Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

branded by fireA review by Nalini Haynes

Branded by Fire is the sixth Psy-Changeling novel series. It is possible to read this book as a stand-alone story (I did) but I felt I was missing some of the story.

Mercy is a changeling leopard/human, a dominant female in her pack DarkRiver and as such, a Sentinel. Riley is a wolf/human changeling lieutenant in his pack SnowDancer. They both feel an innate attraction for one another that is potentially volatile due to the historical animosity between cats and wolves. The current alliance between the two packs is still somewhat tenuous, with the juveniles pranking one another.

To complicate matters further, the other two dominant species in this alternate reality Earth are psychics, called Psy, and humans, the weakest species. Territories and legal jurisdictions have been established enabling a semblance of co-operation, but underneath it all is ongoing conflict and battle for supremacy. Psy are becoming violent although conditioning should prevent it; mass murders are taking place, and suicides occur in attempts to avoid committing mass murder.

I was frustrated that sex is such a big focus in the story. I thought there was huge potential for the political climate that was left under-developed in favour of sex scenes.  However I’m equally sure that Singh’s fans disagree with my opinion 🙂

Branded by Fire is erotic romance in a SF/Fantasy setting. Aimed at a mature audience with explicit sex scenes, this novel seeks to balance the eroticism with the storyline. I have some reservations about Singh’s interpretation of the animals involved, but in an alternate world everything is open to new interpretation. This is a New York Times bestselling series. Recommended for fans of the genre.

Previously published in Dark Matter issue 4, July 2011.