Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

Blaze of Memory

a review by Jade Hounsell

Book 7 in Psy-Changeling series

Be warned what I am about to say may seem like a huge criticism, however already being a fan of Singh’s Guild Hunter series, it’s really not. Most of Nalini’s books follow the same common thread, boy with a troubled past meets a girl with a troubled past, they get thrown together by some sort of dilemma, they fight their attraction, then give in and have some sexy times, dilemma gets solved and they live happily ever after. You would think that by the second or third book you would be sick of the repetitive structure, however you would be wrong. Nalini has a way of writing such strongly likeable, but oh so flawed, characters that you cannot help but cheer for them. No matter the dilemma that each book deals with, it is new and interesting enough to make you not even realize the common thread until you really think about it.  Ok, after saying all that, Blaze of Memory is the first book I have read in the Psy-Changeling series so please forgive any ignorance of past characters or incidents in other books.

Devraj Santos, commonly called Dev by those around him, runs the Shine Foundation, which is a type of shelter for human children with Psy abilities, or as they are commonly called, the Forgotten. Dev himself has some abilities, which seem to make him colder and more remote with each passing day, even though he has people around him reminding him, urging him, to not forget his humanity.

Enter Ekaterina. She has been left on the Shine Foundation doorstep, unconscious, starved and severely abused. They take her in to be assessed and given treatment, and she is discovered to be Psy. When Ekaterina gains conscious it is discovered that she has amnesia, but she is soon identified by an ex-Psy called Ashaya, as a scientist who worked with her in a lab that was doing experiments on children. Upon hearing her name Ekaterina shuts down completely due to being mind raped and coerced by a very powerful Psy. Due to her complete melt down whenever her name is said, it’s decided to give her a new name, Katya.

Dev is deeply suspicious of Katya from the start, he knows she cannot be trusted, and that he may have to kill her, but at the same time he is inexplicably drawn to her and wants to protect her. She is like one of the children that Shine protects, she may appear fragile, but he knows she has a core of steel and is a survivor.

In time Katya realizes that she has a living death sentence hanging over her as her memory starts to return in bits and pieces. She remembers the torture that she endured and how broken she had been. Then she remembers who did this to her and the order that he deeply imprinted in her mind, to kill Dev. Dev feels he has to find a way to save Katya and eliminate the Psy who did this to her before Katya’s mind disintegrates from not carrying out her orders.

Between some chapters there are letters written by a mother to her son, Matthew, that give readers some insight into why the Psy decided to choose Silence. There are also some entries titled Earthtwo Command Log: Sunshine Station, which may be confusing at first but as the book progresses, gets explained in further detail. I actually went back and read over these logs once it was explained and it helped me to understand better than just reading it at the time, you may not need to though if you have a better memory than me!

I would be very interested in starting this series from the start so that the characters that pop in and out throughout this book may mean something more than reading it as a stand alone, however that did not take anything away from the storyline and it’s easy to follow enough with the small back information given with their appearance.

Previously published in Dark Matter issue 4, July 2011, blog post predated to reflect the original publication date.