Bonds of Justice
Anyone with an option – any option – would never become a J-Psy. Sophia Russo, a woman scarred from her past inside and out, is one of the desperate. Given a choice between annihilation now or gradual destruction over a lifetime of hard work, she chose the gradual destruction. How ironic that coming towards the end of a long, hard road she sees the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – and knows she can never have it.
Max Shannon is a golden boy in so many ways. Blessed with golden brown skin that hints at his Caucasian and Asian heritage, he is one of the most gorgeous men most women will ever see. Added to that he was blessed with a natural shield that protects his mind from most Psy and a gift for analysis that has made him a fantastic investigator. With everything going for him, why is it that he is drawn so strongly to Sophia, who appears to have such a fragile hold on herself?
Having just worked together on a highly frustrating serial killer case, they expect to part ways and probably never cross paths again. But a murderer is targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisors and the Councilor believes that Max is just the human for the job. Sophia is assigned as his liaison. Can her fragile heart and mind stand the close proximity to the secret object of her desire? As Max warms her heart out of its frozen state of silence, can he also save her mind from the inevitable breakdown caused by the foul and dangerous images it holds – images that don’t even belong to her? Can he save her from the annihilation she is inexorably walking toward? Or is theirs destined to be an affair of the mind, living only in Max’s memories?
The Psy, with their cold, analytical ways remind me of vampires, and since I have always been a vamp fan they work for me. Since I am also a big fan of mysteries I was intrigued by how the J-Psy worked within the justice system. How often during a mystery I have wished someone could read the suspect’s mind and know for sure whether or not he had done it, or how he had done it! That Sophia can – and that she is really good at it – was a real plus for me in reading this tale. And I really like that Singh is showing humans interacting and being prodcutive in a world with more gifted races. Pretty awesome to know that even in a world of super beings we would hold our own.
I liked both Max and Sophia. Max was probably the coolest hot guy I have run across on the written page in a long time. He didn’t take advantage of it, he didn’t pretend like it wasn’t there, he didn’t use it to try and charm and seduce information or whatever out of people. He also was a good cop, relentless in gathering information but caring when it came to the families of the victims. When he was with Sophia he was so careful to be kind and caring and that really impressed me too. In short, Max was far more worthy of the title “hero” than many we give it to. That he was human rather than Psy or Changeling was just icing on the cake.
I liked Sophia too. She didn’t wow me like Max did, but she was interesting and had a caring heart. I didn’t like the way she displayed that caring sometimes; In particular, how she meted out justice in some cases left me a tad uneasy. But I did like how she interacted with Max, Morpheus and Sascha. I also liked how she was honest with herself and didn’t try to sugar coat some of the things she’d done. She was a survivor and she accepted that she had been far from perfect in her quest to survive.
I liked who they were as a couple too. Max was assuredly the care giver and protector in this round but I got a very definite sense that Sophia would fight – and fight hard – to protect him. In the end she got to prove herself in that sense in a very real way. I also liked that they brought an element of peace to each other. They were tormented by their pasts separately but their shared pain made them feel less alone and more bonded as a couple. Throughout much of the book Sophia is wondering how – and when – her mind will snap and there are some poignant moments when the two are facing the reality that they might not always be together. While these moments gave a sense of bittersweet to the relationship, giving it a bit of added depth, they presented a problem too.
My difficulty with the book lay in the fact that I had no sense of urgency regarding anything, which is always bad in a suspense novel. For example, I probably would have been more worried about just how Max and Sophia were going to reach their HEA if it weren’t for the fact that Katya and Dev from Blaze of Memory had just faced the same near impossible situation and come out of it just fine. In fact, based on the success of Ms. Singh’s previous books all a Psy about to crack needs to do to save them self is to find his or her true love. I also felt that with all the powers Max and Sophia had at their disposal, it would be a near impossiblity for anyone to really evade them forever. That took more than a bit of the tension out of the mystery portion of the story. There was a sense of seemingly easy inevitability to how the whole thing would unfold.
My other problem was that I just couldn’t bring myself to care very much about what was going on with the Psy power struggle. This is a big problem given that the mystery is mainly about that. Don’t get me wrong. I like Nikita. I love Kaleb. But I am tired of watching them play the deadly game of chess that is Psy politics. I’m ready to get a bit more personal with their stories.
And frankly, the book was just slow going. I was engaged while reading it but I was always willing to set it down to do other things.
This is still a well written, interesting paranormal, but for fans of this series, this probably won’t be your favorite book. Which is a shame, because Max and Sophia deserve a bit better. For those just starting, I would urge not beginning with this book. Slave to Sensation is not just the start of the whole thing, but a great read in and of itself. It’s faster paced and with a love story hotter than this one. I would start there.