3.5 star review

Review – Allegiance of Honour by Nalini Singh

Allegiance of Honour

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?

I read this the instant it came out, literally, I stayed up all night reading it, which is something that I endeavor not to do any more. And it has taken me this long to write my review, and I am not the only one to have some kind of feelings about it.

I read this series both for the romance and for the world building, so in general it doesn’t really bother me when the balance skews one way or the other, but this thing, it wasn’t either of those.

I think I get what the author was trying to do here, it was meant to be a wallow through characters that we love, an homage to the reader if you will, updating us on how thrilled and wonderful their lives are after such hardships. And it was meant to be a bridge, setting up new conflicts and adding new characters that I assume will be important in future installments.

But that wasn’t what it was, or at least that wasn’t what it felt like to me. It felt like, I don’t know, a money grab and a cop out. If all these scenes and information had been dispersed out through the year as vignettes, I would have been thrilled and I would have read them avidly. As it was I was just somewhat disappointed. If she had picked out a character pair and told their love story with the Black See changeling story line threading through it (like Zaira and Aiden’s story), I would have been thrilled too. And maybe if the mystery and furthering of the overall plot had been more cohesive and integral, I would have been more satisfied too.

As it was, I guess the best word for this is underwhelming. Yes, I knew ahead of time it was an ensemble, and I can’t really think of any ensemble books that I liked (and several I have actively despised), but I hoped for better from this author. Perhaps this is a format that just doesn’t work for me. Maybe it doesn’t actually work for anyone. I am keeping my fingers crossed on the next one though, hoping this particular author manages to take back the reins after the conclusion of what I had thought would be the end of the series.

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15)

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4 star review

Review – A Gift for Guile by Alissa Johnson

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Never Trust a Thief
Once a famous officer of Scotland Yard and now a renowned private detective, Sir Samuel Brass has better things to do than shadow a reckless hellion in her misguided quest for atonement. But when the daughter of a notorious criminal-and a former thief herself-returns to London to right an old wrong, Samuel is drawn back into the dangerously exciting world of Esther Walker-Bales.

Beautiful and conniving, maddening and brilliant, Esther is everything he shouldn’t want. She’s a liar. She’s a con. She’s a thief. And God help him, but he’d do anything to keep her safe.

Esther knows she’s put herself in terrible danger, but nothing will stop her from making amends that are long past due-not her family’s enemies, not old fears, and certainly not the domineering, interfering and undeniably handsome Sir Samuel Brass. Yet whenever he’s near, Samuel makes her long for a life that can never be hers…and wish she were worthy of being saved.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I picked up this author following a recommendation from Nalini Singh, and when I saw she had a new series coming out I couldn’t help but snatch it up. Ostensibly this series is about the Thief-Takers, but in my opinion they are really more the women’s stories. The last book was about the an older sister, and this one is about the younger one.

And despite the fact that there is a much darker history with this character, she is literally laugh out loud funny at times. There were places where I laughed until I cried. And there were places were I just wanted to cry for these two characters who had such sadness in their pasts. Johnson writes characters you can just feel if you know what I mean.

The story moved along quickly, the mystery was multi-layered and nuanced, and it kept me entertained so that I could hardly bear to put it down. But it was the characters that really got to me, particularly Esther. She was a delight, and a scamp, and a thief and a liar, and she was also more. I’d actually say that Samuel did more growing, Esther had already done her soul-searching and had set herself on the path of who she would become. And it was lovely to watch her get there. Samuel on the other hand had to adjust quite a bit, not in any unnatural or false ways, but still, I always enjoy when it is the man who has to adjust himself and his life more for the woman than the other way around.

As seems to be Ms. Johnson’s talent, her story and her characters left me feeling happy. I recommend it.

A Gift for Guile (The Thief-takers)

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