Novel Review: Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

After reading Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh, I feel like I should apologize to all the authors I’ve nitpicked POVs about. I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but I’m dubbing it “Stray POV.” As you know POVs from random characters in the story drive me batty. Okay, not batty, but makes me wonder why? What’s the point? I’m finding it a common theme amongst authors. It makes me think it’s the industry standard. Doesn’t make me hate it any less though. 🙂

What am I doing? I must present you with the teaser from Ms. Singh’s website!

Dev Santos discovers her unconscious and battered, with no memory of who she is. All she knows is that she’s dangerous. Charged with protecting his people’s most vulnerable secrets, Dev is duty-bound to eliminate all threats. It’s a task he’s never hesitated to complete…until he finds himself drawn to a woman who might yet prove the enemy’s most insidious weapon.

Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor, and programmed to carry out cold-blooded murder, Katya Haas is fighting desperately for her sanity itself. Her only hope is Dev. But how can she expect to gain the trust of a man who could very well be her next target? For in this game, one must die…

Okay, back to the POV thing. I do need to point out that Nalini Singh uses several POVs to tell the story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I say this because she shows two sides of the story. In order to do that, it’s necessary to show the various POVs (in my layman opinion, that is). There’s the Hero/Heroine side of the story (Dev and Katya’s POV). Then there’s the Council members side of the story (too many to name). I’m actually okay with this. All those POVs drive the story forward. It’s the Stray POV which gets me. For instance, at one point we skipped into Judd’s POV. I love you Ms. Singh, I really do. But I have to say, the switch to Judd’s POV wasn’t even smooth. I wasn’t even sure who’s POV we were in at first. It happened several times in the story with Stray POVs, each scene starting with: Even as main characters did important things, not so important characters took over the show. Gives me the “meanwhile back at the ranch” type feel. Anyway, can someone help me off my soapbox? Okay thanks. 🙂

So the storyline. When I first picked up this book, I expected the typical Psi/Changeling scene—cold Psi meets hot blooded changeling. Boy was I surprised. Katya, the Psi, was full of vibrant emotions. One would never know she’d been silenced. Dev was also a Psi…kinda. He was member of the Forgotten race, psi who broke away from the main group before silence and intermingled with other species. Though not pure, he’s able to turn his emotions on and off at will. I have to say, the freshness of the story kept me reading.

I did have a difficult time investing into Dev/Katya relationship. It had Stockholm syndrome written all over it. Not my thing, but to each their own. Ms. Singh relied on lack of trust much of the novel to build tension. The relationship was on and off at the drop of a hat. After awhile, it got rather old in my opinion.

Not until the end of the book did Ms. Singh add a twist which put everything on the line. I always love the ticking time bomb! The idea that the hero and heroine won’t get their HEA totally excites me. Am I bad? Even though every romance has a HEA, I spend a lot of time rooting for the villains. When it seemed like all hope was lost for Dev and Katya, I couldn’t put down the book!

Alas, I got to the ending. It surprised me. Not because it was outstanding, but because it was so simple—contrived even. I’d hope for more. Oh well.

My overall opinion is this wasn’t Nalini Singh’s best Psi/Changeling book. In fact, I liked it the least. Still, the plot continues to thicken between the Psi counsel and the rest of the world. I’m looking forward to learning how everything works out.

For those new to the series, I’ve read this from book one, and even I had trouble keeping all the characters straight. This was NOT a standalone book in my opinion. Ms. Singh gave cameo appearances to just about everyone, plus some real roles to some of the old folks. On top of that, there was Dev’s entire crew. Eventually I gave up on who was who and just tried to enjoy the story. Given that, I don’t suggest starting here if you haven’t read the previous books. And I definitely recommend reading the prior books. Ms. Singh creates a unique world you don’t want to miss.

A few side notes and questions commenters might answer for me.

  • There was a reference to Pride and Prejudice. I’ve always considered the series as on earth, but with a history vastly different from our own—kinda like alternative universe. The storyline takes place around 2080, but the novel references things which happened in the 1970s which is not a part of our current history. So why the reference to Pride and Prejudice?
  • No birth control? Ms. Singh never mentioned it. Doesn’t it concern anyone?
  • Dev’s grandmother spoke Hindi and English. Ms. Singh mentioned Nani switched from English to Hindi without missing a beat. It brought to mind a movie with English subtitles. I believed the actors spoke Hindi, but they often switched back and forth to English. Is this common amongst Hindi speakers—to switch between the two languages without a break…literally in the middle of a sentence some times? It was so cool. Well?
  • I don’t know if this series is Science fiction or fantasy, but I love it. Nalini Singh has another series with a paranormal world which parallels our own also. Maybe my experience is limited, but they’re like nothing I’ve ever read. What genre is this anyway?

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