Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15) by Nalini Singh #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
I said in a recent review that I have a very small list of auto-buy authors right now: Nalini Singh is one of that elite group. And after my initial doubt in this story, my faith is fully restored. More than! Allegiance of Honor has no central main couple. This is unusual for not only the Psy-Changeling series but also for books and series in this genre mashup (paranormal romance/urban fantasy). A note from the author in the book’s foreword…
This book, while continuing the Psy-Changeling storyline—because nothing is ever static in this world—is also a walk through the interconnected lives of many of the characters who’ve become important to us over the past books and novellas.
Nalini Singh has built such a strong, vibrant universe of characters and events that not only is the unusual style of this book refreshing, it’s quite brilliant. This is a chance for fans to take a breather from stepping into the heads of yet another set of new-ish characters, to spend time with some old friends and revisit topics that are long resolved but were of critical importance in their time. So much has happened in this series that a new reader would be completely confused and overwhelmed by this point, and even existing die-hard fans probably have a hard time keeping up with what’s happened across the past 14 books (and multiple short stories and novellas! Newbies: do not start with this book!!).
Allegiance of Honor progresses the overall storyline forward while investing in some much needed grounding time to let readers catch up. The Psy-Changeling series plot arc has undergone massive changes since Lucas and Sasha kicked off a revolution in Slave to Sensation*, and Allegiance of Honor lets the characters catch their breath before Ms. Singh sets them up for more hardship in the next major sequence (whatever that turns out to be). I loved getting glimpses into the lives of all the familiar characters and peeking into the lives of a few new ones I’d like to know better! That said, don’t be worried that Allegiance has no action or adventure or couple time. This book has everything you’ve come to expect from a Psy-Changeling book, just in a little different format.
“Kaleb!” His name had barely cleared her lips when he teleported them ten feet into the forest.
“Are you kidnapping me?” Sahara scowled at him but stayed flush against his body.
“We never finished our dance.”
Sahara’s response was soft, her eyes holding a thousand dreams. “We never will. This dance we’re in, it’s forever.”
I love how Nalini Singh subtly weaves relevant sociopolitical and ecological messages into her stories. The last few Psy-Changeling books have highlighted a marine group of shifters whose way of life is being threatened by the slow degradation of the world’s oceans. We’re not really sure exactly what many members of the BlackSea group shift into, but the message is clear: man’s ongoing selfish rape of the planet has hidden and unexpected consequences. On a lighter note, many authors have unsuccessfully tried to sell the idea of water shifters to a mass audience, but if anyone can make that concept a reality, it is surely Ms. Singh, and she’s already off to a great start with BlackSea.
This is a rewarding story for long-time fans of the series. Maybe it’s the calm before the storm, or maybe it’s a hard-earned respite from tragedy, but I came away from Allegiance of Honor feeling happy and hopeful and still wanting even more from this series. The plot threads are still there and there’s much left to do. The question now is whether Ms. Singh picks up where this book leaves off or jumps ahead to kickstart a whole new generation in the Psy-Changeling universe.
I want to close with a quote, and I hope it won’t be too much of a giveaway for the scene, but I just love it. This is the most eloquent phrasing I’ve ever seen for the advice I would give anyone trying to find themselves, especially people in their 20s and early 30s:
“Be wild,” Lucas said with a smile. “Explore everything you want to explore. Run hard, play hard, find your skin.”
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