Book Review: Nalini Singh’s Heart of Obsidian

Posted July 26, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Nalini Singh’s Heart of Obsidian

Heart of Obsidian


Nalini Singh

paranormal romance in Hardcover edition that was published by Berkley Sensation on June 4, 2013 and has 360 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Must Love Hellhounds, Kiss of Snow, An Enchanted Season, Archangel's Blade, Angels of Darkness, Lord of the Abyss, Desert Warrior, Angels' Flight, Tangle of Need, Play of Passion, Archangel's Storm, Wild Invitation, Archangel's Legion, "Hide and Seek", "Making Dinner", Shield of Winter, A Conversation, "Home", Angels' Pawn, "New Year's Kisses", Night Shift, "Weapons Training", "Zoë's Workshop", "Wild Night", Archangel's Shadows, Archangel’s Enigma, Shards of Hope, “Fairy Balloons”, “An Unexpected Guest”, Allegiance of Honor, "The Song of the Wolf", Silver Silence, Archangel’s Heart, Archangel’s Viper

Twelfth in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series revolving around the shifters in the DarkRiver and SnowDancer packs just outside San Francisco although the primary location in this story is Moscow. The couple focus is on Kaleb Krycheck (!) and the woman he’s been hunting for years, Sahara Kyriakus.

You really want to have read the previous stories, if only so you fully understand how terrifying Kaleb Krychek is.

My Take

Oh, this one is so romantic. In a terrifying way! And so very emotional. Totally unexpected considering that it’s about two Psy who were raised in Silence. Singh makes a great argument as to why Silence is wrong, and I do have to wonder how a brilliant man like Krycheck can be so obtuse about his own emotions. He’s obsessed with Sahara and will do anything to protect her. She arouses him…which is a pretty emotional reaction. I must confess I’m just dying to read on to the next and the next in the series if only to read the reactions of other Psy when they discover how much of the wonder of life they’ve been missing out on.

Singh is brilliant in stretching out our ignorance, dropping small clues here and there, just enough to titillate and confuse as she herds us along in one direction. She pulls at my own emotions, and I cried for these two damaged people. I loved how Singh had Krychek so full of guilt (so unexpected), and how he expressed it. Beautifully done. I already want to re-read it! Yep, I re-read it…

Great tension…

Part of what is so very fascinating about Heart of Obsidian is the almost robot-like reactions and honesty of both protagonists. Well, with each other, they are honest and forthright. As much as Krychek wants to lie to keep Sahara at his side, he realizes he would lose her in the end by doing so, and you can feel him hunching over inside, cringing as he waits for her to abandon him. As for Sahara, reading through her fears of what he’s done, knowing that he had something to do with her imprisonment, realizing the various possible interpretations on why he reacts and treats her as he does, and yet she still holds true — it’s amazing.

Singh slips back and forth from current time to the past providing us with a ringside seat to Krychek and Sahara’s meetings as children and his treatment and training by Santano. I do think Krychek protests too much about his lack of empathy. His Silence is broken after all, and his strength of mind would enable him to convince himself of anything.

It did answer my one suspicion when I learned who the mysterious figure, Ghost, is who has been appearing randomly throughout the series.

For such intelligent people, you’d’a think they’d’a thought of this!

It’s fascinating to watch two Psy break down. It’s always been a Psy and a shifter in the past with that clash of culture between one group that requires a cold nature “versus” another group that strongly believes in touch. Instead, we have two Psy who are both starved for touch, and oh, man, it gets literal when Kaleb rocks her world…!

Ha! I love it!! Vasquez is not getting the response he wants from his terrorist attacks. What an idiot! He’s so clueless and isn’t even aware that his own Silence is fractured. Besides, isn’t the fact that Pure Psy is so passionate about maintaining Silence an emotion?

I liked the letters to the editor that Singh distributes throughout this story. An interesting back-and-forth from Psy arguing for and against Silence. Some of ’em I just wanna smack!

Krychek is the one who lifted the train off Annie (see Magical Christmas Cat: Stroke of Enticement, 3.5).

The Story

The bright and shining hope of Silence is shattered as those with power realize that while the Psy leaders are the cream of their race, they are also psychopaths.

And Kaleb Krychek has found the one for whom he has been searching. The one for whom he would destroy the world. The one with no memory of her past. No memory of Kaleb. The question is, is her mind already destroyed and past all hope?

The Characters

Too young when kidnapped and tortured, Sahara Kyriakus of the PsyClan NightStar created her own protection in her mind. She’s not Silent, but she has passed. Leon Kyriakus is her father; Daniela García is her mother. Anthony Kyriakus, the head of the NightStar Clan, is her uncle. Faith is her cousin, and she’s mated to Vaughn of the DarkRiver pack.

Kaleb Krychek is a deadly dual cardinal: telekinetic and a teleporter; he has been searching for one person for years. Silver Mercant has been his aide for years. Krychek’s parents sold him when he was a child back to Santano Enrique, a brutally psychopathic councilor who could also function as an anchor (see Slave to Sensation, 1). He was raised and taught, using brutally efficient methods; he was forced to watch, participate in Santano’s crimes against women.

Aden currently leads the Arrow Squad, covert Psy operatives highly trained and dangerous. Vasic, who has volunteered to be implanted with a test computronic gauntlet, and Judd Lauren (Caressed by Ice, 3), a Tk-V, are fellow operatives.

Father Xavier Perez is one of three working to bring down Silence. Nina is a woman whom Perez loved, and Judd gave him the information to find her.

Nikita Duncan and Anthony Kyriakus are the Psy Councilors who live in the area claimed by DarkRiver and SnowDancer. Max Shannon is Nikita’s chief of security; his wife, Sophia, is an ex-J with her own extensive contacts. Other councilors include Ming, Tatiana Rika-Smythe, and a very quiet Shoshanna Scott. David Sezer is one of Tatiana’s people, bright but cruel.

Mercy is pregnant with her pupcubs. Lucas Hunter is the alpha for the DarkRiver leopards. Nathan Ryder is DarkRiver’s most senior lieutenant. Hawke is the alpha for SnowDancer wolves. Teijan is the Rats alpha and head of the best spy organization in the region. Adam Garrett is the alpha of the WindHaven falcons. Drew is one of the trackers looking for traces of the terrorists’ attack.

Jim Wong is the representative of the shopkeepers in Chinatown.

Andrea Vasquez is the current leader of Pure Psy since Councilor Henry Scott’s death.

Silence. Protocol, a state by which all emotion is conditioned out of a person. A concept proven by Adelajas. Pure Psy is a radical pro-Silence group, which intends to terrorize the Psy back into Silence. Anchors are a specific type of Psy who are able to hold the Net in place. The PsyNet is a psychic network which helps hold together the Psy, providing them with the biofeedback necessary to keep them sane. It’s a health that is splintering, dying in pieces. The NetMind, equal to an innocent child, and the DarkMind, similar to an ignored and abused child, are twin entities which reflect the health of the PsyNet and have been Krychek’s only friends for too long.

The Cover and Title

The cover is so perfect when you realize the story. A lone man stalking in the rain to the top of a hill on the streets of San Francisco. Just over that hill is a blaze of golden light — the perfect metaphor as this tormented and lonely, desperate man is about to find his Holy Grail.

The title is also perfect and not what you think! Oh, there’s a Heart of Obsidian all right. One that protects.