Book Critique – Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15)
For review of all books in this series: Go here.
Stars: 3.5 / 5
My Recommendation: An exciting continuation into a series filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, all three races facing the aftermath of the fallen Silence and braving into a new world under Trinity Accord. Of course there is romance, passion, war, friendship, loyalties and betrayals along the line.
Allegiance of Honor is the fifteenth book in the long running Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh, published in June of 2016. Nalini brings an ensemble of her cast into this plot with a thread running through all of them.
Psy-Changeling series focuses on three races living side-by-side on Earth - The icy Psy who rule the world struggling with fall of Silence; the Changelings with natural mental barriers to fight the Psy invasion; and the Humans having decided to level the playing field. The series takes the readers through 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 fifteenth book in the parent series. It is still set in the middle of 2082 continuing with events from Shards of Hope.
In Shards of Hope, Nalini had concluded this arc of the Psy-Changeling series with a promise to readers one big plot with all the ensemble from the series that began with mating of a Cardinal Empath with a Changeling Alpha. She also mentioned four cute novellas before she begins her next arc in the series. But first, here we are with her next book, that sort of forms a bridge between the two story arcs.
She gives the plot to the readers in the form of nine parts taking us through the lives of each and every one of her characters so far created, giving us what they are doing with their lives, and how they all are functioning together as packs and families.
We get to see new births, loss of family, finding lost packmates, braving against more attempts to shatter them by their enemies, finding balance in their new lives as packs for some, learning about other species for some, finding solutions for their immediate problems, thinking of remedies for long-term issues, and above all forming more and more threads across all three species.
By taking a step-back Nalini gives a pause to the series, allowing the characters to rearrange in their new world under the Trinity Accord. Along-side that she gives us more insight into the three species who are striving for a better world.
She inserts Xavier Perez's letters to his Nina from a decade ago as of the year this plot is set, along-side his journey he takes to meet his Nina. We met Xavier first in Caressed by Ice and have been seeing him ever since. For some reason I imagined him to be some 50 or 60 yrs old priest. And for the first time I realized that he was not much older than the other characters, a 29 yr old human. Somewhere I mis-read his description.
She continues to sneak in various eco-friendly concepts and futuristic things in her plots. In this we see: experimental luxe fabrics; reclining chairs with health-monitoring functions; scratch proof coating for wooden floors; with a touch camouflage the uniforms; plassteel that grows along with human bodies when attached; biodegradable plates, utensils and soaps; navigation beacons; technology to regenerate body parts.
She continues the readers the treat of listing out the cast of characters in the beginning of the book. Although we miss seeing any deleted scenes.
Like her other series', there is romance and passion in the plot with hidden humor that lightens the plot, taking the sting of the darkness away. Specially the humor she inserts between Hawke and Lucas, around the toy wolf Hawke gave to Lucas's cub Naya; between Kaleb and Sahara; between the Arrows and Kaleb; are some that I love to read again and again,
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.
A strong platform for her second story arc to start, and at the same time giving closure to quite a few inconsequential details she had left for us readers as breadcrumbs to follow. Yet, Nalini has still a lot of open-ended sub-plots in here. Can't wait to reread the first book in the second season or second story arc of this series. But, first I am curious on the four cute novellas as well. So, Wild Embrace, here we come.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Despite the Honeycomb Protocol bound by the empaths, they realize that they are still missing the human element formed due to bonds formed of love with their Psy partners. Only three known bonds Ivy and Kaleb find in the new net and rest all is disintegrating slowly unless humans join.
b. The Human Alliance implant that Bo and his top aides had implanted as the first phase in Tangle of Need, has a flaw that give them only few more months to live before it would cause them fatal damage.
c. Zie Zen, Vasic's grandfather, a Psy rebel and a great stateman, passes away in this plot.
d. The Architect plans to assassinate the top members of the Trinity Accord, and has a plan to take off Silver Mercant as well. Having already read Silver's story, it was interesting to see where the basis for that plot all began.
e. Both Tanique Gray and Malachi Rhys characters are evolving as the series is progressing. And now Malachi is getting added to my list of characters that I want to read more and more about - Hawke, Kaleb, Aden, Bowen.
f. Annie, Zach's mate, finally meets Kaleb, the Cardinal Boy who had saved her, gives his name as her son's middle name.
g. In Heart of Obsidian, Nalini left Sahara with a feeling that she owed Judd and Xavier for keeping Kaleb sane. I expected a short story from Nalini on this. But in this plot, she kind of gives partial closure - by having a candid photo of Kaleb and Judd on their wall of memories, and promise to add one with Kaleb and Xavier too.
h. In Texture of Intimacy, Judd hands over a data crystal to Walker containing details about children who are still in the Arrow Squad's training program, to get them out if necessary. However, with Shards of Hope I believe Nalini closed this loop by bringing all the Arrow children under Aden's wing and in their new valley where they setup their pack.
a. Several Psy Designations are mentioned in the series which this fandom detailed here.
b. Psy terms:
i. Honeycomb Protocol - The colorful new PsyNet connected by Empaths to all Psy across the world.
ii. The Consortium - headed by The Architect, formed of Psy, Human and Changeling power hungry people who want to take advantage of the fallen Silence at the cost of lives.
iii. Trinity Accord - formed at the end of Shards of Hope; consists of Ruling Coalition; Devraj Santos (representing the Forgotten Psy); Bowen Knight (Leader of Human Alliance); Lizbeth Shafer (head of a humanitarian group called Hope Light); Miane Leveque (BlackSea Leader).
iv. United Earth Federation aka UEF
v. Emergency Response Network aka EmNet - The world-wide rapid response network as the first line in any critical situation that Silver Mercant sets up in Shield of Winter.
c. Various Psy:
i. Ruling Coalition: Nikita Duncan; Kaleb Krychek (mated to Sahara Kyriakus, an F-Psy, in Heart of Obsidian); Anthony Kyriakus; Ivy Jane Zen; Aden Kai; Lucas Hunter (representing all the Changelings)
ii. Empathic Collective - formed by 5 empaths including Sascha Duncan from across the world, Ivy Jane is President; Sahara Kyriakus as specialist; Alice Elridge as Consultant.
iii. Ex-Councilors: Ming LeBon; Shoshanna Scott
iv. 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); Chang; Concetta; Teri; Dechen; Isaiah; Brigitte; Pax Marshall; Payal Rao; Ena Mercant
v. Psy Couples:
1) Clara Alvarez & her human mate Patrick
2) Gwen Jane & Carter Hirsch (Ivy Jane's parents)
vi. Kaleb has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. A short story perhaps.
vii. Amara, Ashaya's twin, gets distracted by one of the males working in her lab in Tangle of Need.
viii. In Heart of Obsidian:
1) To avenge Sahara, Kaleb imprisons and tortures ex-Councilor Tatiana Rika-Smythe.
2) 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. A short story for it?
ix. In Shield of Winter: Isaiah and Concetta seemed to bond, although Isaiah is injured in that plot.
x. Shards of Hope, shows a relationship forming between Nikita and Anthony.
d. Arrow Squad:
i. Aden Kai - Leader. Mated to his Commander Zaira Neve in Shards of Hope
ii. Commanders: Vasic Zen (mated to Ivy Jane, an E-Psy, in Shield of Winter); Cristobel Rodriguez; Amin; Axl (sparks fly between him & Tamar, Arrow's financial genius in Shards of Hope)
iii. Members: Gutierrez; Suhana; Alejandro; Sione; Ella; Tavish; Mica; Nerida; Beatrice Gault; Yuri; Pip; Carolina;
iv. Other Couples:
1) Marjorie Kai & Naoshi Ayze (Aden's parents)
2) Abbot (Bonded with Jaya, an E-Psy)
3) Bond seems to be forming between Cristobel and Amin in Shards of Hope.
4) Stefan Berg, mated to a human female.
e. Forgotten Psy - Introduced in Caressed by Ice:
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; William;
iii. In Heart of Obsidian, one of the female Forgotten assists the EmNet; who is mated to a DarkRiver male. Who is she?
i. 18th Century Territorial (Changeling) Wars - Adrian Kenner had help draft laws that ended the war.
ii. Bowen "Bo" Kinght - 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. Members: Sara; Lily (Bowen's adopted sister); Alice Eldridge (Introduced in Branded by Fire. Rescued by Kaleb from a century of cryogenic suspension and handed to SnowDancers in Kiss of Snow; Consultant to Empathic Coalition since Shield of Winter); Trooper Michel Benoit;
iv. Other Couples:
1) Max Shannon - Security Chief for Nikita Duncan, married to Sophia Russo in Bonds of Justice, a J-Psy.
2) Father Xavier Perez - Finally finds his Nina in this plot and gets married to her.
3) Lisette & Emil
4) Isaac & Jesse
g. Various Changelings:
i. DarkRiver Leopards (Territory: San Francisco)
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) Packmates - Kit & Rina Monaghan; Zara; Tara; Nico; Cory; Jason; Nicki; Aaron; Mia; Sarah; Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Meenakshi (Desi's mother); Barker; Joe; Keely; Owen; Monroe; Nicki; Sage and Grey (Mercy's remaining brothers); Anu; Issy; Behali; Bryan;
3) Sentinels - Nathan "Nate" Ryder (mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" Mahaire, healer, have twin sons Roman and 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, have triplets (two male wolf pups Acton "Ace" Lucas Smith-Kincaid and Michael "Micah" Hawke Smith-Kincaid; one female leopard cub, Isabella "Belle" Maeve Smith-Kincaid)).
4) Other Couples:
a) Emmet, mated to Ria Wembley, a human, in Whisper of Sin; have an infant daughter, Mialin Corrina, in this plot
b) Zachary "Zach" Quinn, mated to Angelica "Anne" Kildaire, a human, in Stroke of Enticement, have an infant boy Rowan Kaleb Quinn.
c) Bastien Smith, Mercy's brother & financial genius, mated to Kirby Rosario, a Lynx Changeling, in Secrets at Midnight.
d) Desiree "Desi", a senior solider, is mentioned as mated in this plot. To whom?
ii. SnowDancer Wolves (Territory: California)
1) Hawke - Alpha. Mated to Sienna Lauren, an X-Psy, in Kiss of Snow.
2) Packmates - Dalton; Lucy; Kieran (a human); Joshua; Brace; Sylvia; Maria & Lake; Riordan; Simran; Ines; Mariska; Sam Baker (a human); Mack; Nell; Shawnelle; Ivy; Becca; Pierce; Felix; Vivienne & Todd (Twins); Daniel; Margo; Vitoria; Sebastian; Paul; Elizabeth; Diego; Revel & Pia (siblings); Baker Family - Iain & Enid; son Nash; daughter Willow (Lynx family tied to pack); Heather; Dani
3) Lieutenants - Judd Lauren (an Arrow Psy, mated to Brenna Shane Kincaid, in Caressed by Ice); Riley Aedan Kincaid; Indigo Riviere (mated to Andrew "Drew" Liam Kincaid, a Tracker, in Play of Passion); 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:
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) Walker Lauren, a Tp-Psy, mated to Lara Knight, healer, in Texture of Intimacy, is pregnant in this plot.
b) Tai, dating Evangeline, Indigo's sister, since Kiss of Snow.
c) Elias, his mate Yuki & daughter Sakura
d) Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui
e) Spencer & Ava Stone, their son Ben (wanting to mate with Marlee) & daughter Elodie.
f) Shamus Lopez & his mate Emma
g) Tarah & Abel - Indigo and Evie's parents
h) Melina and James - Grace's adopted parents
i) Aisha & Mack - Lara's parents
j) Riordan dating Noelle, Zach's, a DarkRiver Changeling, sister since Texture of Intimacy.
6) In Texture of Intimacy, Lara and her assistant Lucy are looking for a dedicated admin person.
7) In Shield of Winter, Hawke and Sienna's plan to eliminate Ming takes a little detour in the wake of fallen Silence.
iii. BlackSea Changeling Coalition aka Conclave - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow. Members: Miane Leveque (Leader, introduced in Tangle of Need); Malachi Rhys (Security Chief, Introduced in Tangle of Need); Emani Berg; Olivia Coletti & her daughter Persephone; Leila Savea; Costas;
1) Approx 21 BlackSea water changelings are missing; the hunt for them would no doubt slip and slide to several future plots by Nalini.
iv. BlackEdge Wolves in Moscow. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice. Selenka Durev (Alpha); Gregori
v. RainFire Leopards in Smokies. Introduced in Beat of Temptation. Remington "Remi" Denier (Alpha); Finn (Healer); Lark, Angel & Theo (Sentinels); Jojo (with markings of an alpha); Jasper;
vi. WindHaven Falcons. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Adam Garrett (Wing Leader); Naia (healer); Jacques (second to Adam)
vii. Rats Changelings. Introduced in Mine to Possess. Members - Teijan (Alpha); Suyi; Zane; Aneca;
viii. AzureSun Leopards in Brazil. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Isabella Garcia (Alpha. Grandmother of Mercy); Eduardo and Joaquin (Sentinels).
ix. IceRock Lynx Changelings in Calgary, Canada. Introduced in Secrets at Midnight. Members: Kiya Teague (Alpha);
x. PineWood Hyenas - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice. Members - Kevin; Mahal; Lou-Ann;
xi. Snake Changelings. First mentioned in Mine to Possess plot.
xii. Lynx Changelings. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members:
xiii. SilverBlade Leopards. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Hamilton (A Sentinel)
xiv. WinterFire Leopards in North Dakota. First mentioned in Play of Passion.
xv. StoneWater Bears - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow.
xvi. WhiteSteppe Wolves in Siberia. First mentioned in Tangle of Need.
xvii. WaterSky Eagles in New York. Introduced in Shield of Winter.
xviii. SkyElm Ocelots in Texas. Introduced in this plot. Members: Monroe Halliston (Alpha);