Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #4
Published by Berkley, Berkley Books on 9th June 2020
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Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s devotion to her pack is equaled only by her anger at anyone who would harm those under her care. That currently includes the empaths who’ve flowed into her city for a symposium that is a security nightmare, a powder keg just waiting for a match.
Ethan Night is an Arrow who isn’t an Arrow. Numb and disengaged from the world, he’s loyal only to himself. Assigned as part of the security force at a world-first symposium, he carries a dark agenda tied to the power-hungry and murderous Consortium. Then violence erupts and Ethan finds himself crashing into the heart and soul of an alpha wolf.
Mating at first sight is a myth, a fairytale. Yet Selenka’s wolf is resolute: Ethan Night, broken Arrow and a man capable of obsessive devotion, is the mate it has chosen. Even if the mating bond is full of static and not quite as it should be.
Because Selenka’s new mate has a terrible secret, his mind surging with a power that is a creature of madness and death…
I needed to pause for a while before penning a review for Nalini Singh’s ‘Alpha Night’ – getting submerged into her expansive Psy-Changeling universe once a year with every new release is always a treat. However, this far into ‘Season 2’ of her series (so said by Singh herself), we’re treading new and shaky ground as Singh keeps a narrative arc a rolling juggernaut, after the playing field gets levelled when the Silence Protocol governing the Psy (and correspondingly, the Psy-Net that they operate in) officially collapsed. ‘
‘Alpha Night’ is yet another story that expands this vision of hers, with more and more developments that do make me miss the ol’ days when it was just the cats and the wolves pack in California. Nostalgia aside however, ‘Alpha Night’ premise is no different from Singh’s trademark pairings between Psy and Changeling (or Human/Psy), with each book slowly but surely exploring the different deviations and powers that each character possesses.
Call this series- or reader-fatigue perhaps, but it’s this particular similarity that starts to get repetitive, particularly when there’re already templates of such pairings in Singh’s earlier books. Alpha wolf Selenka Durev and Arrow Ethan Night mate at first sight – perhaps an allusion to the ever-popular instalove trope – even if their relationship echoes loudly of Hawke/Sienna (a favourite pairing of mine), along with the usual tussles of dominance, a mysterious but lethal internal power, an even more mysterious but mostly unnamed external threat and the intricate workings of an Alpha/his mate. And these feel like well-trodden ground crammed into a book that goes longer than the usual romance novel.
It isn’t to say that both characters aren’t well-fleshed-out in their own rights–they are. Ethan is a sympathetic hero because of what he’d endured, yet he felt more woodenly passive in contrast to Selenka’s constant dominance and movement among her pack, with his actions described mostly as passionate and unquestionable devotion to her. The interactions between Selenka and pack on the other hand, gave me a case of deja-vu: well, had I not already seen this with Hawke over a number of books?
‘Alpha Night’ was a mediocre read as a result – sacrilegious as it might seem to term a Nalini Singh book that – but I did expect better of her beloved characters trying to fashion order out of the chaos in this new world order.