Feature book: Tangle of Need
The eleventh book of Singh’s Psy/Changeling series, Tangle of Need, picks up soon after the events in Kiss of Snow. Ostensibly Adria and Riaz’s book, it contains almost equal portions of Hawke and Sienna, as well as (a little) more information about the Ghost (I have a theory!) and trouble in the PsyNet.
We first met Adria in Play of Passion (Indigo and Drew’s story). Adria, a SnowDancer senior soldier is technically Indigo’s aunt, but they are close in age and think of each other as sisters. Adria had a past long-term relationship with Martin. He couldn’t cope with Adria being the more dominant and after many years of trying Adria has finally given in and called it quits. She bears the scars of that failed relationship and has moved back to the SnowDancer den to lick her wounds, as well as to help with the after effects of the PurePsy attack.
Riaz is the SnowDancer lieutenant responsible for international affairs and, until recently, was based in Venice where he met the woman fated to be his mate. The problem with that was that Lisette was happily married and unavailable to him. For pretty much the same reasons as Adria, Riaz has also returned to the den.
Riaz and Adria strike sparks off each other from the beginning. But Riaz feels such a strong sense of betrayal to his fated mate that he rejects Adria and his attraction to her pretty brutally. Realising that he’s been a dick, Riaz comes to the conclusion that he has two choices—be miserable for the rest of his life, or get over Lisette and move on. He chooses the latter of course and after a suitable grovel, he and Adria commence a ‘friends with benefits’ type of relationship. It’s not meant to be anything more, but pretty soon, both are feeling pretty deep feelings. Adria is particularly vulnerable and is very worried that Riaz sees her as ‘second best’, so she holds part of her heart carefully from him in an effort to protect herself. Even when Riaz tells her he loves her, she knows that they’re only together because he cannot be with Lisette.
You know that feeling when you can see something out of the corner of your eye but when you try and look at it properly it slips away? I feel like that when it comes to both the PsyNet and the mating bond in this series. I’ve found it’s best to not think too carefully about it or it will do my head in. The Riaz/Adria situation is different to the Hawke/Sienna pairing, because Hawke’s ‘mate’ died when she was very young. They had never started, let alone completed, the mating dance and Hawke was therefore free to make that bond with Sienna. Riaz’s ‘mate’ is alive—but unavailable. So, similar, but different. If memory serves, other mated pairs in the Changeling world have been friends or even friends with benefits long before any issue regarding a mating dance or mating bond arose, so it seemed to me that the situation Riaz found himself in—meeting his mate and knowing immediately who she was without knowing her at all—was a little different than the scenarios of previous books. (It’s possible I’m misremembering though). Riaz himself describes Lisette in terms of ‘possibility’ rather than fact. He could have had a mating bond with her but he never actually did.
… And that’s where my head explodes. In the end, I totally believed that Riaz and Adria were devoted to one another and would be successful. All the other Changeling couples featured in the series have the mating bond, so it has always been presented as the most desirable thing. While it’s possible (I suppose) that Riaz and Adria will develop one eventually (maybe?) they don’t have it and my logical brain tells me that, in the context of the series, it must be of less value. However, my emotional brain (which is the one mostly on when I read) found their love believable and genuine and deserving of HEA status.
The Hawke/Sienna stuff was very enjoyable for me—it was cleverly done, because it’s all about what happens after the HEA but it didn’t feel gratuitous—Sienna, and Ming Le Bon’s pursuit of her X firepower—are pivotal plot points in the series.
The PsyNet makes my head a bit explodey too with all the analogies of private rooms and spaces and hallways and portions of it collapsing and causing fatal injury—it’s another one of those things that I find is better to relax and enjoy rather than look at too closely—possibly there’s maths involved in the background. That would explain it.
There were some things that irked a little—Riaz is a lone wolf and by the end, I felt a bit bashed over the head with being told his status over and over again. There is a side plot with the sea changelings, which didn’t really do anything in terms of this book (but which I expect will mean something re the larger series arc, I just don’t know what yet). And I do feel that there is a titch of internal inconsistency with the mate bond thing and Adria/Riaz. Even so, Riaz got points from me for being the hero who chooses his mate regardless of (in spite of even) the mating bond. And there was a bit of fun with Riaz’s speculations about the sea changelings and whether there really are changeling octopuses.
I love this series. I love the SnowDancer and DarkRiver packs (more DarkRiver please!) and I’m fascinated by the PsyNet (even if I don’t really understand it). The writing is lovely, the characters mean something to me and the wider story arc intrigues. Can there be a HEA for Vasic? Who is the Ghost? Will Aden get a story? What about Kaleb? *happy sigh*
If you haven’t read the series before, don’t start here. I think it’s worthwhile starting at book one (Slave to Sensation) personally. And then you can feel ALL the love.
Reviewed by Kaetrin
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment on this review will go in the draw to win a copy of Tangle of Need. The draw closes on 5 September 2012. (The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Shiona.)