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Book Critique – Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling #2)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

My Recommendation: An exciting continuation into a series filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, who are living together, ruled by Psy but the other two races making the playing field even. Of course there is romance, passion, war, friendship, loyalties and betrayals along the line. 

Visions of Heat is the second book in the long running Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh, published in March of 2007. The primary plot revolves around Vaughn D'Angelo - a DarkRiver Sentinel, a Jaguar - and Faith NightStar - an F-Psy, a Psy with Foresight.

Psy-Changeling series focuses on three races living side-by-side on Earth - The icy Psy who rule the world but are facing the fall of Silence; the Changelings of varied kind with natural mental barriers to fight the unwanted entry of any Psy into their brains; and the Humans considered the weaker of the three but have decided to level the playing field. The series shows the readers to the downfall of Psy, their drawbacks, why all three races are needed for survival of each other, and above all finding mates across races thus disintegrating the walls further.

In continuing with the series that intrigued when I picked it's spin-off, Psy-Changeling Trinity Series, here is my take on the second book in the parent series. Nalini continues to keep the plot with the DarkRiver Leopard Changelings and the Psy that keep attracting the cats. It begins a few months after where Slave to Sensation ends. 

Vaughn D'Angelo, one of the Sentinels for DarkRiver Changeling, finds Faith NightStar, an F-Psy, very intriguing and something moves in him. But he never trusts a Psy unless it was Sascha Duncan, his alpha's mate. But Faith comes to DarkRiver with visions of darkness and something malevolent. She seeks out Sascha's help for fear of losing her essence and breaking down. But she finds Vaughn.  And the darkness finds both. Now its upto them to fight off that malevolent darkness and at the same time find a way for them to meet midway.

For a determined and dominant Vaughn, Nalini gave an equally adamant but pliable Faith to contend with. She doesn’t get intimidated by him, and he uses everything in his power to thaw her and her ice within to bring the flames out. A passionate dance of love and mating is shown to us by Nalini in this plot, exploring the mating bond further.

Nalini sneaks in various eco-friendly concepts and things around in her plot like eco-powered car, preservation of forests and letting the national parks grow beyond their current boundaries, constructing houses incorporating the nature into them. She also goes a bit more deeper into how the PsyNet works and some part of it looked so similar to how a search engine like Google works or how the concept of data mining works. Perhaps those were the inspiration for Nalini to build her PsyNet. 

Interestingly enough although her series is set in 2079 and beyond, Nalini refers to things from centuries past which are in real our centuries past too like the Pavlovian Technique introduced by Ivan Pavlov in 1897.

She keeps the continuity of the sub-plots from previous book like the construction of houses for Changelings that the Psy and DarkRiver/SnowDancer Changelings partner in; the after-effects of the Psy Serial Killer. By doing so she answers a few of the questions that she leaves in the form of those inconsequential details that she throws around in the plots. This keeps the stories tied together like the weaves in a tapestry. 

She does get high praise from Christine Feehan for this book as well - Christine who would have been the reigning queen of paranormal romance then when this book was released. 

Like her other series (GuildHunter, Rock Kiss or Hard Play), there is romance and more in the plot with hidden humor that lightens the plot, taking the sting of the darkness away. She has some repeat paraphrasing. And definitely some of the concepts are beyond imaginable. It will take more than a few books for me to get the depth of all the technical jargon behind her complicated concept. She does leave a lot of inconsequential details and new characters introduced, which will definitely form meat for future plots.

A good continuation to a long running series in a fantasy word filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, although we don’t see a lot of humans and their role yet. Looking forward to read the next book as soon as possible.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Faith NightStar's family includes - her father Anthony Kyriakus and the governing force of the PsyClan; mother Zanna Liskowski. She has a brother, Tanique Gray, in Caribbean Islands by her father and a Caribbean woman. She has a cousin Sahara.

b. Faith's sister Marine is killed by the Psy Serial Killer. However, there are still unexplained reasons as to why she was targeted.

c. Brenna, the rescued SnowDancer wolf, is helped by Sascha Duncan and Judd Lauren in fixing her psychic damage. A story plot for Brenna and Judd perhaps soon. 

d. The Psy Serial Killer had been covered with a dark malevolent shadow. But it disappears right before he was killed. Is someone controlling the Psy Serial Killers?

e. Faith has a vision for Clay and one for Dorian. Who will Nalini pick for her next book? I am guessing it wont be Dorian, because Faith's vision puts it at least two or three years from when this plot is set. Perhaps Clay then.

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. There are several Psy Designations that are thrown around by the author Nalini Singh. I wondered if there was a list of all of them some where. And true to that, some fan had posted about them here.

b. Some of the groups or organizations, and Psy terms:

i. Silence Protocol - Introduced first in 1969, conditions Psy to not feel any emotions so they can perform better. 

ii. Enforcement

iii. PsyNet - Psychic Network that the Psy are connected to through minds, to share information, converse and much more. 

iv. NetMind - the central controlling factor of PsyNet, the policeman and librarian encompassed together. It's twin is DarkMind that houses everything negative. NetMind also confirms the possibility of thousands of E-Psy alive living in incognito mode.

v. Web of Stars - the network that Sascha forms with Lucas's mind and the sentinel's minds he is connected to.

vi. Cassandra Spiral - The ultimate cascade of a Psy who was breaking from Silence and being unsuccessful.

c. Various Psy we would see as the series progresses:

i. Members of the Psy Council - Nikita Duncan - mother of Sascha Duncan; Tatiana Rika-Smythe - youngest to become a Councilor; Marshall Hyde; Ming LeBon; Shoshanna and Henry Scott - only Psy couple on the council; 

ii. Latham; Sione from PsyClan Pacific Rose; Juniper (8yr old F-Psy); Gia Khan (an M-Psy); 

iii. Lauren Family - Introduced first in Slave to Sensation. Walker and his brother Judd; Sienna and Toby, their dead sister's kids; Marlee, Walker's daughter. All defect into SnowDancers territory, unlink themselves from PsyNet and live their lives with the wolves. An attraction seems to exist between Sienna and Hawke since they were first introduced. Indigo, SnowDancer Lieutenant, is assigned to train Sienna.

iv. PsyClan NightStar - the clan of Psy that begets atleast one F-Psy in every generation. 

v. Kaleb Krychek - a Cardinal trained by Santano Enrique. He ascends to the role of Council replacing Enrique in this plot. 

vi. Arrow Squad - brief glimpses of this elusive squad is shown in the plot. Judd Lauren perhaps is an Arrow himself.

vii. In Slave to Sensation, we see that:

1) Shoshanna and Henry Scott, the Psy Council couple, are looking for some kind of markers in Sascha's family. They have concern on one of the youngest Psy male. Who could that be?

2) There are at least 50 Psy serial killers according to the Psy Council's investigation. Only one is killed in that plot, will the remaining be annihilated in future plots?

d. The various Changelings we see during the course of the series are

i. DarkRiver Leopards:

1) Lucas Hunter is their alpha, a black panther; great-great-grandmother was a Psy. Mated to Sascha Duncan, an E-Psy. Story told in Slave to Sensation.

2) Other Leopards and pack mates we see - Kit Monaghan and Zara (a wildcat, distant cousin) - the designers and architects; Ria, a human mated to DarkRiver leopard; Rina (Kit's older sister); Tara; Nico, Cory, Jase, Nicki and Sarah (juveniles); Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Desiree;

3) Lucas's Sentinels (second-in commands) - Nathan "Nate" mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" their healer and have twin sons Roman and Julian; Vaughn; Clay Bennett; Mercy; Dorian, a latent leopard.

4) Seems to be Dorian and Rina have a relationship in Slave to Sensation. Will she be his mate eventually?

ii. SnowDancer Wolves

1) Hawke is their alpha. He has captured my interest more than the actual hero and heroine of the plot from the first book. I am sure we will see more of him in future plots, but I cant wait to read his story.

2) Other Wolves and packmates we see - Riley and Andrew - Brenna's brothers; Brenna, rescued from the Psy serial killer, Santiago Enrique, I feel Nalini will have a story for her soon; Lara (their healer); Dalton (librarian);

3) Hawke's lieutenants - Indigo

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