Review: Tangle of Need / Author: Graham Joyce / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
Tangle of Need is the latest in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, a long running sequence of novels set in the far future where mankind is split into three distinct sub-species; regular humans, people with psychic powers (mostly telepathy) and psy-changelings – shape shifters. The people who can turn into animals are the primary focus here, and not only can they turn into predatory mammals, they also behave like romanticised versions of such beasts. The wolf-people make growling sounds and the cat-people purr. Both types are very physically fit and emotionally intense, because that’s the sort of book this is.
Though nominally science fiction, the set-up is so strongly focused on the characters (rather than the world) that this could have easily been a fantasy novel; there is little actual depth here, but it is a very broad setting, filled with people rather than things and ideas. In addition, Tangle of Need is very firmly part of a long running series, and new readers may find themselves a little lost. Both of these are minor niggles. You don’t pick up a novel like this for an examination into the technological consequences of super powers in society. You pick up a novel like this when you want a spot of naughty, sexy fun.
The character interaction sizzles. The large cast of characters are well detailed, and interesting in a soap opera sort of way.Tangle of Need is, at its core, a romance novel aimed directly at the gooey soft centre of a certain type of geek. The plot, such as it is, has enough intrigue and excitement to carry us to the next piece of character based drama and intimacy, and there is enough adventure here to keep the hotter scenes fresh.
Those who love the idea of people with ‘inner beasts’ and like their fiction filled with sex and supernatural powers will find Tangle of Need an interesting diversion, though if you’re new to Singh’s work then you should perhaps start with the first of the series, Slave to Sensation.