Book Critique – Declaration of Courtship (Psy-Changeling #9.5)
For review of all books in this series: Go here.
Stars: 3 / 5
My Recommendation: Another good novella that would give the readers a glimpse into the Psy-Changeling world, 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.
Declaration of Courtship is the third novella in the long-running Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, first published in the anthology Wild Invitation in March of 2013. The primary plot revolves around Cooper "Coop" Shaw - Lieutenant for the SnowDancer Wolves - and Grace Burke - a submissive wolf in the pack.
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 third novella in the parent series.
We met Cooper first in Play of Passion where he was in the process of courting a submissive female, and we saw in Kiss of Snow that he was mated to her. The plot is set sometime between prior to when Play of Passion is set and Kiss of Snow ends, keeping with the SnowDancer Wolf Changelings.
Cooper "Coop" had all along known that the newly migrated wolf into his pack, Grace Burke, was his mate. But Grace is a very shy submissive wolf. And now she has become his prey, where Coop does his relentless pursuing, courting her, with an end goal to tie her to him, the big bad wolf.
This time around the plot is geared completely towards Coop luring Grace into his web of sensuality and romance, fully courting his mate. Which follows that there is more of sensual stuff floating around giving the readers a respite from the constant dangers the changelings faced in other books.
Nalini brings in the concept of a submissive changeling facing down a dominant one. Grace does go toe to tow with Coop when it matters and doesn’t shy away from his dominance. That appealed me a lot.
She continues to sneak in various eco-friendly concepts and futuristic things in her plots. In this we see: audio shields in each of the quarters the changelings share in their dens.
Again the novella is definitely geared towards hot passion and soul-binding romance all through. This is purely a story of love, romance and all about courting one's mate. A cute little novella that gives pleasure to all your senses.
Another good novella that would give the readers a glimpse into the Psy-Changeling world, luring them to pick up the series immediately. Cant wait to continue with the next book in the series soon.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Cooper's family - his Aunt Bethany "Beth". His parents die in an accident that had no reason as to why it happened. A short story perhaps.
b. Grace's family - her adopted parents Milena and James; step-siblings Pia ad Revel "Rev".
a. Several Psy Designations are mentioned in the series. This fandom has detailed them here.
b. 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 collects all 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 makes it a true triumvirate.
iv. SnowDancer Web - the network formed with Hawke and Sienna's mating bond, pulling the Lauren family in and extends to his Lieutenants and their mates. Walker acts as valve for Sienna's X power.
c. Various Psy:
i. Surviving Ex-Councilors: Nikita Duncan; Ming LeBon; Shoshanna Scott; Kaleb Krychek (mated to Sahara Kyriakus, an F-Psy, in Heart of Obsidian); Anthony Kyriakus.
ii. Other Psy: Latham; Sione; Juniper; Gia Khan; Silver Mercant (Kaleb's sr. personal assistant, introduced in Caressed by Ice); Lenik (Kaleb's admin assistant); Samuel Rain; Keisha Bale; Tanique Gray (Faith's brother).
iii. Remaining Lauren Family who defected to SnowDancers - Introduced in Slave to Sensation. Walker; his nephew Toby; his daughter Marlee.
iv. Anchors: Essential to the PsyNet, could go rogue and turn into serial killers.
v. Kaleb has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. A short story perhaps.
vi. Amara, Ashaya's twin, gets distracted by one of the males working in her lab in Tangle of Need.
vii. In Heart of Obsidian:
1) To avenge Sahara, Kaleb imprisons and tortures ex-Councilor Tatiana Rika-Smythe.
2) Sahara feels she owes Judd and Xavier for keeping Kaleb sane. A short story perhaps.
d. Arrow Squad - Introduced in Visions of Heat. Pledge allegiance to Kaleb in Bonds of Justice.
i. Aden - Leader and Medic-in-charge. Introduced in Blaze of Memory.
ii. Members: Vasic; Gutierrez; Suhana; Abbot; Alejandro; Zaira; Sione;
iii. Defected Arrows - Introduced in Tangle of Need; defecting over the years; settling in Venice and aiding humans.
e. Forgotten Psy - Inroduced in Caressed by Ice; Defected Psy with their own ShadowNet post-Silence.
i. Devraj "Dev" Santos is their leader, marries Ekaterina "Katya" Haas, an M-Psy, in Blaze of Memory.
ii. Members: Rangi; 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); Aubry; Aryan; Tag & Tiara; Cruz; Maggie; Dr. Connor; Eva;
iii. In Heart of Obsidian, one of the female Forgotten assists in the aftermath of Vasquez's atrocities; who is mated to a DarkRiver male. Who is this one?
i. 18th Century Territorial (Changeling) Wars - Adrian Kenner had help draft laws that ended the war.
ii. Bowen "Bo" - 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 - Introduced in Branded by Fire. Rescued by Kaleb from a century of cryogenic suspension and handed to SnowDancers in Kiss of Snow; wakes up finally in Tangle of Need.
iv. Max Shannon - Security Chief for Nikita Duncan, married to Sophia Russo in Bonds of Justice, a J-Psy.
v. Others: Sara; Lily (Bowen's adopted sister); Father Xavier Perez (human, introduced in Caressed by Ice, his search for Nina concludes in Heart of Obsidian although he is yet to meet); Lisette & Emil.
g. Various Changelings:
i. DarkRiver Leopards (Territory: San Francisco)
1) Lucas Hunter - Alpha. 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) Packmates - Kit & Rina Monaghan; Zara; Tara; Nico; Cory; Jason; Nicki; Aaron; Mia; Sarah; Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Desiree & her mother Meenakshi; Barker; Joe; Keely; Owen; Monroe; Nicki; Sage "Herb", Bastien "Bas" and Grey (Mercy's brothers)
3) Lucas's Sentinels - Nathan "Nate" Ryder (mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" Mahaire, pack healer, in Beat of Temptation, have twin sons Roman & 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 Tangle of Need).
4) Other Couples:
a) Ria, a human mated to Emmet; pregnant in Play of Passion.
b) Zachary "Zach" Quinn, mated to Angelica "Anne" Kildaire, a human, in Stroke of Enticement.
ii. SnowDancer Wolves (Territory: California)
1) Hawke - Alpha. Mated to Sienna Lauren, an X-Psy, in Kiss of Snow.
2) Packmates - Dalton; Lucy; Kieran; Joshua; Brace; Sylvia; Maria & Lake; Riordan; Simran; Ines; Mariska; Sam Baker; Mack; Nell; Shawnelle; Ivy; Becca; Pierce; Felix; Vivienne & Todd (Twins); Daniel; Margo; Vitoria; Sebastian; Paul; Elizabeth; Diego; Ben (wanting to mate with Marlee)
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); Riaz Delgado (mated to Adria Morgan, a SnowDancer Sr. Soldier, in Tangle of Need); Garnet "Jem"; Kenji Tanaka; Alexei; Mathias; Tomas;
4) Stories for 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 Tangle of Need.
5) Other Couples:
a) Tai, dating Evangeline, Indigo's sister, since Kiss of Snow.
b) Elias, his mate Yuki & daughter Sakura
c) Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui
d) Shamus Lopez & Emma
e) Tarah & Abel - Indigo and Evie's parents
iii. BlackEdge Wolves 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. Introduced in Mine to Possess. Members - Teijan (Alpha); Suyi; Zane;
vii. Snake Changelings. First mentioned in Mine to Possess plot.
viii. Lynx Changelings. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Baker Family - Iain & Enid; son Nash; daughter Willow.
ix. SilverBlade Leopards. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Hamilton (A Sentinel)
x. AzureSun Leopards in Brazil. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Isabella (Alpha. Grandmother of Mercy); Eduardo and Joaquin (Sentinels).
xi. WindHaven Falcons. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Adam Garrett (Wing Leader); Naia (healer); Jacques (second to Adam)
xii. RainFire Leopards in Smokies. 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. Members: Miane Leveque (Leader, first mentioned in Tangle of Need); Emani Berg; Malachi;
xv. StoneWater Bears - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow.
xvi. WhiteSteppe Wolves in Siberia. First mentioned in Tangle of Need.