My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/reviews/Feb10/blazeofmemory.ns.html
As the year 2080 draws to a close, the Forgotten are in danger. The Forgotten are descended from rebel Psy, those who operate both on the physical and psychic plane. But unlike the current Psy, the Forgotten’s ancestors rejected the implementation of Silence, a protocol which seeks to condition all emotion from the Psy population. The Forgotten are those of mixed blood, but their Psy abilities still remain, and over time have even grown in vast and varied ways. The Forgotten also live under the constant thread of annihilation by the Psy Council; a thread Devraj Santos, a leader among the Forgotten, seeks to eliminate. Unless a council member has the ultimate weapon dropped on Dev’s doorstep.
Katya Haas wakens after surviving unspeakable mental and physical torture. Her personal memories are gone and a shadowy evil lurks in her mind, waiting to strike. Katya knows she’s dangerous, especially to Dev. Yet she can’t seem to tear herself from the sensual man who protects and heals her, though both know he might ultimately have to kill her to save his people. It’s a race against time for Katya to win Dev’s trust and figure a way out of the mission she has unwillingly been programmed to carry out.
Nalini Singh is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat in this nail-biting installment to her spectacular Psy-Changeling series. Blaze of Memory, for the most part, takes readers out of the world of the Changelings that has been the backdrop for the other stories. While I missed seeing a lot of the DarkRiver and SnowDancer packs that I love so much (though luckily some of my favorite characters do appear and, in fact, play key roles), this shift in focus expands the world of the Forgotten. I’ll forgo giving away anything, as it might spoil some of the excitement of the book, but the Forgotten Ms. Singh introduces us to are a fascinating blend of humanity and Psy, the abilities of some beyond what we have seen before. There are sections of Blaze of Memory concerning the forgotten and their rebel ancestors it pains me not to write about, but they are so enthralling when read, I wouldn’t want to destroy the power punch of Ms. Singh’s writing.
As for the book’s protagonists, I loved Katya. Her origins I’ll keep to myself (yes, there are many wonderful surprises in this story), but I absolutely loved her. She has a will of iron and an inner strength that is something to behold. Fiercely intelligent, deeply caring, and heartbreakingly vulnerable, it’s easy to see why Dev falls for her, even against his better judgment. Dev, sadly, is the one element of the book that did not captivate me. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with him. He’s protective, loving, willing to do anything to ensure the survival and well-being of his people, but…he’s missing something to make him stand out in a series of unique and amazing characters. He does possess an intriguing ability, but the more interesting aspects of it are never explored or used in the book, which was a pity. The fact that I was unable to connect with Dev kept me from loving this book as much as I have the others in this series. Still, keep in mind the fact that Ms. Singh generally “hits it out of the park,” so to speak, so in keeping with the metaphor, Blaze of Memory is still a home run.
Ms. Singh continues to be one of, if not the absolute best, at weaving in world building with romance; Blaze of Memory is another example of this. It’s the ninth story (seventh full-length book) in her Psy-Changeling series, but the romance does stand on its own. Readers new to the series might be a little confused at entering the complex world Ms. Singh has created at this stage, so this book might be more enjoyable if you’ve read at least the first six full-length books (Slave to Sensation, Visions of Heat, Caressed by Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, and Branded by Fire) before delving into Blaze of Memory – you won’t regret it. In the end, I finished Blaze of Memory a satisfied reader, my mind mulling the new information Ms. Singh revealed, my heart proverbially sighing over Dev and Katya’s love story, and my excitement for Ms. Singh’s next Psy-Changeling story at a max.