A Changeling research is captured – and it falls to DarkRiver Leopards and Snow Dancer Wolves to bring him back. They suspect, as always, the involvement of the Psy
But the Human Alliance is back in San Francisco with their very high risk, ambitious plan. While the Chanagelings may not be their direct target, the fallout can consume all of them
Which is leopard Sentinel Mercy and wolf Lieutenant Riley’s job to work together and solve. And work together without killing each other. And work together despite the increasing pressure of their mutual attraction despite the differing clans, differing shifter type and differing loyalties. And a whole lot of old fashioned ideals to be conquered.
I love the ongoing world building of this series, especially the focus on the complex issue of Silence and the Psy
This has been something that has been touched on before in previous books but the focus has been very much on threats to the Changelings. To them and the Psy defectors, the broader societal implications of Silence are less important than surviving the latest shenanigans from the Council
But in this book the prime antagonist is the Human Alliance and their prime target is the Psy. The fact the Changelings are not the centralised target (though they are certainly are involved because it’s happening on their doorstep and something can’t happen in their territory without getting involved) means we can examine the broader implications of Silence falling for the Psy. Rising violence rates, the fact the race was desperate when it adapted Silence, the fact that there are a lot of Psy genuinely terrified of the damage they could cause without Silence. Silence is way more than just a threat to conquer, it’s complicated and involved.
And this book really brings home how important Silence is – and how collected the Psy are. Because of the Psynet, thing that individual Psy do can actually affect the Psy as a whole. We begin to address some really interesting ethical debates about whether the Psy should be forced to quit Silence, whether Silence is a viable choice, especially when we consider that for some Psy with genuinely dangerous and need Silence to function in society and to survive, or the fact that crime rates spiking can affect everyone, or that the Psy falling could literally destroy society. What about personal choice? What about if that choice is being affected by scare mongering rather than just reality?
On top of that we have a nuanced look at the Council itself rather than just seeing them as the antagonist with a few decent members. From the nuance of Nikita to simply acknowledging the integral role that the Psy play and even if you hate the system, burning it all down isn’t that helpful to anyone.
We’re also seeing more involvement from the Human Alliance; again we have nuance. We acknowledge that the humans are frequently seen as the weak ones, the extras, the forgotten of society excellently following on from previous books. I love how they find their strength and capability, how they work to match the more powerful races
I love the meta of this series. The complexities of the world and the politics, how the three different races relate to each other and how all of this is developing over the world. I like how the packs are growing, uniting and changing. I like how we’re seeing characters reoccur since too often in long running Paranormal Romance tend to fade into the background: there’s definitely still some element of that in this series which annoys, but it’s still good to see that Sasha is still around, her powers and abilities still helping shape the characters and story.
So we come to the relationship in this book. And this is usually the point when talking about this series where I curse and stomp and hate how this wonderful world setting and amazing metaplot and excellent twisting world building and politics all unheld by some intriguing characters is dragged into the utter mud by retrograde, rigid gender roles and romantic “heroes” to whom consent is beyond and alien concept.
And this book… well it does several things better.
Our love interests are Mercy, leopard sentinel and Riley, wolf lieutenant. They are both soldiers, both dominant, both in control. When he tries to treat her like a fragile flower, she vehemently rejects this. When he tries to make decisions for her, she’s beyond furious. When he tries to protect her she nearly calls of the entire possibility of a relationship with him
I've been reading these as the books between more serious stuff, as dependable girl pulp. I think Singh is ahead of the curve in terms of her plot construction and overall prose style, and the mythology, while occasionally underdeveloped, is nevertheless ambitious enough to keep me well on the hook. The relationships so far, not so much. I'm not going to launch into bitching about mate-for-life tropes and the whole alpha pack thing, which scientists have determined is so much Victorian bullshit, because it's dumb to attack emotional fantasy from some airless roost of logical superiority. The Psy-Changing world contains those things, and they have an emotional reality there.
So. This was the very first novel in this world where the central couple actually had conflicts I recognized as real, underneath all the in-world machinations I don't recognize as real, exactly. Maybe it's just that the enemies-to-lovers thing has more heat to me than rarr, me alpha, you Jane, which is largely the basis of couple conflicts in precious novels. Either way, nice to see a couple evenly matched. That said, everyone's family is the worst, and if my family acted like that with me, I would get a fucking restraining order. Unhinged proprietary violence is not respect.