To save her son, Psy scientist Ashaya makes a deal with the changelings to rescue two forgotten children stolen by the Psy council. The rescue succeeds but now Ashaya herself is a target. With time running out, she concocts a daring plan to extricate herself and her son… but to do that she must rely on the sniper who almost killed her, Dorian. Dorian has a good reason to hate the Psy. After all, his sister was killed by a serial killer member of the Psy council. Still he can’t stop himself from being attracted to this scientist who would risk so much to save her son. But the council isn’t the only danger. Ashaya has a secret. A secret to die, or kill, for.
If the last book was pretty darn terrible, this book more than makes up for it. Oh my goodness. Is it good. I loved it. I loved the characters. And well. everything. But before I get into why this book is so good, I need to give a whole heap ton of trigger warnings. This book includes the following: child endangerment, mentions of child abuse, medical abuse, body trauma, reproductive trauma, lots of violence, and discussion of rape. Please make sure you’re in a good place before reading this book. Now on to the main review!
A lot of the over arcing plot really ramps up in this book, and I would consider this book very much a Wham! episode. Or a Wham!Book, if you will. It is the kind of book that you can’t really miss in a series. Which is good that it was done so well. And for that I’m grateful. Dorian has long been a favorite of mine. In part, because he is one of the few changelings who is disabled or at least disabled in changeling terms. I like that he’s portrayed accurately when it comes to somebody who is disabled and desperately wants not to be. And would give anything to be cured. I also like that his arc is about accepting and coming to terms with several things that have happened throughout the series. As well as coming to terms with his disability.
I liked Ashaya when she was introduced in the previous book. Honestly she was the best part of the previous book. Her character intrigued me. And I really loved how immensely competent she was (competency porn is a thing of mine. I love it), and I liked how she had her own story arc that was actually separate from the hero. Her backstory was quite frankly fascinating, and I do want to see more of her in the future books. She feels important enough not to relegate to the background unlike some other characters I could name… *cough*Talin*cough*
The book does follow one of Singh’s main plots and character archetypes. Specifically this is another Assassination attempt plot (where the protector falls for the protectee) and she’s got her Special Psychic is Special trope in play as well as her Pushy Boy/Damaged Girl pairing type. It’s a thing with her, I’ve even got a spreadsheet documenting this.
There were a couple of twists that were well telegraphed and honestly really added to my enjoyment of this book. One thing that I found that is amusing is that the author has a very specific kink that once you notice it you can’t unnotice it. In particular, characters like to nip at the lower lip or bite at their partner's lips while kissing. It has shown up in every single book regardless of species or characterization. And it’s a bit of a trademark and I find it funny. It’s not something I personally like in kissing, but your kink is not my kink and that’s okay, and all.
There is one thing I do need to warn about for this book that’s a bit of a spoiler. Basically, a disability gets cured… but it is done in a logical way. Like many people with a disability, if I could get my disability cured, I would. While my allergies, migraines, arthritis, Hashimoto’s disease, severe myopia, etc. are a part of my life and I have accepted them. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t dump them if given the chance. And that’s a realistic portrayal of a disability and a person with one. That said, it can be a problem when all of the disabled characters get cured. It’s a fine line that worked for this book… sorta. but it does need a warning. So I did like this book, a lot. And because I liked it so much despite the minor niggles I’m going to give this: Five stars
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