Note from VBC HQ: It’s Throwback Week at VBC, and we’re highlighting some of your favorite reviews from VBC. We all love Nalini Singh, and this review of Wild Embrace was one of the top 5 most read reviews on VBC this year. Did you pick up Wild Embrace? What did you think?
Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Slave to Sensation.
I’m a big fan of Psy-Changeling novellas. They’re often my go-to to break out of a reading slump. So a whole book of new novellas? Sign me up!
I read Wild Embrace before Allegiance of Honor so you don’t need to be caught up in the series. I do think the stories are more meaningful if you’ve read some of the books, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
The first story, Echo of Silence, might be my favorite of the bunch. It starts out on Sea Station Alaris, which I’ve always been curious about, and introduces some water Changelings. The hero Stefan is a telekinetic Psy and the station commander. His story is reminiscent of Vasic’s and Aren’s, though I think it pre-dates the introduction of the Arrows in the timeline.
What I really loved though was Tazia’s story. She’s a human engineer on the station who fled an arranged marriage in a remote village. When she and Stefan wind up near her home assisting earthquake victims, I felt almost like an anthropologist reading about this strange human culture. I loved seeing her village and her family as much as I loved her sweet romance with Stefan.
I was kind of afraid to read Dorian, thinking it would be all about his tragic backstory. (I may have been scarred for life by Acheron.) But it’s not really backstory as much as it’s about his first change. It also features Lachlan, the old Dark River Alpha, and teenage versions of Lucas, Mercy, Vaughn and Clay. And I thought it was just a fun, happy, and surprisingly short story.
Partners in Persuasion is one of the rare stories about a dominant female and submissive male Changeling. Felix is the submissive wolf and a former model, now the horticulture expert in charge of replanting the forest after the attack in Kiss of Snow. Desiree is the dominant leopard working security around the site. I enjoyed looking back on that time in the series, which was helped by lots of Drew and Riley giving relationship advice. Like with a lot of the novellas, there’s no secondary plot here. It’s all about the romance. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Flirtation of Fate on the other hand, is a murder mystery. It’s also Kenji and Garnet’s story, which is one a lot of fans have been waiting for. It’s set in one of the satellite dens so there aren’t as many familiar characters, but I didn’t miss them with the Changeling version of CSI happening. Usually, I hate knowing the big secret, in this case Kenji’s, so long before the love interest does. I would start to wonder what’s wrong with Garnet that she didn’t see it. But I liked the way she worked through the mystery of Kenji while solving the murder. And Singh had me in tears at the big reveal.
In reading these novellas together, I was struck by how effortlessly diverse Singh’s world is. Most of the stories are set in California, but at least one character in each one has family from another part of the world whose culture shapes them. I do wish there were more about the Psy in Wild Embrace. Though at least the three Changeling stories are all set in different parts of their territory so they didn’t really feel repetitive.
I love being back in the Psy-Changeling world! Looking back at these earlier points in the timeline has me thinking it might be time for a re-read. Fans of the series will definitely want to check out this anthology!
Sexual content: graphic sex