Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication date: 6th July 2010
Paperback: 368 pages
Max Shannon is a good cop, one of the best in New York Enforcement. Born with a natural shield that protects him against Psy mental invasions, he knows he has little chance of advancement within the Psy-dominated power structure. The last case he expects to be assigned is that of a murderer targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisors. And the last woman he expects to compel him in the most sensual of ways is a Psy on the verge of a catastrophic mental fracture…
Sophia Russo is a Justice-Psy, cursed with the ability to retrieve memories from men and women so twisted even veteran cops keep their distance. Appointed as Max’s liaison with the Psy, she finds herself fascinated by this human, her frozen heart threatening to thaw with forbidden emotion. But, her mind filled with other people’s nightmares, other people’s evil, she’s standing on the border between sanity and a silken darkness that urges her to take justice into her own hands, to become judge, jury…and executioner…
Stand alone or series: 8th book in the excellent Psy/Changeling series
How did I get this book: An arc from the author
Why did I read this book: I love, love, LOVE this series!
The Psy/Changeling series is one of the two ongoing PNR series that I still faithfully follow (the other being Meljean Brook’s Guardian series) . Bonds of Justice is the 8th book in the series and it has not only a great romance between a human and a Psy but also proceeds with the ongoing arc with both threads being woven together seamlessly with the rest of the series – which is why I love these so much.
Each book in the series follows a theme (or at least I read them as such) and this time around it is the concept of Justice and its many forms that grounds the characters and the plotlines. Starting with the protagonists of the piece: Max Shannon, a human cop whose impenetrable shield makes him the perfect person to work alongside the Psy; and Sophia Russo, a Justice-Psy, whose ability to retrieve memories from criminals is both gift and curse. The former because it allows for hardened criminals to be put away and present an integral part of the Justice system; the latter for every J-Psy comes with a use-by date as the psychic result of immersing oneself in these memories invariably results in madness and mental collapse. Sophia’s mind is close to that final stage and she will be due in for comprehensive rehabilitation – in which her mind, memory and personality will all be but erased –very, very soon.
When these two are chosen to work together on a serial killer case and later for Psy Councillor Nikita investigating some of the deaths that have occurred in the past books of the series, they have an immediate connection. Max understands and recognises Sophia’s plight and his protective instinct kicks in almost immediately. Sophia on the other hand, at the breaking point, desperate for someone who will remember her when she is gone, responds to this by wanting to really connect with someone for the first time. Their story is beautiful and unique in the series: Max is less alpha than the other heroes and has a nurturing side that really appealed to me. Sophia is another Psy facing the abysm but the abysm she faces is slightly different than for example the one faced by Sascha or Faith. Both are also distinct n their physical representation. Max is part-Asian (Nalini Singh is great with adding diversity to the series ) and Sophia is scarred – truly deeply so: her face is full of scars which are the result from a horrible experience in childhood.
As much as I liked the romance (whoa: HOT), my favourite part of this book was truly the exploration of the idea of Justice and all that it involves and how it all fits with the overall story arc; from equity (not all Psy are created equal, what does that mean?) to ethics and the difference between Justice and Punishment (a very thin line that all J-Psy walk on) ; to the ideal of peace between races but also peace for all Psy who are starting to realise that Silence is actually an impossible dream ripe with unfairness and injustice. I loved seeing how the Councillors are siding with or against each other and I can’t wait to see the outcome of this. This is actually one of the reasons why I loved the resolution of the novel. It presented me with a HUGE surprise because so far, all of the Psy wanting out of the Silence also had to get out of the Psy-net. This is an impossibility for Sophia because her mind turned out to be essential for the Psy-net to even exist. I believe the solution is part of a larger plan that definitely involves Councillor Nikita and I admired Nalini Singh for going there and attempting something new. It fits with the rest of the series even if departs from the usual resolution for the Psy-cases. I think it provides hope for the Psy as a race that is not all made of villainy and this is definitely something I want to see.
The rest of the grand finale was slightly too perfect for my ever changing tastes, I felt like a pony would ride into the room at some point and poop rainbows all over Max, Sophia and someone else who shall remain unnamed. I also would love, given the high stakes and the ever present sense of danger, to see something truly horrendous to happen to make it even more REAL. In that sense, I wished that in one particular sequence, a couple we all love and care for had in fact suffered the attack they were under. It would have killed me to see them hurt (mind you, key word here is “hurt”, not killed because I am NOT THAT CRAZY) but I think it would make the series even greater.
In any case, another great book in one of my favourite series. I am glad there is another one coming out this year!
It was as she was sitting staring into the face of a sociopath that Sophia Russo realized three irrefutable truths.
One: In all likelihood, she had less than a year left before she was sentenced to comprehensive rehabilitation. Unlike normal rehabilitation, the process wouldn’t only wipe out her personality, leave her a drooling vegetable. Comprehensives had ninety-nine percent of their psychic senses fried as well. All for their own good of course.
Two: Not a single individual on this earth would remember her name after she disappeared from active duty.
Three: If she wasn’t careful, she would soon end up as empty and as inhuman as the man on the other side of the table…because the otherness in her wanted to squeeze his mind until he whimpered, until he bled, until he begged for mercy.
“Evil is hard to define, but it’s sitting in that room.”
Verdict: Max and Sophia are a great addition to the Psy/changeling canon and overall, Bonds of Justice is a great read that adds a necessary turn of events to the overall story arc.
Rating: 7 – Very Good leaning towards a 8
Reading next: Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
We have TWO copies of Bonds of Justice to giveaway to two lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment here telling us which is your favourite book in the series so far. The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada ONLY, and will run until Saturday July 10th at 11:59pm (pacific). One comment per person, please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Good luck!
LesleeJuly 5, 2010 at 4:28 am
It is hard to pick a favorite but I can narrow it down to the first one Slave to Sensation and Caressed by Ice. The first one because I felt like I was discovering a brand new author that I would be following their entire career. It made me cry, experiencing their emotions and loneliness. Caressed by Ice because I love a hard, seemingly emotionless man who falls hard for that one special woman.
Thanks for the great giveaway!
Amanda IsabelJuly 5, 2010 at 4:50 am
“Branded by Fire” … Mmmm Riley …
msaggieJuly 5, 2010 at 5:27 am
Thanks for the giveaway and the review. My favourite Psy-Changeling novel is Branded by Fire. I like reading about the pairing of two alphas (e.g. Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series)
RaelenaJuly 5, 2010 at 8:00 am
I haven’t read the series yet, although I definitely plan to…so I don’t have a favorite.
Kate AJuly 5, 2010 at 8:11 am
Great review and giveaway! I can’t wait to read this book. The Psy/Changeling series is one of my fave PNR series. It’s so hard to choose just one of the books as a favourite, but I think I have to go with Slave to Sensation. Lucas and Sasha are the cutest couple. (But if I had to go with my favourite hero, it would be Hawke…yum. Can’t wait for his book!)
Teresa W.July 5, 2010 at 8:20 am
Carressed by Ice, I’m loving this series!
katiebabsJuly 5, 2010 at 8:22 am
I love this latest my Nalini much more than her last release.
And Kaleb is mine. I claimed him about 5 books ago.
Heather SJuly 5, 2010 at 9:14 am
I am sooo looking forward to this book! So far of the series Visions of Heat with Vaugh and Faith is my favorite. But I am really looking forward to Hawke’s book.
Linda HendersonJuly 5, 2010 at 10:26 am
I actually haven’t read any of this series yet, but I’ve heard great things about all of them. I’d love to have the opportunity to read one.
KalynnJuly 5, 2010 at 10:49 am
I love this whole series, but my favorite so far has been Branded by Fire (just squeaking past Caressed by Ice). I can’t wait to read this new book!
Amelia P.July 5, 2010 at 10:54 am
I haven’t read any of this series, but would love to get the chance to start! It sounds like an interesting one.
MandyJuly 5, 2010 at 11:17 am
Sounds like a good read. I’ll have to check it out! I’m always on the lookout for a good PNR series. And, I do love her Guild Hunter Series…
aztecladyJuly 5, 2010 at 12:22 pm
The answer to this question changes with my mood! Right now, I’ll say Caressed by Ice, but really all of them are very, very good.
Robin KJuly 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm
Uh Oh… I have not read any yet. I have Branded by Fire on my bookself.
robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com
RossyJuly 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm
I’m with Leslee, Slave to Sensation as the first book will always be a keeper. Caressed by Ice was also fantastic, the hero was so perfect and i just really love how the story came together.
CrystalGBJuly 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm
My favorite book in the series so far is Branded by Fire. 🙂 Love Nalini’s books.
JenniferJuly 5, 2010 at 1:58 pm
My favorite? I would say… it is “Slave to Sensation”.
J1006July 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm
Mine to Possess is my favorite.
wonderingsJuly 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm
Interesting to see peoples faves! I, too, count Caressed by Ice as my favorite (not a fan of that title though), with Branded by Fire close behind.
cheyJuly 5, 2010 at 2:54 pm
Great review. Can’t believe I’ve missed this series so far.!
Chelsea B.July 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
I have not read read this series (I have the 1st, though!) but I’m putting this series right at the top of my TBR pile!
Sue RJuly 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm
Branded by far. Its good so far. I cant wait for more.
GladysJuly 5, 2010 at 4:14 pm
It’s a toss-up between Slave to Sensation and Caressed by Ice. Looking forward to the new book! 😀
Alex DJuly 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm
My favorite is Branded by Fire. I loved Mercy and Riley’s relationship!
Victoria ZumbrumJuly 5, 2010 at 5:52 pm
I have never read any of this series but I am interested in reading it very much. Please enter me in contest. Thank you. Tore923@aol.com
debpJuly 5, 2010 at 5:55 pm
I haven’t read any in the series, but it sounds like it is worth reading.
BethieJuly 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm
My favorite is Caressed by Ice Thanks for the giveaway.
Pam PJuly 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm
Great review, can’t read to read this one. I’ve been waiting for more on Nikita and her part in things.
Caressed by Ice still my favorite, though followed closely by Slave to Sensation and Branded by Fire.
tamibatesJuly 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm
carress by ice
PamkJuly 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm
love this whole series. But carressed by Ice was my favorite so far.
RoxyJuly 5, 2010 at 7:59 pm
I love the Psy/Changeling series. Caressed by Ice is my favorite so far. I loved how Judd thawed throughout the book. But now I can’t wait for Hawke’s story!
PamelaJuly 5, 2010 at 8:34 pm
Visions of Heat is still my favorite despite many excellent additions to the series, I’m not sure why. I just found Faith and Vaughn’s relationship so erotic.
iokijoJuly 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm
I haven’t been able to start this series yet, but I have been hoping to. Crossing my fingers I get a chance.
Thanks for the opportunity
Doreen RJuly 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm
I have not read any of these books yet but would love to. This particular books grabs my attention. Thanks for the review. You grabbed my attention. 😛
Donna SJuly 5, 2010 at 9:06 pm
I am not completely caught up on the series yet. But so far Slave to Sensation was my favorite, esp since it was the one that got me hooked.
Stephanie K.July 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm
My favorite is Branded by Fire.
JenMJuly 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm
I’ll admit, I haven’t started this series, but I’d really like to. If I win, I’ll just have to get the first book and finally start it.
willafulJuly 5, 2010 at 10:44 pm
I’m only two books in and liked the first best.
ReneeJuly 6, 2010 at 12:13 am
This is one of my favorite pnr series, and it’s hard to pick just one. But, if pressed, I’d say Caressed by Ice.
FarscapegirlJuly 6, 2010 at 12:15 am
I am actually re-reading the whole series right at this time. I just put down Talin & Clay’s story tonight…and it was Dorian & Ashaya’s the night before. I love how the series grows with each progressive novel, but I still love the intro. book “Slave to Sensation” best of all. It introduced every character and made me fall in love with them all… but most especially Hawke. I really want his HEA to be Sienna. Really Badly!! Thanks for chance to win!
bella f.July 6, 2010 at 1:08 am
Branded by Fire is my fave so far but I really look forward to reading Hawke’s story! Indigo is also very interesting too.
thanks for chance to win this one Booksmugglers 😀
oranniaJuly 6, 2010 at 1:34 am
Great review Ana – thank you! Please don’t include me in the contest as I live outside North America; however, I had to answer the question. I adore both Slave to Sensation and Mine to Possess – I love the journey both Sasha and Tally go on 🙂
Stephanie MartiinJuly 6, 2010 at 5:22 am
Great blog review and contest. My favorite is Slave to Sensation, it is what got me hooked into the series to begin with. Have a great day 🙂
Scorpio M.July 6, 2010 at 8:51 am
My fave is Slave to Sensation.
MarieJuly 6, 2010 at 9:09 am
I love the whole series, but I have a three-way-tie for favorites: Caressed by Ice, Mine to Possess, and Branded By Fire.
RoseJuly 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm
Branded by Fire was my favorite and Caressed by Ice comes in a close second.
Julie SwaneyJuly 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm
This sounds like a great read. I will have to get this one.
jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com
CDJuly 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm
Don’t enter me either but it’s MINE TO POSSESS by far – I loved Tally and Clay’s relationship. That book is one of my comfort rereads simply because I find it so romantic.
Then probably CARESSED BY ICE or BRANDED BY FIRE. For some reason, I find male changelings paired with female Psy to be rather meh – a bit more of an unequal dynamic to the relationship.
danaJuly 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm
I really love all the books in the Psy/Changeling series but of all the one I read I liked “mine to possess” the most.
I would really LOVE to get this book…
CybercliperJuly 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm
Definitely Slave to Sensation – I love Lucas! For some reason the first book, the one that introduces the world and many of the characters always seems to be my favorites.
saracJuly 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm
I just started reading this series recently (only read the first one) but so far, I’m loving it!
Reena JacobsJuly 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm
After all this time, I’m still a lover of “Slave to Sensation.” It’s where it all started and what drew me in.
AnneJuly 7, 2010 at 8:12 pm
I absolutely adore “Mine to Possess” Clay and Tally’s relationship is just so wonderful. 😀
Tricia PJuly 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm
My favorite is probably Branded By Fire, but Slave to Sensation and Caressed By Ice could beat it depending on the day and what I’m in the mood for.
The Book Smugglers » Blog Archive » Smugglivus 2010 Guest Author: Nalini SinghDecember 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm
[…] by us both HERE. Plus, two books inthe Psy-Changeling series: Bonds of Justice (reviewed by Ana HERE) and Play of Passion (reviewed by Ana […]