Review: Insight by Santino Hassell

30364791Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.

Santino Hassell is my favorite romance writer, but I must admit I hesitated a little before approaching this book. I have a… bad history, so to speak, with paranormal romance (perks of being aro & reading hundreds of paranormal romances because they were the only thing available – now I avoid them like the plague), but I’m happy to say that Insight didn’t disappoint.

Though this book was mainly marketed as romance, what I enjoyed the most in it wasn’t the romance, but the worldbuilding, the plot & the characters. Hassell created a world of psychics that was so interesting & different from everything I’ve seen in the genre, with a dark/gloomy atmosphere & a lot of mystery, that I couldn’t help but read the book in one sitting. Nate was a great protagonist as well, and I was surprised to realize I even cared about his dead, asshole of a twin, Theo (everyone hated the guy and yes, he was annoying, but I felt bad for him).

I didn’t guess who the person behind the murders/disappearances was, but one of the book’s revelations/plot twists was pretty obvious for me half-way through the book, which wasn’t necessarily bad, but well, it weakened the ending a little. As for the romance… I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t feel much about it either, mainly because I found Trent to be immensely boring. Nothing about him was interesting or captivating, and towards the end he became a bit annoying with his jealously. It wasn’t bad enough to tarnish the book for me, but… still disappointing, I guess.

In short, Insight has some awesome characters (the secondary characters are just great), an engaging plot & interesting worldbuilding, but the romance feels a bit lacking. I would say I can’t wait to read the next book, but well… I hated its protagonist here in Insight, so I’m a bit hesitant. Hassell did the same thing in Five Boroughs and managed to convince me that a character I hated wasn’t so bad, so maybe he will do it again in Oversight.  I guess we will see.

4.0 stars for Insight.

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