Thursday, September 6, 2012

Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling, #2) by Nalini Singh

  • Title: Visions of Heat
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
  • Format:  Paperback, 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Sensation (March 6, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 042521575X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425215753
  • Author's Website:
  • Notes: Second time reading so I could post a review.

The number one cause of cause of death for F-Psy before Silence, the process implemented to essentially silence the emotions of a Psy.

     'At first, it had been nothing more than a vague foreshadowing. A darkness that pushed at her mind. She'd thought it might herald an oncoming vision--a market crash or a sudden business failure--but day after day, that darkness had grown to crushing proportions without showing her anything concrete. And she'd felt. Though she'd never before felt anything, in those dreams she'd been drenched in fear, suffocating by the weight of terror....
     Last night had been different. Last night, she hadn't woken as the hands closed about her throat. No matter how hard she'd tried, she hadn't been able to break free of the horror, hadn't been able to anchor herself in reality.
     Last night, she'd died.'

Faith Nightstar is the crème de la crème of the F-Psy, a group of Psy who can Foresee the future. Since Silence was first instigated, the gift of foreseeing has been swayed from predictions of things such as catastrophic events, murders, etc which could potentially be used to save lives, toward making financial and economic predictions which are useful for creating revenue. Faith has exceeded the expectation for an F-Psy bringing in more profit at age 24 then most F-Psy do in a lifetime. She has made billions of dollars with her predictions and she is never wrong. As you can imagine, her services are a highly sought after commodity.

Recently, however, she's started having night terrors which have her believing she might be on the verge of  mental breakdown. Flaws, such as mental illness, are not tolerated in the Psy world. While most flawed Psy would be rehabilitated, a process of sweeping the brain clean via a psychic brainwipe which renders the recipient a shell of their former self, F-Psy aren't so lucky. Their brains would be used for scientific research because no one knows exactly what it is that makes them tick. Being smart enough to realize that discussing what she is experiencing with her fellow Psy could bring about a fate worse than death, she seeks out the advice from the only person she feels can give her an unbiased and honest opinion, Sascha Duncan. Sascha is the only Psy Faith knows to have ever defected from the PsyNet and broken Protocol (aka Silence). She may be Faith's only hope.

Vaughn D'angelo is a sentinel for the DarkRiver Changelings. When he was out for a run in Jaguar form he came across a compound on the edge of Changeling territory outside of Tahoe that caught his attention. It appeared to be a residence that was being highly guarded by Psy. Noting it strange for a single individual to be so highly guarded and to live so close to Changeling territory, he made a note to keep an eye on it.

Little did Vaughn or Faith know their lives were about to become entangled and visions of heat would start thawing an individual some would say is as cold as ice.

I am loving this series. Can anyone say obsessed? lol What I love, is that the world Nalini creates incorporates such a detailed environment right down to the government, politics, and policies of the Psy ruling council. It also delves into the hierarchy and structure within the Changeling Packs. It's paranormal romance so smartly written it's like getting a full course meal instead of just the dessert and every single bit is mouthwatering, leaving you wanting for more and thinking you'll never get enough. *sigh*

This is one of those series that blurs the edges between paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Because everything takes place around San Francisco and the surrounding areas going as far as the Sierra Nevada mountains, it quite easily could be labeled urban fantasy. It's got a grittiness and edge of UF, but the romance definitely has more of a paranormal feel to it. Perhaps a new term should be coined for books that blur the line between the two sub-genres such as a Paranormal Fantasy or Urban Paranormal?

The Psy are a race of people who hold usually one of many different designations of psychic abilities. Abilities are rated on a gradient scale with 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Here is the list of the main Psy abilities I've compiled so far:
M-Psy = Medic; Healers; The ability to look inside the body and the physical causes of illness.
E-Psy = Empath; The ability to feel other's emotions and sometimes alter them.
F-Psy = Foreseers; the ability to Foretell the future.
Tk-Psy = Telekinetic; The ability to move objects without touch using only one's mind (Teleportation is possible for some).
Tp-Psy = Telepathy; The ability to silently communicate via the mind. Some can only 'transmit' images while others can do so on a conversational level.
Ps-Psy = Psychometry; The ability to learn the history and facts (such as the maker) of an object through touch.

While Faith and Sascha are both Psy, the two are very different. Sascha, an empath, has been in touch with her emotions for years, but learned how to hide and shield them from others. During that time she felt flawed and isolated. Faith, on the other hand, never felt much of anything and until she began waking up from dark and disturbing visions she was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect Psy. Unlike Sascha, when Faith gets too much sensory stimulation it puts her mind into sensory overload which can cause her to have seizures.

In the beginning, Faith's personality reminded me a bit of the character Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan in the early episodes of the TV show 'Bones'. She's very serious and doesn't show a lot of emotion, but you know they're there. Vaughn made me smile because he seemed both fascinated and bewildered by Faith all at once. It's always fun to see a man like that with a woman. It loved watching these two tangle and seeing Faith slowly awaken like sleeping beauty from her cold Silent state.

To make matters more complicated, the Psy council is looking to replace Enrique. Faith, Gia Khan, and Kaleb Krychek are all in the running for the position. That puts Faith on the Psy Council's radar at a truly inconvenient time. She needs to tread carefully because those who esteem to be on the council are usually ruthless and will do anything, even kill to get the coveted spot. Ironically, the lust for power is one desire that has eluded all the conditioning of Silence.

As the story progresses, we learn Faith's night terrors are actually an extension of her F-Psy abilities and are visions of things that may happen in the future. We also learn that in her first vision, the one that had Faith worried she was going insane, she foresaw the death of her sister. In the Psy world, what you don't know can get you or someone you love killed. Faith with the help of Vaughn and the DarkRiver pack, will attempt to track down her sister's killer before he strikes again. Additionally, we also get a better idea of what the PsyNet and PsyMind are and how they function.

Some of my favorite moments and lines:
-  "I've never scared anyone by threatening to kiss them before," he commented.

-  "The Psy have a way of training away powers they don't like. The cat in him was fascinated by the beauty of her skin. It was so rich and and luscious he almost thought it might taste of cream.
   "You can't train away foresight."
   "No, but maybe you can channel it." This came from Sascha. "Tell a child something often enough and she starts to believe it."

-  "If I'm not tied down. I can't trust myself." It was an offhand comment that hid his very real frustration. To be close enough to touch, but be barred from doing so, caused excruciating pain. 
   "Then let's tie you down."
   Cat and man both went absolutely motionless. "What?"
   Her cheeks held the faintest hits of pink. "Maybe it would help me, too, if I knew I  could walk away at any time. The backlash from the conditioning might not be as bad."
   "Tie me down?" he asked again. (Sidenote: I laughed so hard at his surprise. Too funny. lol)

Why is the book entitled Visions of Heat? Well, I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I think it has to do with this little snippet which happens as Vaughn manages to pull her out of the middle of one of her visions:
     "Don't let go." Her voice was a rasp. "Don't let go or I'll fall back in."
     Vaughn tightened his hold, worried by the look in Faith's eyes. There was something unfocused about them, as if she wasn't fully awake, "Talk to me Faith."
     She kept breathing those jerky ragged breaths and then, to his surprise, reached out to put her hands flat against his bare chest. Her touch was pure heat when he'd expected coolness. It burned and the jaguar wanted more. "Don't let me fall back in. Please Vaughn. Please."

   Overall, this one gets a 5 out of 5 roses. A very smart, fun, addictive, sexy and seductive series. What more can a girl want? This is paranormal romance at it's best and a total and utter Series Seduction for me. Yep! It's that good. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earns a SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol

  Order of Series:

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