Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh (Psy/Changeling #12)
June 4, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi
There has been much build up and secrecy with this book in the months leading up to publication. Who is the hero? Who is the heroine? Is the Ghost involved? I’ve gone back and forth trying to figure out how to review this book and not give away answers to those who are trying to avoid spoilers. But at the same time, it’s hard to review a book when I can’t mention characters by name. So, I’ve decided to put the entire review under a spoiler tag. I don’t give away any major plot points or crazy spoilers, but under the spoiler tag I do mention who the hero and heroine is and I set-up the book etc.. Your choice whether you want to click.
For those who choose not to read it for now, let me tell you this is one of my absolute favorite reads of the year. Nalini Singh not only has built an incredible world, but she gives us such an intense, dramatic romance. It’s awesome.
Onto the review….
Kaleb Krycheck, the dual cardinal with unimaginable power. He easily gets added to my favorite hero list, and honestly – I wasn’t obsessed with him prior to this book as others were. But now that I’ve been in his head, know his story and know the lengths he has gone (and would go) to keep his love safe, I’m blown away. From an extremely young age, the Psy knew Kaleb was very powerful. Taken from his home at the age of three, he was put into a special school for Cardinal Psy. But he didn’t stay there long. Councilor Santano Enrique decided he would be his protégé, and for Kaleb this would change his life in a drastic, evil way. Santano was a serial killer, torturing victim after victim, all the while tearing his way into Kaleb’s mind and body, forcing him to watch, participate and be a part of the extreme evil. This obviously destroys Kaleb. He has one light of hope though. A young girl he happens to meet named Sahara. She is much younger than him, but she becomes his friend as they meet secretly once in awhile. She hugs him one day and he realizes he has never been touched by another human. He falls in love. But when Sahara is sixteen, she is captured, tortured, and kidnapped. Eventually, Kaleb becomes strong enough to get out of Santano’s control, and for the next seven years he searches relentlessly for her. And then he finds her. And he knows, he will never, ever let her go. (And I won’t tell you who has her – but what Kaleb does to this person once he discovers who it is – it’s pretty hardcore. I loved)Sahara is part of the NIghtStar clan (cousin to Faith). While in captivity, she created a labyrinth in her mind, to keep her secrets safe. When Kaleb finds her, she has been tortured and her mind is broken. Very slowly she realizes even though Kaleb has her in a new cage of sorts (his home – he won’t let her go) he is different than her captors. Because her mind is so broken, she doesn’t remember Kaleb or much of anything. Slowly though, she starts to build trust, and her memories start to come back.
“Tell me you aren’t evil.” Please.
Kaleb’s thumbs moved against he temples. “I’m sorry.”
Shaking her head in a mute refusal to accept what he was trying to tell her, she lifted trembling fingers to his jaw. “What have you done?”
“Too much that can never be undone.”
Crying in earnest now for a man she didn’t know, and yet who was in the most secret part of her heart, she wrapped her arms around his neck and held on, just held on, all the while knowing that he might already have slipped out of her grasp.
His arms came around her, locked tight, his breath harsh against her ear. “I’m sorry,” he said again, voice rough as sandpaper and body rigid, as if he’d clenched every muscle he possessed.
“It’s okay,” she said through her sobs, “It’s okay.”
This is what I love about Sahara. Her mind is broken, her memories are only coming to her in pieces, yet inherently she knows Kaleb is not the man Santano made him into be. Kaleb is the most powerful man on the planet, and a girl with a broken mind is the only one that can save him. It’s really beautiful and passionate. Kaleb is so powerful he can not only crack the Earth’s surface with just a thought, but he is strong enough and has plans to either control or destroy the PsyNet. Depending on Sahara, and whether she is ever harmed again, will depend on if the Net gets to live.
I could go on and on with the set-up, but let’s get to the good stuff. Kaleb is the most intense, protective hero I’ve read in a long time. The combination of his love (even though he thinks he can’t love) for Sahara and his Silence training, makes me just flail my arms. He is black ice. Nalini Singh gives him insane pent-up emotions, that violently leave his body as he becomes physically active with Sahara. He is her rock, her foundation even though she doesn’t remember him. And as the story unfolds, Sahara becomes his rock. She sees the darkness in him. She understands the horrors he faced with Santano growing up. She is patient, and kind and so loving of him. His love for her – the fact that he finally has her again, is so intense. And he is so tormented, tortured, guilt-ridden, Silent, powerful.
Sahara’s eyes were haunted when they met his. “Am I so important to you?”
“Yes,” he said. “You’re everything.” The entire reason for his existence.
A single tear trailed down Sahara’s cheek. “Why can’t I remember you?”
“You’re not strong enough yet.” For the horror, the pain, the realization of the betrayal that had splattered blood around a cheap hotel room when she’d been a girl on the brink of womanhood.
Stroking her fingers along his jaw, she said, “Come back, Kaleb.” and stepped closer, moving her hands to his lapels to push the unbuttoned suit jacket off his shoulders. “Walk out of the dark.”
But in the darkness and among the drama, there are some scenes that will make you smile. Their love is earth shattering. No really.
“I just checked the PsyNet,” she said, her own breathing not exactly even. “This region just experienced a medium-sized earthquake.”
Kaleb turned his head on the pillow. “It was located deep underground, I made sure of that. No real damage.”
Oh Kaleb. You literally rocked Sahara’s world.
Kaleb and his Arrows are also fighting a war with the PurePsy and their relentless attacks. I really enjoyed how this part of the book played out and how it has been building up through the series. The outcome is pretty awesome as well.