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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

'Tangle of Need' Psy-Changeling #11 by Nalini Singh

 Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past - one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.

For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.

Their coming together is an inferno...and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realise that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.

Riaz Delgado is adjusting to his SnowDancer home. It’s not easy for Riaz, who spent a good deal of time as a lone wolf, and who is also struggling with the fallout of finding his unattainable mate.

Riaz was on a mission in Venice when he met Lisette, a beautiful Frenchwoman working in the sinking city. His wolf knew her immediately – he felt the bone-deep knowledge that she was his, the woman he was destined for. Unfortunately for Riaz, Lisette is happily married to her husband, Emil, and aside from a heightened awareness of what lies between them, she is unaware of the mating bond. And that’s the way it has to be. Riaz will never fulfil his mateship with Lisette, will never jeopardize her happiness for his own – and as a consequence, Riaz’s gut roils at the thought of touching a woman who is not his mate. He has not had skin privileges for a year, so disgusted is he at the thought of being with anyone who is not his destined mate. . .  until he meets Adria.

Adria Morgan is making a new home for herself in SnowDancer too, after her disastrous long-term relationship with a submissive male wolf came to an ugly end. As an alpha female and senior soldier, Adria is still coming to terms with the power plays and inadequacies that made that relationship crumble, and she’s still feeling very fragile in the aftermath... Which is why the last thing she needs is an attraction to alpha wolf and Lieutenant, Riaz Delgado.

Riaz feels the same way, and is thoroughly disgusted at the lustful reactions Adria ignites in him. What starts as sneering and sniping between the two quickly combusts into a heated and love affair that neither of them is prepared for.

‘Tangle of Need’ is the eleventh book in Nalini Singh’s paranormal romance, ‘Psy-Changeling’ series.

Last year Ms Singh released the most-anticipated book in her ‘Psy-Changeling’ series – finally telling the story of alpha wolf, Hawke, and his young Psy-X sweetheart, Sienna Lauren. It was, hands down, the most complex and celebrated book in the series; and many fans wondered where Ms Singh could possibly go from there, I would hazard a guess that many fans even wondered if there was any need for further exploration? A ten-book series is no small feat, and when your tenth book is also centred on the most-anticipated pairing of the entire series, few fans would have begrudged Ms Singh going out on the high-note of Hawke’s HEA. So a lot is riding on ‘Tangle of Need’, to establish the longevity of an already immense series, and to discern if fan’s interest will wane now that everyone’s favourite character has had his time in the spotlight. Well, I can safely say that Ms Singh assuages everyone’s doubts and fuels the series fire once again in this eleventh book.

‘Tangle of Need’ is primarily centred on the romance of Riaz and Adria – exploring their complicated affections and love-hate relationship. These two are an interesting coupling, particularly for how their relationship answers some questions about the entire ‘Psy-Changeling’ universe and the complexities of the mating bond. Riaz and Adria are explosive simply because they start out hating one another – they raise each other’s hackles, and there’s an instant chemistry on the page simply for how they rub each other the wrong way. And, yes, it is a textbook case of ‘the lady doth protest too much’ – which is always an interesting premise to any romance. But the real conflict between Adria and Riaz is in the fact that Riaz has already found his mate – and it’s not Adria.

Riaz met Lisette in Venice, and felt the mating bond tugging them together. Unfortunately for Riaz, Lisette is happily married to her husband, and as such Riaz would never jeopardize her happiness for his own. As a side note; I was unclear whether or not Lisette was human or wolf. She was in Venice working with the wolves, but it seemed as though she was unaware of the mating bond (making me think she was human). She acknowledges that she felt an odd pull towards Riaz, but if she had been wolf surely she would have known what it was, beyond the odd quirk of being attracted to this strange man? Regardless, the hurdle for Riaz and Adria is that their attraction and growing affection is happening, despite knowing that Riaz has a mate bond with another. . .  it’s an interesting conundrum that Singh has written, and very much unlike anything explored in the ‘Psy-Changeling’ series thus far. I really liked this romantic complication – it’s sort of the antithesis to lots of cliché love stories in the paranormal romance genre, where writers will so often depend on the ‘mating bond’ and ‘ethereal-unintelligible-spiritual-something-magical’ connection between two people to explain why they love each other. For Riaz and Adria, they’re coming together in spite of Riaz’s ‘bond’ with another.

It’s a juicy little conundrum, and as such I wish Singh had explored it more in depth than she did. Towards the end of the book Lisette is thrown as a literal spanner in Riaz and Adria’s budding relationship – and that was the moment things got really interesting for me. I would have liked it if Riaz/Lisette/Adria had been a more thoroughly explored triangle throughout the book, instead of marginally towards the end.

But fans will be happy to learn to ‘Tangle of Need’ is not just Riaz and Adria’s love story. They actually share the spotlight with, none other than. . .  Hawke and Sienna!

That’s right! – Nalini Singh clearly recognized the power of Hawke and Sienna's romance, and has used ‘Tangle of Need’ as their continuing story. As a result, we get plenty of ‘awwww!’ moments between the newly mated Hawke and Sienna, and we follow them in the months following their mating – when they’re still finding their footing with one another (Sienna learning to live with an alpha, while Hawke is trying not to suffocate his new mate with his alpha-ness). It’s a fantastic ongoing story between the two of them – and the Psy-related events of ‘Tangle’ even have me wondering if the twelfth book will continue to follow Hawke and Sienna? Either way; the ongoing saga of Hawke and Sienna is the real, surprising draw-card of ‘Tangle’, and will leave fans very happy and satisfied, particularly because Singh has them discussing the finer details of their marriage and mateship that wasn’t covered in ‘Kiss of Snow’ (everything from kids to Sienna’s standing with the maternal females);

The howl that went up in the clearing was multiharmonic and piercingly joyful, a song that was a gift. Linked as he was to Sienna, Hawke felt her stunned wonder and knew she didn’t realize the significance of the act.
“They’re welcoming you,” he whispered, his chest vibrating with the need to add his voice to the song, “not as my mate, but as their alpha’s mate.” The distinction was important, and when untrammelled sunshine lit up her face, he knew she understood.

As to whether or not the ‘Psy-Changeling’ series has promise beyond everyone’s beloved Hawke? Before reading ‘Tangle of Need’ I was on the fence; half wondering if the series shouldn’t end on the ‘Kiss of Snow’ high note? But, Ms Singh uses this eleventh book to start planting the seeds for new and interesting stories, beyond the wolf SnowDancer and leopard DarkRiver packs.

In ‘Tangle’, the SnowDaner/DarkRiver alliance is approached by the BlackSea clan to join their coalition. Unofficially led by the beautiful Miane Levèque the BlackSea are, as the name suggests, a collective of sea-bound changelings. Now, this is very interesting. In the paranormal genre we’ve had any number of were-animals and changeling animals, but not any from the sea (mermaids aside, in a category all their own). I love that Singh has fun with this new concept, which will surely have fans interest piqued; 

“Jellyfish,” Riaz said, after considering the other inhabitants of the sea. “Seriously, there cannot be jellyfish changelings.”
Hawke turned to look over his shoulder. “What the hell have you been smoking?”

And of course Singh hints that the ‘Psy-Changeling’ series still has life in it yet, not least because Psy Councillor Ming LeBon is still plotting and scheming.

I went into ‘Tangle of Need’ not entirely convinced that Nalini Singh’s ‘Psy-Changeling’ series shouldn’t have concluded with Hawke and Sienna’s much-anticipated and very fulfilling tenth book. However, Nalini Singh has officially convinced me that her beloved paranormal romance series still has a lot of life left in it. I am immensely curious about the new changeling alliance with BlackSea, and the possibility of further side-stories about everyone’s favourite couple; Hawke and Sienna. I went in a little unsure and hesitant, but I finished ‘Tangle of Need’ more curious than ever about the trajectory of this evolving series.


1 comment:

  1. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of Hawke and Sienna time we get. So cute. And the last pages soo make me want the next book, like now.


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