Sunday, July 11, 2010

Review: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh

Max Shannon is a human cop for the New York Enforcement with a gift that allows him peace. His mind has a strong natural shield that excludes him from the suggestions that are sometimes planted in his fellow officers' minds by the Psy. This has also precluded him from rising in the ranks, but Max doesn't mind as long as he is sure he's the one making the decisions in regards to his cases. Knowing this it comes as a huge surprise when he's tapped as a special investigator by a Psy Councilor, and not just any Psy Councilor, but Nikita Duncan herself. And he won't be working alone...

Sophia Russo has been a J (Justice) for over 12 years. The long active period has left her with terrifyingly thin shields and she knows it's just a matter of time before she's called in for that final rehabilitation that all Js must either succumb to, or escape from through death. Having first met Max on the case of a sociopath, Sophia was intrigued by, and attracted to, him - something a perfect Psy would never be. Sophia is a long ways from the perfect Psy though, and has been for longer than she's been a J. Knowing her interest in Max will only lead her more quickly to her final end, she's relieved (and disappointed) when she's out of his presence. But then she's called to be Max's liaison and partner on this new deadly case for Nikita.

Can they find out who's killing those close to Nikita before they strike again? Will the bonds Max and Sophia form be strong enough to save them both?

I have to admit, in this world of the Psy/Changelings I was not that interested in the main couple going into this book because of the human hero. I'm not afraid to admit when I am wrong. And boy was I wrong. At a glance humans are the very lowest of the three races. They don't have the mental abilities that the Psy do. They don't have the strength and enhanced senses that the Changelings do. They're thought of as less by many Psy and Changelings. But Max is a fantastic hero. One hundred percent human, he's got an intelligent, quick mind and strong ethics, added to the fact that he's very protective, totally loyal, persistant and incredibly, absolutely sexy-as-hell.

Sophia, on the other hand, is kind, caring, smart and intriguing all with an underlying core of steel. She's strong and vulnerable. Sweet and sexy (as Max would say). She's been a J for longer than most others, and yet she continues to push that, in the end, things are fair. It's such a likable quality, and one that could easily push her over the edge into either too good, or not good enough. The balance is perfectly attained, and Sophia is a character that I'll love for many years to come. She faces some of the same issues that most of the Psy that are still in the Net, but with new, heart-breaking twists.

Max and Sophia are now some of my favorite characters in the story, and I hope that we get to see more of them in the future.

There is a lot going on in Bonds of Justice, with the Psy, the Changelings, and the relationships between many of them. We get to see many of our favorites, including Lucas and Sascha, Faith and Vaughn, Clay and Tally, Nikita, and (my personal favorite enigma) Kaleb. The depth that Nalini Singh continues to give each and every character - whether they've been in the story for books, or a couple of pages - always amazes me.

The plot, attempts to get at Nikita through those closest to her, is solid. It'd be tempting to think that her calling in a human/J combo to figure this out is out of the realm of possibility, but it's not only realistic, it's addressed by the characters themselves. And the reasoning makes the story all that more intriguing. The mystery itself, and the continued work with the serial killer that brought Max and Sophia together in the first place, are too interesting for me to spoil here.

But the real joy here is the fabulous love story between Max and Sophia. I have to admit that there were a few times I had to put down my Kindle in order to wipe the tears from my eyes. The way they come together, with trust, and openness, love and honesty spoke directly to my heart.

Being the tenth book in the Psy/Changeling series I wouldn't recommend starting with Bonds of Justice. Ms. Singh does a fabulous job with providing all the relevant information needed to read it as a stand-alone, but you'd be missing out on some fantastic tension, world-building and romance to skip the previous entries in this wonderful series. See the reading order here for a complete list of the Psy/Changeling series.

Every time I read Nalini Singh's books I think 'she can't possibly get any better than this' ... and then she does. Nalini continues to blow me away with a detailed world, beautiful love story, and fascinating characters. Bonds of Justice is an absolute must read. Intrigue, danger, passion and more fill the pages, tempting you, forcing you, to keep reading well into the night.

Grade: A+

Book Link | Amazon (print) | Kindle | B&N (print) | nook | Borders (print) | kobo | Sony | Book Depository | Berkley

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