sábado, 10 de agosto de 2013

Another very guilty pleasure: Heart of Obsidian - Nalini Singh

Review in english. 

E esta, desculpem, não me apetece reescrever em português. Fica só uma notinha para dizer que este é o mais obscuro e intenso dos livros da série e que, tirando um ou outro momento um pouco repetitivo (nos sentimentos) é um dos melhores. Gosto da série, mas os livros com Psy e com progressos na história geral são os favoritos, e este mostra grandes, enormes avanços neste aspecto.

I am very sorry for all the portuguese readers who do not read english and don't get the (guilty) pleasure of reading these books by Nalini Singh. I've read quite a few and everytime I think "she's done", "she can't possibly keep on making this interesting", "it's going to get repetitive and boring", Nalini surprises me. I didn't fully enjoy all the books in the series, because some of them centered too much in the couple and lost balance a little... well, maybe I should explain what I'm talking about.

In this series, each book can be read separately or you can read them out of order and you´ll still be satisfied, because each books tells a love story and Nalini gives you the happy ending you crave. But there's an overall story that's been developing since the first book, and it's far more interesting than the couples (though some of the couples' stories are very interesting). 

Imagine a world where you have humans, changeling packs, like wolves, leopards, tigers, rats, falcons and every other animal, but also a different "species", called the Psy. They are basically human, but far more intelligent, and have enhanced capacities, such as telekinesis, foresight, medical abilities and so on. With these abilities comes madness - violent madness and murderous rage - and therefore, in 1979, the Psy started following a protocol called Silence, which imposes strong conditioning since childhood, to remove sensation and feeling. Sensation brings them pain, so the Psy are rational and cold, eat only nutritional food, exercise only to keep fit, don't have sex (reproduction is medically engineered to mix the best genes), have families to raise the children, but no feelings towards each other. There's a cruel Council do rule them and very strong rules and punishments, to enforce Silence in those who want to break it. They are also all interlinked in a mental net (the MindNet, vey much like Internet in the mind) that "feeds" their minds with mental energy, without which they'd die. So, the least social "species" is, after all, the most social, they need the net to survive and can't hide their thoughts or the breach of Silence easily from others. The concept is quite complex, and the future Nalini presents (we're in 2079 give or take) isn't overdone at all, there are no spacecrafts or weird machinery, but cars hoover and there are very cool communication devices and features in houses, which haven't changed much from what they are now. It's a believable future... in a fantasy world, of course.

So, while changelings and humans intermix and can even mate, Psy maintain business relationships with the most powerful packs and human groups, but do not engage in friendship or love. The problem is, in 2079 Silence isn't working for everyone anymore, and the MindNet is rotting from the inside. Silence prevented a kind of immediate madness, but the lack of feeling enhanced psychopathic behavior - the most horrific crimes can be seen only as scientific experience by their unfeeling perpetrators, and there's no regret or emotion. And, because some Psy have powers that can affect large areas and lots of people, the threat is terrible. Also the Net itself is infected by a virus and has develop a sub-mind, the DarkMind, which harnesses the underlying violence in Psy minds.

In previous books, we saw some important Psy members breach Silence and bond with changelings - I won't tell you how, go read the books. Some of the stories are wonderful and exciting, some a little less. Of course, each book adds a little to the big picture - and we see Silence eroding and the Psy society deteriorating, as changelings become more powerful and humans... meh. That's what kept me reading, because the latest books were mostly changeling and I prefer to read about the Psy. I particularly like Psy-changeling stories, you'll see why if you read them. I was getting a bit tired, and not sure what to expect of this book.

Boy... this was a loooong but necessary introduction. It'll be much longer than the opinion about the book itself, I think... I won't tell you much , because most of the stuff I could tell would be a huge spoiler, but this book is all about the Psy and I loved it. 

This book centers in two of the most powerful Psy in the NetMind. Kaleb is a very important former counselour, very politically cunning, cold to the point of being cruel, a man broken inside by a past of loss and childhood violence, done to him and others by his mentor, a Psy-psychopathic killer. He is also the most powerful telekinetic in the world, so strong that he is off the scale. Sahara (hate the name, by the way) is also Psy, but she could never take to Silence, so she's had feelings she needed to hide since childhood. She's a rare Backseer, with another hidden power that I won't tell you about. There's an old story between them, but it's enough to say - and it's already a spoiler -that she was kidnapped and imprisoned for 7 years, and he never stopped looking for her... until he found her. This is the story of how she regains memory and a sense of self and "saves" him from himself... to a point. It's wonderful because none of them is entirely recovered, some broken things cannot be glued back, but they find balance. 

Also, there are huge and fascinating developments in the Psy world and in Silence. Fanatical Pure Psy try to take over and orchestrate a series of terrorist attacks in major cities across the world (this was interesting) and... can't tell you, but the pace is great and some parts are very exciting. Kaleb has a huge role to play, in either saving or destroying the MindNet, and Sahara a huge role in either saving or destroying him... and the net - and I'm sticking to silence myself, here. Go find out, if you're curious. 

What I liked less was a bit of repetitiveness in the characters discourse about each other - how important they were, how they needed one another to be saved, and so on. But the flashbacks were good, the sex scenes were... well, sexy. They actually rocked the earth. (I'm grinning here). And everything was dark and intense. In fact, I thing this was the darkest book in the series, maybe because none of the other characters suffered half of what these two went through. This book makes you love a hateful character, and wish him luck...  

2 comentários:

Inês Santos disse...

de repente pareceu me o Dean *.*

Carla M. Soares disse...

Quem é o Dean, Inês Santos?