Review Deux: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Ocean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity Book 2) by Nalini Singh
Paranormal romance released by Berkley on June 12, 2018

Ocean Light by Nalini SinghNew York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love…

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment–taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling…

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine…

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back–even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy…

This is one out of two books that left me feeling utterly satiated once I finished it, and yet completely desolate because I finished the book. Nalini Singh is an author I will follow anywhere she feels like going in terms of her writing. Ocean Light is part of the continuation of the Psy-Changeling series, which is in its “second season” to paraphrase Singh. It tells the story of Bowen Knight, a key secondary character up until recently, and Kaia Luna, a scientist turned chef sea changeling. It’s forced proximity, political intrigue, a wonderful romance, lush prose, and so much more in a book-shaped bundle, and not necessarily in that order.

Kaia comes from a warm extended family, but her parents died when she was very young, and more recently, her best friend disappeared and might be dead. For reasons fully explained in the book, Kaia does not like humans and does not go to the surface if she can avoid it—so she hasn’t been up to the surface in a long time. She’s angry when this book starts, but we also get to see her compassion and caring. Kaia is always feeding someone, even when she’s upset or frustrated, because food is her love language. Through various twists and turns, she grows to love Bowen, and eventually begins to push back against the emotional trauma of her childhood.

Bowen hasn’t always been a sympathetic character—he’s done some not so great things in his mission to protect humankind. But even before he meets Kaia, he’s starting to work towards a more collaborative way of making sure everyone lives in harmony with each other. He has a good relationship with his parents and sister, but also has a found family that he’s very close to, and I am really hoping we see more of them soon. He’s a careful observer, and it is through this observation that he is able to make space for himself in Kaia’s heart. He figures out her likes and dislikes, and details about the sea changelings’ culture. He can be quite funny, but most of the time, he’s detail-oriented and incredibly focused. We really only see the funnier, younger side of Bowen when he’s around Kaia or is very, very unguarded (like at the very beginning of the book). I loved seeing both sides of him because it lent weight to the idea that Kaia brought out different aspects of his personality. Lie Kaia, Bowen also has to push back against some emotional trauma.

To a certain extent, the equivalent work Kaia and Bowen need to do to be together is one of my favorite parts of the book. But, like I said, there is so much to love in this book. The political intrigue that links all of these books still felt relevant, and unfolded apace with the romance. Kaia brings us delicious food, and a sense of mysterious mischief. Singh’s lush prose shows up in all of her books, and it is in full evidence here. I think you could read this book on its own. I did not perform a ritual reread of all of the series before each new release, and I followed the arc of the overall series well enough. In short, get thee a copy of this book.

Grade: A

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here. You can also read Limecello’s review of Ocean Light here.

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