Desert Isle Keeper
Mine to Possess
This is Nalini Singh’s fourth and best novel in her Psy/Changeling series. Ms. Singh is one of the more talented authors I have come across in a very long time, and Mine to Possess shows why she is at the top of her game.
Clay Bennett, a member of the San Francisco Darkriver Leopard Clan, is half human, and half-changeling; he grew up without knowing his changeling father. During his childhood, he met and became extremely close to a human girl, Talin McKade, an orphan in the care of a physically abusive and depraved foster father. When Talin was attacked, Clay flew into a murderous rage and gave in to his animalistic nature. He committed a heinous act of violence that resulted in his imprisonment, and even more devastating – he lost Talin’s love and loyalty. She became terrified of him and frightened by his nature. After being injured in a car accident, she asks her caseworker to tell Clay that she died. Upon hearing the news, he was devastated.
Many years go by, and Talin still bears the physical and emotional scars of her childhood. She is now a social worker who counsels and mentors troubled children. But many of those children have disappeared and later turned up dead, with an important body part missing. Talin becomes desperate when one of her favorite kids, Jonquil, disappears. With no other options she turns to Clay. He is surprised that she is in fact alive, and feels betrayed by her deception. He realizes that she is still terrified of him, and that hurts him deeply. But he cannot turn her away, and vows to help her. Together they embark on a treacherous journey to solve the mystery of the children’s disappearances and to find Jonquil before she meets the same fate.
The relationship between Talin and Clay is an emotional one. They are both deeply scarred characters. When we first meet Clay, he seems brutally callous, heartless, and dangerous. Talin is a strong, courageous woman who hsurvived an horrific early life. She is no wilting flower, and while Clay terrifies her, she stands up to him. What is clear from their very first interaction is that their love for each other is true, and constant. Their journey to love is not the predominant factor in the book, but instead is a delicate, patient give and take, a beautiful romance woven in seamlessly with the other aspects of the novel.
The conflict between the emotionless Psy, and the Changelings is deeply explored in this installment of the series. Ms. Singh takes you on an exciting, suspenseful journey into the Psy world, and the children’s disappearance. There is complex world-building in this book, some further exploration of themes introduced in the earlier books, and a foretaste of things yet to come. I strongly advise new readers to start with the first novel, Slave to Sensation, in order to truly understand, and appreciate this fascinating world. Mine to Possess is superbly written, and in my opinion, the best book in the series.