"Branded by Fire," Nalini Singh

Pros: Delicious meeting of two hot-blooded characters; continues a delightful series
Cons: Not quite as out-freaking-standing as the previous book; definitely not a good place to start the series
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group.
Visit Nalini Singh’s website.
Expected publication date: 7/7/2009.


I started in on Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series with the absolutely amazing Hostage to Pleasure. It wasn’t the first book in the series, but it didn’t take me long to sink my teeth into this unusual world of shape-shifters (wolves, cats, rats, and more), psychics, etc. I wouldn’t recommend making Branded by Fire your introduction into the world; the plot has gotten fairly complex by now, and needs some background. However, while there’s still quite a bit going on plot-wise in this installment, the relationship between Mercy (a DarkRiver cat-shifter) and Riley (a SnowDancer wolf-shifter) definitely takes center stage.

The problem? They’re both dominant alphas, neither willing to cede any control to a partner. Riley’s always believed that he wanted a traditional submissive mate, and Mercy’s wondered whether she’d find a compatible mate at all. After all, she’d never be happy with a weak submissive, but she could never allow an alpha to dominate her. Riley’s attractive, but he’s a wolf for goodness’ sake! Even bedding him would be embarrassing at best.

They’re forced to work together, however, as the liaisons between their packs. And the kidnapping of a young researcher from DarkRiver territory throws them head-first into a very dangerous plot that’ll keep their hearts pounding and every protective instinct screaming.


Mercy & Riley have a delightful chemistry and a searingly hot attraction. The plotting of Nalini’s world keeps things interesting and provides excitement beyond just the relationship; I always prefer romances that have something else going on in them. I love the way she brings in characters from previous novels—not just the ubiquitous males, as some series do, but also the women.

I found Branded by Fire a little less distinct from some of the other series and worlds out there than Hostage to Pleasure was, perhaps because the relationship was so shifter-focused and shifters are so popular right now. As far as shifter romantica goes, however, Nalini’s work is far better than, say, Christine Feehan’s.

If you’ve been enjoying the Psy-Changeling universe so far, then by all means grab Branded by Fire! It’s a wonderful continuation of the series and a delightfully hot romance/erotica novel. The fact that it didn’t blow me away as thoroughly as Hostage to Pleasure did should definitely not be taken as a negative, considering how much I loved that book!

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25 comments on “"Branded by Fire," Nalini Singh
  1. darla d says:

    Sounds like an intriguing series. My library has the first one on order, so I put a hold on it. Thanks for the review! 🙂

  2. heather says:

    Yet another series I wish I’d found earlier! That’s the problem with long series: you end up feeling like either you have to hunt down the back books even if you don’t have time or money (or they’re out of print already), or you’re permanently left behind on some aspects. At least authors these days do try to make many of their series books stand alone more readily.

  3. Yelena says:

    Hey, isn’t Branded by Fire not out yet? July 7 is the release date. Do you have an advanced copy? Thanks for the review!

  4. heather says:

    Yeah, I often get advance review copies from Penguin Group. 🙂

  5. Yelena says:

    Wow, Heather. Any bigger hints on Branded by Fire you want to share (pleeaasse?) I’ve been dieing for BBF; been reading Ms. Singh since 2006. *another request for teeny (okay, maybe more!) hints, Heather*

  6. Karie says:

    I am excited to read this book. It looks really hot. I can’t wait for it to come out. I recently found this series and have been able to read them all at various bookstores during lunch breaks etc. One bookstore had the first 3, then I found the 4th at a different store, and the 5th at yet a different store. The first couple of books were at every bookstore so they weren’t difficult at all. It was on book 3-5 that they weren’t all in stock at every store. They are worth hunting down and reading though. I think book 4 (Mine to Possess) is either people’s favorite or least favorite depending on whether or not people liked the heroine.

  7. Blackie says:

    I’v read them all and they’re a must-read-the-next-sooner-than-possible series! Nalini Singh is a great autor… This book in particular seems even better than the others… Now I’ve only gotta wait for the library to get it…

  8. Gas Fires says:

    Thanks for the review – I’m looking forward to this one. I plan to start it right after I finish the latest Alisa Scheckley, Moon burn (though I may need a palate cleanser in between because I don’t really like paranormals so much that I want to read them one after the other). I’m looking forward to getting caught up with the world that Singh has created here.

  9. Safety Boots says:

    I thought Branded by Fire was a deeply rewarding book. I don’t know you, but while reading Branded by Fire, I had the feeling that you weren’t holding anything back. There is a passion to your writing, the whole book feels like it is written from a place of deep investment. I am now looking forward to November’s Blaze of Memory.

  10. Scott Bikes says:

    Branded by Fire is a superb addition to a winning series coming second only to Caressed by Ice (book 3) which is still my favourite in the series. And can I just say this: Nalini Singh astonishes me. Simple as that: this is the second book she wrote this year (the first was Angels’ Blood) and both will most probably make my top 10 of 2009. AND she has a third one coming out later in the year – Blaze of Memory, another entry in the Psy-Changeling series and I have no doubt it will be another winner.

  11. I really need to get my hands on this, but last time I looked for it it wasn’t in my local book store. Maybe it’s there now. The excerpt for it was scorching, I can only imagine what the whole story was like

  12. BrianS says:

    Is this book out of print? I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Anyway, i enjoyed your review and am looking forward to purchasing it, heading out to the book store now.

  13. Branded by Fire is a superb addition to a winning series coming second only to Caressed by Ice (book 3) which is still my favorite in the series. And can I just say this: Nalini Singh amazes me.

  14. Bryn Thomas says:

    Great book! seriously, the context is just amazing, Nalini Singh really does know how to interpret every single bit of detail and manages to add so much of charisma into the book. A well written book! would recommend it ! cheers

  15. p90x says:

    Thanks for sharing Heather. Branded by Fire looks like an amazing book to read. Great review.

    – Robert

  16. work wear says:

    Hi Heather,

    It’s an amazing read, as you have obviously discovered that yourself! Nice review, captured the details of the book really well 🙂

  17. Adam says:

    After reading the review I expected so much but I was slightly disappointed with Branded by Fire. Angels’ Blood was a much better read – maybe I just expected much more. Sorry, just my opinion Adam

    • heather says:

      I like Singh’s Guild Hunter series better than her Psy Changeling series as well, Adam. I think they’re good in different ways/for slightly different crowds.

  18. Trading says:

    Very good review of a very good book – makes me want to read it again. I got into Nalini Singh’s books a few short months ago and fell in love from day one. Branded by Fire is the best yet!

  19. Joe black says:

    I need to get hold of this this book, will have a good look of AMAZON. Cheers

  20. got into Nalini Singh’s books a few short months ago and fell in love from day one. Branded by Fire is the best yet!

  21. Sounds like a good story. I’ll add it to my wish list reading checklist. Thanks for the recommendation.

  22. Upon reading your post, I think “Branded by Fire” of Nalini Singh is really interesting. I would really like to know how the characters were deveoped. I would like to learn this technique.

  23. tech comm says:

    I think the book was very well written and I totally agree that its not a great place to start a series. I think you must read the very first one to really appreciate the entire story of the series

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