Wolf Rain

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the psy-changling universe. The relationship made sense and the character (and continued world) development was great.  Can't wait for more of these!
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Singh's latest installment in her Psy-Changeling series is on par with all the books that have come before it. Memory and Alexei's story is one about the power of people who have lived through trauma to heal one another and bring that strength to help heal those around them. This book draws you in with it's stellar writing and fast pace, making it difficult to put down until you've reached the end.
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Wolf Rain can be viewed as either the eighteenth book in Nalini Singh’s the Psy/Changeling series, or the third book in the Psy/Changeling Trinity series. Jennie and I have reviewed six Psy/Changeling books together, so when Wolf Rain came out, it was almost a forgone conclusion that we would keep the tradition alive. – Janine

Janine: Alexei, a lieutenant in the SnowDancer pack, is running in the rain when he’s bombarded with emotion—grief—from a psy he quickly realizes is a female empath. It doesn’t take him long to identify the source, an underground bunker, or the woman, a prisoner named Memory.

Memory is wary at first (she’s been held prisoner for years with only her now-deceased cat, Jitterbug, for company) but at the thought that her kidnapper, a teleporter, could materialize at any moment, she leaves with Alexei.

After contacting his alpha and sheltering from the rain in the pack’s power station, Alexei and Memory meet up with other wolves and their allies. Memory is identified as indeed an empath, but an unusual one, one whose powers are somehow darker.

Memory is afraid she’ll be rejected by her new allies as soon as she reveals the truth about her powers—that they can imbue psychopaths with temporary empathy. But this empathy doesn’t last long, and it makes the psychopaths better at manipulating normal people.

Jennie: I feel dumb, but that’s a good, succinct description of Memory’s power that somehow eluded me. I knew that she “helped” somehow, but the specifics were a little hazy to me. Either I just missed it or I wasn’t able to connect point A to point B.

Janine: It was more demonstrated (in a scene with Sascha, Ashaya and Amara) than explained. When Memory’s powers are revealed, she is nonetheless invited to join the empath collective and reap its benefits. These include admission to an empath training ground on land belonging to DarkRiver.

Alexei and Memory form an attraction shortly after they meet, but though Memory is open to a relationship, Alexei is more reticent. He’s aware that Memory needs space to be sure she’s not turning to him simply because he rescued her. More than that, an illness in his family leads him to fears he’ll go rogue and kill those he loves if he mates, as his older brother did. He is determined to protect Memory from himself.

Memory faces additional dangers as well. Her kidnapper seeks to recapture her, while an unknown psy with newfound, almost limitless power is experiencing blackouts and attacking the empaths.

Wolf Rain got off to a great start with Alexei and Memory’s first meeting, but their courtship development was pretty run of the mill. While her backstory and circumstances were different from Ivy’s, Memory was almost a dead ringer for her in character, a sunny-natured (no matter how much we were told she was dark because of her powers, what we were actually shown was a sunny personality) empath who recovered from her trauma with miraculous speed. Like Ivy, she even had a beloved pet with a quirky name who helped her endure hard times.

Jennie: I do agree that Memory became well-adjusted all too quickly given what she’d lived through.

Janine: Alexei read like Riley (controlled nature and grumpiness) with a little bit of Drew’s propensity for gift giving thrown in. Though his reasons for it were different, his conflict of digging in his heels and resisting the mating bond is something we’ve seen before in this series, too, with Nate, Hawke and Riaz. I appreciated, though, that Alexei wasn’t as bossy or arrogant as many of the changelings. He and Memory were well-matched.

Jennie: I wonder if your better memory of past books and characters is a detriment here – it’s not like Alexei’s characterization felt daisy-fresh to me, but I didn’t necessarily compare him to past heroes in the series.

Janine: I recently participated in a read-along and discussion of the series, and while I didn’t have time to read all the books, I reread the wolf books – Caressed by Ice (Judd/Brenna), Branded by Fire (Mercy/Riley), Play of Passion (Drew/Indigo), Kiss of Snow (Hawke/Sienna) and half of Tangle of Need (Riaz /Adria). So I was very fresh on Hawke and Riaz. I didn’t remember about Nate until his backstory with Tamsyn was brought up in Wolf Rain.

Jennie: Interesting. I really barely remember Riaz/Adria, to be honest. I know the names, but beyond that…

Janine: Riaz’s wolf found his mate, but she was already married, so he turned away from her. He resisted a relationship with Adria at first because of that.

Back to Wolf Rain. Because the main characters in Wolf Rain felt familiar, I wasn’t super interested in their romance. And it developed pretty much as I expected it to—with Memory kissing away Alexei’s scowls and Alexei chasing away Memory’s anxieties with little gifts. Those are nice touches that I enjoy in Singh’s books, but in the case of Wolf Rain, I wanted more novelty along with the familiar. How did you feel about the romance between Alexei and Memory, Jennie?

Jennie: I kind of liked it! For whatever reason, I was able to let go of preconceptions/past prejudices/whatever else and just start with a fresh slate here. Sometimes my senior memory does me favors, I guess?

Janine: They were cute together but I had difficulty staying engaged. I love the SnowDancers but I’m ready to move on. This world is big and has so much potential, so I’m frustrated that we’ve spent so much time in this one corner of it.

How about a story about Kit’s roaming journey (a road romance perhaps) or a story where he starts his own new, young leopard pack from scratch in another region of the world? A book with a falcon changeling from WindHaven would also be great. Let us get to know Selenka, the female alpha of BlackEdge, the Russian wolf pack. Show us Psy reclaiming children with dangerous abilities who were taken away from them under Silence. I’d also love to read further books about Miane, Malachi and other ocean changelings. Or a book about that grieving lieutenant of Bo’s in the Human Alliance. Or a Rip Van Winkle story for Alice Eldridge.

Jennie: I would love a book for Alice!

Janine: Since I wasn’t so into the romance, the second quarter of the book was pretty ho-hum. But the rest of the story was interesting and engaging. I wanted to know what Memory could do with her powers, see how the cat-and-mouse game between Memory and Renault would resolve itself and find out how the attacks on the empaths by our mystery individual would be foiled. There was some interesting stuff with Amara that kept me absorbed as well.

I noticed a few contrivances, though, that involved ignoring the abilities of a number of characters. Early on in the book, it was stated that Memory can broadcast emotions very loudly—that is how Alexei found her. But later on, when she was in trouble again, she didn’t make use of this ability.

Jennie: That’s a good point, and one I hadn’t thought of.

Janine: In Alexei’s case, this type of thing bordered on the absurd. At one point he needed to reach Memory quickly, but didn’t immediately ask Judd, a packmate and one of his closest friends, to teleport him directly to the region where she was, or request that Hawke, his alpha, provide backup. For that matter the Arrows would have been glad to help, too. It stretches the imagination to believe that none of these things would have occurred to him. And during another incident in Chinatown, packmates offered their assistance, but even though they could have been useful, Alexei turned most of them down.

Ignoring abilities extended to other characters, too. When a minor character suffered a head injury and Judd couldn’t help (not that it was ever explained why not), the idea of asking Keenan and Noor to pitch in didn’t come up. I realize that there’s a concern about exploiting children, but since the injury happened on DarkRiver land and Sascha was very upset by it, I thought an exception might be considered.

What are your thoughts about these omissions? Did they read like contrivances to you, or were you absorbed enough not to be bothered by them?

Jennie: Again, for whatever reason (probably a combination of external and internal factors), I went into this with very little institutional memory or judgment/expectation, which allowed me not to be so aware of these contrivances. I did notice that in the incident in Chinatown, Alexei refused help until a “name” Changeling showed up.

Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss. I think I was vaguely aware at points that using teleporters should be an option, but it was only a passing thought, not a prominent one.

(My main issue with verisimilitude had to do with a character that was described as having her throat torn out, but later it was mentioned that she expressed her last wishes to Alexei. With…her throat torn out?)

Janine: I’m drawing a blank on this—whose throat was it?

Spoiler: Show

It’s also becoming a pattern in this series that an ability and / or side effect of one crop up that no one has ever figured out how to use, block, or channel safely. One would think that in all the centuries before the rise of Silence, answers to pressing problems such as those that Memory and the mystery attacker (to say nothing of characters from earlier books) were faced with would have been found.

Jennie: I think this relates to something I’ve complained about in various other books in the series, which is the “OMG everyone is doomed unless a fix is found for x problem!” when you know a fix will be found by the end of the book. It’s a slightly different issue, but it highlights that a lot of tension is going to be solved by a deus ex machina, and the reader knows it.

Janine: “Everyone is doomed until a fix is found” is getting to be a well-worn trope, too, but I don’t view the resolutions in most of the previous books as deus ex machina.

Because they were solved by the characters involved in the conflicts, and because they were hinted at early on, I didn’t feel that the solutions to the conflicts were deus ex machina in Wolf Rain, either. Did you?

Jennie: No, not in Wolf Rain.

Janine: The second half of Wolf Rain absorbed me more than the first because that was where the various external conflicts picked up and that created more story tension. The resolution to the romance was good and a bit different from the usual—neither of the main characters was comatose or in surgery, for one thing.

Spoiler: Show

Janine: I wanted an emotional moment between Memory and an injured character after that person recovered, and something more with her and the mystery attacker at the end of the book, too. Nalini Singh usually does an excellent job of extracting every drop of emotion from a given scenario, so the fact that we didn’t get these moments made me feel deprived.

Jennie: I ended up really liking the mystery attacker subplot. I thought it was interesting and different and a more nuanced take on the Psy than the series has sometimes shown in the past.

Janine: Yes! I liked it too. I expected the nuance because I guessed who the attacker was even before the first attack.

Spoiler: Show

This author’s books usually have me reading late into the night, but not this time. Singh’s paranormal romances are pretty much the only ones I read, and the Psy/Changeling series is almost a genre unto itself, so she is competing with herself at this point. While this isn’t my favorite of her books, it isn’t at all bad—especially if the reader isn’t fresh enough on the earlier ones to see a lot of the similarities.

Jennie: So, I think we’ve sort of passed each other on the way in some ways with these books. Through probably a dozen books I moaned about my issues – over-the-top writing, confusing descriptions of the PsyNet, my issues with the gender politics and the “Psy=bad/Changeling=good”, and probably other things I’m not thinking of now. But I did like the last book with the different, underwater setting. And though I’ve not been a big fan of the “predatory changeling male” trope, at least when it feels like it’s been done to death, I thought Alexei was a fairly restrained Changeling hero.

Janine: I loved Ocean Light. Is it Silver Silence you’re thinking of that I didn’t like as much as you did? And yes, Alexei was more restrained—that’s what I meant when I said he was less bossy. I appreciated that, too.

Jennie: Yes, I think I liked Silver Silence better than you did…or at least better than I expected to.

Janine: I was pretty frustrated by that book, yeah.

Jennie: This is all to say that for at least these past several books, I think I’ve come to terms with some of the issues I have with this series and have…fought them to a draw, so to speak? At least for now. So I ended up enjoying Wolf Rain to a surprising degree. I didn’t really expect fresh elements (which is not to say I wouldn’t appreciate them), so I was okay with what I got.

Janine: LOL. I had a lot of these same frustrations very early on, but mine came to a draw earlier than yours. I think anyone who has read Nalini Singh knows what to expect in terms of her voice. Vivid, dramatic descriptions, big emotions, powerful and dominant heroes and some essentialisms about the different supernatural races. We’re still reading her eighteen books in, though, so obviously her voice works for us!

Jennie: I can’t really judge it against other books in the series (serieses?) because my memory of them (at least on an individual basis) is not that strong, but Wolf Rain worked pretty well for me.

Janine: You’re not alone. A lot of readers I know liked it. I think I’m more of an outlier on this one.

What is your grade for Wolf Rain, Jennie? Mine is a B-.

Jennie: I’d give it a solid B+!

Note to readers: The discussion in the comments contains spoilers.
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Wolf Rain is a compelling story about a young empath, held captive by a psychopath since she was a child, who is freed by a wolf changeling.. With the aid of new allies (psy and changeling alike) she must learn to cope in a dangerous world where all sorts of predators lurk, including the same psychopath who tortured and held her captive for years (after murdering her mother in front of her eyes)!  

Wolf Rain is a great addition to the Psy-Changeling Trinity series.  Readers will definitely appreciate how events in this book change the dynamics of the Psy-Changeling world.  I definitely wouldn’t jump into this book before reading others in the series but I do recommend that everyone read the series (or refresh themselves by reading it again) and enjoy the storytelling in Wolf Rain because the Psy-Changeling world is complex and with this book we see that the plot thickens.
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Content Warnings for review: Discussion of ableism and internalized ableism. Discussion of trauma and torture. 

Note: I do not recommend this book to disabled readers, and recommend particular caution to neurodivergent readers, especially readers with mental illness.

So, I finally read my first Psy-Changeling novel.  I've read and enjoyed books by Nalini Singh before, but I hadn't tried books in this series until now, and the books I enjoyed were primarily contemporary romance, which is generally more my thing. I like some science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romances, but I don't read them as often or as voraciously, and there are some common tropes that often show up in them that make them very much not for me. Unfortunately, I've concluded that despite many aspects of the author's writing that I enjoy, this series is not for me. 

It's a gripping novel, unputdownable, deeply engaging, very high stakes story, with compelling main characters who each have complex engaging individual character arcs. The romance arc is paced incredibly well, I was rooting for them as a couple, and enjoyed many of the emotional beats of their relationship development. I love it when heroes really adore heroines for being strong, tough, and ferocious, and this book does that kind of dynamic incredibly well. The sweetness at the core of both of these very tough MCs is lovely to see, and they have incredible emotional and sexual chemistry, and the slow burn of the romantic attraction unfolds beautifully. I love the courting with food moments so much!

I especially loved the moments of sweetness and connection that were platonic. Memory's connection with the Arrow that she built over time. The friendship that she builds with Sascha. The relationship she is mourning with her pet Jitterbug. The relationship she builds with Ashaya, and especially the moment when Ashaya does Memory's hair. The friendship Alexei has with Matthias, his relationship with his pack and with the cubs in particular. I loved how much the book valued platonic relationships, right alongside the romantic mating relationships, which really didn't feel at all like a coercive fated mate situation. (I was very grateful for the consent aspects that were built into the worldbuilding around mating.) 

I was not familiar with any of the prior books and was able to follow the story easily, even though this is not a subgenre I've read much of. (I've read some shifter romances and urban paranormals but my psy reading is basically just Anne McCaffrey and many many years ago.) I was especially impressed by that as this book is so far along in the series at this point, but this book truly can stand alone just fine. 

The writing is right up my alley, with lovely amounts of sensory and emotional detail, impeccable pacing, characters that drew me in and made me care deeply about them. The secondary characters were drawn deeply, the slow burn was delicious. This is truly a writer who is very skilled--not a surprise--and can write the hell out of a romance--also not a surprise. 

I have two core issues with this book that from what I can tell are issues that are deeply embedded in the worldbuilding of the series. The first is that we get this gigantic sprawling world with so many significant named characters across multiple in-world cultures, that is deeply ethnically diverse in a way that I really appreciated...and there are no queer or trans people anywhere, even in San Francisco, and nobody with physical disabilities. Not one, not even a minor character, not even an acknowledgement that queer folks might exist, that trans folks might exist, that physically disabled people might exist. In a first book in a series I might let that go, but this series has been going on for so many years, so so many years, and we literally have an imagined future universe set in the area where I live where queer people, trans people, and physically disabled people do not exist. This is an imagined future where people like me are eradicated, and I am tired of this kind of story. Really really tired. 

Which brings me to the other core issue with the book, that feels more harmful than the erasure I named above: this series, and in particular this book, is built on a deeply ableist framework that intensely pathologizes mental illness, with MCs who are deeply self loathing around the idea that they are or might become mentally ill, and that sets up the idea of psychopathology & lack of empathy as automatically meaning that someone is a villain, toxic, abusive, a terrible person, unable to sustain relationship, is so intrinsically terrible that empaths who are around someone who has touched them will vomit and recoil just by smelling them on her.

This entire story and all of it's conflicts and much of what drives the plot and motivations of the characters is rooted in this framework around mental illness and neurodivergence. We have a villain who is framed as a psychopath who does horrifying things and is a serial killer. A character who has no empathy and is highly intelligent and coded autistic who is framed as horrifying but not needing to die because she's not inherently violent. A character who enacts violence while in a fugue state but can be cured so he won't kill himself to save the world from his existence, he just needs to be constantly monitored. An MC who has a special talent for working with mentally ill people who calls them monsters and sees herself as a monster for much of the book until she learns she's not actually mentally ill. An MC who is constantly afraid of becoming mentally ill and violent until they do tests on him and he learns he doesn't have the traits that would cause that. The characters spend time marvelling how a character who was tortured for many years didn't emerge from that "broken" but is still "whole" with a "healthy" personality, as if being impacted deeply by trauma is a character flaw and the only right way to be a trauma survivor is to not be impacted intensely and show tremendous strength. All of these characters are written based on the idea that mental illness and neurodivergence is awful, evil, frightening, out of control, the cause of violence, and driving the actions of abusive villains. 

I found this incredibly painful to read as an autistic reader with mental illness. I encourage other readers to tread carefully, because the ableism in this book is really intense, and deeply embedded in how most of the core characters are framed, their motivations, the plot, the worldbuilding itself. Basically the entire book is about being afraid that really powerful people (both socially powerful and magically powerful) might be mentally ill, which would be the worst fate ever and the only way to solve it is for them to be cured, constantly monitored, or die. 

Content Warnings

Grief arc over companion animal death (of natural causes). References to and descriptions of torture, abuse, murder, physical violence, mind control, abduction. MCs in peril. Child abduction and child in peril. Threats to children and animal companions. Plot is premised on a deeply pathologized view of mental illness and coded autism that is used to frame almost all of the conflict in the story. Both MCs have intense self-loathing around internalized ableism, which are challenged in the text by reframing them as not mentally ill. The entire book is premised on the perception of certain kinds of mental illness as awful, evil, frightening, out of control, the cause of violence, and driving the actions of abusive villains. Sex on the page.
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Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh is new in the Psy-Changeling universe, but a new overarching storyline apparently started while I wasn’t looking, so this was third in Psy-Changeling Trinity. I was very faithful to this series for quite a while. It featured a world inhabited by baseline humans, humans with psychic powers, and humans who could change into animals, everything from rats to wolves to hawks to leopards, but mostly focusing on the wolves and leopards because predators are always the hot ones in paranormal romance. Singh set up automatic conflict between the very emotional Changelings and the emotion-suppressing Psy. Mate-bonding between a Psy and a Changeling would result in the Psy being freed to feel, and eventually it was revealed that Silence, the suppression of emotion, was harming all Psy. At this stage in the series, Silence is no longer endorsed, and the new conflict involves the Psy struggling to deal with the resulting changes and damage to the psychic network that ties them all together, and recovering from what their society had done to empathic Psy under Silence.

This particular volume features an empath who was held captive and exploited by a sociopathic Psy, then rescued by a wolf Changeling whose brother, father, and grandfather all died as a result of a Changeling disorder that made them lose human connection and murder their loved ones. Meanwhile, another Psy is having weird blackouts and indirectly attacking empaths, as a result of Silence damage. Despite all those issues, the couple end up together happily and relatively smoothly. The heroine, having been isolated for so long, loves living among the close-knit Changeling society, so there’s a found family element. And lots of couples from previous books show up.

I don’t think I’m going to go back to this series in any dedicated way, but I admire the way Singh structured this world and has allowed paradigm shift to allow further exploration of her themes.
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Nalini Singh is honestly one of my favorite authors.  I especially love the psy/changeling series.  Each book I think that I have found my favorite character and then she writes a new one and I fall in love all over again.  The paranormal aspect is awesome and the character development is top notch.  The only part I hated was when I finished the book!  I will be waiting anxiously for the next book in this series.
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Some stories in the Psy-Changeling world are very insular, but in a good way, focusing heavily on the romance and the world events take a back seat. Then other stories are very worldly with the couple's romance playing a large part, but the overall series arch really taking the reins. WOLF RAIN was the latter. Memory and Alexei are a fantastic pair, and their banter is very enjoyable. Memory in particular has a feisty, iron will and doesn't let Alexei do anything but toe the line, and it's rather hilarious. They of course have the majority of the page time in this book and I really enjoyed seeing their relationship progress. However, the overall series momentum and plot additions stole the show this time around. It really is amazing just how much depth can be continually added to this world even though we are so very many books into the series. Bravo, simply bravo.

Hands down, Nalini Singh is an incredible talent in the genre and the ever growing Psy-Changeling world never ceases to amaze me. Fans of the series will be delighted with this new installment! I enjoyed this book so much it inspired a re-read of the entire series. A serious delight!
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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This latest Psy-Changeling installment is such a comfortable, familiar read, likely to be a big hit for longtime fans of the series. Nalini Singh takes us back to the Snow Dancer and Dark River packs to visit old friends and favorite couples as we move forward in the Trinity storyline. That is to say...how the world is dealing with the loss of Silence and the impact on the PsyNet.

Psy-E's play such an important role in the bigger picture and the heroine in this story is an E--albeit an unusual one. Memory has been held captive for years by a psychopath because her gift allows him short periods of emotion. She's rescued by Snow Dancer's Alexei, one of Hawke's lieutenants, who quickly grows protective of her. As she struggles to face who she is and all she has done, Alexei is battling his own demons which tell him he'll go rogue if he ever mates.

I enjoyed spending time with the characters who made me fall in love with this series... Hawke and Sienna, Sascha and Lucas, Kaleb and Sahara, and so many more. All of them mattered to the story, which made it so much richer. The main romance was fine--it didn't necessarily tread any new ground, but I like Psy/Changeling pairings, even if I feel like we've had a lot of E-heroines lately. 

Still, I enjoyed the book and will for sure keep reading as long as Singh is writing.
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I was so excited to see we would be back with the SnowDancer and DarkRiver packs in Wolf Rain. While I love branching out into other parts of the world and packs from other areas, I have to say being with these two packs always makes my heart happy. Add in a kick-ass Psy in Memory, and you had me in my happy place.

I loved Memory was a fighter from the moment Alexei discovered her in a prison deep underground in SnowDancer territory. Yes she is initially fearful and slow to trust him, yet with her emphatic abilities, she sees parts of Alexei he can't even see about himself. I was pulled into this story quickly as I could feel their connection from the moment they met. They were both attracted to one another, and it seemed like they each found a sense of peace just being near the other. I worried they each would let past experiences shape the possibility of their future together, as Memory had been forced to work with a psychopath and him concerns of following in his brother's footsteps and becoming rogue. I loved that Alexei saw a strength in Memory from the beginning she didn't even see in herself.

I honestly felt like this book was written more along the lines of the earlier books in the series and I just felt like I was coming home. I adore the Psy-Changeling series so much and it was fun to see some of my favorite characters from past books, while still having Memory and Alexei's story as the focus of the story. I loved seeing Memory grow stronger with both her Psy abilities and her inner strength with each passing day. She made so many connections with new friends for the first time in her life and you could see her blossom on the page. Alexei seemed to change the more time they were together, as it seemed like wolf recognized Memory even before he did. With so many men in Alexei's family going rogue and Memory witnessing her mother's murder then being imprisoned by said murderer, they each had many emotions to work through. While they each had understandable anger issues, they seemed to work through them better when together. 

 I'm glad to see with the new E sub-designation, the Psy are seeing a light at the end of a very dark tunnel when it comes to stabilizing the PsyNet, Not that Memory can do it alone, but I felt like they at least have a chance to keep the PsyNet going a bit longer thanks to Memory. 

The Psy-Changeling series remains one of my favorites and an auto-buy for me. I love it so much I tend to buy in both print and audiobook. Wolf Rain was a wonderful addition to the Psy-Changeling series of books filled with action, romance, laughter, and tears.

Rating: 4 Stars (B+)
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I don't think I'll ever grow tired of this world. I so love the Psy-Changeling series. Some books more than others, of course, and this one would fall somewhere in between -- not my least favorite, not my favorite, but still a solidly entertaining installment. I can't wait to see what Singh throws at us next...
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Another wonderful, wonderful story from Nalini Singh. Wolf Rain is the third installment in the Trinity Series but the 18th book in the overall PsyChangeling series. I really loved this story from start to finish. Everything from the multiple story arcs to the love story of Alexei and Memory to all of the cameos by my favorite character Judd. Everything about this book was wonderful. 

I can’t wait to see what Nalini has in story for this world next. 

Angela Dawe does an amazing job narrating as always. I am totally in love with her talent to be able to do so many voices. It is so great that she has been the voice of the PsyChangeling series. I am already excited to the next book and to be able to listen to Angela. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley & Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
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Just when I thought this world couldn't get any more expansive, Nalini Singh comes and proves me wrong.

I'm so happy that we're back with the SnowDancer pack this time around. I've missed their presence in the series for a while now and I'm so happy to see a lot of familiar faces not just from SnowDancer but from Darkriver crew as well.

Despite the familiar characters and setting, this book explores some new territory in the Psy-Changeling world. It's both fascinating and terrifying at the same time.

Nalini Singh not only expanded the Psy-Changeling world, she also deepened it. We get more insight into the PsyNet and its ongoing deterioration and the efforts the ruling coalition are doing to temper and solve it. It's exciting but also scary because Nalini introduced some unknowns into the mix which made me want to read the next book ASAP!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Wolf Rain is first and foremost, Alexei and Memory's story.

Alexei is one of the SnowDancer lieutenants with a tragic history while Memory is a new character with some very interesting capabilities. Changeling-Psy pairings have always been my favorite and this pair is no exception. 

I loved how their relationship developed. Both Alexei and Memory are broken in their own way, Memory especially. She needed so TLC and Alexei was the perfect person who gave it to her. I'm seriously considering my Nalini Singh hero ranking now that I've met Alexei. He's definitely among my favorites now.

If you're a long time fan of the series, you won't want to miss Wolf Rain. It not only gives us the familiar characters we knew and loved, it introduces us to new and exciting ones, too. I know I sound like a broken record but I cannot wait to read the next book. I hope it's about who I think it'll be about. 😂
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I don't think I've ever read a bad, or even mediocre book in the Psy-Changeling series, or by Nalini Singh in general. The Psy-Changeling Trinity series has been extra interesting as we navigate the alliance among the Psy, Changelings and Humans. I have enjoyed expanding into some of the different changeling groups... but also loved coming back to our favorite wolf pack with this latest installment, Wolf Rain. 

In this story, we follow tortured heroine and rare empath, Memory Aven-Rose, as she learns to live life outside captivity, and come to terms with her rare and unusual empathic powers. I really liked this heroine. Although she has suffered a lifetime of abuse, she has maintained her own personality and strength. I can't imagine how strong her rebellious strength must have been to survive so many years under a monster. While she was afraid of many things, particularly how others would view her abilities, she faced each new event with courage and determination. I admired that about her. I enjoyed watching her become accepting of herself, and inspiring our hero to become accepting of himself as well.

Our hero is Snow Dancer Alexei Vasiliev, who has experienced a good amount of tragedy in his own right. Having lost a good amount of family to going rogue, Alexei has to come to term with the demons those tragedies caused in his own mind. But finding a captive Psy, small as a kitten but as courageous as a lion, seems to be just the thing that Alexei needed to make him realize a few truths. I loved Alexei's alpha protective side, and the touch of vulnerability made him all the more relatable as a character. 

The relationship between our couple unfolded at the perfect pace for the book. I loved that Alexei didn't want to rush things, but Memory took back her power and progressed as she was ready. They not only had sexual chemistry, but great emotional chemistry as well.

Things continue to deteriorate and change in the Psy-Net, which causes dangerous ripples throughout the world. While Memory seems to be able to help with these issues, which was new and interesting... first she has to deal with her psychotic monster of a captor. The suspense plot and action sequences were great to advance the plot alongside the romance, and kept me captivated as I was reading.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher.
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Wolf Rain is the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity and we're back in the SnowDancer's Den as this story features Hawke's Lieutenant Alexei and the E Psy that he saves from captivity, Memory. Memory was kidnapped when she was just 8 years old and when she was rescued by Alexei, she was 23. That's a long time to be held a prisoner in a tiny bunker hidden on SnowDancer land.

Once she's rescued, Alexei and Memory become close as they try to run down Memory's kidnapper and while Alexei and his pack are running leads down, Memory is taken to the compound where she joins a bunch of E Psy's like her that need training on how to use their powers. Sascha comes in to help Memory with her mind shields so that if she never runs across her kidnapper, she'd be better equipped at fighting him on an even battlefield. All the while, these two are fighting an attraction that is fast overwhelming both of them. Alexei comes from a family of rogue wolves and he won't put his pack, or anyone else in danger by taking a mate. I really enjoyed seeing the way that Nalini Singh tackles all of Alexei's and Memory's problems. She kind of just pulls all these strings together until the characters figure their shit out and I thought this story was well written. 

One of the things that I loved about this book, and this series, really, is that we see so many of our favorite characters from the previous books play active roles in these newer ones. I loved that Memory had to work with Kaleb Krychek and Ivy Jane, along with Sascha and the other E's to take down the bad guys. I also liked seeing our SnowDancer and DarkRiver friends. The entire time that I was reading this book, it felt like a warm hug from friends that you haven't seen in a long time but are so happy to see again.

The romance between Alexei and Memory was a lot of fun. I loved seeing Memory come into her own. I loved seeing her fight to get back on her feet after so many years in captivity. I really loved seeing her and Alexei butt heads, fall in love and then figure out a way to be together. I loved that Mercy was hellbent on fighting for Alexei and when all was said and done, Alexei felt the exact same way about Memory. Memory's fashion sense made me pause because homegirl loved wearing all of the colors in one outfit but other than that, I adored her. My heart hurt for Alexei's situation and I was so happy when they worked together on trying to figure out if he'd go rogue just like his family did.

This is another great paranormal romance with characters that will light up your world so if you're in the mood for action, steamy romance and lots of fun characters, this is the book for you.
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I sincerely enjoyed the character development in this book, while I felt there was a bit of repetitiveness in the characters the book itself and the story was great.
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4 Wine Glass #Review of Wolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity #3) by Nalini Singh
Crystal's Thoughts:

Nalini Singh is a sensational author that never disappoints. With eighteen books in a series, chances are that they're not all going to be five-star reads, but I can promise you this - you will enjoy every single one regardless.

Readers return to the Snow Dancer den in Wolf Rain, where Lieutenant Alexei finds the unimaginable... a grief-stricken woman held captive in an underground habitat. Memory has been held against her will by a strong Psy since she was a little girl, with only her pet cat and psychotic jailer for companionship. Used against her will for his deadly purposes, fearing both the monster outside, and the one within too much to attempt escape. When a handsome wolf penetrates her cage, Memory knows that he could be her only chance at freedom, and to put her friend and pet to rest. They don't trust each other, and they're both have secrets, but unbeknownst to them - they're exactly what the other never knew they needed...

Wolf Rain is as creative and complex as any other story in the series. Despite the end of Silence, the psy are still at danger from themselves, and there are many in the world that do not trust the tentative peace between psy, changeling, and human. In this tale though, we move away from the attacks against the Trinity Accord, and focus on the degradation of the psy net and the unexpected villain that it births. As well as a new type of empath, a designation that they didn't know they needed until now. These new threads to the ongoing series-arc is what captivated me most about this book. I love the intricate details that the author weaves in to keep the series fresh and exciting. The villain's additional perspective throughout the story gave me chills.

While I enjoyed the story as a whole, Memory wasn't my favorite heroine of the series. That being said, I still liked her character. She is a strong, determined Psy who is struggling to find herself in the midst of chaos and while also accepting and understanding her power. Alexei was also a little meh for me. I had trouble understanding his actions at times. These two did not have an easy romance, and there is a lot of push and pull between them. Mixed signals. Confused feelings. Alexei is trying to come to terms with the death of his brother and his brother's mate, and the possibility of turning rogue himself if he was to ever find a mate. Rogue changelings is a topic that has only been whispered about in the changeling packs, and while Alexei's family history is heart-breaking, it added another depth to the story and series. Memory and Alexei's romance is a slow burn; as they get to know each other and themselves, and learn to trust in their feelings. However, there were a lot of fun moments between them as well. I loved how Memory played with Alexei, getting him to loosen up a bit. Alexei's need to take care of Memory, while still giving her her independence was also heart-warming. Some of our favorite empaths, Arrows, wolves, and leopards make an appearance Wolf Rain. Hawke and Sascha play an integral role with the two main characters, and we see another facet of Hawke in his role as alpha that we haven't quiet seen yet.

All together, Wolf Rain was another stunning addition to the Psy-Changeling series. This is one of my absolute all-time favorite paranormal romance series ever, and one of the few that I religiously keep up with after so many releases. It's a series without equal. I'm crossing my fingers for Singh to return to Russia with the next installment. Where ever she takes us though, I know that it will be phenomenal!
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In the third of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Trinity novels, Wolf Rain, she returns to origins: back to the Sierra Nevada region where the SnowDancer pack of Changeling wolves rules. The previous two novels – Silver Silence, which takes place in the Changeling bear packs of Russia and Ocean Light, which explored the secretive BlackSea pack of water changelings – struck out into unexplored groups and places to uneven results. Ocean Light especially felt like it was lacking, so it feels like a good move to head back to familiar ground. We know a lot of people in SnowDancer, and when we ran into them, mostly they weren’t just hanging around canoodling and being sooooo in lurrrrrve, which I find happens often in romance sequels. This always sets my teeth.

The novel kicks off with emotionally isolated SnowDancer lieutenant Alexei (who I’m fairly sure has popped up before in previous novels?) following an anguished psychic broadcast in the middle of nowhere SnowDancer territory. He finds a hatch to a bunker inside a cave, and inside the bunker he finds a Psy woman (named Memory) grieving over her dead cat. They gtfo of there, with Alexei provoking the Psy to anger to keep her moving. He identifies her as an E, the empathic designation, which she balks at: she has an affinity with monsters, in her mind. She nonetheless submits to interviews with such talents as Sascha Duncan, a cardinal E and shield technician, and sets up residence with other Es in the SnowDancer territory.

Since childhood, Memory has been in the clutches of one of those psychopath villains Silence produced in batches. Silence, a widespread form of social conditioning used by the Psy for several generations to remove all emotion, has fallen, but the Psy, and by extension Memory, are on a long road to wellness. In some ways, her arc is one of the entire race, post-Silence, a road map out of the recrimination and self-loathing that comes from discarding Silence. The E-built “honeycomb” is fine and all, but they cannot be doing all of the emotional work for the entire race. Wolf Rain addresses head on the problems the Psy face in a post-Silence world. Wolf Rain is probably more mythology-heavy than its predecessors, which I count as a good thing.

Alexei’s trajectory is maybe less interesting, but then I’m just way less into Changeling psychology in general, so it could be me. I find the whole predatory dominant thing – which Alexei embodies to a T – rather tiresome, and the whole “mate for life” trope endlessly frustrating. A biologically based unbreakable bond absolutely destroys any real emotional agency. People have vastly different emotional makeups, and even worse, one’s character changes over time. I don’t get how “mate for life” isn’t anything but an emotional prison when two people bond in their 20s, and then get tethered to one another permanently despite divergent interests and concerns as they age.

Moreover, both mate-bonding and pack-bonding lends the Changelings a form of emotional perfection that can really mar any story that relies on emotional growth. They’re often cast as incapable of hurting children or bullying others, which makes them hard to relate to, and limits their emotional range. (I mean, that may be the ultimate thrust of the series, in a way: the Psy, who are all too capable of horrific abuse must learn from the Changelings, who are almost constitutionally incapable of it. They’re aspects of humanity split out, and the series finds them coming back together.) Alexei’s experiences actually calls some of this Changeling bonding stuff into question; just because two people are mated, doesn’t mean things can’t go horribly, horribly wrong. I still have my reservations, but some of my issues are addressed, and credibly.

Memory’s experience as a sub-designation E mirrors Alexei’s grapplings with the Changeling emotional makeup. Though (of course) her self-image was completely twisted by her Psy captor, she’s still not like the other Es we’ve met, who are stereotypically soft and feminine, true nurturers and providers. Memory is made out of anger and vengeance; it is what got her through her captivity. She is willing to cut a bitch if a bitch needs cutting. I really, really like the idea of an empath who is sensitive to the darker registers of the human emotional experience. It’s more neatly dealt with in Wolf Rain than I would prefer, but that it’s acknowledged at all is aces.

So far, the Psy-Changeling Trinity novels have been slightly shaky, but Wolf Rain gets back to basics in a satisfying way.
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I’ve missed the wolves of SnowDancer. They, and DarkRiver, will always have the most special place in my changeling-loving heart, simply because they were the first. I’ll never get over their unique personalities, their love and care, or the vastness of their packs. They are large packs, but still family. You can feel it in all their interactions, and it’s like coming home for me.

Fair warning. Spoilers abound for any and all of the previous books in the series. Just trust me and go start at the beginning with Slave to Sensation. Even if you don’t love every book as you go along (and there are eighteen now), the world building alone is worth continuing this series. One of my favorites things about this series is the inclusiveness, and it’s something I’ve only briefly touched on before.

The characters are wildly diverse and unique, to the point where it feels celebrated. The characters come from so many different cultures and have varied customs, making the world feel every bit as interesting as it is. The subtle and strong underlying theme of differences being not only accepted but being necessary for survival in the world is refreshing. If I could ask for one thing, it would be more LGBT inclusion. I recall a couple of side characters shown as gay earlier in the series. Silver Silence added a couple more that we actually got some page time with. I’d just love to see more.

That wish aside…when I re-read every year, the romances get me right in the heart. This ever-expanding cast of characters and how well they love each other continues to capture my heart and mind.

I have my favorites in the series, I think everyone does, and when they show up again for more screen time in the newest book it always makes me grin. Wolf Rain gave me plenty of reason for smiles. Being back in California, with SnowDancer ensures that we’re going to meet with plenty of previous heroes and heroines. I loved seeing Lucas, Sasha, Hawke, Mercy, Kaleb, and so many others. It was a nice moment when we got to see their lives happily continuing on, even when some of them aren’t mentioned by name.

As usual, at least for me, the main couple took center stage. I immediately fell in love with Memory. She’s a fascinating and strong heroine that I couldn’t get enough of. I loved that even though we were in her heart and head a good portion of the time, we began to understand her at the same rate Alexei did. She doubted her own self enough, in the beginning, that she was a bit of an unreliable narrator. I think it’s easy to know – because this is Nalini Singh, after all – that she was a “good” person. There is good reason for her to think that her Psy talent is more a curse, and that just made this so much more interesting.

Alexei, we’ve met before, but I loved seeing deeper into his soul and heart. He’s got this huge heart that only wants to protect everyone, even from himself. I loved his playful side, and his courting. Seeing the wolves court their mates is one of my favorite things.

It was easy to see why they fell in love with each other. Their interactions with each other are incredibly sigh-worthy.

I really appreciated that despite the fact that they both had legitimate concerns about how they may harm someone they love, they worked through it together. It didn’t stop them from talking about it. Nor did it keep them apart. There was no manufactured drama here. Even when fighting their own feelings, they both understood what they had with each other and fought for that.

This book combined all of my favorite elements – the “original” changelings, Psy and Changeling falling in love, favorite characters come back for more screen-time, and some very real pressing and imperative obstacles and concerns.

As always, I can’t wait for the next Nalini Singh book. I think I’ll go re-read all 18 books (and the many short stories and bonus stories) in this series in the meantime.
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