Friday, June 5, 2020

Alpha Night by Nalini Singh

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her breathtaking Psy-Changeling Trinity series with a mating that shouldn’t exist…

Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s devotion to her pack is equaled only by her anger at anyone who would harm those under her care. That currently includes the empaths who’ve flowed into her city for a symposium that is a security nightmare, a powder keg just waiting for a match.

Ethan Night is an Arrow who isn’t an Arrow. Numb and disengaged from the world, he’s loyal only to himself. Assigned as part of the security force at a world-first symposium, he carries a dark agenda tied to the power-hungry and murderous Consortium. Then violence erupts and Ethan finds himself crashing into the heart and soul of an alpha wolf.

Mating at first sight is a myth, a fairytale. Yet Selenka’s wolf is resolute: Ethan Night, broken Arrow and a man capable of obsessive devotion, is the mate it has chosen. Even if the mating bond is full of static and not quite as it should be. Because Selenka’s new mate has a terrible secret, his mind surging with a power that is a creature of madness and death…

Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is another brilliant addition to the Psy-Changeling series. This book is set in Russia and the focus is on Alpha wolf Selenka and Psy Arrow Ethan.

I really enjoyed the gender flip in this book. I could be wrong, but Selenka is the first female Alpha I can remember and she is very special. Ethan isn’t quite as unique, but he is very loveable. This is a ‘love at first sight/fated mates’ romance that I actually believed in and enjoyed. Selenka and Ethan work beautifully together and I love that they still put in the work needed to move on from fate to a realistic life partnership.

The wolves in this book are quite different to the California wolves in earlier books and I really enjoyed the dynamics between the pack members. I also like that this book is part murder mystery – something that adds to a story that would otherwise be too similar to previous books.

I loved this book but I will admit that the ideas and situations in this book aren’t completely fresh. Series fans will recognise pieces of Selenka and Ethan’s story from previous books but at this point in the series, it is probably impossible to avoid some repeating elements. I’ll also admit to finding the wider series story arc a little more confusing after the fall of silence and I’m not sure I’ve fully got my head around the current politics and the role of the Architect yet. But I still fall in love with each new book. No one writes like Nalini Singh!

Alpha Night is the 19th installment in the Psy-Changeling series, as well as the 4th installment in the spin-off series, Psy-Changeling Trinity. Can this be read as a standalone or out of series order? Yes and no. I suggest reading a handful of the original series in order to get a firm grasp of the world building. After that, a reader can pretty much pick and choose which books they wish to read, depending on their tastes of which otherworldly characters sparks their interests.

As a fan of the original series, I must have reread the first seven or so half a dozen times, so there is a sense of comforting homecoming. I was emotionally invested during those books, but once there were so many characters, and we shifted to the Trinity novels, the connection I feel is ho-hum. While predictable in the sense that I know the author's writing style, the flow of how she does things, I have to be in the right mindset to enjoy it, or I find it frustratingly formulaic.

The Russian-based BlackEdge pack, their alpha is the narrator of
Alpha Night. Selenka, an alpha female wolf changeling, is a strong voice, a combination we haven't read in the series as of yet. I was intrigued to see where she would take the story.

To add to the angst and my frustration, Selenka instantly mates with an emotionless Arrow. INSTANTLY. I need to reiterate this. Selenka's wolf instantly mates with Ethan. I N S T A to the Nth degree. Selenka was intriguing, but mated at first sight is a major pet peeve of mine, and a first by this author. It removes the tension for me, which has me become disinterested just as instantly.

When this happens before I'm able to get to know either of the characters, I have no emotional investment in them, nor do I care if they're together or not. When they are instantly in a relationship, I miss out in the organic unfolding of where the characters get to know one another, allowing the reader to understand them deeper too. When it's instant, it seems shallow, because no one (especially the reader) ever gets to connect.

We all read differently, so I tried hard to not have this affect my enjoyment or rating, because I realize others may enjoy it as much as I don't. But it needed to be stated as a heads-up.

Ethan saves Selenka's life, which is how they come into contact. Selenka is anything but a damsel in distress – honorable, strong, and protective of her pack. The bulk of the conflict is discovering what is wrong with Ethan, while fielding conflicts from many sources. This seems to be a norm in the series. The Psy always are on the edge of death due to a psy malfunction in their brains, something dealing with breaking silence, and this is where I stated it becomes frustratingly formulaic, yet also a comfort for those who are looking for the sameness/trust that the author will lead them down the same path.

No matter how intrigued I was with Selenka being an alpha female wolf changeling mated to a Psy, there didn't seem to be enough conflict or plot to support the length of the novel. I was losing interest while drudging through redundancy. Selenka sounded so promising, but it just fell flat for me.

To be honest, I wavered between 3 or 4 stars. The comforting sense of homecoming had me bumping it up. While I enjoyed the novel, I'm not left feeling curious as to where the series will go next. There is no drive to read about other characters to see their futures. No hunger to get my hands on the next as soon as it's available. Just comfort in the familiarity.

If you enjoy this series, I highly suggest you read Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series.

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
3 1/2 Stars

While familiar, there are a few differences in this book than there in the others in this series. Mostly, it felt comforting, getting back to the basics as it were. Back to the wolves, where it all began.

Selenka is the alpha of her pack, the granddaughter of the last alpha. Her father, while intellectual, is not the alpha she is, and I think harbors a grudge against her for that very reason. You can see it in the first interactions between them. Her mother, a non-changeling, left her father when she was young and raised another family. Selenka is very independent and chooses her inner circle wisely. Which is why she is confused why she's drawn to an Arrow who appears to be as closed off mentally and emotionally as she is independent.

Ethan is a tortured soul, having been taken by Ming LaBon as a child. His abuse as a child and the psychic gift he has, has created an emotionless killer. When he spots Selenka, something inside him alters, and he doesn't know how to handle it. After a lifetime of having to keep his emotions in check, he's afraid of feelings that will cause him to lose control and decimate everyone around him.

Their love story is inevitable, with just enough twists and turns that keep you interested.

For someone who has read the series, it's good to revisit old friends and see where they are and how they are interacting with the clans and Psy we meet along the way.

Also Available in the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Silver Silence post.

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Ocean Light post.

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Wolf Rain post.

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the Highlands of Scotland, and the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer. Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand. You can contact her directly through her website. While visiting the site, Nalini invites you to join her newsletter for up-to-date news about both the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series, as well as fun exclusive extras, including free short stories set in her worlds.

Connect with Nalini

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Alpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity #4, Psy-Changeling #19) by Nalini Singh to read and review.

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