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Dear Author Book Club: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Hear of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

We are big fans of Nalini Singh’s works here. I’ve been following her Pys Changeling books since 2006, when the first title Slave to Sensation was released.  Seven years and twelve books later, we learn some secrets and find ourselves on the cusp of a civil war.  It has been an amazing journey.  The following Q&A is intended to spark a discussion about not only the book Heart of Obsidian but also the future of the series.  We invite you to speculate to your heart’s content.  Because of that, the following is a SPOILER RAMA.  Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Most of the questions are from Janine who penned the Heart of Obsidian review here.

* * *

1. In Heart of Obsidian, we learn some horrific things about Kaleb’s childhood in the custody of evil Councilor Santano Enrique. We also learn that Kaleb is the Ghost, and therefore a friend to Judd. Does Judd know that Kaleb was there when Brenna was tortured by Santano Enrique, and that Enrique forced Kaleb to participate? Does Brenna remember this, and if so, how does it impact Judd’s relationship with the Ghost?

Kaleb wasn’t in fact there when Brenna was tortured. In HEART OF OBSIDIAN, we find out that Kaleb was able to block Enrique out of the majority of his mind as an adult – Enrique could still mentally send him information about what he was doing / force him to participate in that way (by making him watch telepathically), but he could no longer compel Kaleb to be there physically

Judd is an extremely intelligent man, and he’s known who the Ghost is for a while, so I’m quite sure that while it hasn’t been shown on the page, the two have bluntly discussed Kaleb’s connection to Enrique. The fact that Judd’s and Kaleb’s relationship is solid to the extent that Judd is willing to call Kaleb a friend, tells me there is no tension on this issue, with Judd satisfied that Kaleb wasn’t involved in any way in Brenna’s abduction and torture.

2.It’s clear from reading Heart of Obsidian that Kaleb was prepared to genocide the Psy race in revenge for what was done to Sahara, the girl he loved. Yes, he would have made an exception for children, but he was willing to kill many innocent adults had Sahara wanted him to. Yet at a later point in the story, it’s also stated in Sahara’s POV that Kaleb isn’t as bad as he thinks he is. Are readers meant to believe that Kaleb would not have carried out the annihilation of the Psy had push come to shove, or that he would have?

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.

3. As an addendum to the previous questions, was it tricky to fit a morally ambiguous character like Kaleb Krychek into a series like this one, which is so often about good guys vs. bad guys? Did you always know, from the very first time he appeared (in Visions of Heat), that Kaleb would get his own book, or did that decision come along partway through writing the series?

I’ll answer the second part first – I knew I’d opened the original file for this book a while back, and a couple of months ago, I got curious and went looking to see exactly when. It was in 2007, when Visions of Heat came out. The file was titled Kaleb-Sahara, and the first few pages of the first chapter of Heart of Obsidian are pretty much verbatim from that original file. So yes, I did always know he was destined for his own book (and that he was the Ghost).

As for him being a morally ambiguous character – it wasn’t difficult to write him as part of this series, because that was who he was from day one. I simply had to be true to the character and not try to force anything – and I had to be willing to go to some dark places. Also he’s not the only morally ambiguous individual in the series. Nikita Duncan is another, and someone many readers have changed their minds about through the course of the books.

4.Once you knew that Kaleb would have his own book, was it a challenge to find the right heroine for him? When did Sahara first appear in your imagination, and how much of her personality and backstory did you have planned before you started writing Heart of Obsidian?

As you can see from my answer above, I knew from day one who his heroine was going to be. It was one of those moments where there is a click between two characters from the very first instant of contact – and even though Kaleb and Sahara never actually meet in Visions of Heat, I knew their history the instant their names appeared on the page.

So I knew them both very, very well by the time I began Heart of Obsidian in earnest (after having written copious notes for this book during the course of writing the preceding ones in the series).

5. Your books, both in this series and in the Guild Hunter series, can have larger-than-life protagonists, violence, big emotions and striking imagery. They are energetic, vivid books. Does that style come easily to you or does it require a lot of effort? And which is more of a challenge, bringing that world to such dramatic light, or grounding it in just enough reality to give it verisimilitude?

This is very much me – my very first published book, Desert Warrior was set in a fictional desert kingdom, and is a story with huge emotions and intense passion, so I’ve been this kind of a writer from the start and I love it!

As for grounding it, I think the emotions do that, no matter if they’re dramatic or lower-key – for me, it’s important that readers connect with my characters. The stakes might be higher within the Psy-Changeling world, but we all know what it is to be sad or happy or heartbroken etc – and so we understand when the characters feel these emotions, regardless of the fact that we might never find ourselves in the same specific circumstance as in the book(s).

6. Will Aden and Vasic get their own books? What about Alice Eldridge? Nikita and Anthony? What’s next for the Psy/Changeling series?

I’ve promised readers that I’ll reveal the hero of the next Psy-Changeling book in July. As for what’s going to happen with the characters you’ve mentioned – where would be the fun if I just told you? ;)

I do think Heart of Obsidian makes it clear where the series is headed, however. The Psy-Changeling series is a planned series, in that it has always had a defined story arc – I’ve always known where I wanted to take it, and we’re heading to the end of that original arc in the next couple of books, so there shall be much happening.

After that, I have plans to explore aspects of the world, including characters who have been mentioned earlier but don’t fit into the main storyline except in secondary roles (for example, the falcons).

I think the Psy-Changeling world is rich enough that there will be plenty of fantastic stories to tell within it, even after the main story arc is complete. Also, I see my worlds and characters as organic, so they’re constantly changing and growing, and I find it fascinating to document that growth – so even when there aren’t big “world” things happening, I think the smaller more intimate growth in the characters lives would be just as much fun to explore.

7. How do you keep track of the series details? When did you conceive of the romance between Kaleb and Sahara?

I’ve answered the latter above (2007 :)), so I’ll focus on the former. I’m quite old-school in that my series bible is just a simple folder with a page for each character. Everything is linked through characters, as that’s how I find it easiest to make sure I have access to the information I need. I also have maps, notes about particular words or locations, basically anything I think I might need to refer back to.

But, over the past year, we’ve also set up a private wiki, which is quite useful (I still go old-school most of the time, but it’s nice to have the wiki there as another resource).

A lot of the information is actually still in my head. What I have to be careful with are deletions – ie. I may have written something, then deleted it from the book, but the info will still be inside my head. So sometimes, I have to double check that readers know something by going back to the text. The books are always my first resource because that is the information readers have.

8. What’s next?

Many, many wonderful things! I believe Heart of Obsidian gives readers of the Psy-Changeling series a real payoff in terms of what’s revealed and the events that take place. The next book is going to continue that – more of the pieces that have been laid in place over the course of the series will come together until the entire jigsaw is near complete.

Also, for readers of the Guild Hunter series, I want to mention Archangel’s Legion, out late October. This book has Elena and Raphael as main characters again, and is as critical a book in the GH series as Heart of Obsidian is in the Psy-Changeling series. The Cascade, which was mentioned in Archangel’s Storm, is starting to have real impact – the blurb mentions “rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh” and that’s not hyperbole. The world is changing in dark and unexpected ways and Elena and Raphael are in the center of events.

However, like the other books in the series, the darkness is balanced out by the light – we get to see more of Elena’s friendship with Sara, Raphael’s interaction with his Seven, the loyalty and laughter between the hunters, the same within the Seven.

And of course, Elena and Raphael’s love story continues – I’m finding it incredibly fascinating to explore the development of a relationship between an immortal and a mortal thrust into a world beautiful and dangerous for which she has no roadmap. My aim has always been to tell the story of their relationship without manufacturing fractures or conflicts – that comes naturally from the stresses of the world in which they exist, and those stresses are shoved into high gear in this book.

However, their love, to paraphrase something Raphael says in the book, is never in question – that, of course, doesn’t mean they don’t have an incredible number of challenges to face. Oh, one more thing – the dinner with Elijah and Hannah finally takes place in this book. I know many readers have been waiting for that. Elena even does the “hostess deal” and is pretty awesome at it in a very Elena way!

I’m working on the copy edited manuscript now, so an excerpt should be available July/August.

Thank you for the book club questions, and I hope you enjoy reading and discussing Heart of Obsidian!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

22 Comments

  1. KT Grant
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 11:45:00

    I can’t even imagine a Nikita and Anthony pairing. That would be very interesting to read!

  2. library addict
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 12:03:47

    I have friends who’ve read this series from the get go that I’ve discussed these books with through the years. I cannot remember why I didn’t they were for me. I remember reading Jane’s post about Kaleb way back when and thinking his character was intriguing. But it wasn’t until the fuss about this book happened and I read the excerpt Nalini posted that I finally decided to read it. Breaking my own normally hard-and-fast rule about strict reading order, I started with Kiss of Snow. Mostly because it was very late and that was the only book my library had in digital. They also had Tangle of Need in hardcover I picked up a day later. But that was it! I reserved Wild Invitation but it was only at one of the other libraries, so I had to wait. But I was sucked right into the Psy/Changeling world and ended up purchasing all of the earlier books plus the ones I’d just gotten from the library. I read the entire series in 12 days.

    I honestly don’t know how long-time fans of the series waited an entire year after the ending of Tangle of Need. I only had to wait one day after my glom (although ToN was the second book I read, I then went back and read all of the others in order).

    As we discussed in the review thread, I felt Kaleb’s actions spoke much louder than his thoughts/words, so I didn’t have as many issues with him as others seem to. Yes, he is morally ambiguous. But that’s one of the things I liked about him. And I also think Nalini went out of her way to keep him as morally ambiguous as possible so readers wouldn’t be sure about him until his own story was told. And even then it wasn’t until more than halfway through the books we learn just how unreliable a narrator he is. The Kaleb in the rest of the series would have been capable of striking out and committing genocide if he’d found Sahara dead, but that’s not the same Kaleb by the end of this book. He’s very scarred by his upbringing at the hands of Enrique, but he is not truly a sociopath. He does have empathy for people other than Sahara, regardless of what he told her. And while he has killed and would do so again, I don’t believe it’s something he enjoys. And I don’t see this as anything different from what Lucas, Hawke, or many of the other heroes/heroines have done.

    I loved the way this book was revealed in layers. I’ve read it twice and know I will pick up more stuff when I eventually read it again. I want to go back and reread the entire series knowing what we now know, but that will have to wait.

    I am quite interested in where the author takes us next now that Silence has fallen. Did Kaleb manage to merge the DarkMind and NetMind when he took control?

    I’m most interested in Adam’s story, even if it is one of the secondary arcs that don’t fit the main theme. I figure Aden and Vasic will both get stories in the next few books. I’ll be surprised if they do not. Not sure I want an entire book about Xavier/Nina, but Nalini managed to surprise me with Dev and Katya’s story (I thought she’d been killed), so I could easily be wrong. I’m even more ambivalent about Alice, but again willing to be proved wrong. I think Kenji would make for a good novella. And I would love for Teijan to get a story.

    I also really, really want to know why BlackSea needed the alliance. There are still so many questions – lol.

  3. Tina
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 13:37:56

    Regards pint # 2 — I am one of those readers who, absent Sahara’s influence, believe that Kaleb would’ve pulled the trigger so to speak. To me, he felt like a real anti hero. He doesn’t feel like he comes from a place where he needs to to do something because it is right or wrong. He comes from a place where he needs to do something because it is right or wrong according to his self interest. And honestly, I did not mind this one bit. I think the character we had met to this point merited that kind of darkness and I would have felt it was a bit of a cop out if he had been made ‘good’.

    Reading this book prompted me to go back an read the series from the beginning again. I love a well thought out storyline and was tickled to see so many hints in the earlier books. There is a very, very brief reference about the distinctive scar on his arm in Mercy & Riley’s book. And there is also a very oblique one about the [Sahara's] house not being really his, he was just a caretaker, in Dev and Katya’s book.

  4. Loosheesh
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 14:22:14

    @KT Grant: I’ve tried to imagine a Nikita/Anthony pairing but my mind shies away from it.

    @Tina: Ditto on your entire first paragraph. I liked that Ms Singh didn’t tinker with him; the Kaleb we got in HoO is the one who has been there from day one. His motivations were made clear but he is who he is, very much (dark) grey.

    I loved HoO and I think it’s my favorite so far, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I started the series with the knowledge that there was a ‘Ghost’ and, being a lover of all things puzzling/mysterious, I was trying to figure out who it would be from the get-go. Also, a lot of questions and niggles were answered in HoO that left me very satisfied.

    For me, the confirmation of Kaleb as the Ghost was, I wouldn’t say anti-climactic, but matter-of-fact. I remember giggling when I read the line “Some things need to be broken to become stronger.” because this was the exact same thing the Ghost had said in the previous book. I thought it was him from the beginning, though Aden and Vasic very briefly came under consideration. The most heartwrenching revelation for me was finding out Santano Enrique was Kaleb’s father. That, that was painful.

    @library addict: Sentiments exactly on your last three paragraphs. I too was surprised at the Dev/Katya pairing; before HoO, that one was the darkest for me. I suspect Xavier/Nina will be the focus of the next book and, like you, I don’t know about an entire book for them but I’m on board!

    I love this series but I also think it’s good that this arc is winding down. It seems right. I’ve been thinking of what I would love to see as it wraps up and a couple of things come to mind. My heart aches for Aden and Vasic and I would love for them to get their own stories or some sort of peace at least. I’m anticipating a Ming/Sienna showdown – bring it! And where the heck is Shoshanna Scott?

  5. Kaetrin
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 22:57:32

    I think Kaleb’s ability to empathise was never completely gone but I think it would have had Sahara died. I think, now that he is with her, he will become more empathetic but I don’t think he will ever be “good” which pleases me.

    In many ways, to me, Kaleb isn’t so very different to Hawke or Lucas – the main difference (to me) with those characters is that they are also responsible for their packs and, of course, they were raised with love and family (albeit they had traumas of their own). But Kaleb has been really only thinking of Sahara for so long – she is both his lover and his “pack” so it’s all the same to him. I don’t think it’s beyond either Hawke or Lucas to scorch the earth for their packs or their mates, if it came right down to it.

  6. azteclady
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 01:02:17

    I have been re-reading the series and taking (copious) notes as I go–I had hoped to finish this project by the time I got my copy of Heart of Obsidian, but alas! it was not to be (made it up to Bonds of Justice).

    Going by these notes, I could give you the page numbers where we see Kaleb (as himself and the Ghost) act with more empathy than he himself acknowledges. For example, at one point in Branded by Fire, he asks Judd whether he has “any right” to impede those Psy who want to, from undergoing voluntary reconditioning.

    Mind you, there is more than enough cold calculation in him–again, as both himself and the Ghost–for me to understand why some readers see him as totally devoid of empathy as he sees himself. However, I am of the opinion that not only is Kaleb an unreliable narrator of his own story (another, clear instance of this: his memories of the night Sahara was taken), but also that, since he was indeed both capable and determined to eliminate all adult Psy would Sahara had been dead, he feels guilty about that, too.

    In conclusion, I think he is likely to grow more comfortable with himself, with his heritage (Santano as his biological father–that was terrible for him and an awesome revelation for me as reader, great twist that makes great sense) and with his past, so that it will be easier for him to do the ‘right thing’ on occasion, just because and not only as a cost/benefit equation–but he will always remain morally ambiguous.

    [Holy run on sentence, Batman]

    Some readers–Janine among them, if memory serves–have some issues with how quickly and well Sahara recovered from her seven years of hell. I am not particularly bothered by this for a couple of reasons.

    First, we know that Silence never took with her, and while part of this is undoubtedly due to her own personality (as was the case with Sascha, for example), I believe that some of it also comes from her father and extended family. Her memories of her father picking her up after some childhood mishap, and Kaleb’s memories of her at 7 (disheveled, doing her homework in the back yard, sitting on a tree stump–a Psy?!?!) point to a much higher level of leeway in behaviour and conditioning that would probably be the norm.

    (Or perhaps I should say, the public/visible norm–I think there have always been more “flawed” Psy than it meets the eye, see the Laurens, for one known example.)

    My second reason actually has to do with the same labyrinth that made her appear so broken to Kaleb and the reader at the beginning. While it’s not clear for how long she was fully aware of her captivity and the torture (both physical and psychic), we know that she spent quite a bit of time drugged, at least partially. We also know, from the first couple of chapters, that the labyrinth protected her mind from outside attack but I posit that it also preserved her sense of self as a healthy individual. So that while her captivity was in fact horrific, and Kaleb’s horror over her experiences is perfectly justified from my point of view, Sahara herself experienced it differently.

    By not being fully present the whole (perhaps even most of the) time, coupled with a healthier upbringing than usual for Psy and a subconscious belief that Kaleb would eventually rescue her, her scars are vastly reduced from what they could have been.

    I was very, very happy with Heart of Obsidian, but I have many unanswered questions that I hope will be answered in the next one or two. Nikita, Anthony, Zie Zen, Vasic and Aden, the renegade Arrows, how the twin NetMinds heal/merge, and a few more. Plus, I’m very happy to think there will be books about secondary/minor characters *coughSamuelRain/TaniqueGrey/AndreTulane/Teijan/I’llstopnowcough*

  7. MissE
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 01:28:12

    I had such a hard time with Kaleb because the story kept him so isolated with Sahara and limited his interactions with others. While I appreciated that the author stayed true to the character we’ve seen in the previous stories, I really wanted to see more interaction between Kaleb and people he has some kind of relationship with, someone like Silver. The one glimmer of caring for others that we see in the book was his acknowledgement that he’d visited the mountain village to check things out with the Nina situation. It would have been nice to see a bit more of that. Something that showed he’d developed enough outside links that if something happens to Sahara, he’s not going to destroy the world now she’s not in it.

    As a comparison to Hawke or Lucas, while either would become destructive for their mates/pack, I don’t see either of them indiscriminately killing innocents in revenge for someone else’s act. I don’t see much other than pragmatism stopping Kaleb from taking everyone out. However, Hawke would allow Sienna to destroy the world rather than kill her, so he & Kaleb have that in common with regards to their significant others.

  8. Angela
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 06:55:27

    @MissE:

    As a comparison to Hawke or Lucas, while either would become destructive for their mates/pack, I don’t see either of them indiscriminately killing innocents in revenge for someone else’s act.

    I disagree. Hawke was very clear that if the cats didn’t find who’d taken their female [Brenna] they would go for blood. The very essence of that statement means that they don’t know if their prey is guilty or innocent, but they’re still going to take them out. He also said something at one time about taking out high-level Psy.

    I think the main difference is that Hawke and Lucas don’t have the sort of ‘lever’ to throw that Kaleb did. Because they’re a more psychic race, he had the ability to do greater harm.
    But honestly, he was what he was made. He was shown compassion by one person, and that’s the only person to whom he felt any loyalty.

    I loved that Kaleb was still very much the grey character that we met in the beginning. We know more about him, a lot more, and we have a deeper picture; but he’s still incredibly ambiguous. [But I loved Snape, too...]

    I also agree with those that think Kaleb is an unreliable narrator when it comes to himself. The memories of the night with Sahara is only the most obvious, compelling example. Someone that has no empathy wouldn’t do the things he’s done. Someone that doesn’t care about his people wouldn’t go to such lengths to protect them. Once he became the Ghost, he spent more time protecting them from the Implant Protocol than anything else. That had nothing to do with Sahara, and could only have been to protect the Psy. After all, if he simply wanted to control the ‘Net, there wouldn’t have been any reason he couldn’t have pushed that agenda forward and simply taken control of the hive-like mind.

    He justifies it with what he could do with a cardinal X, but he honestly doesn’t need an X as a weapon. His own mental gifts are more than enough to destroy a city or country. So when he gives Alice to Judd, after searching with what I assume has to be dedication; that’s showing the kind of person he is. One that cares, not only about Judd, his friend, but about a girl he’s never even met that’s just trying to live.

    Then there’s the countless times that he, as himself and not as the Ghost, has stepped in to save a lot of people. The fire in Hong Kong, the ‘Net collapse in Australia, the children he – and other TKs/Psy – saved from the building fire. Those are just in this book. There’s the other ‘Net collapse that he dealt with in … Tangle of Need – I had to think for a second.

    I also agree with azteclady regarding Sahara. I just felt that the labyrinth protected her, allowed her to experience her captivity differently. She had no doubts what-so-ever that Kaleb was coming for her, because it was he that was the key to unraveling the labyrinth. She used that to keep herself from breaking, keep herself strong, until he came. The impression I got was that even she wouldn’t have been unable to unravel the labyrinth without him.

    I also really loved how that was portrayed. That she did have clear thoughts, but they’d fracture as her mind automatically twisted.

    This was definitely my favorite book to date, and I think it’s Nalini’s best.

  9. Janine
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 11:38:31

    @azteclady:

    Mind you, there is more than enough cold calculation in him–again, as both himself and the Ghost–for me to understand why some readers see him as totally devoid of empathy as he sees himself.

    I want to say that I NEVER stated that Kaleb was totally devoid of empathy. I don’t recall any reader saying it in the thread either, yet readers kept rebutting this idea as though it had been stated.

    Rather, what I said in my review was that Kaleb’s empathy for the majority of people is absent. He makes an exception for Sahara and a few others — since I was trying to avoid spoilers I didn’t name those others but obviously Judd and Xavier are among them, as well as the dying Pure Psy leader with whom Kaleb is able to in some sense identify.

    But, for example, if Kaleb saw a stranger take a spill, would he respond with empathy, as you or I would? That was what I was getting at.

  10. Janine
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 11:51:56

    As I was writing my review of Heart of Obsidian, I thought about Jane’s post on exaggeration in the romance genre. It used to be that a hero was morally ambiguous if he killed bad guys or (in historicals) forced himself on the heroine. Then we got the assassin heroes (mind you I love some of them). Now we have a hero who, in addition to killing bad guys and possibly others in his rise to the top as well, seriously considers destroying a whole race of people, most of whom are innocent. That to me is a whole other level of moral ambiguity.

    Is this the equivalent of the millionaires turning into billionaires? And if so, where do we go from here?

  11. azteclady
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 12:27:19

    @Janine: I apologize I gave you the impression that I meant you specifically. I’ve been reading conversations on HoO in a number of blogs and the impression I get is that most readers see him as colder/far less empathic than I do.

  12. Janine
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 12:39:43

    @azteclady: Ah, I see. I overreacted because I got a lot of comments along those lines in the review thread too. I think I likely do see him as less empathetic than you do, but not totally devoid of empathy. There’s a spectrum in there. Regardless, I overreacted. I should not have jumped on you like that. I apologize for that.

  13. library addict
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 17:30:28

    @Janine: I mentioned his supposed lack of empathy in my posts (in both threads) because that is what Kaleb himself says in the book. I meant it as an example that not everything he says about himself is accurate.

    I’m not sure where the new line is for “anti” heroes. To be honest I think it depends on the author. Kaleb works for me whereas if a character in another book by a different author did half the things he’s done the other character might not.

  14. Janine
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 18:24:28

    @library addict: Thanks for explaining.

    I’m not sure where the new line is for “anti” heroes. To be honest I think it depends on the author. Kaleb works for me whereas if a character in another book by a different author did half the things he’s done the other character might not.

    Yes, I agree, it very much depends on execution. Heart of Obsidian worked really well for me and my issues crop up more when I think about it in the abstract. Genocide is an issue I feel very strongly about, so I have mixed feelings about the way it’s dealt with (or IMO, not fully dealt with) in this book. I would have preferred a more thoughtful exploration of Kaleb’s flaws and of their moral implications, but I love a well-written anti-hero and I think the huge fandom for this book indicates that morally ambiguous characters can have a strong appeal.

    I’m also sorry that so many writers censor themselves or what have you, we don’t get as many morally ambiguous characters as we used to. And I’m glad that Kaleb stayed recognizably Kaleb in HOO. This was one of Nalini Singh’s best books IMO (though my favorite probably remains Archangel’s Blade — and I have my issues with that one too). Even with my qualms, I’m very glad this author takes chances with her books.

  15. cleo
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 20:20:44

    @azteclady: About Sahara –

    By not being fully present the whole (perhaps even most of the) time, coupled with a healthier upbringing than usual for Psy and a subconscious belief that Kaleb would eventually rescue her, her scars are vastly reduced from what they could have been.

    I agree with this interpretation, but I still feel like Sahara ended up being unbelievably well adjusted. She was 16 when she was kidnapped and 23 when she was rescued – those are 7 incredibly formative years that she spent in captivity, without much interaction with other people. It seems incredible to me that she’d come out of that and be a functioning adult so quickly. When I was reading the book, I bought it, but on second thought, it seems a little unlikely.

  16. MissE
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 22:25:24

    @cleo: I had problems with how well adjusted Sahara was too. If I remember correctly, Sahara mentions that she was not able to block her captors/create the labyrinth in the beginning and did do their bidding initially. She also recollects many of the beatings and specific events such as broken bones, etc. I can see where the labyrinth helped to keep her sane while in captivity, but once she was in control of her mind again, it doesn’t seem realistic that she’d just get over seven years of torture and captivity. One could maybe hand wave some of that if Sascha used her E skills to help heal her, but she was fairly normal within days and never seemed to experience any fear or distrust of strangers.

  17. susan
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 09:30:36

    I think all the discussions are missing one very important question, how many pupcubs is Mercy going to have?

  18. Janine
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 18:21:16

    @susan: I wish Mercy weren’t having multiples. She’s my favorite heroine in the series and I worry that she’ll lose some of her strength and independence. Also, it seems like a contrivance to avoid inequality between the wolves and the cats — I suspect she’ll have at least four: one cat boy, one cat girl, one wolf boy, & one wolf girl.

  19. susan
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 21:50:46

    @Janine: Mercy is my favorite also. The thought never occurred to me that Mercy could or would lose her strength or independence by having multiplies. Her character has consistently been strong, even pregnant she was protecting Faith and Sahara. I do feel any new little pupcub
    (s) will bring the two packs closer together. Did Faith ever confirm
    she foresaw multiplies? Maybe we (and Mercy) are reading between the lines!

  20. EmilyW
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 14:14:52

    I’m completely tardy for this party, but I just finished the book and have two thoughts to add. How cool would it be if Aden and Vasic were a romantic pair?! Maybe I’m the only one who saw a possibility of that… Also, I’d like more on Silver, Kaleb’s assistant. Her and her family are very interesting.

  21. Kaetrin
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 21:30:13

    @EmilyW: You are not alone at all in hoping for a HEA between Aden and Vasic. There are many of us!! Unfortunately, Nalini has said that is not to be. I’m guessing one of them will end up with Alice. The next book features Vasic as the hero (I don’t think Alice is the heroine in that one), which leaves Aden for Alice.

  22. Amy
    Oct 07, 2013 @ 10:51:39

    I read this book when it first came out and reread it twice this week. I love the fact that I really believe that the two loves each other and no one other than this Sahara would have made it with Kaleb. Their shared history and relationship from childhood made their romance believable. I don’t think I’d buy into a romance between Kaleb and any woman he may have met for the first time as an adult. I just don’t think I could believe in some magic transformation of such a dark and tortured anti-hero discovering love for the first time today. I didn’t look forward to the Heart of Obsidian as much as I looked forward to Kiss of Snow. Having read both several times, I totally believe in K and S but still have my doubts about H and S. Perhaps it is the greater age difference between H and S and the way they interact with each other — Sienna just seems so immature sometimes (as evidenced by the teenager like behaviors demonstrated via the bar dancing scenes) that I haven’t bought 100 percent into that relationship.

    Thank you, Ms. Singh, for continuing to write terrific stories in this and the Guild Hunter series. You are the only author with a long standing paranormal/urban fantasy romance series that I contine to follow. While a few of the stories are just okay for me, most fall into the awesome category for me. I don’t feel you are just repeating the same stories or characters, and your meticulous record keeping of your timelines and old facts show in the lack of (or existence of minimal) errors in later books. I can’t wait for your next release!

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