Series: , , ,
Published by Berkley on August 23rd 2016
WILD EMBRACE consists of four novellas in the Psy-Changling series. They vary in length and complexity and while none reach the quality of the awesome novels in the series, these novellas are a great introduction to the series or a wonderful chance for fans to revel in some secondary characters. The events take place at various times in the Psy-Changling universe (although there is no reason to worry about the order unless you are hyper concerned about spoilers).
One of my favorite parts of reading a Nalini Singh series is that every portion, every moment, every characters feels exceedingly alive. Singh proves it by regularly giving readers the additional content (much free to newsletter subscribers) that tells the stories of minor characters, gentle moments and funny slices of life.
In the novella ECHO OF SILENCE (which takes place after book 2 VISIONS OF HEAT), readers finally get the story of Stephen Berg, a Tk Psy and Tazia Nerif, the human woman with whom he falls in love. Readers of the series might recall that subsequent to the events in this book, Stephen has been known to give romantic advice to Arrows. This story takes place just as Silence is beginning to be challenged. The romance is incredibly sweet and painful as the two are in danger if it is known that Stephen breaks Silence but he cannot love unless he does. I thought this story was the best of the four (I love those Tks) as the story was complex and multilayered.
The short novella DORIAN (which takes place over a period of time ending after book 5 HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE) consists of vignettes in the life of Dorian. Dorian is a leopard changeling who was latent and could not shift into his leopard form. The vignettes start when Dorian is a child and take place at various times in Dorian’s life. The final vignette happens after his mate is able to help him to successfully shift. (We finally get to see other characters reactions to Dorian’s shift. This novella adds some additional and welcome scenes to HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE.
In the novella PARTNERS IN PERSUASION (which takes place after book 11 TANGLE OF NEED), we get an unexpected pairing of a dominate female leopard changeling and a submissive male wolf changeling. Felix is at his heart a gardener (aka the horticultural expert of the Snow Dancers) who has been hurt by his attraction to a dominate woman before. Despite this, Felix is really, really attracted to Desiree. I loved Felix who might be a submissive but is certainly no pushover and definitely proves that submissives can be dangerous when those they care about are threatened. The careful navigation of Felix and Desiree’s relationship mirrors those which arose in DECLARATION OF COURTSHIP (which had a dominate male and submissive female changeling). Questions of consent and trust are artfully navigated here without the hero being a wimp.
The final novella, FLIRTATION OF FATE is the sometimes heartbreaking second chance at love story between Garnet (aka Jem) and Kenji, both Snow Dancer lieutenants. The two grew up together and it seemed like they were fated to be together until Kenji broke Garnet’s heart on her twenty-first birthday by standing her up. In the years since, the two have ignored one another and engaged in a combative flirtation. The big question throughout this novella is why did Kenji break Garnet’s heart when he clearly loves her so much? I had figured out the reason before the reveal but I loved how these two were unable to let one another go despite their best attempts. I hope that we hear more about these two in the future because I would like to see that they have been able to work through their challenges. FLIRTATION OF FATE takes place at the end of HEART OF OBSIDIAN (book 12).
Overall Rating for book 4.5 stars.