Book Critique – Mine To Possess (Psy-Changeling #4)
For review of all books in this series: Go here.
Stars: 2.5 / 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. Although in this the heroine irritated me a bit, making it my least favorite book so far.
Mine to Possess is the fourth book in the long running Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh, published in February of 2008. The primary plot revolves around Clay Bennett - a DarkRiver Leopard Sentinel - and Talin "Tally" McKade - a human working as a Guardian for Shine Foundation.
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 fourth book in the parent series. Nalini shifts back her focus on to the DarkRiver Leopard Changelings with this story. It begins in the spring of 2080 immediately after the events in the previous book Caressed by Ice.
Clay Bennett was first introduced in the first book Slave to Sensation. Although Sascha Duncan, Lucas's - alpha of DarkRiver - mate, had seen something dark in him, he hadn't captured enough interest in my mind as a reader to see his story. Although in Visions of Heat, Faith NightStar has visions for both Clay and Dorian. While Clay's vision seemed earlier than Dorian's. So it is no surprise that Nalini picked Clay for her next book, although my mind wanted to see Hawke or Kaleb's story more.
Talin "Tally" McKade is thought to be dead by Clay Bennett. But when she re-appears back in his life, memories long forgotten and a time that he didn’t want to revisit the betrayals that marred him. Yet, he gives everything in him to help Tally find the missing children. Will they find themselves in the process, will the betrayals be forgiven and will they find a forever for themselves, is what the rest of the story goes about while the Changelings fight a subtle battle with the Psy.
Talin may not be a coward and in fact a survivor to dance with a leopard, but she irritated me several times. Especially when all Clay did was help her and she keeps on thinking what Clay did was a mistake. I could not follow at all where Clay made mistakes but Nalini had Talin keep on mentioning that all through the plot. The other aspect of Talin that bugged me was the constant bickering she was having with Clay. And in contrast to that her syrupy voice she uses on occasions when she has to have a verbal fight. For some reason it didn’t sound adorable or charming. Perhaps I was too irritated by the heroine by then.
In contrast to my irritation towards Talin, Clay actually charmed me better. He came on strong and dominant, obviously since he is a leopard. But he also came on as loyal, supportive, romantic and above all doing everything in his power to do the right thing. Yet, there was this possessiveness between Clay and Talin that bordered on abnormal.
Nalini sneaks in various eco-friendly concepts and things around in her plots. In this one we see computronic chips embedded in the road for auto-pilot and hover drive ability of the vehicles; artificial and cloned organs; eco-generators to power heat into living units. At the same time she gives glimpses of our current century as history to the characters since it is set in a future decade for us - Subway transportation system.
Nalini ventures into a more darker aspect of human nature in this plot, surrounding children who are abused in every which way, and what marks that leave as the child grows into an adult. Albeit here she has Changelings and Psy in the mix too. It created a lot of shivers down my spine. Always amazes me how cruel a person can be towards a fellow person.
She inserts subtle humor all through her plots to keep the heaviness off the more morbid sub-plots at bay. Although in this she has her protagonist refer to movies and quotes from 1960s and beyond, which is approx a century old for when this plot is set. Just like in real world how we still listen, read and watch arts that have been made centuries ago, Nalini sets the situations in her plots in the similar way keeping it to the human expectations that history repeats or continues.
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, despite the minor irritation I have towards our heroine in this plot. However, Nalini has a lot of open-ended sub-plots in here that is definitely making to look forward to read the next book as soon as possible.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Talin McKade was placed in a foster family the Larkspurs in rural Iowa who include - Ma and Pa Larkspur; Tanner and Samara "Sam" the twins; Dixie, the baby of the family. She has strong mental shields.
b. Max Shannon - a Human police detective who works with Talin in searching for a kidnapper and serial-killer of kids. He has strong mental shields. During the middle of the plot, he gets attacked by human thugs. He is injured and unconscious, getting treated in a secured facility courtesy of Shine Foundation and DarkRiver Leopards.
c. More of Ashaya Aleine and her ground-breaking work on the Implant Protocol is shown in this plot. An implant to fit into the minds of all Psy so a truly unified society is created, a true Hive mind. Her son, Keenan, is held by the Council as bargaining chip. She helps from inside in recue of the two kidnapped children, in return for help in kidnapping her son by the DarkRiver Changelings in two months. Dorian becomes the point contact for Ashaya with DarkRiver. A story with them as a pair perhaps?
d. Clay and Talin attend a DarkRiver gathering welcoming Zach and his mate. I have a feeling we will read about Zach somewhere along the line.
e. Psy Council Marshall Hyde is assassinated and Anthony Kyriakus is assigned his replacement towards the end of this plot.
f. Clay Bennet adopts the two human rescued kids - Jon and Noor - at the end of this plot.
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. Psy, Changeling and Human terms:
i. Silence Protocol - Introduced first in 1969, conditions Psy to not feel any emotions so they can perform better.
ii. Enforcement - similar to the Law Enforcement.
iii. PsyNet - Psychic Network that the Psy are connected to through minds.
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. With this plot, Talin joins the web and making it a true triumvirate complete on a psychic plane with all three species joined together.
vi. Cassandra Spiral - The ultimate cascade of a Psy who was breaking from Silence and being unsuccessful.
vii. Implant Protocol or Protocol I - To condition the Psy even beyond what the Silence does, by creating a true hive mind.
viii. 18th Century Territorial Wars - Adrian Kenner, a human, had been the one to help draft laws that ended he Changeling wars.
ix. The Human Alliance - Human Conglomeration representing the supposed weaker species of the three.
c. Various Psy we would see as the series progresses:
i. Members of the Psy Council (a panel of Psy that ruled the world with an iron fist) - Nikita Duncan, mother of Sascha Duncan; Tatiana Rika-Smythe, youngest to become a Councilor; Ming LeBon; Shoshanna and Henry Scott, only Psy couple on the council; Kaleb Krychek.
ii. Latham; Sione, an F-Psy from PsyClan Pacific Rose; Juniper (8yr old F-Psy); Gia Khan (an M-Psy); Silver Mercant (Kaleb's sr. personal assistant, introduced in Caressed by Ice); Lenik (Kaleb's admin assistant); Ashaya Aleine (head scientist for the Council) and her son Keenan, introduced first in Caressed by Ice; Amara; Ekaterina (work with Ashaya);
iii. Remaining Lauren Family - Introduced first in Slave to Sensation. Walker; Sienna and Toby, their dead sister's kids; Marlee, Walker's daughter. Defectors into the SnowDancer territory, interlinked by their own psy network LaurenNet. There is some attraction between Sienna and Hawke as seen from Slave to Sensation plot. Indigo, SnowDancer Lieutenant, is assigned to train Sienna in Visions of Heat. Powers for the younger Psy are expanding as series progresses.
iv. In Slave to Sensation, we see:
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 is that?
v. Anchors: In the very first book, Slave to Sensation, Nalini alludes to at least 50 Psy serial killers who are protected by the Council as their psychic connection is needed in the PsyNet. So far three of them have been taken care of.
vi. In Visions of Heat, we see:
1) Faith NightStar's father Anthony Kyriakus is the governing force of the PsyClan NightStar- the clan of Psy that begets atleast one F-Psy in every generation. He is also the leader of a quiet revolution against the Council. She has a brother Tanique Gray and a cousin Sahara.
2) Faith's sister Marine is killed by the Psy Serial Killer. However, there are still unexplained reasons as to why she was targeted as of that plot.
3) Faith has a vision for Clay and Dorian. We have seen Clay's story in this plot and Faith's vision come true. Now we wait for Dorian's story.
vii. With more of Kaleb Krychek we see as the series progresses, he sounds more and more like an antagonist as opposed to a protagonist, especially now that we know that he can talk to DarkMind as easily as Faith can talk to NetMind. Of course we know that he is a protagonist with an agenda per the two books in the spin-off series that I already finished reading. Now I am craving for a story of Kaleb as well while I wait for Hawke's story to come out.
viii. In Caressed by Ice, we see that the Psy Council is faced with a new enemy who calls himself Ghost, who is infiltering the Psy and systematically destroying their plans. I have a distinct feeling it is Kaleb Krychek, but we have to wait and see.
ix. Kaleb runs the Moscow region and he has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. Wonder where Nalini will bring this up again.
x. Solias King, a Psy, is apparently trying to encroach into the DarkRiver territory, with his aide and son Kinshasa in the novella Beat of Temptation. Will he surface again?
d. Arrow Squad - First introduced in Visions of Heat. Originally created by Zaid Adelaja century or more ago when Silence Protocol was introduced.
e. Forgotten Psy - Psy who never had linked to the PsyNet when Silence Protocol was implemented over a century ago. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice further explored in this plot.
i. The descendants of these Forgotten Psy are shown to be gifted human children with newer abilities that are more than Psy, Changeling or Human. Their ancestors having mated with Changelings and Humans after not linking to the PsyNet and survived by creating their own network, ShadowNet.
ii. Jonquil "Johnny D" Alexi Duchslaya, a fourteen year old ex-gang member, is one of the direct descendants of Duchslaya Yurev, a cardinal telepath, who had not linked to PsyNet when it formed. With help from Ashaya Aliene inside and DarkRiver on the outside, he is rescued from the facility in rural Nebraska where he was held by Psy Anchors for experimentation.
iii. Noor Hassan, another child rescued from the same facility.
iv. Devraj Santos - Director of the Shine Foundation that helps kids get off street, trained and educated. Rangi was the Guardian of San Francisco Shine Branch. We come to know that they are gathering descendants of the Forgotten Psy and training and educating them. Although Nalini alludes to Devraj being a descendant himself.
f. The various Changelings we see during the course of the series are
i. DarkRiver Leopards with their territory in San Francisco and surrounding areas.
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 of he Psy-Changeling construction venture; Ria, a human mated to DarkRiver leopard; Rina Monaghan (Kit's older sister); Tara; Nico, Cory, Jason "Jase", Nicki and Sarah (juveniles); Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Desiree; Barker; Joe (owner of Joe's Bar that Changelings and Humans frequent); Cian; Zach
3) Lucas's Sentinels (second-in commands) - Nathan "Nate" mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" their healer and have twin sons Roman and Julian, Story told in Beat of Temptation; Vaughn D'Angelo (mated to Faith NightStar, an F-Psy, Story told in Visions of Heat); 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?
5) In this plot, Mercy is assigned as liaison with the SnowDarncer Wolves representative, Riley. A story for them both in future books perhaps?
ii. SnowDancer Wolves with their territory in California
1) Hawke is their alpha. He has captured my interest more than the actual hero and heroines of any plot he appears in. 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 - Andrew "Drew" Liam Kincaid - Brenna's brother; Lara (their healer); Dalton (librarian); Tai; Lucy; Elias (a soldier); Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui; Ben (a wolf pup friends with Marlee);
3) Hawke's lieutenants - Indigo; Riley (Brenna's brother); Judd Lauren (an Arrow Squad Psy, mated to Brenna Shane Kincaid. Story told in Caressed by Ice)
iii. BlackEdge Wolves with their territory in Moscow. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.
iv. DawnSky Deer - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.
v. PineWood Hyenas - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.
1) Some members - Kevin; Mahal; Lou-Ann;
vi. Rats Changelings. First mentioned in this plot.
1) Remaining surviving members - Teijan (kind of leader for them); Suyi;
2) Live in Down Below, in the tunnels under the city.
vii. Snake Changelings. First mentioned in this plot. The tunnels that Talin sees in rural Iowa where she lived with her foster family could have been carved by them.
3. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. On Pg. 69, Line 14 from bottom, it should be "…even if it was to flip…"
b. On Pg. 303, Line 11, it should be "…Talin sipped at the…"