Quinn's Reviews > Branded by Fire

Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh
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Jan 13, 11

bookshelves: paranormal-romance, library-book
Read from January 10 to 11, 2011

I stopped reading Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series when I finished Hostage to Pleasure back in August 2009. I’m not a sci-fi fan, and while the writing was good and I was enjoying the Changelings, I wasn’t at all interested in the Psy storyline, which is integral to the series.

Throughout the 17 months since deciding not to continue with this series, I have continued to see very positive reviews for the books in this series, and lively discussions from its legion of fans. Because I liked the writing, and because the praise seemed to be focused on the Changeling characters, I admit, it got the better of me, and I thought I would give the series another go.

Well did I ever luck out, because the hero and heroine in this book are both Changelings. Hurrah! And the Psy elements of the story, while certainly necessary for the ongoing story arc, were definitely less prevalent and more of a background focus. Hurrah again!

Riley, a SnowDancer (wolf pack) lieutenant, and Mercy, a DarkRiver (leopard) sentinel are both dominants. And while Mercy is happy to use Riley to ‘scratch an itch’ as it were, a mating between wolf and leopard, particularly where both are dominant and neither will submit, is out of the question. Or is it?

I really enjoyed watching Riley and Mercy struggle with how to make their relationship work for both of them. In this instance, there was no build up to the physical side – that happened quite explosively in the first chapter – but rather a process where animal instincts must be carefully managed and compromises reached.

Mercy is a predatory dominant, which was reflected in her behaviour. While I probably wouldn’t have liked her much as a human character, I was able to appreciate and understand her in this context. And Riley, as with all the Changeling males I have read so far, was wonderful, even as he struggled with his protective instincts.

For me, the Psy are a little like the Lessors in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Not that there are any similarities at all in the storylines, but because it’s less engaging and distracts from the characters that you really want to read about. But just as I kept reading that series, maybe, just maybe, I will continue with this one.
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Reading Progress

01/10/2011 page 1
0.0% "It's been over a year since my last Psy-Changeling book, and for some reason I'm not feeling too enthusiastic about returning to the series..." 3 comments
01/10/2011 page 12
3.0% "Interesting first chapter. This book sure starts with a bang." 5 comments
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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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Dina Oh Quinn, how can you not like the Psy storyline? You speak blasphemy, LOL.

Anyway, the next 2 books in the series, Blaze of Memory and Bonds of Justice, feature Psy H/h so you might tread carefully there, but the one after those, Play of Passion, features a Changeling couple (Riley's brother Drew and SnowDancer Lieutenant Indigo). Just to entice you, Drew has become my favorite hero in the series after I read his book. Needless to say, that will change when I read Hawke's book. :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I'm with Dina. I love the Psys. My faves, actually. I appreciate your review, Quinn. I am not a big fan of Mercy. I found her annoying. I had to compare her to the behavior of my female cats, and I was able to get past her mercurial, often borderline cruel behavior. Cats are like that: they want to be loved on when they want love. When they don't, you can go to Hell. :)


Keri Great review Quinn. I had a hard time with Mercy as well, but once I got to Indigo, Mercy was no big deal. I did love Drew as well. What a great guy.


Quinn Dina wrote: "Oh Quinn, how can you not like the Psy storyline? You speak blasphemy, LOL.

Anyway, the next 2 books in the series, Blaze of Memory and Bonds of Justice, feature Psy ..."


Sorry, Dina, it's just too Sci-fi-ish for my liking. Do you think I can skip to Play of Passion, or will I miss too much in the ongoing story?


Quinn Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I'm with Dina. I love the Psys. My faves, actually. I appreciate your review, Quinn. I am not a big fan of Mercy. I found her annoying. I had to compare her to the behavior of my female cats, and ..."

You're right, Danielle, I think Mercy really needed to me contextualised to be appreciated. I know what you mean about cats! You've gotta love the attitude!


Quinn Keri wrote: "Great review Quinn. I had a hard time with Mercy as well, but once I got to Indigo, Mercy was no big deal. I did love Drew as well. What a great guy."

Thanks, Keri! Sounds like Indigo's book will be interesting!


message 7: by Dina (last edited Jun 23, 2011 05:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dina Quinn wrote: "Dina wrote: "Do you think I can skip to Play of Passion, or will I miss too much in the ongoing story?"

Hmmm, I think you can do it, but some events that happen in PoP might seem to come out of nowhere. If that's the case, you can PM me and I'll fill in the blanks for you. :)


Keri I wouldn't skip it, just for the sweet antics Drew pulls in order to win Indigo. He was such a sweetheart, I was glad I read it, just for that alone.


Dina Keri, Quinn doesn't intend to skip PoP. She asked about skipping Blaze of Memory (Dev & Katia's book) and Bonds of Justice (Max & Sophia's book).


message 10: by Keri (new) - rated it 3 stars

Keri See Dina that is what I get for skimming conversations...trouble. :-) I loved both of those books though. Just ignore me...i completely understand.


message 11: by Dina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dina NP, Keri. I liked those books too, but I love the Psy storyline.


Quinn Dina wrote: "Quinn wrote: "Dina wrote: "Do you think I can skip to Play of Passion, or will I miss too much in the ongoing story?"

Hmmm, I think you cand do it, but some events that happen in PoP might seem to..."


Thanks, Dina. I've never skipped books before, so I'll have to think upon it further. I'm just not sure it's in me to do it!


Quinn Keri wrote: "I wouldn't skip it, just for the sweet antics Drew pulls in order to win Indigo. He was such a sweetheart, I was glad I read it, just for that alone."

I'll definitely be reading PoP - that's the one with 2 Changelings, which are my favourite kind.


Crista Hi Quinn!
Great review. I couldn't agree more. I stopped reading this series after Mine to Possess. It was way to sci-fi for my tastes...I couldn't understand WTH was going on most of the time....web of stars...the net...what?????? The whole psy storyline was boring to me, and I absolutely can't stand psy female leads. I just can not relate to them!
I really was done with the series until Hawke's book just came out. I've been interested in him since STS and I've been getting hooked into all the hype since his book came out and have recently gone back to try to catch up on all the books I missed. After Hostage to Pleasure...I am reminded of why I stopped reading this series. I couldn't stand the Psy storyline and skipped those parts to get to the Riley/Mercy parts.
Did you keep reading? I don't think I can do the next 2 books with the Psy leads, but I am interested in Drew's book and of course Hawke's book.
Are you planning on continuing this series/Did you skip the next two books?
LMK when you get a chance. Thanks in advance!


Quinn Hi Christa! It's so nice to hear from someone else who doesn't enjoy the Psy storyline - I was feeling very lonely!

I haven't continued on with this series yet. I can't seem to find the motivation to read a book where I know there will be parts of it that I don't particularly like, when there are so many other books that I want to read.

When I finally get back to this series (and I will at some stage, I'm just not in any hurry), I think I will skip the next two books like Dina suggested. This is not something I would normally ever do, but I think if I read them I'll give up on the series (again) and never get to Hawke's book, and I actually want to read that one!

If you get to them before me, I'd love to hear what you think, because everyone else seems to love everything about this series!


message 16: by Crista (last edited Jun 26, 2011 09:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Crista I'll let you know.

I'm waiting for Kiss of Snow to come in from the library. I think I'll do a quick skim through Caressed by Ice because I think Sienna is introduced in that one...and then I'm planning on quickly reading Play of Passion (Drew's book) and then on to KOS.

Hopefully I don't regret the time I'll spend on it:)


message 17: by Dina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dina Crista, Sienna is introduced in the first book, Slave to Sensation. If you're not into the Psy story arc, don't care about reading all the books - shame on you, LOL - and only want to catch up on Hawke and Sienna, you could read my review of Kiss of Snow, where I did a (not so) quick recap of their history throughout the series. :)


Crista Thanks Dina! I will certainly do that:).


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