It’s that time again, Faithful Reader – time for the latest installment of one of my most favoritest series EVER! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series is one of the best series ever – paranormal or not. I don’t know how she manages it, but things never seem to get unwieldy or hard to follow. It’s impressive, I tells ya! So, who are we reading about this time?? Well, the title kind of gives it away…so let’s do this thing!
Silver Mercant is a busy person. Not only is she the head of EmNet – the newly established worldwide emergency response system – she’s also the heir apparent to her family and still helping out at her previous job with Kaleb Krychek (ahhhhh Kaleb…*sigh*). So she really does not have time to deal with a flirty bear.
Alpha of the local StoneWater bear clan, Valentin Nikolaev has been going out of his way to chat with Silver every time their paths cross (and he makes sure that’s often). He wants her to go out for ice cream with him. (Now is a good time to mention that I LOVE him.) Silver, of course, sees no logic in going to get ice cream with a bear, but he keeps asking. Persistent bear. Persistent with cause – he knows Silver is his mate.
During an early morning (unexpected, sneaky) visit to Silver’s apartment to drop off some files, Valentin scents poison just as Silver drops to the floor and starts convulsing. He immediately calls Kaleb, who teleports her to the hospital. While Valentin and Silver’s grandmother, Ena Mercant, are waiting for her to recover, they try to figure out who would want to poison Silver, why and how they managed it, since she lives in an extremely secure building with several Mercants working security.
By the time Silver awakens, Valentin and Ena have a plan – she will stay with the bear clan while her grandmother investigates the poisoning. Normally, Silver would go to a Mercant safe house, but, since it’s possible a family member poisoned her, that isn’t an option. Plus, Valentin would very much like to have her in his territory for a while. Silver is reluctant, but her grandmother helps her see the logic behind the decision.
Life in a bear den is a drastic change from Silver’s usual routine. Especially at the beginning when she is still very weak from the poisoning. Slowly, she becomes accustomed to DenHome and its inhabitants. And becomes intrigued with its alpha. With some coaxing from Valentin, Silver decides it is a good time to explore life without Silence…just to see if she can handle it or if she even wants to. There’s something Valentin doesn’t know, though…something most people don’t know about Silver. Her designation is as a high-level telepath – not Cardinal but almost – but most people don’t know she has a sub-designation that is very rare. It is rare because, before Silence most didn’t survive – there was too much stimulus for the brain to process – even with Silence it is so rare, it hasn’t been studied. But Silver has noticed warning signs and suspects her time is running out, so she decides to spend what’s left of her life with a giant alpha teddy bear.
Of course, when Valentin learns what’s happening, he is upset. As is Silver’s grandmother and Kaleb and all the rest. It is decided that there must be something that can stop the degeneration and save Silver. Unfortunately, the only option is to shut down the part of her brain that processes emotion. Silver knows that Changelings mate for life and doesn’t want to subject Valentin to a life alone – which he will be if the surgery kills her or if she survives without emotion – but the mating bond doesn’t listen to logic. Besides, Valentin says as long as she’s alive, there is a chance for them.
So, does Silver survive? And what about her emotions? Is she doomed to be Silent forever? And what about the poisoner?? What’s that about? (Obviously, I didn’t cover the poisoning subplot in this review because I enjoyed the other part so much and my fingers got tired. I will sum up by saying the shadowy Consortium are trying to sow dissent among the Psy, Changelings and humans and they thought removing Silver from the board would be a good way to produce chaos. Suckers.)
Ms. Singh has said that this is the beginning of a new story arc – she won’t leave behind the characters from the first arc, of course, but the focus is shifting from “what if Silence falls?” to “what happens now that Silence has fallen?” So, do you need to read all the many previous books (although, honestly, WHY HAVEN’T YOU??) to know what’s happening? I’m gonna say no, surprisingly. Of course, I recommend you read the whole series from the beginning in order (obvy)…but if you insist on starting here? It isn’t a bad place to start, actually.
I enjoyed the dynamic of Silver and Valentin’s relationship – I like Psy/something else pairings better than Psy/Psy, generally. I liked getting to see a new section of the Psy-Changeling world – this book takes place almost completely in Russia. We did get to see a few old friends, however briefly (Hey Kaleb! Heyyyy! And I see you, Arrows!). And we met some new Changelings – the neighbor wolves that the bears routinely wrangle with. All in all, this was another excellent addition to an outstanding series.
Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.
Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence–her mind clear of all emotion–Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.
Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…
Read an excerpt.