Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ARC Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Series:     Psy-Changeling #16
Pub. Date:June 13. 2017
Publisher:Berkley
Length:496 pages
Source:NetGalley

With Silver Silence, Nalini Singh is providing her readers with an evolution of the Psy-Changeling series where, instead of focusing on the races individually, we are working towards a more integrated society. Silence has fallen, many of the corrupt and psychopathic Psy have been defeated, and now our three races have begun working to strengthen the Trinity Accord. While part of the population sees the importance and benefits to uniting Humans, Psy and Changelings, others are wary or downright combative and have resolved to bring down Trinity and its basic tenets. 

Silver Mercant is the perfectly silent assistant to powerhouse Kaleb Krycheck. I had to think really hard about who Silver was when I started this story, because I didn't recall being introduced to her family in the past. This is because the Mercant family has always been powerful, but they choose to remain in the shadows rather than making some of the more bold power grabs that we have seen from Psy councilors and villains alike. So while we knew Silver tangentially as Kaleb's assistant, I don't remember her being a major player in past books. But don't let that fool you, Silver is no slouch in the power department. As a pure telepath, Silver has the ability to communicate with people over long distances, a very useful ability when you work for a world super power, and particularly beneficial to Silver in her new position as head of EmNet, the new worldwide emergency response network. However, not all of Silver's psychic abilities are a boon, and its that secondary ability that necessitates Silver's rigid control and continued silence after other Psy have relaxed their hold. 
Bears have big bodies and big hearts. No one can ever argue otherwise. But there is a school of thought that says these big, blunt, gorgeous, and often aggravating creatures are the most sensitive changelings of us all. It’s hard to hurt a bear … but if and when you succeed, their pain is enormous.
Valentin Nikolaev, a/k/a I.M.A. Medvezhonok, is a hilarious and huge Kamchatka brown bear changeling, and alpha to the StoneWater clan in Russia. Changeling bears are wildly charming, sometimes illogical, and usually overbearing. But this brash behavior, while evincing their good nature and laissez faire attitude, also serves as a cover for astute minds and abiding loyalty. While I enjoyed the cats and wolves we met earlier in the series... the bears were so much stinkin' fun and lovable that they cemented a place in my heart very quickly. Valentin was the perfect alpha, with an awesome personality and huge heart; he was constantly taking care of his clan without being a stifling dictator. His attempts to woo Silver were hilarious, particularly when he talked himself up to be "sneaky like a cat." The humor that we got from this hero was a nice change from some of the uber-serious and broody heroes we have had in the past.

I found the romance between these two to be quite humorous, mainly due to Valentin's antics. However I also loved seeing Silver's dry sense of humor peek out occasionally. At one point the relationship did feel like it went from 0-60 in the blink of an eye... but that could be because there was so much happening the rest of the story that there wasn't time for our couple to ease into things. The relationship was not all hearts and flowers, despite Valentin's efforts. There was a good amount of turmoil and emotion to experience with this couple, and I was really pulling for our big teddy bear to get his HEA.

As stated above, not everyone is happy with the Trinity Accord. In this installment, we see more than one group working against Trinity's interests. That did get a little confusing sometimes as I wasn't always sure which villainous team was operating in the forefront... but bad guys are bad guys, even where the lines are blurred. These particular villains were willing to commit large scale attacks to maximize injuries and loss of life in an effort to advance their agenda. While I was sympathetic to certain reasons behind their feelings, it wasn't enough to make me feel sorry for those responsible for the devastation. Despite the confusion on the evil operatives, the action and mystery did a good job at advancing the plot around the romance.

I recommend this book to fans of Nalini Singh and paranormal romance, though I don't recommend that you read any of this series out of order. While there have been multiple story arcs, you want to get the benefit of the cumulative world building and character development that has happened over the first 15 books. Nalini is uber creative and talented and has given us a unique and captivating world to explore.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley. 

Psy-Changeling