Book Critique – Bonds of Justice (Psy-Changeling #8)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

My Recommendation: An exciting continuation into a series filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, who are living together, ruled by Psy but the other two races making the playing field even. Of course there is romance, passion, war, friendship, loyalties and betrayals along the line. 

Bonds of Justice is the eighth book in the long running Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh, published in July of 2010. The primary plot revolves around Max Shannon - a Human Police Detective with New York Enforcement - and Sophia Russo - a J-Psy, Justice Psy.

Psy-Changeling series focuses on three races living side-by-side on Earth - The icy Psy who rule the world but are facing the fall of Silence; the Changelings of varied kind with natural mental barriers to fight the unwanted entry of any Psy into their brains; and the Humans considered the weaker of the three but have decided to level the playing field. The series shows the readers to the downfall of Psy, their drawbacks, why all three races are needed for survival of each other, and above all finding mates across races thus disintegrating the walls further.

In continuing with the series that intrigued when I picked it's spin-off, Psy-Changeling Trinity Series, here is my take on the eighth book in the parent series. After finishing telling tales of DarkRiver Leopard Changeling Alpha and his sentinels, I assumed that Nalini would focus on the SnowDancer Wolf Changeling pack. But she has shifted to humans since the previous book Blaze of Memory and continues to do so with this book as well. The plot is set in early 2081, and begins approximately a couple months after the previous book Blaze of Memory.

We met Max Shannon, a Human police detective with New York Enforcement, first in Mine to Possess, where he was working with Talin and Clay in rescuing kidnapped kids from a Psy Serial killer. Last we heard of him was in Branded by Fire, where he was back in New York. And now we get to see his story.

Max Shannon, a Human cop, and Sophia Russo, a J-Psy, are thrown together in a case for Councilor Nikita Duncan. A string of deaths of Nikita's employees in her inner circle, seemingly accidental, rises suspicion in her mind and asks for Max and Sophia to investigate. What neither Max nor Sophia expect is the strong thread of connection and attraction between them, that no matter how much they fight it cant resist it. But an unseen danger lurks at every turn for them.

Again Nalini creates perfect match for her hero and heroine. In this case, she has the childhood of both Max and Sophia so similar that they understand each other very well with the various quirks they each have. One thing I must say though. I finally started liking Talin, Clay's mate, whom I had been irritated with when their story was being told in Mine to Possess. 

Nalini begins each chapter with notes by people connected to Max and Sophia or by them itself, notes that would allude to what a reader would perhaps see in that chapter. She has been using this concept in quite a few of her books. 

She continues to sneak in various eco-friendly concepts and futuristic things in her plots. In this one we see: artificial island off the coast of New York City called Liberty housing the maximum security penitentiary; Metamorph (toys similar to Transformer toys but they transform to Changelings); aural-shield around one's living or work space to shield from spies; comm panel on blank wall that activates with a button; cleaning bot (although I have seen one in Stop n Shop here recently (stock image below), so things are evolving for us in reality too.); all electronic devices automatically blocked aboard a plane; laser treatment to heal scars; transmitter embedded inside offenders who are going over a sentence (this is upcoming tech for us now as I saw a few articles about such transmitters).

Nalini gives a detailed description of the tattoo that Max has etched on his back. And we do see that the book cover has a tattoo on the male model's back. Normally the author if includes any of the props from the model into the plot, they stay true to it. However, Nalini's description of the tattoo in the book is missing the twine that snakes around the sword that we see on the male model. Was the description done before the book cover printed, or may be after.

What I like about Nalini's books is that although the primary story revolves around the hero and heroine, she has sub-plots with other characters that are equally important. She doesn’t leave them astray or as being just mentioned in passing, as opposed to some other authors I have read.

With the past two books, Nalini has been taking the readers on a wave that is rising higher and higher as the series is progressing. As she put, something is brewing and it is begging to come out. Pretty soon that wave may reach it's crescendo, I believe. 

Like her other series (GuildHunter, Rock Kiss or Hard Play), there is romance and more in the plot with hidden humor that lightens the plot, taking the sting of the darkness away. She has some repeat paraphrasing along with considerable number of editorial errors. And definitely some of the futuristic concepts and technical jargon are beyond imaginable that I am able to get a grasp on. She does leave a lot of inconsequential details and new characters introduced, which would most definitely form meat for future plots.

A good continuation to a long running series in a fantasy word filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, where Changelings and Humans starting to stake their claim to level the playfield that otherwise was owned by Psy. Nalini has a lot of open-ended sub-plots in here that is definitely making me to look forward to read the next book as soon as possible.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Jay Khanna, a J-Psy, is boss of Sophie in Justice. 

b. Max has a brother, River. 

c. Council Nikita Duncan offers jobs to both Max and Sophia at the end of the plot, to work for her. Mas as the Security Chief and Sophia as an Advisor.

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. There are several Psy Designations that are thrown around by the author Nalini Singh. I wondered if there was a list of all of them some where. And true to that, some fan had posted about them here.

b. With introduction of Bowen, the Human Alliance Security Chief in Branded by Fire, I am not sure whose story I want to see next - Kaleb Krycheck, the Psy Cardinal or Hawke, the SnowDancer Alpha or Bowen. All three of them have captured my mind. Cant wait to read their stories.

c. Psy terms:

i. PsyNet - Psychic Network that the Psy are connected to through minds.

ii. NetMind - the central governing factor of PsyNet. It's twin DarkMind houses everything negative.

iii. Web of Stars - the network that Sascha forms with Lucas', his sentinels' and their mates' minds. With Talin, a human, joining in Mine to Possess, it becomes a true triumvirate with all three species joined together. 

d. Various Psy we would see as the series progresses:

i. Psy Council: Nikita Duncan, mother of Sascha Duncan, runs from California; Tatiana Rika-Smythe, runs from Australia; Ming LeBon runs from France; Shoshanna and Henry Scott, only Psy couple, run from London; Kaleb Krychek, head of the PsyClan NightStart begetting F-Psy, runs from Mosco; Anthony Kyriakus runs from California

ii. Other Psy: Latham; Sione (an F-Psy from PsyClan Pacific Rose); Juniper (8yr old F-Psy); Gia Khan (an M-Psy); Silver Mercant (Kaleb's sr. personal assistant, introduced in Caressed by Ice, tasked by Kaleb to connect with Pure Psy and spy on); Lenik (Kaleb's admin assistant); Samuel Rain (a robotics expert); Keisha Bale (An M-Psy); Tanique Gray (Faith's brother, an Ps-Psy);

iii. Remaining Lauren Family - Introduced first in Slave to Sensation. Walker; Sienna and Toby, their dead sister's kids; Marlee, Walker's daughter. Defectors into the SnowDancer territory, interlinked by their own psy network LaurenNet. Sienna is now a trainee soldier, bonds with Kit, a DarkRiver soldier.

iv. Anchors: Though essential to the PsyNet, yet they could go rogue and turn into serial killers as seen from the first book, Slave to Sensation. At least 50 of them so far identified of which three have been taken care of.

v. In Visions of Heat, we see:

1) Faith Night Star has a cousin Sahara, but only mentioned. Somehow I think she will surface soon.

2) There are unexplained reasons as to why Faith's sister Marine was targeted by the Psy Serial Killer.

vi. Kaleb has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. Wonder where Nalini will bring this up again. He is also searching for the owner of a star-shaped platinum charm. As the series is progressing, we are seeing more and more of him, although making him sound like an antagonist. Cant wait to read his story as much as I want to read Hawke's and Bowen's.

vii. In Caressed by Ice, Psy Council is faced with a new enemy called Ghost, who is infiltering the Psy. We continue to see him. I have a distinct feeling it is Kaleb Krychek, but we have to wait and see. A few pointers Nalini throws in Blaze of Memory did point to my guess though.

e. Arrow Squad - First introduced in Visions of Heat.

i. Vasic - First introduced in Hostage to Pleasure.

ii. Aden - First introduced in Blaze of Memory. Medic-in-charge.

iii. Katya shoots Ming LeBon and the Arrows put him in a sealed chamber. However, in this plot we see that he still attends the Council meetings. Is he active only on the psychic plane?

iv. Aden becomes the unofficial leader for the Arrows in the uprise against Ming. In this plot, we see them giving their allegiance to Kaleb and cutting off from Ming.

f. Forgotten Psy - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice; left PsyNet forming their own ShadowNet post-Silence.

i. Their descendants are gifted human children with newer abilities; their ancestors having mated with Changelings and Humans.

ii. Devraj "Dev" Santos is their official leader. He marries Ekaterina "Katya" Haas, an M-Psy. Story told in Blaze of Memory.

iii. Other members: Rangi (Guardian); Dr. Glen Herriford; Jonquil "Jon" Alexi Duchslaya, a fourteen year old rescued from Psy Anchors from experimentation; Noor Hassan, rescued along with Jon. Keenan, Ashaya's son want to marry her one day; Aubry (Vice-Director); Aryan (Guardian); Tag & Tiara (telepaths and a couple); Cruz (a child telepath); Maggie (Dev's secretary); Connor (a doctor); Eva (the manager);

iv. Jon and Noor are adopted by the DarkRiver. 

g. Humans that we see along the course of the series:

i. 18th Century Territorial Wars - Adrian Kenner, a human, had been the one to help draft laws that ended he Changeling wars. 

ii. Bowen "Bo" - First introduced in Branded by Fire. Human Alliance Security Chief; takes over the Alliance after the Chairman is killed to lead the Human Alliance for a better and stronger species along-side Psy and Changelings; 9 other men and women support him. I have a feeling we will continue to see Bowen in future books.

iii. Alice Eldridge - First mentioned in Branded by Fire. Presumed killed. Had researched extensively on E-Psy and X-Psy. 

iv. Sara, a human intern with the DarkRiver; Lily (Bowen's adopted sister).

h. Various Changelings we see during the course of the series are:

i. DarkRiver Leopards with their territory in San Francisco and surrounding areas.

1) Lucas Hunter - Alpha, a black panther. Mated to Sascha Duncan, an E-Psy. Story told in Slave to Sensation. Sascha is pregnant as of Branded by Fire.

2) Other packmates - Kit and his sister Rina Monaghan; Zara (a wildcat); Ria, a human mated to DarkRiver leopard; Tara; Nico, Cory, Jason, Nicki, Aaron, Mia and Sarah (juveniles); Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Desiree and her mother Meenakshi; Barker; Joe (owner of Joe's Bar); Keely (Pack historian); Owen; Monroe; Nicki (apprentice historian); Sage "Herb", Bastien "Bas" and Grey (Mercy's brothers)

3) Lucas's Sentinels (second-in commands) - Nathan "Nate" Ryder (mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" Mahaire and have twin sons Roman and Julian, Story told in Beat of Temptation); Vaughn D'Angelo (mated to Faith NightStar, an F-Psy, Story told in Visions of Heat); Clay Bennett (mated to Talin "Tally" McKade, a human. Story told in Mine to Possess); Dorian (mated to Ashaya Aliene, an M-Psy. Story told in Hostage to Pleasure); Mercy Smith (mated to SnowDancer Lieutenant Riley Aedan Kincaid. Story told in Branded by Fire).

4) In Stroke of Enticement, Annie, Zach's mate, was rescued by a very young Psy Cardinal boy. The description reminded me of Kaleb Krychek. Is that who he would become? Definitely need to see Kaleb's story fast.

ii. SnowDancer Wolves with their territory in California

1) Hawke - Alpha. Sienna and Hawke have serious attraction that keeps increasing since they were introduced.

2) Other packmates - Andrew "Drew" Liam Kincaid (eyes and ears of Hawke); Lara (healer); Dalton (librarian); Tai; Lucy; Elias (soldier); Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui; Ben (a wolf pup wanting to mate with Marlee); Kieran (a human); 

3) Hawke's Lieutenants - Indigo; Riley Aedan Kincaid (Mated to Mercy Smith, a DarkRiver Sentinel, Story told in Branded by Fire; Judd Lauren (an Arrow Squad Psy, mated to Brenna Shane Kincaid. Story told in Caressed by Ice); Jem;

iii. BlackEdge Wolves with their territory in Moscow. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice. Selenka Durev is their alpha. 

iv. DawnSky Deer - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.

v. PineWood Hyenas - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice. Members: Kevin; Mahal; Lou-Ann;

vi. Rats Changelings - First mentioned in Mine to Possess. Members: Teijan (Alpha); Suyi; 

vii. Snake Changelings - First mentioned in Mine to Possess plot.

viii. Lynx Changelings - First introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Baker Family (Iain and Enid, their son Nash and daughter Willow)

ix. SilverBlade Leopard Changelings - First introduced in Branded by Fire

1) Hamilton, a sentinel - Mercy guides him to Indio, the SnowDancer Wolf Lieutenant for dating. Will they mate?

x. AzureSun Leopard Changelings in Brazil - First introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Isabella (Alpha. Grandmother of Mercy Smith); Eduardo and Joaquin (Sentinels)

xi. WindHaven Falcon Changelings - First introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Adam (Wing Leader); Naia(healer); Jacques (second to Adam)

xii. RainFire Leopard Changelings in the Smokies - First mentioned in Beat of Temptation. Members: Remington "Remi" (Alpha); Finn (Healer)

3. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 52, Line 9 from bottom, it should be "…wasn't about to walk…"

b. On Pg. 245, Line 18, it should be "…the word 'please' to…"

c. On Pg. 249, Line 11, shouldn’t it be "…Every action has an equal and opposite reaction…"

d. On Pg. 263, Line 4, it should be "…nothing to do with sex…"


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