Reviews

Ocean Light, by Nalini Singh

tatahababa's review against another edition

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4.0

Enjoyed this one so much more than I thought I would! I'm so happy we get to see the BlackSea clan and Kaia and her family were so wonderful to follow. Bowen had to grow on me and really it was Kaia that made him a better character to try and root for at the least. I think the one twist that it wasn't a certain suspect but another one should've stayed there. Make her friend the double-crosser and a potential big bad later in the series (since they didn't catch KJ I'm guessing there is more with him). And of course, Kaleb being so incredibly in character in moments that we just need.

loverofromance's review against another edition

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4.0

This review was originally posted on Addicted To RomanceI received this book for free from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I have been anxiously waiting for this book and I have to say I had a blast with this story, I won't say that its my favorite of the Psy Changelings (think book one of the trinity series I liked a bit more...but I will explain further below) however this was so unique because unlike "Silver Silence" where we interacted with the Bear clan...in this book we dealt with the  Black Sea changeling which is very diverse in their changelings. There isn't just one species we have Octopus, Sharks, Orca's, Dolphins, Whales and more. And it was fun seeing the various species being revealed. Black Sea changelings are super secretive, so if you are a stranger it takes a while before trust builds enough to trust that person with your other form and it was sweet seeing these moments of revealing and so many fun characters you fall in love with. The Black Sea changelings have been really secretive through the series so I was beyond excited to see more of them.

The story begins with a human named "Bo" who is also part of the leadership of the Human Alliance. He has integreated a chip in his brain to help aid in Psy attacks against humans, is not working right and he only has a few weeks to live and then he meets the chef of the underwater compound....Kaia Luna. Now Bo doesn't trust Psy or Changelings since he has seen some evil acts by both but I felt like Bowen understand that not all of them are bad especially when he meets Kaia Luna. Kaia lost her parents when she was young and doesn't trust humans at all. I did feel like she was very strong in her dislike of Bowen and obviously doesn't trust him at all and makes it clear to him. What I didn't really like especially at first, is the racism that these two characters have. Its the strongest I have ever seen in a Singh novel before and it did take a bit longer to read this story because of it.

However there were so many other fun aspects to the story and once Bowen and Kaia get over the prejudice they have...then the story really picks up and I loved the mystery and the intrigue and how protective the changelings are of each other. We see a mystery solving who is the betrayer of the clan here and also why their people are disappearing. I was intrigued to see some of old characters we just love such as Hawke and Kaleb. We also see some fantastic pack dynamics. It was interesting because the Black Sea changelings don't have the Dominant/Submissive straight up roles that other changeling packs and clans seem to have. They don't put a name to it, it just seems to flow and balance out their clan.
“I love you, Kaia Luna.” Never had he spoken those three words to a lover. “With all of the man I am, the good and the bad, the mistakes and the glories. I love you to the depths of my being."

The romance that builds between Bowen and Kaia was unique, and really gives you all the feels here. Its pretty intense at times, and we see them overcome some difficult struggles so that they can be together including Bowen having a ticking time bomb in his brain. But it goes further than just the fact that Bowen has a low chance of survival. But Bowen is the one leader in the Alliance that keeps them on the straight and narrow line and too many other seek power and to take Alliance to different levels that are pretty evil. And Kaia can't be on land, her fear and panic consumes her and has to be medicated. Its a whole "bird and fish" falling in love with each other and we see how these two face great odds to find their HEA and the ending was so beautifully done and simply right for these two!!! I can't wait to see what will come next.



 



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enchantressofbooks's review against another edition

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Loved it!! Great story and Angela Dawe did a phenomenal job!!

betseywj's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

saber's review against another edition

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4.0

3 1/2 stars

Not my favorite, mostly because the "I can't mate with you because i'm about to die/lose emotions' plotline is getting a bit repetitive, but I still really enjoyed it. I especially liked getting to know more about Black Sea.

readingtheend's review against another edition

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3.5

ooh I loved the expansion of this world into the ocean! this is a fun pairing with some extra-fun internal treeeeason. this book felt slightly disconnected from the others I've read so I'm curious to see where it reconnects with future volumes.

leelah's review against another edition

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4.0

3,5*

description

Look, guys, I know that that the theme of new arc is Trinity, but clearly, Nalini is having way too much fun writing about new changeling packs and making them cute and fun and adorable for us. The last two books? In my head, they are just parts of this big Unofficial Guide of Changeling life and Why You Love Them. :P

Bare Bones: In direct continuation of events from previous novel, following the assassination attempt that left him fatally wounded, Bowen Knight, de facto leader of Human Alliance ends up within BlackSea stronghold. In the hands of their brilliant scientist, he hopes she will come up with the solution for the failing chip in his head that is slowly leading to death everyone he cares about. Sacrificing his brilliant brain for the experiment proves to be harder when he meets the beautiful sea changeling cook, Kaia, who has her own fears and reasons to distrust humans and especially the one leading Human Alliance. With the time slowly ticking over their heads, Kai and Bo will have to figure out their romance, the possibility of Bo's death, not to mention the betrayal in the midst of their family.
****************************

-I'll start with my favorite part of the book: BlackSea.
I have a confession to make.
When Nalini introduced the badass alpha of the BlackSea, Miane, I found myself thinking how her description, mannerism (she is cold, distant and clearly dangerous) and overall secrecy surrounding sea changelings reminded me a bit of Psy who are, if you remember, often described the same way. Hence, I was curious to see if a book focused on the sea changeling pack will add a little flavour to distinguish them a bit. I mean, I know that "cold as a fish" is a cool reference to make, but not very much in line with the rich and vast and diverse world she introduced so far.
After this book, I really believe that Nalini loves exploring and researching animal species and incorporating their quirks and characteristics into changeling concept she envisioned. For example, one of my favorites part of the book is the fact that BlackSea is not monolithic like wolves and leopards seem to be: much like the sea, it's the home of various sea creatures and big part of the fun is trying to guess which animal different characters turn into (except for one who will tell you all about her tentacles. :D). Making them different, not just because they don't turn into same animal species, but in a way they are organized and led in comparison to wolves or leopards, was a great touch. BlackSea is rich, the pot of everything: there are members who like company and those who prefer their loneliness, those who are cute and friendly and those who are predators, those who are always happy and curmudgeon ones... they are all different among them much like tuna fish is different from shark who is different from octopus who is different from whale.

-So, what did you think when you heard this book is about Bo and Kaia? I was kind of ambivalent. If sea changelings were the only option I'd go for Miane and Malachai - chemistry was already witnessed and they are both awesome characters. As for Bo... For me, he was always just kind of there because he is the leader of HA and HA is important part of this world/Trinity, but I think my lack of enthusiasm it's more due to the fact how he was introduced in series- remember [b:Branded by Fire|5628753|Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling, #6)|Nalini Singh|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1334968711s/5628753.jpg|4606059]? Anyway, Bo is having a lot to deal with in this book: his health problems are severe (<--I advise you not to dwell much on medical progress and recovery of humans because, this is fantasy and sea changeling have cool gadgets, ok?) and the fact there is a very high probability of chance he'll die during experiment, which makes him determined to pursue romance with this girl he likes so much. Kaia is a cook, and to be honest, I actually found her to be very typical for Nalini's heroines at the beginning, almost indistinguishably so, but Nalini is a skilled writer and by the end she built and layered upon her character and showed us why all of her friends told Bo she has such a big heart. It's not just with throwing in the book some scenes of random act of kindness-it's in situations where her compassion really shines as she easily offers it when others would be reluctant to do so.
She does have her own doubts about Bo and issues to overcome, but she doesn't have the luxury of time to really dwell upon his real motives and deny their attraction, especially since as she gets to know him better, she sees that he is a good man, reliable and trust-worthy. The reason I emphasize this is because their romance is very simple and really sweet and uncomplicated. I mean, most of the book they are under the water in each other's company, so they don't have many instances of will they/won't they. Also, Kaia is dealing with something that some readers will relate to and it's not a thing that can be instantly fixed idealistically with love, so kudos to Nalini for deciding to tackle this.

-Since romance is easy, and they are mostly in closed space, the real suspense of Ocean Light actually comes from the mystery of kidnapped sea changelings that's stretching for several books: finding out who betrayed them and why and for whom are sea changelings kidnapped in the first place. With a clever red herring thrown in, I admit, I was surprised with the reveal and it definitely made the ending of the book very interesting. Also, for all of you (who am I kidding, all of us) Hawke lovers out there, I am pleased to inform you that the guy is still running bare-chested and bare footed in the snow. God bless him.

-I did have some issues with the book, though and it has everything to do with the fact this mystery is only a partially solved puzzle of Consortium... and this is a puzzle I have problems with since the begging of new arc.
In my review of Silver Silence I wrote:
"In first arc (books #1-#12) main characters had a purpose and story had a direction (fall of Silence). We were aware of who is the enemy (The Council) and we knew that our heroes who were of all three races (psy, changelings and humans) have to work together to accomplish their goal. Mini-arc (books #13-#15), tied some loose ends and gave a world some gravity since that big of a change couldn't be enforced without problems and issues- even opposing parties had a point and right to be scared of new age until they knew more and saw consequences.
But Silver Silence told me we are still hazy on those details when it comes to second arc. Here, the good guys are trying to maintain status quo, while bad guys throw obstacles at them, but without any clear target or reason why. Lack of coherence can also be attributed to the fact we don't have one, definite villain- we have these bad guys with sinister names (the Architect, The Patriot), but they are not rounded and they read the same and can only be distinguished by these different causes which again, are confusing and random or they even contradict at one point."


This issue rises again in this book, because the reason for kidnapping sea changelings and again, reason for targeting Bo at all, simply wasn't convincing enough. At one point, the bad guy even says something in line of: "Oh, shoot, Bowen Knight is actually a cool guy, I am sad I have to eliminate him." If the goal was destabilizing Human Alliance and by extension, The Trinity- we didn't see any signs of destabilization. Contrary even- it seems that every attack, every new obstacle that Consortium throws at our heroes only seem to strengthen their relationships and unite them further. Simply said, bad guys don't pose enough of a threat for Krychek, Arrows and changelings who fought for this new world and are, de facto, leading figures off it. As the antagonist of new arc, Consortium and Architect seem incoherent, goalless and utterly ineffective so far and I hope Nalini will work on this and make them more of a challenge for our heroes.
- There is also something regarding Kaia and her secret, but I'll edit with detailed elaboration on that after the release. I'll just say, I am not sure how is that working with previous books and consistency of world building.

Some further observation:

-I appreciate all women in this series are brilliant, smart and generally leave male characters in awe.
-Ok, if SS was introducing bears and this one is introducing sea changelings, will the next one introduce WindHaven? Nalini, you spoiled me, now I want to read all about falcon wing.
-Thank God, the excerpts from Wilde Woman magazine are back. (◡‿◡✿)


Thank you to publisher and Nalini for kindly providing me an ARC for review.

amyiw's review against another edition

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3.0

2.75 maybe
Disappointed. I think this might be my least favorite psy-changeling book. So many reasons.

The first 1/2, more than 1/2, is the instalove mating, which Bowen is human so didn't make sense. I would have like more interaction with each other and less thinking about how she smelled and the attraction and pull to one another. I was getting irritated, actually irritated with how slowly this moved when it could have been an interest based growth too. Nope. So the first 60% was a bit boring and I kept waiting for more but got the same telling of how they felt. hmm... I just didn't feel the chemistry.

Then finally some real story starts and we get to see one of the traitors. He is repentant but...
Spoiler wow, all the forgiveness and trust immediately given back.
It just wasn't the norm for this series. And then the next traitor, really? argh!
Spoiler Again, I get that she is sad that she lost her friend but he did something horrid and unforgivable and the human alliance member that leaked information, no punishment What So Ever! She is right back in the alliance as what? She is punished enough for her loss of a boyfriend, he was a traitor and spy and she gave him information! I don't care if she is repentant, she should lose any position and be monitored. Wow. And then the Black Sea changelings don't see that they have a really issue with really knowing their people. Two, read it two, people gave information even after understanding what was happening.
How can Black Sea still trust? It just doesn't ring true how it all is dealt with.

Then the very end with the last bad guys. OK this was pretty good and the deal Bo makes. Finally I'm feeling some chemistry between our characters and finally the plot is more even than a bad romance. We get a little of our previous characters too. But this is too little too late. Also her cure was a little too convenient. I had this at a 2 stars OK and I still don't think it made it quite to 3 Good but more three for the ending. I will skip it on a reread of the series.

I would wonder if I wasn't in the mood or if I've falling out of love with this series but I just reread [b:Shield of Winter|17159944|Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling, #13)|Nalini Singh|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1384968780s/17159944.jpg|23584227] and [b:Shards of Hope|17159943|Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling, #14)|Nalini Singh|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1414670964s/17159943.jpg|42797145] and really enjoyed them on reread... just last month! So I know it was this book. For some reason it was a bad romance for more than the first 1/2, all thought no action, feeling thought about, smells, pulls, attractions but very little more, moved like a snail.

audiobookmel's review against another edition

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5.0

My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.

4.5 stars

Back to the world of Psy-Changeling. This is a series that I’ve loved since I read the first book, Slave to Sensation, back in 2013. I’ve sense devoured the series and grab every new book as soon as possible. Now, the series has sorta spun off to the Psy-Changeling Trinity series, which moves out of the San Francisco area and to new characters.

In Ocean Light, we finally get to learn more about the water changelings. While most of the packs are mostly a single species, like the leopards, wolves and bears, the water changelings are all the different species into one group. They are lesser in number and many are more solitary than the other shifters, so have one group encompass them all makes sense. They still have a fierce devotion to their group.

Bowen Knight is a character we’ve known for several books now. He is the security specialist and leader of the Human Alliance. He got an implant to help block the Psy from ever attacking his mind. Problem is, that this blocker has a time limit on it. He will not live much longer unless it is removed, which would make him vulnerable to the Psy, which he isn’t willing to do. Black Sea changelings have offered to help.

Kaia Luna is a water changeling in Black Sea. Her sister is working to try to solve Bowen’s issue. Kaia is helping, because she does have a medical background, even though she gave it up for her first love, cooking. She has a very strong heart and is part of the glue that is keeping Black Sea together.

While a large part of this story focuses on trying to Bowen through his deadline without his death, there is also the vanishing of several of the Black Sea changelings. Because the oceans are so vast and so many of the changelings go out into the deep on solitary swims, it is very hard to keep track of everyone, but there are some that it is known that they are not just missing, but dead at the hands of fishing vessels and the Human Alliance does appear that they might be involved, which puts strain between Bowen and Black Sea.

I loved learning so much more about Black Sea and seeing how they all work together. Even with all the different species, they are still very much family. It was also interesting seeing how the animal’s personality affected the person too. I hope to see more of the water changelings in future books.

Narration
Angela Dawe continues to nail the narration of this series. I just love all of the voices that she chooses for characters. I think she really brings out their personalities. I think her pacing and tone are perfect as well. If you haven’t tried listening to Angela Dawe, I highly recommend her.

**I like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

noplotjustvibes's review against another edition

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emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.75