Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Bonds of Justice (Psy/Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh

It is no secret that the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh is one of my favorite paranormal romance series. As with all the installments so far, I was anxious to get my hands on this book, so I would like to thank KMont from Lurv a la Mode for being a absolute sweetheart and sending me her ARC copy. Thanks Kenda!

In Bonds of Justice, Nalini Singh highlights Max Shannon, a human Enforcement detective she first introduced in Mine to Possess, and the best detective New York Enforcement has to offer. Born with natural mental shields that protect him against mental invasion from even the most powerful of Psys, Max is able to work his cases with a clear conscience. When Psy Council member Nikita Duncan's advisers begin dropping like flies, Max's mind and his status as an outsider make him the perfect man to investigate the murders. Unexpectedly, Max finds himself working for the deadly Nikita, but not on his own.

Nikita assigns Max an intriguing Psy partner, Sophia Russo a J-Psy whom Max previously met while working his last case. As a J-Psy, Sophia's job is to shed light on the guilt or innocence of those accused of the most heinous crimes. As a telepath, she can both retrieve memories from criminals and then project them to others. However, the job and all those dark memories have taken a toll and Sophia's time is almost up -- her shields are severely fractured and complete rehabilitation is around the corner.

I was so surprised by Max Shannon! For some reason I didn't expect to like this human cop as much as I did. Max is attracted to Sophie when he first meets her but not just for her beauty. He appreciates the whole person, understands her abilities and sees through the Psy coldness she attempts to project. I love the way Singh develops this relationship, there is an instant deep attraction but it doesn't translate into "insta-lurv" for humans. Max is hot, hot, hot... but because he cares for Sophie and takes the time to understand her, he's not just passionate, but unselfish and tender as a lover from beginning to end. The man won me over.

I really liked Sophie too. We get to know her when her shields are already severely fractured and she has broken Silence. A damaged and desperate woman with little time left, Sophie is direct with Max when it comes to wants and needs. Max is a direct man himself so there's no game playing in this romance, making Max and Sophie a great couple. Singh uses Sophie's circumstances to build up the sexual tension between the two to a fever pitch, making even a simple touch an erotic experience. Have I mentioned before that I love the way Nalini Singh writes this type of romance? I do.

As in all the Psy/Changeling books, the storylines in Bonds of Justice are multi-layered. As Max and Sophie investigate the murders of Nikita Duncan's advisers, they're also simultaneously following up on the case of a human sociopath, Gerard Bonner. A serial killer already behind bars, Bonner is still quite dangerous. As a character, he is chilling, cold and evil seems to ooze from his pores every time he appears on the page, making him an excellent villain. This is a device previously used by Singh and a bit repetitious, however this time the sociopath is human instead of Psy. I ultimately liked the way this particular thread was dealt with -- Bonner's humanity didn't make him less of a monster or a danger to Max and Sophie.

Secondary characters are well used, as always. Kaleb Krychek is highlighted in this installment and plays an important role. More information about him is disclosed making this character even more intriguing than before. The Psy Council continues to jockey for control and power, and the PsyNet continues to deteriorate and split affecting the Psy as a whole. Changelings play a secondary role with Sascha taking central stage and Faith making key appearances.

The resolution to Sophie's dilemma is interesting, if not surprising, and I do wonder how Singh will use it in the future. There's an underlying theme of bad/good motherhood and hope in this book that I found quite interesting. Not surprising, Singh maintains her tight worldbuilding and introduces some great changes for future installments -- I can't wait to read more about them! Bonds of Justice was a winner for me and keeps the Psy/Changeling series at the top of my paranormal romance list.

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy/Changeling Series, Book 8
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Source: ARC copy received from KMont - Lurv a la Mode
Grade: B+

Visit Nalini Singh here.


  1. Most excellent to see a B+ on a book this far out in the series!!! I shouldn't be surprised, though. Nalini Singh is one author who really delivers! I skipped your review to the grade though, because I'm already a book behind. Yikes!

  2. Ah, more Kaleb is always good. :) Like Christine said, good to see the series is keeping it's momentum at book 8. Some books I've liked more than others but no duds. That says a lot about Singh's writing process. How she keeps it all straight is amazing.

  3. Loved it. Though the Psy faction isn't my favorite of the 3 (who can resist those changelings?) I very much enjoyed seeing Max and Sophie's relationship. I have a ton of questions about how it will work afterward but it's all good. :)

  4. Christine, Nalini did deliver with this book. I can't believe it's the 8th book in the series already and it's still going strong. Yay for Nalini! You need to catch up... Indigo's book's coming out at the end of this year and Hawke's book in 2011! :)

    Leslie, Kaleb is just to enigmatic for words, isn't he? I find him fascinating & can't wait to find out more. With this series, IMO there's solid and there's excellent -- but like you, I believe there are no "duds," and that's unexpected in a series this long. I'm still loving it. :)

    Tracy, me too! The Changelings seem to be the heart of the series (they're the best!), but I really liked the way Nalini wrote this romance -- all the sexual tension! Max & Sophie are a great pair. I have tons of questions too that I'm hoping to see answered in future installments. :)

  5. Okay, I skipped your review, because I didn't want to spoil myself for BOJ - I went it knowing absolutely nothing :)

    You enjoyed it more than me. Once again, I really enjoyed the plot... but the characters, not as much as you. Remember how you say Dev was a bit like a changeling with his possessiveness? Didn't you feel the same in this book with Max?

    I thought there was a bit too much going on in this book... but I did like seeing the Council fractures. You know how we all thought Nikita was cold-blooded and "evil"... well now I'm starting to have my doubts :P

  6. Hey Nath! I'm glad you enjoyed the plot in the book.

    I did not get the same feeling with Max that I did with Dev... I did have some questions about his past, that were not answered satisfactorily. His mental shield for example, how did that happen? His father... I thought we would get more information about him... something that would explain some feelings I had about him. I want to wait and see where Singh goes with this (she's good at tying things up eventually). I did have some questions and it's the reason it did not get more than a B+ from me.

    But yes, I did enjoy the characters in BoJ much more than in Blaze of Memory. I liked Max very much, especially the way he cared for and understood Sophie, and the way they loved each other without playing games. And I loved the plot in this book. A lot of surprises in this book... and I can't wait to see what happens next. Loved the revelations about Nikita. :D


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