Branded By Fire by Nalini Singh. Book review

Branded By Fire by Nalini Singh. Gollancz ‘6.99.

Reviewed by Rhian Bowley

Changelings, humans and the Psy occupy Earth, 2080. None of us are good at sharing. The Psy are emotionless psychics, connected and controlled through the PsyNet. Changelings look like humans, can turn into animals and their animal characteristics are present when they are in human form ‘ heightened senses and urges. Oh, the urges: sexy futuristic animal SF? Indeed. And it’s great fun.

Mercy is a leopard and Riley is a wolf. Mercy has the urges of a cat in heat, but worries she’ll never find a mate who can handle her dominant alpha-female ways. She has lots of sex with Riley, spends the intervening pages brooding that he won’t be able to handle her strong femininity (even though he’s clearly fine with it) and then sleeps with him again. In between encounters, while the scratches on their backs heal, Mercy and Riley lead military-style Changeling packs who are trying to protect their communities ‘ and all of civilisation ‘ from the latest threat. Someone’s targeting the implacable Psy and turning them into suicidal killers. But who? And can the PsyNet ever recover?

This is pacey stuff, handled well with alternating points of view from each group. The writing is excellent and, although this is the sixth in the series, I didn’t feel lost. While Mercy’s libido does take up a lot of pages, the SF arc is interesting and balanced well with the romance. The main characters swap with each book to others from the Changeling packs, which means I can continue with the series even though I wasn’t fond of Mercy. The tenth Psy-Changeling novel is out now, so if you like your SF-romance raunchy and intriguing you have some catching up to do.  

Branded By Fire by Nalini Singh. Gollancz ‘6.99.

Reviewed by Rhian Bowley

Changelings, humans and the Psy occupy Earth, 2080. None of us are good at sharing. The Psy are emotionless psychics, connected and controlled through the PsyNet. Changelings look like humans, can turn into animals and their animal characteristics are present when they are in human form ‘ heightened senses and urges. Oh, the urges: sexy futuristic animal SF? Indeed. And it’s great fun.

Mercy is a leopard and Riley is a wolf. Mercy has the urges of a cat in heat, but worries she’ll never find a mate who can handle her dominant alpha-female ways. She has lots of sex with Riley, spends the intervening pages brooding that he won’t be able to handle her strong femininity (even though he’s clearly fine with it) and then sleeps with him again. In between encounters, while the scratches on their backs heal, Mercy and Riley lead military-style Changeling packs who are trying to protect their communities ‘ and all of civilisation ‘ from the latest threat. Someone’s targeting the implacable Psy and turning them into suicidal killers. But who? And can the PsyNet ever recover?

This is pacey stuff, handled well with alternating points of view from each group. The writing is excellent and, although this is the sixth in the series, I didn’t feel lost. While Mercy’s libido does take up a lot of pages, the SF arc is interesting and balanced well with the romance. The main characters swap with each book to others from the Changeling packs, which means I can continue with the series even though I wasn’t fond of Mercy. The tenth Psy-Changeling novel is out now, so if you like your SF-romance raunchy and intriguing you have some catching up to do.  

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