In “Slave to Sensation” Nalini Singh has written a beautiful story of a romance between a trained Psy and a changeling, who come from different worlds with different training. In Singh’s world the Psy are trained so that they feel so emotion. This type of training was developed to keep the psy from going insane. In the past a small percentage of the psy would go insane and become serial killers. The psy community felt that it was a good idea to train all of their children into an emotionless life.
The changelings (people with dual-natures and able to change into an animal) live with strong emotions that link them together into family links. Although the Psy believe they are the rulers of this world of humans, psy, and changelings, the changelings are the ones who own most of the land are not helpless in their lands.
At the beginning of this story, Sascha, an unspecified psy with unknown powers, finds that her training in the Silence (keep the emotions under control) is breaking down. She knows that it will be soon that she will be found out and be broken in rehabilitation. However, she keeps her secret behind solid mind shields.
About the same time her mother and Sascha makes a deal with a changeling ( Lucas Hunter) to build and design homes for changeling families. The changeling – an alpha or a leopard clan – becomes fascinated with Sascha. To his nose Sascha does not have the metallic smell that all of the other Psy have. But even at the first moment Sascha can tell that Lucas is angry about something. She can feel it.
As she continues with her relations with Lucas, she begins to have dreams with him – not realizing that he is also mentally in the same dreams. They begin the mating dance.
Also another twist in this story is that there is a serial killer among the Psy who is stealing changeling women, torturing them, and killing them. Lucas needs Sascha to go into the Psy-net, find the killer, so that the changelings can bring the serial killer to justice. One of the were-wolf changelings gets kidnapped, making it imperative that Sascha helps them. According to the Psy-killers schedule, the girl will be killed in seven days.
The main part of the story is how Sascha learns to deal with her emotions and how she learns to love. In the beginning her emotions are frozen, but as she becomes physically and mentally entwined with Lucas, she learns how to deal with emotions. And in the process of finding the kidnapped girl, she finds that she is an E-psy, an empath.
Her gift is mental healing.
I really enjoyed the story and the world of Sacha and Lucas. It reminded me that even in our world, emotions and empathy teach us to live together in a civilized world. That without emotions, a whole group of people can become psychopaths.
“Slave to Sensation” was a good read.