This is the second book by Robin Owens about the planet Celta, a place that utilizes psychic powers for everything from cleaning house, to transportation. In such a world, Ruis Elder is a freak. Not only does he not have psychic powers, he is a Null – one whose power is to nullify psychic powers in others. The longer he is in someone’s vicinity, the stronger his nullification power becomes. Because of this unfortunate birth defect, Ruis is an outcast among his people. He has to hide from his uncle, the head of the Elder family, who wants him dead.
Ailim SilverFir is a judge. She is responsible for upholding the law, and is also the head of her family. Her family’s finances are on the brink of bankruptcy, and her first act as head is to seek a loan from the ruling Council. Ailim knows that Ruis is an outlaw, and his life will be forfeit if he is found in Druida. Yet she cannot resist the peace his nullification brings her mind. As a tele-empath, she is constantly under assault by the thoughts and emotions of others. Ruis blocks her psi power. In addition, they fall passionately in love. They have to overcome threats from outsiders as well as their own issues before they can resolve their relationship.
This was an enjoyable read. It follows some conventions of science fiction, while weaving a romance between two tortured individuals. Owens’ writing style is smooth, and she describes the alien environment in such a manner that it is inviting and realistic. Some of the secondary characters are one-dimensional, but the psychic pets make up for it.
I prefer to read series in order, but having read the middle, I plan to get the beginning novel to see how it all began. For others who enjoy futuristic romances, or tortured heroes, this is the book for you!
Nancy Riggins-Hume, August 2003
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