Book Critique – Tangle of Need (Psy-Changeling #11)

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.

Tangle of Need is the eleventh book in the long running Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh, published in May of 2012. The primary plot revolves around Riaz Delgado - a SnowDancer Lieutenant - and Adria Morgan - a SnowDancer Senior Soldier. The plot is set in autumn of 2081 immediately after the events in Kiss of Snow.

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 mind invasion by Psy; 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 eleventh book in the parent series. Nalini continues to keep her focus on the SnowDancer Wolf Changelings.

We met both Riaz Delgado and Adria Morgan in the 9th book Play of Passion. Adria was introduced to us as Indigo's aunt with a partner, Martin; while Riaz was dealing with the terrible loss of finding his mate too late. Now Nalini focuses her story around two broken hearts.

Adria Morgan is back in the SnowDancer Den after finally breaking up from a toxic relationship. While Riaz Delgado, the lone-wolf is also settling back in the den needing the warmth of pack to help him deal with this personal crisis. But neither Adria nor Riaz expect the explosive attraction they have towards each other. Will they pursue it further to burn? Or while the Den is still reeling from the recent war as well as preparing for unexpected attacks, will they concentrate their energy for the good of the Den and Pack?

A dominant lieutenant and a dominant soldier would definitely create sparks and dynamite scenes between them. As expected, Nalini creates something similar with Riaz and Adria. In doing so she also explores more on the concept of mating giving the reader a different side of it than normally seen. She also shows us that bonds that happen with heart and love are equally powerful and strong.

Nalini has given her readers two treats - one that she had been giving since Play of Passion; listing the main cast of characters from the series so far. Second deleted scenes at the end. The scene between Hawke and Sienna, I agree yes it could be deleted. But the one for Riley and Mercy, I would have loved to see it in the story instead of being deleted. But one particular scene where she was showing the power of dominance in their love scenes between Adria and Riaz. I couldn’t follow the beginning of that scene so well. 

And yes, there is humor in every page along-side love, romance and the danger the characters face. Nalini includes a cute little scene between Hawke and two of his lieutenants involving rock, paper, scissors game. A child game played by grown-ups, not just any but the powerful pack members. She continues the bromance in a few other scenes between other pack members too. Those scenes definitely lightened the heaviness of the plot that followed.

She continues to sneak in various eco-friendly concepts and futuristic things in her plots. In this we see: pals map (I am believing plas is a futuristic material that is biodegradable unlike plastic); biospheres below the sea-level for people dwelling.

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, as opposed to some other authors I have read, giving them substance to the story-line. She continues the same here giving us more of Bowen, leader of the Human Alliance and with Alice Eldridge. Looking forward to see where it would lead for both of them.

She also continued to show Sienna and Hawke settling in as the alpha pair just like how she had done with Lucas and Sascha for DarkRiver Leopard Changelings. We get to see two mating ceremonies - Hawke & Sienna's and Walker & Lara's - keeping in with the theme to show two parallel love stories that are both so much similar yet so much different.

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. And definitely some of the concepts are beyond imaginable. She does leave a lot of inconsequential details and new characters introduced, which we know will form meat for future plots.

However, with this book, Nalini left it on a cliffhanger. Kaleb Krychek finally finds the person he had been looking for. So it is natural that his story would come next. I didn’t think she would have Kaleb's story so soon after Hawke's. But with a war about to start soon, the next wave of her story-line seems to have reached a peak sooner than expected. Cant wait to pick the next book. 

A good continuation to a long running series in a fantasy world 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. Nalini uses an expression "Canary in a coal mine" during the course of her story. After reading what exactly it means, I have high empathy for canaries now, although total appreciation for the coal miners too. Yet, a very hard choice for the canaries.

b. In Blaze of Memory, Katya shoots Ming LeBon and the Arrows put him in a sealed chamber. However, in Bonds of Justice we see Ming attending Council meetings on the Psychic plane. Finally Nalini Singh clears it in this plot that Ming has indeed recovered and is back to his ugly games. 

c. Riaz found his mate, Lisette, a human already married to Emil, another human, working for the Human Alliance.

d. Riaz's family includes - parents Abigail and Jorge Delgado; younger brother Gage, his wife and kid Marisol.

e. Adria's family includes - parents Cullen and Felicity Morgan

f. Nalini is evolving Silver Mercant's, Kaleb's aide, character a lot, specially in this book. Considering I have already read her story, it is fun to read her getting evolved.

g. Bowen and a few selected of his human clan get a chip installed in their brain that would help them from mind invasion by the Psy.

h. Amara, Ashaya's twin, seems to be distracted by one of the males working in her lab.

i. Psy Council has dissolved as of this plot. Henry Scott is killed by Vasic during this plot.

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. There are several Psy Designations that are thrown around by the author Nalini Singh. This fandom has kindly posted all about them here.

b. With introduction of Bowen, the Human Alliance Security Chief in Branded by Fire, it was a toss up on whose story I want to read soon - Hawke's or Kaleb's or Bowne's. We finished Hawke's in Kiss of Snow; guessing Kaleb's will be next; although I have read Bowen's story in the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series, I am curious to read his evolving as a character as well.

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. Obsidian Archive, a backup to PsyNet.

iii. Web of Stars - the network that Sascha forms with Lucas, his sentinels' and their mates' minds. With Talin, a human, joining making it a true triumvirate. 

iv. SnowDancer Web - the network formed with Hawke and Sienna's mating bond, pulling the Lauren family into the bond that extends to his Lieutenants and their mates. Walker acts as valve for Sienna's X power.

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

i. Surviving Ex-Councilors: Nikita Duncan, mother of Sascha Duncan; Tatiana Rika-Smythe; Ming LeBon; Shoshanna Scott; Kaleb Krychek; Anthony Kyriakus, head of the PsyClan NightStar begetting F-Psy.

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); Lenik (Kaleb's admin assistant); Samuel Rain (a robotics expert); Keisha Bale (An M-Psy); Tanique Gray (Faith's brother, an Ps-Psy); Andrea Vasquez (Henry Scott's aide)

iii. Remaining Lauren Family who defected to SnowDancers - Introduced first in Slave to Sensation. Walker; his nephew Toby (Sienna's brother); Marlee, Walker's daughter. 

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. They are given Designation A per this book.

v. In Visions of Heat, we see:

1) Faith NightStar is mentioned to have a cousin, Sahara. 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. Someone was trying to hack into Kaleb's mind in Bonds of Justice. As the series is progressing he is growing more and more, increasing the reader's craving for his story.

vii. In Caressed by Ice, Psy Council is faced with a new enemy called Ghost, infiltering the Psy. We continue to see him. I have a distinct feeling it is Kaleb Krychek. A few pointers Nalini throws in Blaze of Memory pointing to my suspicion.

e. Arrow Squad - First introduced in Visions of Heat. Pledge allegiance to Kaleb Krychek in Bonds of Justice.

i. Aden - Leader and Medic-in-charge. First introduced in Blaze of Memory.

ii. Members: Vasic (First introduced in Hostage to Pleasure); Gutierrez; Suhana; Abbot; Alejandro; Zaira (first introduced in this book)

iii. Defected Arrows - A group that have been defecting over years settle in Venice and aid the humans as needed.

f. Forgotten Psy - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice; Defected Psy who form their own ShadowNet post-Silence.

i. Devraj "Dev" Santos is their leader, marries Ekaterina "Katya" Haas, an M-Psy in Blaze of Memory.

ii. Other members: Rangi (Guardian); Dr. Glen Herriford; Jonquil "Jon" Alexi Duchslaya, a 14 year old rescued from Psy Anchors imprisonment; 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); 

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 the Changeling wars. 

ii. Bowen "Bo" - First introduced in Branded by Fire. Human Alliance Security Chief; striving to make the Alliance a strong and powerful one along-side Psy and Changelings; 9 other men and women support him.

iii. Alice Eldridge - First mentioned in Branded by Fire. Rescued by Kaleb from a century of cryogenic suspension and handed to SnowDancers in Kiss of Snow; she wakes up from her deep coma in this plot.

iv. Max Shannon - assigned as Security Chief for Council Nikita Duncan, married to Sophia Russo in Bonds of Justice, a J-Psy also assigned as Advisor to Nikita.

v. Sara, a human intern with the DarkRiver; Lily (Bowen's adopted sister); Father Xavier Perez (human, first introduced in Caressed by Ice, searching for a woman)

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, in Slave to Sensation. As of Kiss of Snow, they have a girl, Nadia "Naya" Shayla Hunter.

2) Other packmates - Kit & Rina Monaghan; Zara (a wildcat); Ria, a human mated to Emmet (she is pregnant as of  Play of Passion); Tara; Nico; Cory; Jason; Nicki; Aaron; Mia; Sarah; Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Desiree & her mother Meenakshi; Barker; Joe; 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, pack healer, in Beat of Temptation and have twin sons Roman and Julian, ); Vaughn D'Angelo (mated to Faith NightStar, an F-Psy, in Visions of Heat); Clay Bennett (mated to Talin "Tally" McKade, a human in Mine to Possess); Dorian (mated to Ashaya Aliene, an M-Psy, in Hostage to Pleasure); Mercy Smith (mated to SnowDancer Lieutenant Riley Aedan Kincaid, in Branded by Fire. She is pregnant with multiples as of this plot).

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

ii. SnowDancer Wolves with their territory in California

1) Hawke - Alpha. Mated to Sienna Lauren, an X-Psy, in Kiss of Snow.

2) Other packmates - Dalton (librarian); Tai (dating Evangeline, Indigo's sister, since Kiss of Snow); Lucy (assistant to Lara); Elias, his mate Yuki & daughter Sakura; Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui; Ben (wanting to mate with Marlee); Kieran (a human); Joshua; Brace; Sylvia; Maria & Lake; Riordan; Simran; Ines; Mariska; Sam Baker (a human); Mack; Nell; Shawnelle; Ivy; Becca; Pierce; Felix

3) Hawke's Lieutenants - Indigo Riviere (mated to Andrew "Drew" Liam Kincaid, a SnowDancer Tracker, in Play of Passion); Riley Aedan Kincaid; Judd Lauren (an Arrow Squad Psy, mated to Brenna Shane Kincaid, in Caressed by Ice); Garnet "Jem"; Riaz; Kenji Tanaka; Alexei; Mathias; Cooper "Coop" (mated to Grace); Tomas; 

4) More stories of the Lieutenants:

a) Kenji and Jem are fighting sparks.

b) Drew and Indigo are set to take over Alexei's sector in a month while Alexei to come back to the den as of this book. 

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 introduced in Mine to Possess. Members - Teijan (Alpha); Suyi; Zane;

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 and their son Nash and daughter Willow.

ix. SilverBlade Leopards. First introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Hamilton (A Sentinel)

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

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

xii. RainFire Leopards in the Smokies. First introduced in Beat of Temptation. Remington "Remi" (Alpha); Finn (Healer)

xiii. WinterFire Leopards in North Dakota. First mentioned in Play of Passion.

xiv. BlackSea Changeling Coalition aka Conclave - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow; coalition of all water-based changelings across the world. Members: Miane Leveque (Leader, first mentioned in this plot); Emani Berg; Malachi;

xv. StoneWater Bears - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow.

xvi. WhiteSteppe Wolves - First mentioned in this plot. Sole wolf pack in Siberia.

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

a. On Pg. 344, Line 6, it should be "…going to be able…"


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