Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1)

By Nalini Singh

66,605 ratings - 4.08* vote

Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind— and none of the heart…In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind— and none of the

... more

Book details

Mass Market Paperback, 334 pages
September 5th 2006 by Berkley Sensation
Original Title
Slave to Sensation
Edition Language

Community Reviews

Val ⚓️ Shameless Non-Snowflake ⚓️

***Updated for book 19***

This is the kick starter for one of my FAVORITE UF/PNR series of all time.



TIME, people.

If you love paranormal romance and/or urban fantasy, look no further than this series.

Look no further than Nalini Singh.

Her writing is flawless.
Her world building is incredible.
And her characters and story lines are in a league of their own.



See what I did there?

Side note: I actually have a love/hate relationship with this movie. When you played softball for 16+ years like I did?

Believe me, you've SEEN A League of Their Own way more than any one person ever should in their lifetime.

Almost to its detriment.

But anybadjoke, back to this book and Nalini Singh's awesomeness.

This book is the beginning of a true PNR saga of legit proportions.

In this book, you are introduced to some changelings (shifters) and what I think is a truly brilliant and utterly original people (at least I had never read about anything like it before):

The Psy race and the thing they call "Silence."

Will it blow your PNR mind?


Not only that, but in this book, we are introduced to one of my favorite book husbands of all time:
Lucas Hunter.

Seriously though, I love this series so much, I am LEGIT pimping it out right now.


I just can't say enough good things about it.

And ya'll know I'm not one to gush too much.

If you haven't read it, you fucking should.


On a series setup side note:

After reading this one, some people get concerned that EVERY book will be a Male Changeling / Female Psy coupling - because both Book One and Book Two both are - and since I've been asked numerous times by various friends who are just starting out in this series if such is the case, I decided to list a breakdown of the coupling types for the series up to its current point (Silver Silence).

So, for those interested:

Book 1 (Psy-Changeling) - Male Changeling (DarkRiver Alpha)/Female Psy
Book 2 - Male Changeling (DarkRiver)/Female Psy (Visions of Heat)
Book 3 - Male SnowDancer Psy/Female Changeling (SnowDancer) (Caressed by Ice)
Book 4 - Male Changeling (DarkRiver)/Human Female (Mine to Possess)
Book 5 - Male Changeling (DarkRiver)/Female Psy (Hostage to Pleasure)
Book 6 - Male Changeling (SnowDancer)/Female Changeling (DarkRiver) (Branded by Fire)
Book 7 - Male Human / Female Psy (Blaze of Memory)
Book 8 - Male Human Cop/Female Justice Psy (Bonds of Justice)
Book 9 - Male AND Female SnowDancer Changelings (Play of Passion)
Book 10 - Male Changeling (SnowDancer Alpha)/Female SnowDancer Psy (Kiss of Snow)
Book 11 - Male Changeling (SnowDancer) / Female Changeling (Tangle of Need)
Book 12 - Male AND Female Psy (Heart of Obsidian)
Book 13 - Male AND Female Psy (Shield of Winter)
Book 14 - Male AND Female Psy (Shards of Hope)

Book 15 (Alleigiance of Honor)- NO focal couple. This books acts as a bridge between season one of the story arc (books 1 - 14) and season two (books 15+). While this book doesn't focus on any particular couple, it's a must-read for the series.

Book 16 (PC) (Trinity Book 1) - Male Changeling (StoneWater Alpha)/Female Psy (Silver Silence)
Book 17 (PC) (Trinity Book 2) - Male Human/Female Changeling (BlackSea) (Ocean Light)
Book 18 (PC) (Trinity Book 3) - Male Changeling (SnowDancer)/Female Psy (Wolf Rain)
Book 19 (PC) (Trinity Book 4) - Female Changeling (BlackEdge Alpha)/Male Psy (Alpha Night)

I don't know if this helps anyone out, but I thought I'd share.

Plus, I just like making lists...


Anyway, like I said, if you haven't read this, go.

GO already.

Kat Kennedy

This is a romance novel. If you're unfamiliar with the romance formula then I'm about to spoil every single romance novel ever:

They all end on a deliriously happy note with an abundance of perfection.

So whilst I won't discuss the actual end to this book, I don't think I really will be spoiling everything if I discuss the TYPE of end this book has and why it means that I just wasn't really meant for the romance genre.

There was a lot to enjoy about this book. For starters, considering it is billed as a romance novel, its world building was rather impressive. The "Psys" (people with specialized psychic/mental abilities), "Changelings" (shifters of various animal varieties) and humans all live together with Psys generally occupying the higher echelons of society.

The Psys are supposed to be completely unemotional and rational.

Which generally means they live long and prosper!

While Changelings are moving up the social ladder leaving the humans in the gutter... where presumably they belong. I'm not sure - they don't feature much in this novel and I must say, as a human, I find this pretty offensive. The sole token human in the novel barely has a part!

Okay - so emotions are forbidden which makes things kind of awkward for resident Psy, Sascha Duncan and Alpha Changeling hunk, Lucas Hunter.

Luckily, it's a romance novel so they naturally work through it.

or else...
Or else...

My issue is that I just obviously wasn't really meant for the romance genre because I was perfectly fine with this book up until the last couple of chapters. I don't want a super happy ending. Not if it doesn't make any bloody sense and just comes out of nowhere.

happy endings

Also, I have more issues with paranormal romance and that is because most of them have a "mate for life" policy in which the paranormal creatures actually CAN'T mate with anyone else - even if their spouse dies.

Look, this isn't even true in nature. First of all, not all wolves mate for life in the wild - usually only an alpha pair. And you know what - if one of that pair dies, the other one will probably find another mate!

It's kind of a sick thing to romantizice over too, when you think about it. "He loves me so much, that if I died, he'd rather abandon our children and the world to come join me."

I don't think that's romantic at all. In fact, I think it qualifies as a very unhealthy relationship!

There were definite dominance and control issues in this story that annoyed me as well. Because, you know, the man is always right and a woman can't choose to make a sacrifice for something she believes in. That's just not right. She should listen to her man. She needs permission to do these things.

What is it with that in today's literature? Do we still want a man that's going to knock us unconscious just to retain control?

Okay, story time with Kat:

I'm pregnant and am therefor clinically insane. Mr Kennedy arrived home from work a few weeks ago to find me in the backyard tilling the soil.

"What the hell are you doing?!" he exclaimed angrily.

I glanced up from my hard labour, puffing but excited. "Look, honey! I'm making a veggie patch! Now we'll have nice fresh veggies to eat!"

Mr Kennedy looked at me with a special kind of horror as he began to mentally tabulate exactly how many more weeks this madness was likely to go on for.

"You hate gardening! Why would you want a veggie patch? Why, Honey? Why??!!"

I laughed at his silliness. Everyone needs a veggie patch. Silly, silly man! "Oh! It'll be fun! I'll just finish tilling this soil and then we can go out right away and buy some seedlings! We'll have nice fresh veggies by the time the baby comes!"

Mr Kennedy now has a Pavlovian upchuck reflex to any sentence that ends in, " the time the baby comes!" There is a certain manic way pregnant women say that, which instantly informs the rest of the world that reason and logic no longer hold any value.

I then began furiously churning up the soil with one of those pick-axe-like things that you use to do this kind of work. I don't know really, I found it in the shed and it looked like it'd do the job. I think I've seen someone use it in a movie.

"Will you stop that! You're pregnant!"

"Don't be silly, I'll be done soon, darling!"

Mr Kennedy groaned before stripping off his work shirt, snatching the pick-axe from me and saying, "Fine, I'll do it! You just go sit down over there!"

It was at this point that I could KIND of understand why my female ancestors traded some of their freedom and rights if it meant getting to watch a man like him work in the field every day.

the sexy
Because frankly, he looks a lot like this. And he was very, very impressive... with that pick-axe...

But I'm crazy, and pregnant and hormones are what they are.

The fact is though, that as crazy and pregnant and hormonal as I am, I still don't want a caveman who thinks he can threaten, control, dominate and bully me. Though I have consistently made sure I'm doing heavy work around the time Mr Kennedy gets home so that I can watch him do it instead, no man is hot enough to be ordering me around and stomping all over my free-will, damn it!

Thus the three stars! Because I can't enjoy a story where the final lines go something like this, "And so I learned that my husband was right all along..."

Seriously, people? I'm married. My husband hasn't been right since he signed those papers! It's a fact of life.

Married men are never right.

The end.



I honestly don't know what to say about this book that hasn't already been said numerous times other than it's easily become my FAVORITE paranormal romance thus far. There wasn't a single thing about this story that I didn't absolutely and completely love.

I won't go into detail about the plot, the characters, or the writing; there are plenty of fantastic reviews already written that fully express my feelings, thoughts, and sentiments about this fantastic book (series). I will say, though, that Slave to Sensation had the perfect mixture of world building, character development, story depth, intrigue, action, eroticism, and romance. Not once did I become frustrate or annoyed with the plot or the characters. Nope! I spent the whole book captivated, fascinated, and enthralled. I was unable to put it down. In fact, much to my family's dismay, I was so absorbed in the story that I read it in one sitting.

I'm not sure why I waited so long to start this series because I knew it would be right up my alley. Now I understand why so many of my friends consider the Psy-Changeling series one of their favorite paranormal reads. If the rest of the books are anything like this one, there's no doubt this series will become my favorite in the paranormal genre.

Jessica's Totally Over The Top Book Obsession

4 Feels for the first time stars

Slave to Sensation is my first book by Nalini Singh and I really enjoyed it. I know I have had this baby on my kindle for a few years now and I sit here and wonder why I waited so long to start this series. I loved the whole world set up. The Psy being all mind with great psychic powers, and no feelings , the Changelings being shifters that feel greatly, and of course the boring humans. I do wish there would have been a bit more paranormal world development as I would have liked to known things like..... how long do the para live, how do they know when they found their mates? How do go about mating? All these things were touched on in a glossed over kind of way.

Lucas was sexy as hell and full of life and passion, which made Sascha seem like a lump by comparison. I did end up warming up to Sascha as the book went on but at first she was so flat it was hard to connect to her. I loved Lucas and Sascha together. Although I did wish Lucas would have figured out she was his mate a little bit sooner. I also really liked the others in Lucas' pack and I liked Hawke and I really hope he gets a book. I sure he will since this series is so long. Slave to Sensation was a great start to the series. It got me hooked on the world and the secondary characters. I can't wait to start book two!


A short conversation between me and my conscience-





Oh God.Stop reading Visions of Heat for a second.Shouldn't you be writing a review for this book, instead of starting with the next one immediately?

All right!!!

Readers, this is one of the best PNR I have ever read.Excellent writing.Excellent characters.And a world in which you'll lose yourself.If there is anyone who has not yet read it, please do it ASAP!


Huh.Fine, just do not forget that you have Chemistry to read too, or you'll flunk your exam.

Go hang yourself!


Giorgia ~ Reads

3.75 Stars

One of the things that I liked most about this story is the world building. It wasn’t necessarily intricate nor was I blown away by the concept BUT I have never read anything similar.

There are 3 kinds of people in this world. The Psy, the Changelings (who are basically shifters - so nothing new there) and the Humans who didn’t really make an appearance in this book but I think we will have human characters in the next instalments.

It’s the first category- the Psy - who give flavour to this world. Firstly because it’s an entirely new concept (at least to me it is) and secondly because their power structure, their abilities and their personalities are intriguing. They are supposed to be machine-like in their actions and they are also supposed to be emotionally emancipated. The ones who do start to feel anything at all (ranging from fear, jealousy, happiness, anger or worst of all love) are considered flawed, defective, and they are at risk of getting what is the equivalent of a lobotomy which would leave them able to exist in the most rudimentary form.

That is the most basic knowledge we are given in regards to the Psy society and throughout the book we get to discover more through the heroines journey of self discovery. (Her - Sascha- being a Psy who has started to feel too many things and runs the risk of being discovered).

The hero, Lucas, is an alpha changeling (a panther) who gets involved in Sascha’s life as a means of getting information about a serial killer who is Psy and is being protected by the highest Psy authority. (Because Psy are supposed to feel no emotion they cannot be killers, it would sort of tarnish their reputation for something like that to be public knowledge)

I was drawn into the story from the start. I found both main characters to be interesting but more so the heroine. There was the element of the unknown in regards to why she is unraveling and why she’s exhibiting all sorts of “weird” behaviours for a Psy.

The plot was a bit predictable only in that it followed the usual trajectory and there wasn’t really a high stakes feeling to it. It was a bit flat in the emotional department but it did keep me entertained enough.

As to the romantic relationship. I think those two are good together and they had chemistry. But there wasn’t anything extraordinary to set them apart from other typical fictional couples. Definitely not a great love story, but a solid one I’d say.

I’m definitely going to continue with this series. And I’m glad it has 15 books because I love discovering a good, promising series knowing I have so much to look forward to.

chan ☆

tragically, this is gonna be a dnf for me

i really wanted to like this because i really like nalini's writing and while the guild hunters series is not my favorite i figured maybe psy-changeling might be a game changer. and this is a first book in a series so i don't want to judge too harshly... but i don't think this is going to work for me. it's almost the antithesis to everything that paranormal is in my eyes: passionate, fated mates etc. with psy characters... they're emotionless or at least are supposed to be.

and i guess you could argue that could make for some good tension but it just fell flat for me. i didn't like the heroine and the hero was very... basic alpha type. idk. maybe i'll try again with this series someday but i can't be bothered at the moment.

Blacky *Romance Addict*

This book goes to one of the best pnr's I've ever read. The writing is phenomenal, so great that I knew just with the first book that I'll be reading all the others :)

I first heard of this series a few months ago, and my reaction was like this: O.o Psychic people devoid of emotions and shape-shifters as couples Photobucket . I decided I definitely wasn't going to read something like that.
I was VERY, very, very, very stupid. Photobucket Photobucket

The story very much remindes me of the movie "Equilibrium", in which the hero lives in a society where all humans are without emotions, he is a member of the highest authority, and he deals with extinguishing everything that might trigger an emotional response (great movie btw, one of my favorites, Christian Bale is awsome Photobucket )
Here the heroine is part of the Psy society, they are genetically modified humans with some amazing psychic abilities, but no notion of emotion. She was born different, and forced to hide her nature from everyone. Lucas is a changeling, a species of shifters, able to turn into animals at will. He is wild by nature and ruled by emotion, and he finds her irresistible. Being able to sense she's not the usuall Psy, he sets on seducing her for information Photobucket

Their chemistry was off the fu*king charts! I mean, wow! Sascha was constantly trying to keep her facade of calm and emotionless, and Lucas was constantly trying to break it. The touching, caressing, the dreams Photobucket simply HOT. I wanted to pet him myself Photobucket the fact that he's a shifter - didn't really bother me, in some books that part has an icky feel to it, but here it was perfectly ok :)

And so I have to say, this book is a beginning of an obsession, I can already tell Photobucket I love the style of writing, the world the author created has me in it's grip and I don't think it will let go untill I reach the final book.

BTW, Hawk was in this one, the alpha of the wolf pack, I sooo want to read him Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket


I FINALLY picked this book up after it's been on my tbr years. This is a book that you definitely have to pay attention to because of the unique world. I am still a bit confused about how the whole network and mind stuff works and I do wish we got a bit more of the changelings in here. But the romance was AMAZING and I really loved Lucas and Sascha's relationship. I am such a sucker for fated mates and loved how deeply they fell for each other. I loved the dreams they had together and how Sascha slowly learned to release control and fall for Lucas. I'm definitely interested in continuing on with this series!



So... I've heard a lot of good things about this series and since I'm already a big fan of this author's Guild Hunter series, I knew there would come a time to read this series. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME IT WAS THIS FREAKING GOOD SOONER!!! It's what I've been waiting my whole life for! And now I've finally found it! Thank you, Nalini! THANK YOU!!!


Annnnd on to the next book it is!!!