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Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

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Heart of Obsidian
Author: Nalini Singh 
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Psy/Changeling #12
ISBN: #978-0425263990
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Hardcover (368 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher for review

About the book:

     A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
     A woman whose very existence has been erased.
     A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself. 
     A deadly price that must be paid.
     The day of reckoning is here.

What Im talking about:

     SPOILERS: for those wishing to remain completely spoiler-free, please note that this review contains information that has been kept secret prior to release – things such as the heroine’s identity. I do NOT provide spoilers about the ending of the story or any key actions that occur which may spoil the ending.
For same review with the name of the heroine withheld, please visit GoodReads, HERE.
     Heart of Obsidian has finally arrived! The twelfth book in Ms. Singh’s amazing Psy/Changeling series is a well thought-out adventure that truly does change the course of the overall series. Once again, Ms. Singh creates characters with beautiful emotional depth and detailed flaws, giving me a world that I want to fully explore.
     The opening of Heart of Obsidian has a very different feel than previous books in the series. The first several chapters are told almost completely from the POV of ex-Councilor Kaleb Krychek, someone we all know, but have never seen this up-close and personal. It was extremely fascinating for me to see how powerful he is. Another aspect that gives Heart of Obsidian a very different feel is the fact we don’t know who the female lead is for the first five chapters. I liked this – it was like unraveling the pieces of a good mystery. Finally, after focusing primarily on the Changelings for the past several books, the primary couple in Heart of Obsidian is comprised of two Psys – something we’ve not seen before.
     The first several chapters of the story grabbed my attention – who was this mystery woman that Kaleb had been searching for all these years? Why is he utterly possessive of her? And the sections that were written from the mystery woman’s POV were fantastic. The broken Psy female created mental labyrinths to protect her mind and inner core from the pain of torture and to prevent her enemies from breaking and controlling her. The writing detailed the madnesses of the shifting labyrinths with finesse.
     It’s not until Chapter 5 that we discover the identity of this woman Kaleb has rescued: Sahara Kyriakus of PsyClan NightStar… As Sahara breaks down her mental labyrinths, she begins to reclaim her sanity and memories. Armed with an attraction to and an explicable trust in Kaleb, Sahara pushes her boundaries and heals rather quickly – although there are some memories that her body and mind will not allow her to recover.
     Much of the first half to two-thirds of the book focused on the slow process of regaining Sahara’s memories, and it is also a carefully constructed release of information to the reader by the author. For the most part, the tale was successful at keeping me hooked, wondering why something was a certain way or who did what. However, I did feel that the book began to drag and got repetitive by the midpoint. Yes… He’d never hurt her. Yes… She is his weakness. Yes… He’s got tons of power. Yes… She is the deepest fracture in his psyche. Yes… She belongs to him. I got frustrated for a little while.
     In addition, the beginnings of their romance were very cold and calculated, which rubbed me the wrong way – at first. I thought to myself, how much of Kaleb’s interactions are part of his plans – seeing as he needed to bond with Sahara and get her to trust him.
     However… things quickly picked back up…
     As Sahara and Kaleb truly get to know each other again and her memories return, we see a different side of the couple. They each grow and mature in ways that were extremely satisfying for me. I loved how Sahara would push Kaleb, but never abuse the absolute loyalty he’s given her. She is completely feisty and such a strong woman. I admire that Kaleb stays true to his Psy nature and character, yet by virtue of his relationship with Sahara, he can see things and approach problems in a different way. And their sexual encounters were pretty smokin’ hot for two virgins! I just have to share one of my favorite lines, said by Kaleb to Sahara after their first time, “we’ve shared DNA.” I love it!
     We also learn quite a lot about Kaleb’s past, which had a few twists and turns that kept me on my toes. I applaud the direction Ms. Singh took with Kaleb – never diminishing the monstrous things he’s done or the darkness that surrounds him, yet supplying the reader with the bigger picture and reasons for his actions.
     For those anxious to see the Changelings – they get in on the mix in a supporting manner about halfway into the story. This also helps to pickup the speed of the book. The addition of multiple characters gives more depth to the story structure.
     In addition to the love story, the book spends much of its time on the escalating issues with the PsyNet, the actions of PurePsy and the overall story arc. Pretty much everything is revealed, including the future direction of the Psy race and its relationship with the other two races. There is a great deal of conflict caused by PurePsy, and once again, it allows for Kaleb to evaluate his position on Silence and his plans for his race. I enjoyed seeing how Kaleb dealt with conflict.
     Finally, I will note that the identity of the Ghost is revealed. However, after much hoopla over his character in previous stories, I was disappointed that we didn’t even have mention of the Ghost until page 257. Overall, I have to say the Ghost storyline fell flat for me.
     In the end, I really enjoyed Heart of Obsidian. With the exception of a few minor issues, I feel this is one of the strongest Psy/ Changeling stories. I delighted in learning about the “real” Kaleb Krychek – seeing sides of him that only Sahara knows, and I adored Sahara’s amazing strength and resilient character. The love story of Kaleb and Sahara became stronger and more engaging as I learned more of their mutual past. What started out as cold, black ice, matured into warmth and sunshine. They are a wonderful couple and one of my new favorites from the series.

My Rating:

Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)

 
 

Purchase Info:

Heart of Obsidian (Book 12)
Reviews in the Series:
Bonds of Justice (Book 8)
“Whisper of Sin” (Burning Up)
Play of Passion (Book 9)
Kiss of Snow (Book 10)
Tangle of Need (Book 11)
Wild Invitation (Anthology)

Don’t forget to read my interview with author Nalini Singh and enter to win Wild Invitation… Details HERE.

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