Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Release Day Review, Q&A, and Excerpt: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

As you all know, I've become hopelessly obsessed with Nalini Singh's books. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have come to love them, but I can tell you that I have reread this series five times since I first marathoned it last June. See? I told you I'm obsessed.

It is rather appropriate that a year after my initial reading of this series my marathon of Psy-Changeling reviews is finally coming to an end. Allegiance of Honor, the fifteenth book in the series, is out today! I was lucky enough to get a copy of it for review and I've already read it twice! It was SO good! If you haven't started this series yet, you have plenty of books to marathon before book sixteen comes out next year!

Allegiance of Honor
(Psy-Changeling #15)
Nalini Singh
Release: June 14, 2016
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The “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world...

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

One thing I love about Nalini Singh is that she does things that are unexpected but very much appreciated by her fans. One of these is the sheer amount of bonus material she shares. I adore the short stories she features in her newsletter and later posts on her website. These vignettes allow us to get small sneak peeks into the lives of characters from the previous books. Now, imagine a whole book written in that kind of vignette format but with each one connected to the others to make a cohesive whole. I was hesitant when I first heard that Allegiance of Honor was going to be an ensemble book because I couldn't figure out how Singh was going to pull it off in a coherent manner. I really shouldn't have worried. 

There's a note from the author at the beginning of this book that the series is split into different story arcs. Shards of Hope ended the first arc and Allegiance of Honor is very much a setup book that segues the series into the next arc. It ties together several loose ends hanging around after the fall of Silence and at the same time it also kicks the story in a new direction. The format makes it hard to review without spoiling things but I will say that it does an excellent job of introducing the new story arc while checking in with all of our favorite characters from the previous books.

A lot has happened since the end of Slave to Sensation but the most notable is the number of intricate relationships that have developed to connect the Psy, Humans, Forgotten, and Changelings together. These connections provide a back bone that helps us to more fully understand the changes that are happening in the Psy-Changeling world with the fall of Silence and the new Trinity Accord. The ensemble cast really highlights these relationships and gives us multiple points of view to see how devious The Consortium is. Almost all of the major characters in this series gets some page time, so keep an eye out for your favorite pairings because they'll pop up at some point.

And if that wasn't enough, we also get some insight into a few characters I've been dying to know more about. The most prominent is the Blacksea pack and I can't wait to learn more about them! I just want a book with at least one of the love interests to be from Blacksea! Or both! Just think of all we'd learn if both the hero and the heroine were water changelings! I seriously love how this book sets up so many possibilities for featured characters in future books. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for another Psy/Forgotten couple but I think it would be awesome if we got a Forgotten/Changeling couple. I also want more time with my beloved Arrow squad. I would totally read a whole series exclusively about the Arrows dealing with the fall of Silence and finding their places in the world.

This book was everything I was hoping for and more! It made me laugh and it made me cry in public. I couldn't help but hug my kindle to my chest when I finished it because it was so delightfully wonderful! There are so many possibilities as to what could be coming up that I cannot wait to see where this series takes us next! It's going to be a long wait for the next book.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4.5 / 5 Stars!

Nalini Singh on the future of the Psy-Changeling series 

Is Allegiance of Honor the end of the Psy-Changeling series?

No, it’s not. :) I ADORE this world and the characters and I have so many Psy-Changeling stories yet to tell. (I've often joked that I'll be writing this series until I'm ninety-eight!)

Where do you see the Psy-Changeling world going from here? Who is the next book about?

(Slightly spoilery answer to follow if you’re just starting the series).

Allegiance of Honor sets up a lot of possibilities for the future. There are many avenues I could take. However, for me, this arc is all about what happens not just to the Psy, but to the world, now that Silence has fallen and all the rules have changed.

We’ve had the immediate aftermath books, both of which focused on the Psy race (Shield of Winter & Shards of Hope), but what about the wider long-term future? Because Silence existed for a reason. The Psy still have these incredible abilities that have the potential to drive them murderously insane, and the world is still a fractured triumvirate. And there are players about whom we know very little, like the falcons and BlackSea.

As for who’s book is next, I’m not ready to announce it yet because I want to be certain this character is ready – but I think you’ll be pleased. ;-)

Excerpt From Allegiance of Honor

Lucas had had to chase Naya around the aerie at bedtime last night—her walk might still be a little shaky, but she was a rocket when it came to crawling. Dressed only in a diaper, she’d laughed uproariously and said a loud, firm “No” each time Lucas caught her and put her in her crib.

After which she’d clamber out—she’d figured out how to escape a month earlier—and the game would begin again. Of course, since Lucas was a cat, he’d been having just as much fun as their daughter. Sascha, meanwhile, had sat in the living room with a cup of hot chocolate and just indulged in the sight of her mate playing with their cub.

She’d had to pretend to be stern when Naya ran over and pleaded her case with loud sounds and wild gesticulations of her hands. “No, Naya,” she’d said, biting her tongue in an effort not to laugh. “It’s time for bed. Go with Papa.”

At which point, Naya had growled at her, eyes sparkling with mischief.

And Sascha had cracked, laughing so hard she’d had to put down her hot chocolate before she spilled it. Lucas had shaken his head as Naya plopped down on her diaper-covered butt and joined in, clapping her hands at having made her mommy laugh. “No discipline.” Lucas had mock-growled at her before picking up their misbehaving baby. “And you”—a growly nuzzle that made Naya laugh harder and pat his stubbled cheek—“time for bed.”

He’d finally got her to sleep—by walking around with her pressed up against his bare chest.

Today, their cub was playing in the living area just outside the kitchen nook. Sascha had locked the aerie door to ensure Naya wouldn’t undo the latch and go out onto the balcony, and Lucas had childproofed the entire main area of the aerie, so Naya was free to roam as she liked. A lot of the time she practiced her walking skills. And no matter how often she fell down, she started back up again after a little break.

Stubborn, determined baby.

Peeking out from the kitchen, Sascha found her concentrating on stacking the colored alphabet blocks Faith and Vaughn had given her as a gift. Beside her sat a more than slightly ragged wolf plush toy, aka “The Toy That Shall Not Be Named.” Hawke had given that to Naya when she was a newborn, and it remained her favorite snuggle toy, much to her father’s despair.

Though Lucas did enjoy it when Naya went leopard on the toy, growling and “fighting” with the wolf. Then he’d smile and say, “That’s my girl.”

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