Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Branded by Fire - Nalini Singh

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate,
she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man—before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly
conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by

Let me start this review by saying that I think this is one of the best books in the Psy/Changeling series. Ever since I read the first book in the series and enjoyed it so much that I've waiting for another such story to grade as a 5 out of 5 and this one is definitely it.

This is the story of Mercy, the Darkriver leopard sentinel and Riley, the Snowdancer wolf sentinel. They work together because they were assigned as the liaison for their respective packs. Mercy and Riley are similar in many ways, both alpha with the same amount of responsibility and devotion towards their pack. Things are especially tough for Mercy because as an alpha sentinel she knows there is a good possibility of never finding a compatible mate. While the human in her wants to love and be loved leopard may just be too independent and dominant to let itself be tamed in the name of love.

The need to mate is pressuring Mercy and she needs a release, when Riley challenges her to give in to their attraction they soon are involved in what she thinks is a "one time only" kind of thing. Riley, however, has other ideas and keeps tempting Mercy.

I loved it how both characters were changelings and how that could be a problem for their relationship. Not only Mercy has the problem of being dominant and needing a strong mate but she also thinks about what their eventual future children might face and which one of them would have to have their link to the pack broken so they can follow the other. I think Mercy was a very rounded character facing many problems women face and adding to those by being a changeling. By bringing all these problems into the open Singh made me realise how complex the world she built is and how I really enjoy spending time in it.

Riley also has a few problems to deal with. He is the quiet one and definitely has a dark side where he hides all his secrets, all the anguish he suffered when his sister Brenna was abducted and tortured, and Mercy was the only one who could make him open up. I loved how Riley fought for his relationship with Mercy and, in the end, he was ready to put her happiness above his own. Both characters felt very real and human. I loved how they complemented each other, how Mercy was such a strong woman but she was still caring and nice and how Riley was so closed up in himself but totally changed with Mercy.

While there was an external plot about some people being knidnaped and the Human Alliance agenda the truth is that Mercy and Riley's relationship does take center stage and that's what I was interested in. I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Grade: 5/5


  1. This looks like a good read. Thanks for the review!

  2. The dynamics of the main characters' relationship make this book sound intriguing. I just might have to read it! Thank you for the review.


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