-broken-heart-Surviving-spouses-66-higher-risk-dying-months-partners-death.html

    You can also find this on the Harvard website under the name of the effect.

    I think the series does very very well, to show that mating is not the same for everyone in it, and no relationships are the same. Your right the Psy men are not as Over protective and Possessive but that doesn’t make it wrong or disrespecting for the ones who like the Changling mates, and I would not answer with their animal natures, because there are humans like that, and I am not getting into a discussion of a humans animal nature. For you personally yes it might, but that is because of your life experiences. Which is exactly what I said. But that doesn’t mean that it is everyone. The best scene for this in the series, Indigo to her mother, “Mom doesn’t dad ever make you mad, with his Dominance?” “No dear It is where I am comfortable, it is right where I am supposed to be. BUT you.” The point of this scene to me is to say that no two people are the same.

    But there will be someone out there for you that believes the same as you do for what a relationship is supposed to be, someone who is just for you.. Winks and hides from t he thrown object.. Oh wait that’s your monitor..lol.. I am just teasing you now with that part I know in typed txt it doesn’t always translate.

    following Jennie’s argument maybe mated changelings don’t make mistakes in their relationships because they are set up to be more inherently “good”?

    Actually I do not believe that at all. Yea she shows the Psy belief that silence is the best way as evil. BUT that doesn’t mean that the Psy themselves are. Obviously shown Shasha is heroine number one. Judd he is Psy so if the psy are evil, then he would not be your favorite. Infact I would go as far as to say that through out the series one of the things that I have seen complained about Has been the Psy are bad and the changlings are good. I don’t think this at all, I think she does a great job of showing they are just different. Who turned brenna over to be tortured and Killed? A changling, why he was a drug dealer? Wait the changlings can have problems with drug abuse as well. Oh here we go. Yes they can but it is stupid,

    What I see most of all through out the series is that you do not get a good and bad split, accept when a changling pack gets mixed, and accepts A mixing of the races. Where the psy in silence do not. But the psy who allow themselves to feel emotion, they have their own ways of mating, and its a bit different, than the changlings in some cases does it make it better? No just different. As for what she says from the eyes of changlings about the psy being evil, thats the eye of the beholder POV, and to them it would be evil that doesnt mean it is, and the narrator of the story never once calls the psy evil, not once in any of the books.

  140. Janine
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 20:45:46

    Sorry about the spam filter, but our site attracts a lot spam bots so we have to use it.

    @library addict: Thanks. I still don’t recall that scene, so maybe it’s time for me to reread StS. Since Singh has said that she’ll revisit Henry’s comment to Shoshanna, it’s very possible that we’ll learn the answer soon.

    I agree, four pupcubs, one of each gender and animal, would be too convenient yet I think it was stated in one of the books (Tangle of Need, perhaps?) that she is carrying more than two, and I can think of no other reason for that to be the case. I hope I’m wrong! I would love to be surprised.

  141. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 21:23:30

    Sorry about the two part post.
    and i forgot one part, to add to what i said Alexandra. I think she actually does show the men and women making mistakes in their relationships. But you know what she also shows that doesn’t happen allot in real life when you make mistakes in a relationship? The one who is your mate accepts it and instead of breaking up, moves on and finds a way to deal with it. As for cheating thing if that is what you meant, you will not get far with that for me. I am really big one Cheating is not a mistake, its a choice. No one ever mistaking tripped and fell his his penis falling into a woman who was just lucky enough to make sure it did not hurt when he fell. They chose to do it, and as it is said Mates do not choose to do that.

  142. shawn hilton
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 21:30:09

    and i forgot one part, to add to what i said Alexandra. I think she actually does show the men and women making mistakes in their relationships. But you know what she also shows that doesn’t happen allot in real life when you make mistakes in a relationship? The one who is your mate accepts it and instead of breaking up, moves on and finds a way to deal with it. As for cheating thing if that is what you meant, you will not get far with that for me. I am really big one Cheating is not a mistake, its a choice. No one ever mistaking tripped and fell his his penis falling into a woman who was just lucky enough to make sure it did not hurt when he fell. They chose to do it, and as it is said Mates do not choose to do that.

    me: A mate who follows it’s mate into death may not make evolutionary sense right now, in 20 30 40 years it may, or it may never make sense.

    You: No, it wont. Evolution doesn’t work like that.

    This is a whole other discussion, because I know that I can make a good argument for why it does actually work, with in the settings of what Evolution is. But since Humans are no longer considered an evolving species, since we adapt our environment to us, and not the other way around there is no point.

  143. AlexandraM
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 21:46:58

    @shawn hilton: You know what? I didn’t even bother to go to your Daily Mail article link the first time you provided it because it’s not a media source I trust for hard news. I did you a disservice there and have since read it…and what I found is unsurprising:

    A study has found that when a husband or wife dies, the remaining spouse’s risk of dying is 66 per cent higher in the three months after their partner’s death.

    These were the results of a SINGLE study over a small group of people during a small time period and even the story states the RISK (not actual death) of dying is higher for a certain amount of time with no definitive explanation as to why. These types of articles abound…where the latest study has found so-and-so and news outlets feed it to the masses, picking out only the pieces that make the best story, like it’s absolute fact because it’s the result of a study when it has never even been replicated. Frankly, Shawn, I can’t believe I’m still going back and forth with you over this because I feel our discussion has morphed into a “who get’s the last say” contest, and I’m honestly not enjoying it anymore. I may soon cross the line into ragey and then I won’t care about debating nicely, and I’d rather bow out of this thread now before I become intentionally rude.

    following Jennie’s argument maybe mated changelings don’t make mistakes in their relationships because they are set up to be more inherently “good”?

    I knew I shouldn’t have typed that out because I didn’t want to go down that road with you but I did it anyway. You made some excellent points in your examples about Indigo and her mother and later with another changeling giving Brenna up to a serial killer, selling drugs, etc, and there IS a mix of good and bad in all three races of the Psy-Changeling world. No one in this thread ever said otherwise. No one in this thread has stated that the Psy are absolutely evil or that Nalini Singh portrays them so, either. Good vs. evil was used as an analogy to show that the changeling characters seem to have less faults as a group than the Psy characters. That idea likely got lost in translation somewhere because the good vs. evil argument is a common one for which we all have our own benchmarks.

    and I am not trying to make you change your personal views. BUT that it is not realistic.

    I am uncertain what you’re referencing here.

  144. shawn hilton
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 00:02:00

    Yea this is the last time I am going to answer you. So you will notice I am not asking you any questions, I am going to answer though what you said to me directly. You have asked me questions and I gave you answers, as for the study the report I posted was one report. BUT you can find out more about it from the Harvard Gazette. The effect is considered medical fact, so much so that it is also listed in the Harvard medical journal, and it states that the effect is so wide known, that it is recommended for doctors to advice family members to keep a closer watch on the surviving spouse.

    If you do not want to know anymore about it, then so be it. Nothing else needs to be said.

    Moving on

    I knew I shouldn’t have typed that out because I didn’t want to go down that road with you but I did it anyway. You made some excellent points in your examples about Indigo and her mother and later with another changeling giving Brenna up to a serial killer, selling drugs, etc, and there IS a mix of good and bad in all three races of the Psy-Changeling world. No one in this thread ever said otherwise.

    Actually it was said a few times, but I am not going back to pull those posts. But that being said I was directly answering what you asked me. If you don’t remember what you asked here it is.

    following Jennie’s argument maybe mated changelings don’t make mistakes in their relationships because they are set up to be more inherently “good”?

    To which I answered, No I do not see the changelings in the series as portrayed as inherently good, nor do I see the psy as inherently bad. I see the Psy potrayed as their need for total silence as bad. BUT not the psy as a whole, and in fact I think NS has done a great job of portraying both races as having their good and their bad points.

    So directly in answer to what you asked. Now so far through this, I have not really cared what your opinions have been, because they are yours you have a right to them. I have been telling you mine, and have not been confrontational at all, dispite the fact that several times, I got the impression, all of which I said it felt like you were being confrontational. I have teased, not in a mean way, you could have very easily poked fun right back.

    because to be honest I don’t give a shit if you think the sun is made of cheese, and the sky of blue fairy dust. In my eyes as far as I am concerned we were just talking.

    But anyway I am gonna move on to something else in the convo.

    @Janine
    You and library addict are right, two sets of male and female with two wolves and two cats would be too predictable. But as an Author…shrugs.. in some ways, she could choose to go the predictable coarse. If no reason so that readers wont spend 6 weeks trying to figure out her meaning behind it..lol..

  145. Janine
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 00:22:53

    @AlexandraM: I had a longer post backing you and Jennie up but I lost it and I don’t feel like re-typing the long quote from Caressed by Ice. I’ll give the short version, which is what Lucas tells Sascha about the evil changeling Dieter after Dieter has betrayed Brenna and is captured in Caressed by Ice.

    “Having the animal inside protects us against many sins, but even changelings sometimes spawn evil.”

    Caressed by Ice, kindle location 5537

    The scene emphasizes to me the idea that Dieter is an exception to the rule–most changelings are good because of “the animal inside” but once in a while an evil one comes along. Meanwhile the Psy are portrayed in the same scene (in Sascha’s POV) as “A cold, robotic race without the ability to laugh, love, or cherish.”

  146. Janine
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 00:26:10

    @shawn hilton:

    @Janine
    You and library addict are right, two sets of male and female with two wolves and two cats would be too predictable. But as an Author…shrugs.. in some ways, she could choose to go the predictable coarse. If no reason so that readers wont spend 6 weeks trying to figure out her meaning behind it..lol..

    Yes of course the author can choose to go that route! And no doubt that would satisfy many fans. That is absolutely her prerogative, just as it is library addict’s and my prerogative to say it would be predictable.

  147. shawn hilton
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 00:42:40

    @janine

    I am sorry if not linking to you directly makes it more confusing, but the spam filter is killing me and it only does it when I link to anyones post..lol..

    The scene emphasizes to me the idea that Dieter is an exception to the rule–most changelings are good because of “the animal inside” but once in a while an evil one comes along. Meanwhile the Psy are portrayed in the same scene (in Sascha’s POV) as “A cold, robotic race without the ability to laugh, love, or cherish.”

    The only reason I do not agree here, is that if you read the series and look at the whole. Not what is said, but the whole I see something else. Now I can see why she would say this. If you do not want my answer then don’t read any further….lol… BUT Animals don’t kill for pleasure, humans do, Animals don’t kill just to say this is my land. Humans do. In the over all sense of the definition of good and evil as laid out in a dictionary, animals are the perfect examples of what good is supposed to be. Now i am gonna go indepth because I have given my short answers and so far that has felt like that has just made some angry.

    As Like i said above, the no emotion part of the psy is said to be evil, but is that how it is really portrayed? Nikita is said to to be the coldest beotch around. BUT she still setup a bank account for the baby, that is not cold. She still sent Sasha the book, that is not cold either. So it again brings us full circle to what we were talking about before where I said, Actions speak louder than words, about Kaleb. I think why the race is said to be evil, it is only individuals who actually are, while others are not. I think the whole portrayal of the Psy race, is mean to be like those images that used to come on a ceral box, you look up close and it is obviously apicture of a vampire made of choclate, but if you put your nose on the dot

    you see a similar image made of something else. From what i see of it to me, is Nalini is out standing at hiding things in plain sight, and while we are all argueing about the foreground, we do not see the hidden in the back.

  148. library addict
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:12:09

    The Psy are presented in the first book at being mostly cold and silent, therefor bad. But as the series has gone on I think we’ve learned that that was not the reality of the situation. Most of the race isn’t cold and few were completely silent. The Psy wanted Silence to save them and instead it made only the perfect cover for psychopaths and sociopaths. I can see in some ways how the Psy are portrayed as mostly bad because we meet/deal with a lot of the bad Psy. But overall I think each race is shown to have a range of people. And it’s either in Shield of Winter or one of the more recent books that someone says the only reason the Changelings have less instances of mental illness is that they tend to live in smaller packs, like small towns where it’s easier to spot the warning signings vs large groups like a big city where things can go unnoticed. Plus despite having Psy lead characters, most of the earlier books were more Changeling set so of course they tend to think their way of life is best.

  149. library addict
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:14:21

    Oops hit send too soon. I think the later, more Psy focused books are trying to show the Psy as a whole are not bad, but that Silence was bad.

  150. Janine
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:14:31

    @shawn hilton: Well, I think the later books do try to soften what was said in the earlier ones, but overall, there are far more Psy villains than villains of other races. I understand much of it is meant to be seen as due to Silence, but we’ve also been told that before Silence was instituted, the Psy were the most violent of the races. I think Jennie is onto something, when she says, in the review that (I paraphrase) emotion is portrayed as superior to intellect.

    Anyway, I understand you see it differently and that’s okay– different readers can read and interpret differently.

  151. Janine
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:23:32

    @library addict:

    And it’s either in Shield of Winter or one of the more recent books that someone says the only reason the Changelings have less instances of mental illness is that they tend to live in smaller packs, like small towns where it’s easier to spot the warning signings vs large groups like a big city where things can go unnoticed.

    That made me laugh out loud because it reminded me of discussions we’ve had on this blog in the past (not in regard to Nalini Singh’s books, but in regard to other authors’) about how romance tends to idealize the country or small towns and present them as somehow superior to big cities. I think this was one such discussion and another was here. Robin even wrote an op-ed on that topic!

  152. shawn hilton
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:30:08

    @Janine I agree with you 100%, different readers will see different things. To me the point of us all here chatting back and forth is to show how we see it and why….Smiles… I am not saying saying your wrong, thats why I put i think or I see it as, because thats how i see it…laughs…

    And I am not disagreeing with that early on that is exactly how it is shown. But the series as a whole I think says something else, and the reason I think that we have more Psy bad guys, than changling. Is because the series over all is about how this super power made a huge mistake, and instituted something that hurt them more than helped them. So we are seeing their bad guys.

    Library addict(adding to this part Library you missed something)
    is very right with what she says only reason the Changelings/the forgotten have less instances of mental illness is that they tend to live in smaller packs, like small towns where it’s easier to spot the warning signings vs large groups like a big city.

    I think you were paraphrasing, so feel free to bash me in the head and say hey dummy i got that…laughs.. But it wasn’t that they were the more violent persay, it was that they had much more mental illness, It was also asked if it was the question for their mental powers. But I got off topic of what i had planned to say, but I think the main reason we see more psy bad guys is because Silence has alloud them to get into the higher ranks. So they are more in our face. If the story was showing the changlings, for instance when dark river was coming into the territory, I am sure we may have seen Hawke as the bad guy,

    Like i said your not wrong, this is just how i see it.

  153. library addict
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:30:31

    @Janine: Oh agreed. But I don’t think the later books are meant to soften the earlier books, rather that the series has continued to pull back layers.

    I can see why Jennie thinks that emotion is often portrayed as being better than logic.

    Not sure if it’s in Slave to Sensation or one of the later books, but it’s pointed out several times that one of the reasons Lucas is a good Alpha is that he’s able to think past his emotions. So to me the point is everyone—Psy, Changeling, and Human—needs a balance of both.

  154. shawn hilton
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:31:38

    Spam filter eat me again, I am starting to feel like an icecream cone for this blog….

    @Janine I agree with you 100%, different readers will see different things. To me the point of us all here chatting back and forth is to show how we see it and why….Smiles… I am not saying saying your wrong, thats why I put i think or I see it as, because thats how i see it…laughs…

    And I am not disagreeing with that early on that is exactly how it is shown. But the series as a whole I think says something else, and the reason I think that we have more Psy bad guys, than changling. Is because the series over all is about how this super power made a huge mistake, and instituted something that hurt them more than helped them. So we are seeing their bad guys.

    Library addict(adding to this part Library you missed something)
    is very right with what she says only reason the Changelings/the forgotten have less instances of mental illness is that they tend to live in smaller packs, like small towns where it’s easier to spot the warning signings vs large groups like a big city.

    I think you were paraphrasing, so feel free to bash me in the head and say hey dummy i got that…laughs.. But it wasn’t that they were the more violent persay, it was that they had much more mental illness, It was also asked if it was the question for their mental powers. But I got off topic of what i had planned to say, but I think the main reason we see more psy bad guys is because Silence has alloud them to get into the higher ranks. So they are more in our face. If the story was showing the changlings, for instance when dark river was coming into the territory, I am sure we may have seen Hawke as the bad guy,

    Like i said your not wrong, this is just how i see it.

  155. AlexandraM
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 08:42:28

    @Janine: On Nalini Singh’s website she actually says part of her premise for the Psy-Changeling series is

    What if the flip side of incredible psychic power was insanity of the worst kind, the kind that drove you to murder? What would you do to survive?

    I believe it’s mentioned in at least one of the books that their problems with violence and insanity are the price they pay for their gifts. Maybe this is something that contributes to what sometimes seems like a changelings are good vs. the psy are bad representation? Maybe there being more Psy villains is just a repercussion of how she’s created this world? I still think there could have been more balance by showing the changelings with flaws beyond, as Jennie said, “virtues masquerading as flaws”.

  156. Janine
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 12:00:02

    @library addict: Maybe that a balance of both is needed is what the series intends to portray, but there are so many more villains who are living under Silence than in the packs, that it doesn’t come across that way to me. It’s more focused on how the Psy need to be fixed than on how the changelings need to be.

    @shawn hilton: Be patient with the spam fliter; we fish your comments out of there. Our time zones are different so we may be asleep while you’re frustrated.

    I don’t know how much we have to discuss because I agree with you and library addict that as the series progresses the Psy are portrayed in a somewhat better light than before. It’s just that I’m not yet convinced that means the races are all equally good.

    Now that you mention it, I think the equation of more mental illness with more violence is problematic too. I wonder if the solution for the Psy’s violence in the pre-Silence days will be to move to the country and spread out more? I hope not. I think it’s more likely to be the E’s and perhaps another solution like that as well–someone whose ability or knowledge can help.

    @AlexandraM: Thanks for pointing that out. I think there could have been more balance too, but as I think I said to Jennie, I usually accept premises, no matter how outlandish. I don’t know if the issues here would have occurred to me on my own, had Jennie not brought them up.

  157. shawn hilton
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 12:15:09

    I am trying…lol… I just don’t understand why it is doing it..lol.. I use WP as well for my site, and I have to my knowledge been breaking the spam rules.. And its inconsistent..lol.. Sometimes it will grab the first post and let the second through with out a problem while other times it will grab the second. Then even more I won’t post for the whole day and it just randomly says SPAM..lol

    Janine: Now that you mention it, I think the equation of more mental illness with more violence is problematic too.
    I wonder if the solution for the Psy’s violence in the pre-Silence days will be to move to the country and spread out more? I hope not. I think it’s more likely to be the E’s and perhaps another solution like that as well–someone whose ability or knowledge can help.

    Actually I think Judd holds the answer to this. He has repeatedly said that some of the protocall was nessary. Now I take this to mean, that like Library pointed out that they need to find a balance between reason and emotion, and that some of the safe guards would be enough. I also agree with Library Addict where she said that Luke and Hawke are both pointed to as being a good alpha because they can think past the emotional nature of their beast better than most. I took this to mean as a hint that most changlings would be content to be Animals and just animals, why they understand that you have to be more.

    Now what i said earlier about animals are kinda the dictionary definition of good. I believe that is true, but the book is meant to mimic the real world, and we all know that sometimes the dictionary definition is the not the only one. The world and therefore the mimicked world of the books is not black and white. It is more shades of grey I mean if you were just an animal you would miss all the new episodes of true blood, because you would not understand a damn tv set. Humans have our advantages that animals don’t, so while they may not have shown the changlings as as evil as the psy, they have shown or explained at least, that the changlings have more of a chance to forget about civilization, and history shows that if that happens, if you don’t adapt and move your people forward you run the risk of being wiped out.

    So they too need to find a balance, not so much between logic that can justify any thing, and emotion that wont let you. But animal and man, one who needs the wild and one who needs civilization, and while you are right that is not evil, but it is…. I can’t remember the english word for this… They need to be a part of the civilized world, they can’t just ignore it, even though part of them is probably at time screaming to do just that.

  158. library addict
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 14:43:39

    One thing I am still confused about. I understand how the honeycomb is protecting the Psy on a psychic level. But the big deal with the net “disease” was that it affected the person’s physical brain

    The rot had invaded 8-91’s physical brain, was eating away at parts of his frontal lobe—a change so subtle the M-Psy would likely have missed it, even if he had been a neural specialist as opposed to orthopedic.

    Tangle of Need chapter 3. And that once the rot reached a critical stage in the victims’ brains—which took months—that is what caused the outbursts. Once the honeycomb went into effect in the net the issue isn’t really addressed.

    Outbreaks dropped apace with the spread of the honeycomb, and people in comas began to wake up.
    None were yet who they’d once been, but the medical empaths were hopeful.

    Shield of Winter, chapter 57. I just wish she’d given some explanation as to how the physical rot in their brains would be reversed.

  159. shawn hilton
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 01:34:09

    The way I understood it, was that each E was able to share their immunity with a certain number of people based on their strength, and they needed to setup fall backs, incase something happened to the E protecting a person. But there had to be a connection, like in the web of stars, so a line going from point a to point b. So all of them together made the honey comb, and everyone who was in the honey comb was sharing the immunity of the E’s.

  160. library addict
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 20:48:47

    @shawn hilton: Yeah I get that part and how it would prevent future infection. I meant for the people who had already reached the critical point and been part of an outbreak. I can see how the honeycomb would help them on the psychic level in the net. But since the “rot” would have affected their actual brain in a physical sense I wanted to know how that was cured.

  161. shawn hilton
    Jun 18, 2014 @ 17:36:09

    @library addict: ok yea I could see that. BUT I think that was the reason she made the point of showing the difference between the medical E-psy and the others. It would have been nice if she did explain that better, I agree. But who knows maybe its coming, since we know the next book is Aden.

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