rating: 5 of 5 stars
Before I wrote a review on this book, I had to sleep on it. I was trying to figure out a way to express my feelings about Mercy. She annoyed the crap out of me for the majority of this book. I felt so bad about it. I love strong women. I am definitely a reader who wants a strong, independent heroine in a story, yet I like the sweet heroines as well. I just like well-written heroines. Mercy was certainly well-written. I can't say I fault Nalini Singh for writing a book about an interesting character like Mercy. Having said that, she really worked my nerves.
It suddenly came to me as an epiphany about Mercy. She's a female cat. As a lifelong cat lover, I have made an observation that other cat lovers will probably agree with me on. Female cats can be a pain in the butt. They are much more grumpy and unreasonable more often than male cats. They are mercurial as all get out, one minute wanting to be loved on, the next trying to scratch your eyes out. That's Mercy in a nutshell.
Frankly I was doubting for some period of time while I was reading that she deserved Riley. I felt like I was being a sexiest thinking this. I asked myself why do I love heroes that are flawed, but Mercy was bugging me. Well, I came to realize that her imperfection wasn't the problem. It was the fact that she gave Riley hell most of the time for what seemed like no good reason. Sometimes she was a purring kitten, but most of the time, not so much. It was made clear fairly often that this was the way of a dominant female changeling, and that was when the lightbulb about female cats came to me. Once I accepted this realization, I could deal with Mercy a lot better. And since Riley loved her for who she was, I guess I can't afford to lose sleep about it.
I do have to say that she did admit when she was wrong, most of the time. But she really put Riley through her paces, and he was clearly the one who gave of himself much more. When it came down to it, she made a very difficult choice out of love for him, and I had to give her props for that.
Now I have to say that I loved Riley to bits. Nothing wrong with him. The part where he so-called betrayed Mercy, I can acknowledge that it was the wrong decision, but he made it for what he truly believed was the right reason. Just like Mercy couldn't change her spots, if you will forgive the pun. It's wrong to ask a wolf to shed his skin. He had the right to be the dominant male, just like she had the right to be a dominant female. I don't like double standards, so I don't think that Mercy should have been able to get away with her bad behavior (because of her nature) and then give Riley a hard time for him following his nature. I thought that the romance between Riley and Mercy was good reading, although I didn't love it as much as Sascha/Lucas, Vaughn/Faith, Judd/Brenna, and my favorite Dorian/Ashaya. I think it's because I love the Changeling/Psy relationship dynamic so much. Having said that, it was nice to see the hero be a wolf. Love me some wolf heroes. :)
Gender politics dealt with, I really enjoyed the suspense and conspiracy elements. Singh writes a great romance, but she also weaves an interesting read that I believe would appeal to a straight science fiction fan if that person didn't mind a lot of kissy-poo along with it. The stakes have been raised, and the world of the Psy/Changeling has expanded to focus more on the human quotient. It will be interesting to see how that aspect plays out in the future. Can I say I am a serious fangirl of the Psy. They are kickbutt. Still want to read more about the Tk-Psy and the Arrows. (Hint, hint, Ms. Singh).
As for Hawke and Sienna, I am a little worried how things ended with them. Call me sexist, but I hope that she doesn't get deeply involved with Kit. I want her to wait for Hawke. Don't give up hope, Sienna. Hawke has deep feelings for you, girl.
I loved the glimpses of my favorite male character (although I dearly love Dorian and Judd) in this, Hawke. He's just droolicious. More Hawke please.
So, I must say that I was not disappointed, although Mercy gave me some heartburn.
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