Book Critique – Wolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity # 3)
For review of all books in this series: Go here.
Stars: 3.5 / 5
My Recommendation: A very intriguing plot to continue the series, keeping readers on the edge and making the readers wonder where else will Nalini Singh take her plot in this futuristic location filled with three different races - Psy, Changeling and Human - braving into a new world under Trinity Accord. Of course there is romance, passion, war, friendship, loyalties and betrayals tested along the line.
Wolf Rain is the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (18th book in the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh published in June of 2019. The central plot revolves around Alexei "Lexie" Vasiliev Harte - a SnowDancer Wolf Lieutenant - and Memory Aven-Rose - an E-Psy. The plot is still set in winter of 2083, and begins right after events in Ocean Light.
We first met Alexei in Play of Passion, the 9th book, approximately 9 years ago since the date this book was published. And he has been seen on and off in every plot that involves SnowDancer Wolves. In Tangle of Need, the 11th book, there was a hint for Indigo & Drew to take over Alexei's sector in a month since that plot was set so Alexei could come back to den.
But that was almost 7 years ago since this book is written and at least 2 years have passed in the Psy-Changeling timeline. And since Alexei didn’t seemed as evolved as I thought, and that Nalini hadnt touched that tid bit where Indigo & Alexei would swap places, I didn’t expect his story to come up so soon. This book turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
While on a routine checkup of one of the power substations in the remotest area of SnowDancer's territory in Sierra Nevada, Alexei stumbles into an underground hidden bunker where an E-Psy, Memory, is kept imprisoned. Alexei rescues Memory from the rogue Psy, but he has no depth of what Memory could do. He only sees her as a victim. And Memory sees herself as a monster and not an empath. How their paths collide, lives merge and impact the species around is what follows in the rest of the book.
Memory has had her share of hardships in life with people who are pretty. She didn’t much care about someone being pretty. And Nalini pits her against the most beautiful wolf from the SnowDancer pack, one who had been called "pretty" by his teasing packmates so many times. It is such a revelation to see how Memory sees beyond his prettiness to find the strong, loyal and brave wolf who will give his life for her.
Memory's icy fire opened up all the curbed and controlled wildness in Alexei. She is exactly the lioness that Alexei's wolf needs and neither hold back on exploiting that with each other in order to forge a path to meet between.
In this book, Nalini gets back to her way of writing similar to the parent series, bringing back other characters, giving them sub-plots along the way. I was pleased to meet all of them again, for I was missing them in the previous two books.
As her other books in this series, each chapter of the books is opened with a conversation or a dialogue or events that have occurred in past, which very much become relevant to what the chapter ends up becoming. This gives the reader an idea about where they would be venturing in this fantastical plot. As always Nalini adds in futuristic scientific and medical technology along the way.
In every book of hers, be it this series of the others, Nalini always inserts communal scenes - family gatherings, clan celebrations, pack events - that make you want to live in that book, have a life similar to the characters have, and you cant help but fall in love with all her characters.
A fitting continuation for the spin-off series. I cant wait to pick up the next book in the series soon, wanting to see how Nalini connects all the missing dots and those inconsequential details she leaves all around her plot. Of course with new sub-plots added, new dangers emerging, making one only want to continue to read the series. Enjoy the ride if you are picking it up the first time. I promise, it is worth it.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Erasmus David Renault, a Tk-Psy, who has imprisoned Memory for 15 years. After her escape he is looking for a replacement for Memory.
b. Pax Marshall, whom we first met in Shards of Hope, has more power awoke within him. Memory helps him curb it. With help of his twin Theodora, he saves Yuri from death, using the concept of Harmonies. In Blaze of Memory, Nalini brought a similar scenario. In that Katya Haas mind breaks down in the end due to the continuous torture by Ming. Noor Hassan, one of the Forgotten Psy child, and Keenan Aleine, Ashaya's son, use something similar concept to save Katya. So are Noor and Keenan Harmonies too?
c. In Ocean Light, I mentioned that Nalini had given Bo and his Knights a solution for the implanted chip to stop disintegrating and still working effectively to block psy invasion. But I also missed the fact that Kaleb and the Ruling Coalition are yet to find a solution for all humans to evade psy invasion. Ashaya and Amara continue with their efforts on that front.
2. Psy terms:
a. For all Psy Designations mentioned in the series go here.
b. Honeycomb Protocol - PsyNet connected by Empaths; to survive need humans to join without coercion; only three known Psy-Human bonds exist (Sophia & Max; Stefan & Tazia; Clara & Patrick); although friendship bonds might helps as seen in Ocean Light. As of this book, Kaleb estimates only 12 more months before the new PsyNet would fall & Psy like Memory could further extend it's survival.
c. The Consortium - headed by The Architect, formed of power hungry people from all three races; Is believed to be a woman as of Silver Silence.
d. HAPMA - Humans Against Psy Manipulation - rogue organization committing crimes on Humans to protect them from slavery to Psy. Members - David Fournier
e. Trinity Accord - Includes The Ruling Coalition; Devraj Santos; Bowen Knight; Lizbeth Shafer (head of a humanitarian group Hope Light); Miane Leveque.
f. United Earth Federation aka UEF
g. Emergency Response Network aka EmNet - world-wide rapid response network as the first line in any critical situation; headed by Silver Mercant.
h. Harmonies - Seen in closely bonded Psy or sometimes in twins. Their combined power can help heal near-death injuries.
3. General Sub-Plots:
a. So much has been told about Adrian Bowen Kenner, the 18th century peace negotiator (Bo Knight is his direct descendent) and Adina Mercant, a Psy poet from the 19th century (Silver is her direct descendant) in all the books so far, it makes me curious if Nalini would do a prequel with them as characters. Although that would mean for her to add new characters and sub-plots. But, wouldn’t it be interesting to read his story as a prequel to both these series?
b. Why has NetMind been hiding Psy-Changeling / Psy-Human bonds from others?
4. Various Psy:
a. 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 (rep. all Changelings)
b. Empathic Collective - formed by 5 empaths incl. Sascha Duncan; Ivy Jane is President; Sahara Kyriakus as specialist; Alice Elridge as Consultant.
c. Ex-Councilors: Ming LeBon; Shoshanna Scott
d. Other Psy: Latham; Sione; Juniper; Gia Khan; Lenik (Kaleb's admin asst.); Samuel Rain; Keisha Bale; Tanique Gray (Faith's brother); Chang; Concetta; Teri; Dechen; Isaiah; Brigitte; Pax Marshall & Theodora "Theo" Marshall; Payal Rao; Ena Mercant (Silver's grandmother); Lillya; Arwen Mercant (Silver's brother; Pavel interested in him); Dr. Edgard Bashir; Ivan Mercant; Pippi; Toby & Marlee Lauren; Cordelia; Joseph; Reema; Vashti;
e. Psy Couples: Clara Alvarez & her human mate Patrick; Gwen Jane & Carter Hirsch (Ivy Jane's parents); Isaiah & Concetta (bonded in Shield of Winter, Isaiah injured in that plot); Anthony & Nikita (a relationship brewing since Shards of Hope)
f. Could it be Samuel Rain who had distracted Amara Aleine in Tangle of Need? He seemed interested in her per Silver Silence. In this book, with empath transfer from Memory, Amara seems to get some humanity back intermittently showing the effects.
g. In Heart of Obsidian:
i. To avenge Sahara, Kaleb imprisons and tortures ex-Councilor Tatiana Rika-Smythe.
ii. Nalini connected every knick-knack in Kaleb's home to a shared memory between him & Sahara except for a single piece of twisted metal. A short story for it?
h. In Silver Silence:
i. Kaleb has someone in mind as Silver's replacement.
ii. Silver jokes about joining a human commune as well to keep up the political image of not showing partiality to any one race, now that she is mated to a Changeling.
5. Arrow Squad:
a. Aden Kai - Leader. Mated to Zaira Neve in Shards of Hope.
b. Commanders: Vasic Zen (mated to Ivy Jane, an E-Psy, in Shield of Winter); Cristobel Rodriguez & Amin (seem to have bonded in Shards of Hope); Axl (interested in Tamar in Shards of Hope)
c. Members: Gutierrez; Suhana; Alejandro; Sione; Ella; Tavish; Mica; Beatrice Gault; Yuri; Pip; Carolina;
d. Other Couples:
i. Stefan Berg married to Tazia Nerif in Echo of Silence
ii. Marjorie Kai & Naoshi Ayze (Aden's parents); Abbot (Bonded to Jaya Laila Storm, an E-Psy)
i. Yuri though critically injured, is saved by Pax (who had originally caused it), and wakes up with a month's worth of memory loss. Nerida, the head medic is in love with him.
6. Forgotten Psy - Introduced in Caressed by Ice:
a. Devraj "Dev" Santos - leader, marries Ekaterina "Katya" Haas, an M-Psy, in Blaze of Memory.
b. Members: Rangi; Dr. Glen Herriford; Jonquil "Jon" Alexi Duchslaya; Noor Hassan (Keenan, Ashaya's son want to marry her); Aubry; Aryan; Tag & Tiara; Cruz; Maggie; Dr. Connor; Eva; William;
c. In Heart of Obsidian, one of the female Forgotten assists the EmNet; who is mated to a DarkRiver male. Who is she?
7. Humans - Human Alliance:
a. Giovanni Somme - official head of the Alliance; Bowen "Bo" Kinght - Security Chief, mated to Kaia Luna in Ocean Light.
b. Bowen's Knights (Total of 9 men & women) - Lily Knight (Bo's sister); Cassius Drake; Heenali Roy; Ajax; Zeb; Domenica Bianchi & 3 others not-named yet
c. Members: Sara; Alice Eldridge (Introduced in Branded by Fire); Trooper Michel Benoit; Allie Livingston; Neha (Bo's assistant); Niall; Erik Jahnssen;
d. Other Couples:
i. Max Shannon - Security Chief for Nikita Duncan, married to Sophia Russo, a J-Psy, in Bonds of Justice.
ii. Father Xavier Perez & Nina; Lisette & Emil; Isaac & Jesse; Leah & Jerad Knight (Bo's parents);
i. What is the history behind Kaia being called as "Cookie"?
ii. What is the fate of Heenali as one of Bo's Knights after knowing she had breached security for Hugo in Ocean Light.
iii. As seen in Silver Silence, Alice Eldridge is rewriting her 1972 book on E-Psy. Per this book, she is also working on a follow-up to the original, with the role of E-Psy in the new world of fallen Silence, Honeycomb Protocol and Trinity Accord.
a. DarkRiver Leopards (Territory: San Francisco)
i. 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.
ii. 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 in Allegiance of Honor — two male wolf pups Acton "Ace" Lucas Smith-Kincaid and Michael "Micah" Hawke Smith-Kincaid; one female leopard cub, Isabella "Belle" Maeve Smith-Kincaid).
iii. Packmates - Kit & Rina Monaghan; Zara; Tara; Nico; Cory; Jason; Nicki; Aaron; Mia; Sarah; Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Barker; Joe; Owen; Monroe; Nicki; Sage and Grey (Mercy's remaining brothers); Anu; Issy; Behali; Bryan; Sonal
iv. Other Couples:
1) Harry & Meenakshi (Desiree's parents); Cian & Keelie Schaeffer
2) Emmett Schaeffer, mated to Ria Wembley, a human, in Whisper of Sin; have an infant daughter, Mialin Corrina, as of Allegiance of Honor.
3) Zachary "Zach" Quinn, mated to Angelica "Anne" Kildaire, a human, in Stroke of Enticement, have an infant boy Rowan Kaleb Quinn as of Allegiance of Honor.
4) Bastien Smith, Mercy's brother & financial genius, mated to Kirby Rosario, a Lynx Changeling, in Secrets at Midnight.
1) Kit (an alpha in the making) leaves the pack for his wild days in Allegiance of Honor; seen to be working at a BlackSea location in Ocean Light.
2) Dr. Keelie Schaeffer is researching on my some changelings with markers go rogue while others don't in this plot.
b. SnowDancer Wolves (Territory: California)
i. Hawke - Alpha. Mated to Sienna Lauren, an X-Psy, in Kiss of Snow.
ii. 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); Kenji Tanaka & Garnet "Jem" Sheridan (mated to each other in Flirtation of Fate; Matthias Agrey Garcia; Tomas;
iii. Packmates - Dalton; Lucy; Kieran (a human); Joshua; Brace; Sylvia; Maria & Lake; Riordan; Simran; Ines; Mariska; Sam Baker (a human); Mack; Shawnelle; Ivy; Becca; Pierce; 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 the pack); Heather; Dani; Madison; Louisa; Steele Sheridan; Jasper Sheridan; Lorenzo; Emi; Eloise; Gavin; Greg; Charlie; Ember;
iv. Other Couples:
1) Walker Lauren, a Tp-Psy, mated to Lara Knight, healer, in Texture of Intimacy, is pregnant in Allegiance of Honor.
2) Felix Grady, a submissive, mated to Desiree "Dezi", a DarkRiver Leopard Dominant Sr. Soldier, in Partners in Persuasion.
3) Tai, dating Evangeline "Evie", Indigo's sister, since Kiss of Snow; Elias "Eli", his mate Yuki & daughter Sakura; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui; Spencer & Ava Stone, son Benjamin "Ben" Stone (wanting to mate with Marlee) & daughter Elodie; Shamus Lopez & his mate Emma; Tarah & Abel - Indigo and Evie's parents; Melina and James - Grace's adopted parents; Aisha & Mack - Lara's parents; Riordan dating Noelle, Zach's sister since Texture of Intimacy; Ruby Sheridan, Tex & their new born; Yejun & Sabrina; Shane & Athena; Clementine "Aunt Min" Harte & Gustav, daughter Franzi;
1) In Texture of Intimacy, Lara & Lucy are looking for a dedicated admin person.
2) In Shield of Winter, Hawke and Sienna's plan to eliminate Ming is put on hold temporarily.
3) As of this plot, Matthias is trying to court Nell, a maternal female, whom we had first seen in Tangle of Need.
c. BlackSea Changeling Coalition - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow. Members
i. Miane Leveque - Leader, introduced in Tangle of Need.
ii. Packmates - Malachi "Mal" Rhys (Security Chief, Introduced in Tangle of Need); Emani Berg; Olivia Coletti & her daughter Persephone; Leila Savea; Costas; Andres; Dr. Night; Attie's brothers (Edison - possible to mate Seraphina, Armand - possible to mate Tansy, and the identical triplets Teizo, Tevesi - possibly to mate Oleanna, and Taji); Scott Reineke; Jayson Greer; ; Alden; Bodie; Mary Ushijima; George; Naz; Loribeth; Bebe; Pania; Junji; Commander Geraldine Rhys (Mal's mother); Rick; Commander Griffin; Rani (healer);
iii. Other Couples: Dr. Atalina "Attie" Suzuki Kahananui & Dex, the Station Commander, with an infant in Ocean Light; Filipe & Carlotta; Dr. Natia & Eijiro Kahunanui;
iv. In Ocean Light:
1) Malachi Rhys evolves exponentially and seems to be in relation with Miane. Now I crave for his story just like Hawke, Kaleb, Aden, Bowen.
2) A database of all the packmates with their hidden tattoos is created, which is locked and can be accessed only by Miane, Malachai and an anonymous third person. Could that be Kaleb?
3) KJ was instrumental in working with Consortium against BlackSea. He disappears without any trace, even leaving his wife, Lis (a human) behind.
d. StoneWater Bears (Territory: Moscow) - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow.
i. Valentin "Valya" Mikhailovich Nikolaev - Alpha, mated to Silver Mercant, a TP-Psy, in Silver Silence.
ii. Seconds - Anastasia "Stasya" (Valya's sister); Pieter "Petya"; Pavel "Pasha" Mayakovskevich Stepyrev; Yakov "Yasha" Stepyrev; Zahaan "Zasha"; Taji; Inara
iii. Packmates - Valya's Grandmothers Babushka Caroline and Anzhela & mother Galina Evanova; Svetlana "Sveta" Valeria Kuznetsov; Arkasha; Fitzpatrick Haydon William; Moonbeam; Zaarina Saarinen (Zahaan's mother); Devi; Jane; Marik; Jovan; Laine
iv. Other Couples: Evanova "Nova" (healer & Valya's sister, mated to Alik "Chaos" - their Chef, have a child Dima); Janika "Nika" ( Valya's sister, mated to Phoenix, a cousin of Bo); Leonid "Leo" Papov (mated to Moira, a human; have newborn Danil "Danusha"); Ilya & Oksana; Fariad & Irina; Sergey & Enja, their son Artem "Tyoma";
1) In Silver Silence: Valentin yet to find why a bear clan was in Angola; Silver to find proof of prior Psy Council's experiments on Changelings.
e. BlackEdge Wolves in Moscow. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.
i. Selenka Durev - Alpha
ii. Members: Gregori; Margo Lucenko;
f. RainFire Leopards in Smokies. Introduced in Beat of Temptation. Remington "Remi" Denier (Alpha); Finn (Healer); Lark, Angel & Theo (Sentinels); Jojo (future alpha); Jasper
g. WindHaven Falcons. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Adam Garrett (Wing Leader); Naia (healer); Jacques (second to Adam)
h. Rats Changelings. Introduced in Mine to Possess. Members - Teijan (Alpha); Suyi; Zane; Aneca
i. AzureSun Leopards in Brazil. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Isabella Garcia (Alpha. Grandmother of Mercy); Eduardo and Joaquin (Sentinels).
j. IceRock Lynx Changelings in Calgary. Introduced in Secrets at Midnight. Members: Kiya Teague (Alpha)
k. PineWood Hyenas - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice. Members - Kevin; Mahal; Lou-Ann
l. SilverBlade Leopards. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Hamilton (A Sentinel)
m. WinterFire Leopards in North Dakota. First mentioned in Play of Passion.
n. WhiteSteppe Wolves in Siberia. First mentioned in Tangle of Need.
o. WaterSky Eagles in New York. Introduced in Shield of Winter.
p. SkyElm Ocelots in Texas. Introduced in Allegiance of Honor.
q. Lion Changelings in African continent. First mentioned in Ocean Light.
9. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. Nalini all-along spelled one of the Arrow's name as "Cristobel". But in this book she spelled it as "Cristabel" on pages 201 & 207. So what is her name's correct spelling? I had brought up the same thing in the 14th book Shards of Hope as well.
b. On Pg. 303, Line 25, shouldn’t it be "…night breeze whisked the moisture…"? The word "wicked" is definitely incorrect in that line.
c. On Pg. 355, Line 9, doesn’t require the "with" in the line.