Hostage to Pleasure is all about one of Nalini's most beloved characters, Dorian Christensen. He is DarkRiver’s best sniper, a changeling leopard who has one fault, he can’t shift into his leopard form. Even though he can’t change like his pack members can, Dorian is strong enough, more so than some of those who can shift at a moment’s notice. Dorian has some inner turmoil, mainly because his sister, Kylie was visciously murdered by a Psy serial killer. Dorian did get his revenge by gutting the Psy and watching him die. But it wasn’t enough, and Dorian blames himself over his sister’s death. He is entering into a dark place that he may not come back from and everyone who cares for him is worried. For the moment, Dorian wants to do the right thing and that is because of a four year old Psy child called Keenan. Dorian rescues Keenan because his mother, Ashaya Aleine was able to save some children who were being used in experiments by Psy scientists (this is all explained in Mine to Possess). Ashaya aided in the fight alongside the changelings and because of that she called in her IOU in order for them to save her son. Now that Keenan is free and able to break through his bonds of Silence. Ashaya will break free also, which in her mind means death.
Ashaya is a very interesting Psy because she does feel emotion and pretends to embrace the Silence that is forced upon the Psy when they become teenagers. Ashaya must keep all emotions at bay, not because of what she is, but because of her twin sister, Amara who becomes more enraged and twisted whenever Ashaya feels deep emotion. Amara has no moral compass. She doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, she is an empty soul and it is up to Ashaya to keep her under control. If that isn’t enough responsibility, Ashaya has the final answer for bringing the Psy Silence to the rest of humanity.
Dorian’s inner leopard wants Ashaya badly. So much so, he wants to bite her and claim her as his mate. But Dorian is at odds with his beast because his human side can’t stand the fact that Ashaya is a Psy, the same type of being that killed his precious sister. Dorian saves Ashaya and as they come to terms with one another, Dorian comes to the conclusion that there is more than meets the eye with this cold scientist. She doesn’t hold back her emotions because of what she was made into, but rather it is to protect the ones she loves, which is her son, her amoral, unfeeling sister and eventually Dorian. Dorian wants Ashaya to let go and finally feel because she deserves it and owes it to Keenan. But again, Ashaya is all about sacrificing herself and she does this so everyone can be safe from the one person she connects with, and that is Amara. Amara is a ticking time bomb and if Ashaya can’t control her sister, the outbreak of the Silence will be the least of their problems.
Hostage to Pleasure is a major turning point in this series. The Psy culture we were first introduced in Slave to Sensation is breaking down. They are no longer the all powerful beings of the world. There was one such speech Amara gives Dorian that caught me eye:
“It’s the great irony of our race. Psy cling so hard to Silence because at the bottom of it all, they’re terrified, afraid that if they let go, the monsters inside their heads will start crawling out, reducing them to the level of you animals once again.”
And because of this fear and the eventual breakdown of the Psy, there will be an even more powerful enemy on the horizon where both Psy and Changeling may have to work together to stop them before they go too far. Former enemies will have to stand side by side together in the oncoming war that may change the world much like the Psy did when they founded Silence.
Dorian and Ashaya’s relationship is on equal footing with the other couples in Nalini’s past novels. These are two characters who suffer through their own personal hells. Dorian is on the cusp of becoming a renegade, a killer, because he can’t get over his sister’s death. Ashaya is a martyr because of her love for her family and of Dorian who wants to be a part of that. Their love is steamy and emotional; everything you would expect.
Nalini also gives us a small hint of things to come such as Hawke’s possible mate. Something also caught my eye about Kaleb. Maybe because I am a big fan of the mysterious Psy, Kaleb, I may be looking too much into one small scene in this book, but it did make me happy because I believe Kaleb has someone out there for him. (wouldn’t it be great if her name is Kate? :D)
What more can I say about Hostage to Pleasure that hasn’t already been said before? The proof is in the writing along with the wonderful characters that you find yourself talking about months, even years after you finish reading. Hostage to Pleasure has met all my expectations and Nalini has a fan and supporter of her books for life.
4 ½ stars out of 5 stars
Carolyn Jean from The Trillionth Page has something very exciting planned for this week. If you are a fan of Nancy Drew, make sure to stop by CJ's blog and check out NANCY DREW WEEK! There will be contests, giveaways, some surprise interviews and wonderful posts such as this one! *wink wink*Katiebabs (KB)