Nalini Singh – “Visions of Heat”

26 Sep

GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Berkley Sensation, 2007

WHY THIS NOVEL: It’s a favorite series of many readers and I wanted to take a second look.

The back blurb:
“Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous-aching need…exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.
Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman if finds so utterly fascinating, and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced-and keep her from Vaughn.”

I read Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation two years ago. I wasn’t particular blown away, but I thought the Psy and the world Singh created for them different and intersting. Since then, she wrote four full-length novels in the Psy-Changeling series, and the series is loved by many readers. As with Kresley Cole’s Immortals-After-Dusk series some months ago, I thought to give Singh’s series another try and I bought the second one, Visions of Heat.

What I still like best about Visions of Heat is the world Singh created. The Psy world is interesting and intriguing. Unfortunately, Visions of Heat comes with the obsessive-possessive-mate story line, this time in the form of changelings (leopards, jaguars, wolves and whatever else), and it’s this part that drives the romance. I was really disappointed by that because with a plot that threatens madness when emotions get too strong, I expected and wanted (maybe even thought it necessary) more balance.

Instead, the hero goes from “I can be patient for her” to establishing a mate-bond without her knowing (!) to having be tied down for intercourse because he can’t control himself any longer in roughly two weeks. There was nearly no influence of Faith’s conditioning (linking emotion to pain) on the way the romance developed and on the heroine’s behavior except for some hyperventilating and coming close to or having a seizure a few times, IMO. Faith was rather similar to a “normal” heroine who’s afraid of emotion and never had a sexual thought in her life and then goes sex-kitten in a very short amount of time. Huh? I thought the way she grew up and lived all her life would have a much stronger impact. I especially couldn’t believe how fast she changed.

The one time when things seem to go really wrong, the Cassandra spiral thing right after Vaughn and Faith have slept together for the first time, left me strangely unconcerned. I really wanted and waited for a more dramatic development with Faith’s conditioning. I would have welcomed a – temporary of course – descend into madness as a result of the hero’s constant pushing, that would have been interesting, but I guess I just knew that wouldn’t happen.

So, I don’t know. The romance just didn’t convince me. On Vaughn’s side, there is constant lusting and hard evidence of his lust love all the time in such a way that I start to wonder why he doesn’t take matters into his own hand. Especially since he feels he’s losing control and well, there’s also the possibility of Faith going crazy from overload of emotions. Instead, Vaughn has to be tied down for their first time and that only happens after Faith convinces him that waiting for him to gain more control when all evidence points in the other direction is a boneheaded idea. And Faith, let’s just say I wondered how she’s so sure she loves Vaughn. Vaughn is the first man she meets who feels emotions and makes her feel. Couldn’t it be the same with other such men? Is it because he can keep her from spiraling into madness? Why?

There is also a suspense plot going on that is only slightly more than a reason for Faith and Vaughn to meet, and there are some political developments in the Psy world. Now, as I said, I like the concept of the Psy and their world and think there’ll be some interesting developments there, I especially liked the thing about the NetMind, but on the whole, I find this world rather sketchy in its description. It leaves a lot to the readers imagination and reminds me of fantasy novels where characters are constantly shooting fire balls and lighting strikes from their finger tips without giving the reader once an explanation how this is possible. Take for example the scene where Faith cuts her link to the PsyNet:

Drawing in the scent of her mate, she went deep, deep inside herself, past every shield and block, past reason and cognition to the primitive nucleus–because the link to the PsyNet was powered by instinct and made at the instant of birth, the one thing about her race that wasn’t controlled or manipulated.
And there it was, in the absolute and utter center.
She’d thought she’d linger over this, but she couldn’t. It hurt too much. Saying a soft good-bye, she reached out and sliced through it in a single fatal stroke.
Everything ended. (p. 260/261).

What are these shields and blocks? How (and with what?) did she slice through the link? I don’t know, maybe this was explained in Slave to Sensation and I just don’t remember. In Visions of Heat, I didn’t find an explanation how thoughts turned into concrete objects for the Psy (that’s my explanation for descriptions like the one quoted above). And somehow I find myself not really able to just go with the flow.

I know I’m rather alone with this, but I didn’t see Visions of Heat as more than an average novel. I know this series is loved by a lot of readers and I wanted it to turn out the same way Kresley Cole’s Immortals series turned out on my second try, I wanted to love it, but this time, I’m sorry to say it didn’t work. Maybe it was the wrong time of month, I don’t know, I just don’t get what makes this special, and the Psy-related stuff isn’t good or interesting enough on its own (see paragraph above) to make me read on. I know the next one has a hero who’s a Psy and I think it could be interesting to see how (or if) this alters the dynamic of the romance. But other than that, I think I won’t go on with this series.

Would I recommend this novel? Maybe.

Would I read this novel again? Maybe.

Grade: 3 + / 5


6 Responses to “Nalini Singh – “Visions of Heat””

  1. Christine Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 3:36 am #

    I actually agree with your review. Visions of Heat is my least favorite Psy-Changeling novel, mostly because I wasn’t fully convinced of their falling in love story. I actually found Faith’s relationship with her father more interesting.

    The next book, Caressed by Ice and the one following, Mine to Possess are my two favorites in the series. I hope you give them a try.

  2. Taja Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 12:04 pm #

    Thanks Christine, that’s good to know. I actually sat there and wondered what I didn’t see. Visions of Heat is not bad, but it’s far from what I expected based on comments. Yes, I think I’ll try Caressed by Ice at least. Thank you.

  3. Kristie(J) Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 3:04 am #

    I’m with Christine – this was my least favourite. While I really like this series – and I think it’s getting better as it goes along – there is a lot I have to just kind of not try and understand so I don’t make myself crazy trying to figure it out šŸ™‚

  4. Taja Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    Thanks, Kristie. “Getting better” sounds good. I try not to want to understand everything and just go with it, but I also keep thinking that it’s easier to write in a way that the reader has to fill in a lot of blanks for the world building and that’s…I dunno. But Christine and you have convinced me to buy at least Caressed by Ice the next time I’ll go book shopping. I’ll let you know how that turned out. šŸ™‚


  1. Back To: New Books « Books and Games - Sunday, October 19, 2008

    […] Christine said it would get “better” (not that I thought Visions of Heat bad) in the comments thread to Visions of Heat. […]

  2. Nalini Singh - “Caressed By Ice” « Books and Games - Monday, November 3, 2008

    […] I was not really blown away by Visions of Heat. But there was my curiosity about the relationship dynamic and I read comments […]

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