Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Psy-Changeling #1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (340 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

Sometimes the thing you fear the most can be your saving grace. Sascha Duncan is afraid her mind is deteriorating and she’s on the brink of going mad. She’s doing everything she can to hide the fact from her powerful mother. To that end Sascha agrees to spy on a local changeling band of leopards in hopes for information. What she learns there may change her life forever. Lucas is the head of the Dark River leopard pack and he wants information from Sascha as well. Changeling women have been kidnapped and murdered and he wants answers. Together the two produce enough heat for an inferno but think they’re on the opposite side.

Slave to Sensation is the first book in the wildly popular Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I decided to read it based on a recommendation from another series I loved. Slave to Sensation has all the elements to make a very popular book and series, but I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I liked it and felt it was fine but it didn’t resonate and connect with me the way it has with other readers, judging by how many times it’s been recommended to me. That said, I can see why it’s so popular and I’ll try to offer my own reactions balanced by what I instinctively can tell may work for other people.

To start the plot is basic but with enough interest to really draw readers in. I found it too basic and predictable myself but it has all the elements to balance out the heavy romance aspect. First the characters are from different races that hate each other. Sascha is a Psy, a race of mentally talented people that eschew all emotion. Very borg like but if each borg could think and act independently while still being connected. Or for those non-science fiction fans, like a beehive or an ant colony. She is actually starting to feel emotions and it makes her uneasy and frightened. She’s of course gorgeous, brilliant, kind, self-sacrificing, sensual, strong, and basically has no flaws. This bugged me as I like some more depth and dimension to my characters but it wasn’t so out of control that I hated her.

Lucas as a contrast is your very typical alpha male. Totally in control at all times, completely and utterly dominant, often irrationally so; frequently over protective forcing Sascha to prove her strength and ability despite his desire to keep her safe. He’s also madly in love with Sascha, his one true love that he’ll never let go and never live without. So there’s definitely some major romance and true love going on from the start with a heavy, heavy dose of erotica. The plentiful sex scenes are explicit. Here I quickly got bored with Lucas and Sascha. While I enjoy the concept of the stereotypes, they felt like every other romance couple with their status quo. It’s romantic for sure but nothing really new.

The non-romance plot involves a Psy serial killer preying on changeling women. Lucas and Sascha must work together to identify and stop the killer. This is a decent storyline and it helps incorporate a significant amount of background on the two races and how they came to be without information dumping. The killer is easy to pick out early on, he’s the only viable suspect, but the race to save a kidnapped woman and the threat to Sascha from her own people for defecting helps carry the action and tension along. It was a decent first book but the overly familiar elements and perfect main characters kept me from really engaging and loving the series. I can see why others do though and readers’ tastes vary.


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book. I have had many people recommend the series, especially since my favorite genre is PNR, but have not yet had the opportunity to read it.
    Sometimes I like predictability and sometimes it feels boring. I’m a moody reader. Lol.
    I like the opposites attract thing and the alpha male attitude. 😉

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