Wolf Rain (A Psy-Changeling Trinity Novel #18) by Nalini Singh (book review).

There are readers who like the comfort of knowing, roughly, what will happen in a book. This is why the Mills & Boon romances have been so popular. The situation and the characters may be different but, along the way, the two main characters will overcome all obstacles and end up together. Other readers like something different every time. Nalini Singh’s novels tend to fall in the former category but with added spice.

For those unaware of the ‘Psy-Changeling’ novels, this is an alternative future where there are three races: Psy – who have mental abilities such as telepathy or telekinesis, Changelings – who can become another animal at will such as wolves, bears, leopards and humans. For a hundred years, the Psy have advocated Silence under which emotions are suppressed. For this reason those exhibiting empathy have been persecuted. As the Psy-Changeling series started, Silence was breaking down and liaisons were beginning between the two groups. In each of the novels in the series, the focus is on two characters that those familiar with the series, know will become romantically attached to each other before the end. Like all good romances, there are obstacles. Singh also pushes the narrative arc onwards in each one.

Most of the novels have involves Psy and Changelings but now humans are involved as well forming a Trinity which is trying to work together as it has been realised that all the races need each other to survive. ‘Wolf Rain’ is the third of the ‘Psy-Changeling Trinity’ novels but many of the characters will be familiar from the preceding fifteen Psy-Changeling novels. Most of the action takes place in the territory of the SnowDancer wolfpack. Alexei Harte is one of the wolf changelings. He is reluctant to seek permanent relationships as his father, grandfather and brother have all turned rogue. It is not long since his brother went feral and killed his mate without warning. Alexei is worried that the same thing will happen to him.

He is running in the mountains at the edge of the pack’s territory when he is hit by a wave of grief, the kind of emotion that can only be generated by an empath. Alexei follows it to its source and finds a hidden underground bunker. Inside is Memory Aven-Rose. It has been her prison for fifteen years. Alexei has only found her because she is an empath and her only companion, a cat, has died of old age. Her captor is a psychopath, a serial killer and a Psy whose ability is teleportation. He has kept her imprisoned because her abilities enable his to feel the pleasure of killing and that emotion is a drug to him. He wants her back but once Memory has been taken to safety by Alexei, she is protected not only by the Changelings but by the Arrows, an elite group warrior Psy.

Over the last few books, it has been established that the Psy actually need the empaths to hold together the collective mental network (PsyNet). By trying to eliminate empaths, they have put themselves in danger as when the PsyNet breaks down, Psy die. Although her captor has told Memory that she is not an empath, he has lied and her abilities are important for maintaining the PsyNet.

While this novel has the developing romance between Alexei and Memory at its heart, it also delves more deeply into the background of the participating groups, enhancing the dangers they face and beginning to suggest outcomes that may not all be negative.

A warning: this is erotic paranormal romance so if, as a reader, you are averse to explicit sexual descriptions, there are chapters that you need to avoid. For those familiar with Nalini Singh’s writing, this is another, enjoyable romp.

Pauline Morgan

May 2021

(pub: Gollancz, 2019. 392 page small hardback. Price: £18.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-473-22806-1)

check out websites: www.gollancz.co.uk, www.orionbooks.co.uk and www.nalinisingh.com

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