Slave to Sensation, by Nalini Singh

This is not a review. This is a reaction.

This is not hyperbole: I have NEVER read a book like Slave to Sensation before.

It challenged me, it challenged my perceptions, my preferences, and my imagination.

I absolutely adored it.

It is unlike anything I have ever read. Given that I’ve read just over one hundred (100) books so far in 2009 I think that’s saying something…

I don’t read sci-fi/fantasy, some vampire paranormals are as far as I go.

But it wasn’t just the genre (sub-genre?) that was new to me – I think it was the writing. The imagination, the details, the personalities, the IDEA that these beings could exist – let alone battle evil and fall in love?!?! I’M in love!

Sigh, sign me up for another series addiction. Luckily I’m late to the game on this one so 5 more books in the series have already been written!

Set on a futuristic, alternate Earth in the year 2079 with 3 races – Humans, Changelings/shapeshifters, and the Psy with psychic abilities – I was utterly fascinated. Each race had defining characteristics, the way they spoke, moved, thought, and reacted belonged to them and them alone. That alternate Earth Ms. Singh created utterly captivated me.

The only times I’ve even come close to this kind of storytelling has been in movies, like Gattaca, Minority Report, hmm can’t think of any others right now…because again…I really don’t seek out this kind of stuff.

I’ve never read a book before where there are totally made up beings who are our hero/heroine. Sascha, the heroine, is a Psy. Her eyes are black with white sparkles. Black! With White Sparkles! When she is emotional the white sparkles turn into rainbow fireworks.

At first I was all, ugh, a non-human heroine? Yuck! Also in my imagination her eyes were like those old Windows Screensavers, like stars zooming towards you in a black field? You know?

But by page 10 I was being reeled in, hook, line, and sinker.

Sascha’s body is human, but her mind has extra powers such being able to speak mind-to-mind with other Psy’s and telekenesis. The exciting thing about this book is she has as yet unknown powers that do not fit the typical Psy profile and she must hide them from the others in her race, while at the same time exploring them.

The Hero, Lucas Hunter, is also very fascinating, even though he was not a totally new to me being like the Psy were. He is the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard changeling pack, but he turns into a panther. The added layers and twists to the legend, myth and magic of shapeshifters were all NEW and fascinating. The way his pack interacts, where they live, the hierarchy, the way they calm each other, the way they touch each other, the way even THEY are psychically connected is allll unique to Ms. Singh.

Again, I’ve never read anything like it.


I’ve never read a book like that before because a futuristic Earth? With 3 races of beings? Color me disinterested.

But of course blogland is all abuzz with the Psy/Changeling series, I saw the first post somewhere about Ms. Singh maybe 4ish months ago and thought nothing of it.

I saw another few posts when the most recent book in her series came out and I was all “M’eh, not for me.”

But I was slipping closer to the edge, the Nalini Singh edge, ready to topple into the abyss of her amazing world-building.

I’m still on a reading high from the book so I feel like being a little silly (stick figure drawings inspired by Jill Pilgrim) so this was me:



Here is one of my favorite passages because it not only shows how COOL our heroine is, but just how cool the world-building and the possibilities within the world are:

Sascha just realized she’d attacked the alpha of DarkRiver. Too bad. He’d been acting like a complete Neanderthal. Meeting those eyes, which had gone more panther than human, she put her hands on her hips and tried to pretend the telekinetic effort [to push him] hadn’t worn her out.

“Still want to play?” It was a taunt she’d never have made before she’d started to spend so much time with changelings.

“Oh, yeah, kitten, I want to play.” Lucas moved towards her in that lighting-fast way of his, his emotions a mix of exhilaration and challenge.

She was ready. Using her remaining strength, she jumped backwards onto the table, the action almost catlike. Her Psy mind had watched the way the leopards moved and now it mimicked the beautifully smooth action. Lucas’s eyes widened as he found her halfway across the table. “You’ve been keeping secrets.”

“Poor baby,” she taunted.

He started to smile. “Come here.” – “Are you going to behave?” – “No.”

Her lips twitched. Feeling silly crouching on the table now that he was no longer chasing her, she jumped off to stand in front of him. His hand went to her neck again, holding her in a possessive grasp. Except this time, there was sensuality instead of anger in his touch. His kiss burned her though to her toes.

So I’ve only babbled on about the world building and romance, there is also a fascinating psycho killer sub plot where a woman from Lucas’s pack becomes the 7th victim of a Psy who is kidnapping, torturing, and eventual murdering changelings. Even this is linked the the traits of the Psy, because their brains are so powerful, they are overly cerebral, and by 2079 when the book is set they have eliminated all traces of emotion in their race. This superiority and cold calculation has caused a consistent percentage of them to be violent.

Honestly, the landscape of my reading has been forever changed. I feel like Slave to Sensation broadened my reading horizons, I can almost see it growing in my mind’s eye. Of course it IS still romance, but still!!!

Thank you to all of you who put up with my snooty self and continued to recommend Ms. Singh’s books!

26 Responses

  1. I’m so glad you found a romance novel that blows you away! That doesn’t always happen all that often. ^_^

    That being said, *sigh* I missed the Nalini Singh train myself. Read “Slave to Sensation” with very high expectations and felt disappointed with it. Others have encouraged me to keep reading, that the series gets better, but for me, if the first book in the series doesn’t grab me, the others aren’t worth my time.

  2. AnimeJune: see i read it with low expectations! and now i’m worried the rest of the series won’t live up to it. it’s opposite day for us!

  3. Isn’t it great when you read something unexpected that blows your romance reading world away – and then realize you have many more still to read? I’m lovin’ that feeling along beside you *g*.

  4. AFWIW- for me, the series continues to be great.

  5. Slave to Sensation is still my favorite book in Nalini’s series and Lucas and Sasha show up in every single book afterwards, so you can see how those two crazy kids are doing.
    HMMM Lucas HMMMM

  6. […] This post was Twitted by katiebabs […]

  7. I am glad to read that you are this excited about a genre you thought never to check out before. I remember you saying when we had coffee, that you never saw yourself reading “a non-human heroine” and now look at ya!

  8. KristieJ: glad to hear you liked the rest of the series, i looked at the blurbs and found myself wishing that one of the H/H in one of them would be a human, but no such luck yet!

    Myabe that’s why it is the Psy/Changeling series? ;)

    KB: i have a feeling it might be my favorite too, but i *must* do further investigation to find out. so i will now read all 5. in the name of science of course!

    Planet Books: I learned to never say never!

  9. I love to read things like this…isn’t just the best to find a book that will give you that reaction? I adore Nalini Singh but I think I had a similar reaction to you when I read Patricia Briggs for the first time:)

    Loved your thought!!

  10. Kristie J – I felt that way with Mary Balogh. “The Secret Pearl” rocked my world and I discovered she had a huge backlist I was all, “YIPPEE!”

  11. Hmmmmm, I have not read this book at all, but I LOVE Gattaca. One of my favoritest movies. So maybe I should give it a try…?

  12. HA! Guess what? It’s at the library. w00t!

  13. I loved Lucas. So much, he’s in my hut on DIK. He’s one of my all time favorite romance heroes. I can honestly say that Nalini has literally never written a book that I have not adored. Every time I read her book, I’m all, “Damn, she did it again!” It’s remarkable, really.

    My quibble is with her covers. So ucky, I think. I like her international covers much better. And I love the Angel’s Blood series covers. But the Psy/Changeling covers? Not so much.

    Glad you’ve discovered the series and are enjoying it!

  14. Hmm, you started to lose me at the black/sparkly eyes thing, but it sound really interesting. I’ll have to add it to my list.

  15. *cheers wildly* I am SO glad you enjoyed it! Nalini Singh will be visiting DIK ( on Thursday. You can enter a chance to win a book in her back list.

    Caressed by Ice (book 3) is my favorite. Hmmm Judd Hmmmm *dreamy eyes*

  16. Lusty Reader – do you trust me? *wink* This series only gets BETTER. I am TOTALLY a Nalini Singh fan girl. Slave to Sensation is actually my least favorite of the books, I had a similar reaction as Animejune’s…but then book 2 came along and then book 3? Caressed by Ice? one of the BEST EVER. I gave it a 10 and I would still give it a 10 today. LOVE LOVE LOVE this series.

    and whe you are done? Go and please pick up Angels’ Blood and then after that? Go with Meljean Brook’s Guardian series.

    oh, ok. shutting up now.

  17. Rawwwwwwwwr.

    That is all.

  18. That was my reaction too when I read the book. For a while, I scoffed at reading a book with such a paranormal world. But I’m hooked now and can’t get out of it — not that I even want to, ha.

  19. ooo, you may have sucked me in. it’s the drawing that did it.. BUT!!! you still need to read ender’s game. have you read it yet? hmmmmmm? if i send it to you for an early/late/middle birthday book will you read it? why am i so wanting you to read it? i don’t know. you just HAVE to!

  20. *nods* MUST READ ENDER’S GAME!! (but stop there the rest of that series is a boar. I think I gave in after book 4 *sigh*)

  21. Mandi: looking back on my post I feel like maybe I went a bit overboard, but then I think again and am like “No, that caputres my feelings right after reading it perfectly!”

    I have seen the Patricia Briggs covers around but don’t remember anything about them. Besides wolves?

    AnimeJune: there is nothing like an unexplored backlist to make my day

    Heindenkind: hooray for the library! mine only has Slave To Senstation, but not the other 5 in the series. lame. but i hope you enjoy!

    Kati: I like the sound of your DIK hut! I’m sure Lucas has made it into a comfy lair!

    Jill Pilgrim: yeah the eyes were weird, I was all “I don’t want to read about an alien-like heroine” but i got over it.

    Aymless: thank you SO much for suggesting it to me. i just *can’t* buy the next five books right now, my budget can’t take it, but soon! i’m just going to have to hold on to the great feeling Slave To Sensation gave me

    Ana: trust you?!?!?! i pretty much obey your every whisper of recommendation. im adding your new suggestions to my staggeringly huge Booksmuggler’s Rec List.

    Lilu: *tiger hands* that is all

    Tabitha: I totally scoffed! I was snooty about it. I’m so glad we were wrong!

    My little becky and Shaymless: AFTER I MOVE i promise, i’m getting Ender’s Game from the library

  22. Come over the DIK and do the scavenger hunt and win the next Psy-Changeling book! ^_^

  23. […] you jokingly asked if I trusted you in a comment on one of my other posts where I was worried if I would like the rest of the books in a series as much as I liked the first […]

  24. […] Slave to Sensation, by Nalini Singh: this book changed my life as a reader forever, see my post here. […]

  25. […] dear to my heart it can’t quite knock Slave to Sensation from it’s pedestal. I mean did you read my review about how it changed my reading life? I made an MS Paint picture about it for cryin out […]

  26. I finally caved, and got STS from the library. And damn, wouldn’t you know it…I had to rush out and buy book 2 since the library doesn’t stock it. :) Loved it, and thanks so much for the glowing recommendation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: