HEART OF OBSIDIAN - Nalini Singh
Psy-Changeling, Book 12
Mostly Moscow, Russia - Late 21st Century
After seven grueling years, Kaleb Krychek, dual cardinal, most powerful and most feared Tk in the world, has finally achieved his ultimate goal. Now he just has to figure out if the woman finally in his hands has had her mind broken beyond repair. Kaleb's single-minded focus since her abduction has been hunting down those who hurt her, no matter the cost, and finding her if she's still alive. While the terrified woman cowering in the corner of her room in the safe house may be alive, Kaleb isn't sure she'll ever be the same again.
At sixteen, Sahara Kyriakas disappeared, not just from her life but from PsyNet, and in many ways, her own mind. Held captive by those who would use her abilities to their own gain, Sahara created a labyrinth within her mind to keep herself safe from her captors. The man who removed her from her prison and placed her in another secure house says that she's free, and he's fed and clothed her. For a Psy whose Silence was shattered along with her mind, the absolute Silence of Kaleb is enough of a threat, and all she sees in him is darkness and danger. Yet, something tells Sahara that this man is not a threat to her, and she senses a connection even though her mind hasn't healed enough to reveal her past.
With the recent deaths of Council members, the Psy are on the brink of civil war, and Pure Psy, a radical group promoting a return to Silence, are doing everything they can to sway Psy to their thinking. Everything includes killing the anchors in major cities, which causes disturbances in the PsyNet, as well as attacking high-casualty soft targets. Kaleb's power makes it possible for him to shore up the tears in the Net, becoming a bit of a savior during the attacks. As Sahara gets to know more about Kaleb, she can't help but wonder what his agenda is, and which side of the struggle he backs.
HEART OF OBSIDIAN is an intense romance as well as a thrilling fantasy. I don't know that I'd recommend reading this book out of order; Nalini Singh has created a fascinating world with her Psy-Changeling series, but it is a complex one, and one that is changing as the series continues. Over a hundred years before this book takes place, it was decided that the psychic gifts could lead the Psy into madness, so Silence was instituted. Psy are programmed to have no emotions whatsoever in order to control the possibility of mental instability, but it has become apparent that someone with pristine Silence is someone ruthless, without mercy or conscience. Santano Enrique, who was Kaleb's trainer from the time he was a toddler, was revealed as a serial killer, and the changeling packs as well as other Psy have dealt with threats from Council members in the recent past.
Kaleb is a powerful man whom the world perceives as having perfect Silence, but none are aware of the one weakness in his Silence: Sahara. She is the only thing that matters to him in any way, and he's willing to do anything—including destroy the Psy race—in order to protect her. Sahara is beyond traumatized at the beginning of the book, and it's interesting to watch her grow stronger as she comes out of the labyrinth she's created. Both Sahara and Kaleb have survived hell, but as Kaleb survived by turning to the dark, Sahara intends to bring him into the light. The world around them grows more chaotic as the relationship between Sahara and Kaleb develops, and in the end it might just be their combined powers that heal their world…or destroy it completely.
A spellbinding tale that brings back favorite characters as well as introducing a few new, HEART OF OBSIDIAN will keep you turning the pages late into the night, and I can't wait to see where the Psy-Changeling series goes next.