Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Book Review: 'Visions of Heat' by Nalini Singh


Embracing the future is the toughest thing a foreseer can do. Faith Nightstar is a very powerful foresight talent within the Psy people. She lives in near total isolation to contain the known instability of her abilities. After all, everyone knows foreseers eventually go mad. She never counted on seeing murders and dark deeds in her mind. Worried she’s going insane early; Faith seeks out the only Psy she thinks can help – Sascha Duncan. But Sascha is part of the changeling leopard group and they hate the Psy. A powerful lieutenant, Vaughn D’Angelo, may be attracted to Faith but he’s determined not to let any Psy harm his people. A delicate balance of trust and need are necessary as they hunt down a serial killer.
Visions of Heat is the second book in the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. Although you could read this one on it’s own, I’d recommend reading the series in order to fully appreciate the various relationships and connections. Not to mention all the background and world building. The second book builds on the foundation and information offered in the first book. That said, I read the books back-to-back and I was definitely more annoyed with this book because of that. The two books are so similar it set my teeth on edge. Some readers definitely look for a familiar and comfortable formula with books and they may love that the second book so closely resembles with the first with a few obvious differences. For me, this hurt my enjoyment.
The book simply feels like a carbon copy of the first story. Here the gorgeous, but fragile Psy is Faith and her dominant, overbearing, highly sexual mate is Vaughn, a jaguar in a leopard clan. The two are immediately attracted to each other but must overcome the changeling’s hatred of all things Psy and Faith’s emotions slowly emerging. At the same time, there is yet another Psy serial killer that they must stop and Faith (of course) has a unique connection to the murders. These elements aren’t bad on their own and even together they can still make for an entertaining erotic romance for the right reader. I found myself frustrated by the obvious similarities when I wanted something more unique to each couple.
The writing is decent though I find it at times overly melodramatic and hyperbolic. There are also many overused phrases such as “nightsky eyes.” I wish the author had come up with a different descriptor, especially since the same phrase was definitely overused in the first book too. Here reading one book so close to the other easily affected my view and enjoyment of them both. I also got frustrated with the continual painting of the entire Psy clan as evil and wrong. There is no nuance or subtly to the characters, they’re very one dimensional and good or bad. There’s no in between.
What I did like about the book was its ease. I listened to it, rather than reading it, and found the narrator had a pleasant voice and was easy to listen to. The story was engaging enough to keep my attention but not complicated or intricate to need a lot of effort. There are a lot of sex scenes and a main focus of the story is the erotic romance. Faith slowly experiences an awakening of her emotions and needs – all Psy are virgins of course, but never have a bad first time – and Vaughn is the romantic jaguar that loves her to a ridiculous amount and will never let her go. The serial killer subplot keeps the players moving around and the book progressing forward while giving more insight into the secondary characters that will eventually have their own books.
While I didn’t love either this one or the first one in the series, it’s an easy series to read/listen to. It’s not great for me and it’s one I’ll need a lot of space between books to appreciate it more but it has the elements of popular series. It has a ton of romance and sex and those are the main focus with an action subplot to keep things interesting. I’d recommend it for fans that like more formula books and series.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.