Book Critique – Whisper of Sin (Psy-Changeling #0.75)

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

For review of all books in this anthology: 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. 

Whisper of Sin is the fifth novella in the long-running Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, first published in the anthology Burning Up first published in August of 2010 and later republished in February of 2014. The primary plot revolves around Emmet - a DarkRiver Leopard Changeling Soldier - and Ria Wembley - a human. Nalini has her book along-side three other authors - Angela Knight, Virginia Kantra and Meljean Brook - in this anthology.

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 fifth novella in the parent series. The plot is set in 2072 falling between Beat of Temptation and Slave to Sensation books.

We met Ria first in the very first novel Slave to Sensation while we hadn't seen or heard of Emmett until sixth book Branded by Fire. However, we do see that in Play of Passion Ria is pregnant. Finally Nalini gives us their tale in this cute little plot.

A human mob is threatening the territory in San Francisco where DarkRiver Leopard Changelings are beginning to stake their claim. And during one such attempt of their atrocities, Emmet, a DarkRiver Soldier saves Ria Wembley, a human. Little does he know that she is his mate. Now Emmet uses everything in his arsenal to court her and at the same time protect from the human mob.

Nalini spins another cute novella that takes us to before the time the series is set in. This gives us insights into quite a few characters and sub-plots we had seen in the series so far. We see a lot of younger versions of the characters along with the beginnings of a few sub-plots that eventually grew into main plots in some of the books already published. 

Emmet and Ria's courtship blends seamlessly with the threats that the DarkRiver is fighting off. Yet, Nalini keeps the romance front and center for the readers to enjoy it. 

Emmet comes as a knight in shining armor to Ria, being the dominant he is. Ria is no meek, and stands her own when needed, and becomes the glue to hold her family when needed. Two characters that tip the scale for Emmet to pursue her. And the pursue is sweet and poignant to follow.

Normally, the novellas in an anthology are printed in the order their authors are listed on the cover of the book. However, with this novella, we see that although Nalini Singh was listed second in the order, her story comes first when we start reading the book. Perhaps a printing mistake.

A sweet little tale that gives the readers the beginnings of this fantastic series. Another good novella that would give the readers a glimpse into the Psy-Changeling world, luring them to pick up the series immediately. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Ria's family - grandmother Miaoling Olivier; mother Alex; father Simon; brother Jet & his wife Amber who gives birth to Joy Miaoling Wembley at the end of the plot.

b. Emmet's family - parents Cian & Keelie

2. Sub-Plots: 

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. Anchors: Essential to the PsyNet, could go rogue and turn into serial killers.

iv. Kaleb has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. A short story perhaps. 

v. Amara, Ashaya's twin, gets distracted by one of the males working in her lab in Tangle of Need.

vi. 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.

3) Nalini connected every knick-knack in Kaleb's home to a shared memory between him and Sahara except for one single piece of twisted metal. It wasn’t part of deleted scenes as well. Perhaps was in the newsletter? 

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; defected over the years; settling in Venice and aiding humans.

e. Forgotten Psy - Introduced 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?

f. Humans:

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. 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 with their territory in San Francisco and surrounding areas.

1) Lucas Hunter - Alpha. Mated to Sascha Duncan, an E-Psy, in Slave to Sensation. In Kiss of Snow, they have a girl, Nadia "Naya" Shayla Hunter.

2) Other 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 (second-in commands) - Nathan "Nate" Ryder (mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" Mahaire, pack healer, and have twin sons Roman & Julian, Story in Beat of Temptation); 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, pregnant with multiples in Tangle of Need).

4) Other Couples:

a) Zachary "Zach" Quinn, mated to Angelica "Anne" Kildaire, a human in Stroke of Enticement, pregnant in Texture of Intimacy.

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; 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; Revel & Pia  (siblings)

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); Cooper "Coop" Shaw (mated to Grace Burke in Declaration of Courtship); Garnet "Jem"; Kenji Tanaka; Alexei; Mathias; 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 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) Spencer & Ava Stone, their son Ben (wanting to mate with Marlee)

e) Shamus Lopez & his mate Emma

f) Tarah & Abel - Indigo and Evie's parents

g) Melina and James - Grace's adopted parents

h) Aisha & Mack - Lara's parents

6) In Declaration of Courtship, Nalini leaves the accidental death of Cooper's parents open-ended. A short story perhaps

7) In Texture of Intimacy:

a) Judd gives a data crystal to Walker containing details about children who are still in the Arrow Squad's training program.

b) Riordan is interested in Noelle, sister to Zach Quinn, a DarkRiver leopard changeling.

c) Lara and her assistant Lucy are looking for a dedicated admin person.

iii. BlackEdge Wolves in Moscow. Introduced in Caressed by Ice. Selenka Durev (alpha).

iv. DawnSky Deer - Introduced in Caressed by Ice.

v. PineWood Hyenas - Introduced 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. Introduced 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. Introduced in Play of Passion.

xiv. BlackSea Changeling Coalition aka Conclave - Introduced in Kiss of Snow. Members: Miane Leveque (Leader, Introduced in Tangle of Need); Emani Berg; Malachi;

xv. StoneWater Bears - Introduced in Kiss of Snow.

xvi. WhiteSteppe Wolves in Siberia. Introduced in Tangle of Need.


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