Review: Wild Embrace

cover-wild embraceTitle: Wild Embrace
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: A Psy/Changeling Collection
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Four Novellas
Available: Now

stars_4


The ‘alpha author of paranormal romance’* presents a stunningly sensual collection of four all-new Psy-Changeling novellas, in which taboos are broken, boundaries are crossed, and instincts prove irresistible . . .

Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander . . .

Dorian
A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration – until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play . . .

Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him . . .

Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries . . .

*Booklist, starred review


Source: Bought it

I think I’ve lost all ability to be objective about this series. Having said that, I really enjoyed this novella collection – particularly as a couple of the stories took a look at some less well explored aspects of the world.

* * *

When I first heard that this collection was going to have a story set on the deep-sea station, I expected it would involve one of the mysterious BlackSea changelings. Sadly, it doesn’t. Echo of Silence is instead about a human and a Psy, one who was considered too broken to be an Arrow. Any disappointment I felt at not seeing a water changeling was mitigated by my curiosity about Stefan, who was name-checked several times in the last few books.

It’s kind of a slow romance between him and Tazia, since Stefan is still having to hide behind Silence, while she has her own family hurts to deal with. But I enjoyed the careful pace as they worked together rebuilding the town after the earthquake. I also liked exploring more of Tazia’s culture and how different it was to what we usually see in this world.

The ending was perhaps a little too perfect, rushing some aspects of their relationship more than was necessary, but given the short length, I still found it enjoyable.

*

Dorian was probably the one I was most excited about – but ended up liking the least. It’s the shortest in the collection and is made up of a few brief snap-shots of Dorian’s life, both before and after Ashaya fixes his shifting problems. There’s more post-shift than I expected, and as cute as it was to read about him finding his feet with his leopard and messing about with the Sentinels, I would have liked more young Dorian.

The scene with Lucas first meeting his leopard, though, was perfect. (And I also loved the first meeting with Clay.)

*

Partners in Persuasion was lovely. A submissive male wolf and a dominant female leopard might not interest everyone, but I love unusual dynamics and always enjoy learning more about the non-dominants changelings.

I liked getting to know Desi better, and I loved how carefully she went about her courtship. Felix was interesting, though not really all that submissive. The slow build of trust between them, and the careful way they figured out how to be together without either crushing the other, made for an enjoyable read. I liked this one.

*

Flirtation of Fate was a satisfying conclusion to a long running mystery. The truth behind Kenji’s and Garnet’s antagonistic relationship has been teasing readers for a while now, so it was great to finally find out the truth. The added suspense plot also helped show how well these two work together, and how easily Garnet can trust Kenji to let her be her own wolf.

I’ll admit I worked it out almost immediately, so was a little frustrated at how long it took for anyone else to even think it, but as it’s a novella, I will let that pass.

As for Kenji’s reasons for breaking Garnet’s heart… oh, Kenji. I would have expected Garnet to have kicked up more of a fuss – or at least just kicked him a bit – but again, a novella doesn’t really leave time for that. Instead I shall focus on the cute bits and happiness and let the foolishness slide, since they were both a lot younger then.

* * *

Overall, I really enjoyed this. It might have been nice to have a little glimpse of all the couples a little further down the time line – Stefan and Tazia in particular – to see how all three pairs are coping with their less orthodox relationship arrangements, but hopefully we’ll get to see more of some of them in the future. I definitely want too see more Alaris one day.

Small quips and quibbles aside, this collection provided a wonderful insight into a few less well known aspects of this world and filled in a couple of gaps along the way. Existing fans should enjoy it, and it also provides a nice taster for newcomers interested in learning more. It also left me even more impatient for Psy-Changeling Trinity to begin. I sense a full series reread coming on… #TeamStarlightandherTeddyBear


Wild Embrace is Out Now.
Visit Nalini Singh for more details.

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