Cover Image: Alpha Night

Alpha Night

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Member Reviews

This review was originally posted on the Goldilox and the Three Weres blog.

You all know how much I adore Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series and sometimes I can't contain help but gush about each new book in this series. I always know that I'm going to at least enjoy each one and I can never figure out how each new story is going to go. I'm constantly surprised with how much I fall in love with each new book and y'all, I freaking adored Alpha Night so much. In my opinion, the four books of this Trinity arc/spin-off have been some of the best books in the whole series and this one just might be my new favorite. I've reread it three times already and it just came out.

The book starts out at a symposium for the newly remembered E designation. The symposium is set in Kaleb's territory of Moscow and the StoneWater and BlackEdge packs have been brought in with the Arrows to provide security for the empaths. Enter in Selenka Durev, alpha of the BlackEdge wolves, and Ethan Night, TK Arrow, who are both manning security and come into contact with each other when an attack happens. Within minutes of dealing with the attack, they're mated.

Not only did we finally got a book about a female alpha but we got a book about a mating at first sight! These kinds of matings have been mentioned a few times in passing throughout the series but we've never seen one. There were several matings where the male knew the other was their mate but this is the first mating we've gotten one where both love interests accept the bond before they know each other. Plus, I'm a sucker for the pairings where one or more of the main characters are an Arrow so I freaking adored Selenka and Ethan together! I loved that were both devoted to each other from the first and were dedicated to making their mating work even though they were strangers at first.

There's a lot that's going on in this book. There's an attack on the symposium, several attacks on Selenka's pack, and Ethan is displaying all the signs of having the dreaded Scarab Syndrome and could be on the brink of losing his mind. That's quite a bit to handle on top of a surprise mating. I loved reading about Selenka and Ethan learning each other and coming together. I also enjoyed the overall plot and mystery of this book. I guessed a few of the outcomes but I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. Which happened to be all in one sitting. I should know better by now not to start a Nalini Singh book before bed if I want to get any sleep.

I loved getting to know the BlackEdge pack and seeing some familiar faces from previous books! Selenka and Valentin's interactions were the best! I loved seeing them compare whose mate was more badass and bemoaning how vulnerable said badass mates were because of their psychic abilities. Actually all the interactions between the wolves and the bears were great! I really loved everything about this book. I’m pretty sure I was a literal embodiment of the heart eyes emoji each time I finished this book. 

Overall, Alpha Night was an excellent addition to one of my favorite series. I can't wait to reread the story again and again over the coming years. Now on to speculating and trying to guess who will be the main characters of the next book. I really really want a book about the falcons or someone from Remi's pack or maybe we'll get to see more of BlackSea! I kind of have my fingers crossed that we get at least a novella about one or more of the relationships we see developing like Axl and Tamar or Arwen and Pavel or Nerida and Yuri. I especially want something or anything about what the heck is going on between Anthony and Nikita. It's going to be a long year of waiting that's for sure.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
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This series just gets better. With Silence broken, and the Net in disarray, it's been interesting to see how the Psy community is working towards making sure they don't become extinct. I think the Arrows are an amazing group to focus on, and Singh really brings their past and future to light. She also writes amazingly strong female characters. I think that this new chapter of her books is even more exciting than the last.
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4.5 Stars 

I'm deeply in love with Nalini Singh's massive Psy-Changeling world. It's creative and futuristic and her love for detail just shines through in every book and on every page which makes for a cohesive reading experience. In Alpha Night BlackEdge alpha Selenka Durev and Arrow Ethan Night are being paired up.

These two experience a spontaneous mating at their first encounter which is supposed to be rare. These two know nothing about one another and are connected through an unbreakable bond. Both of them alpha in their own right with a matching strong will, skills that are beyond average, and demons that haunt them, now need to find a way to handle this bond and get to know each other and you as a reader are allowed to come along for the ride.

I loved Ethan so much who had strong intuition how to treat Selenka and her pack. He was so disarmingly honest, trusting, tender and enamored with his new mate. But there is something dark and powerful lurking in his mind that threatens to break free and he can't allow that because that means danger to Selenka. His need to protect her at any cost is deeply ingrained despite the new connection. Ethan's loneliness tugged on my heartstrings and I wished him nothing but happiness.

"Being with Selenka, it filled an emptiness so deep inside him that it had no name."

Nalini Singh does a great job dropping hints what exactly it is that ails Ethan and if you pay attention the outcome won't surprise you. It definitely had me thrilled.

Selenka is a badass alpha who is 100% up to the job. She has no issue taking decisive action, that can include the death of anyone who threatens, endangers or hurts a member of her pack. But she also has a softer side and that makes her so very likable. These two fall in love with so much ease and so naturally, they are perfect for each other. Ethan and Selenka aren't just lovers and mates, they are affectionate, faithful friends and protectors.

"His hair fell across his forehead as he moved to touch another tree, and suddenly he looked so young that her heart threatened to break. She would show him a world beyond pain and murder and hurt, she vowed it."

We now get a clear picture of The Architect's character and motives. I really can't wait to find out who The Architect is - whether it's a new character or somebody we know. My money is on the latter. While Ethan and Selenka's story wraps up with a bow the author leaves us with a bit of a cliffy in regards to the Psy-Net's deterioration. It will be interesting to see how this is being resolved in the upcoming books.

Of course we get to catch up with many of our beloved characters from previous books and I got such a kick out of reconnecting with Valentin and Silver, especially because the bears elicit so much exasperation in the wolves, yet they are close allies.

If you need a really good PNR series I can't recommend the Psy-Changeling world enough. While I think that you could get away reading this as a standalone with little or no confusion if you've read some of the previous books in this series, I wouldn't recommend it (and seriously, I don't know why you would want that with this series being so awesome). Nalini Singh's stories are magical and always make me care deeply about her characters and these two definitely dug their way into my heart. Her words are beyond beautiful and the love for this world is in her every word. I can't wait to find out who she'll pair up next!

"For the first time in his life, he opened his soul . . . and in ran a wolf, the contact so hard and powerful and potent that his mind screamed in ecstasy."
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Holly: I haven’t loved the last few releases in this series, but I really adored this book. I loved the dynamic between Selenka and Ethan, and I really loved Selenka’s pack.

Casee: I adored this book as well. Like you, I haven’t particularly enjoyed the last few releases. This book was more than a pleasant surprise.

Rowena: I think I enjoyed the last few releases more than you guys and I really liked this one as well. I’ve been in a weird reading mood this past week but buckling down with this book was good for me.

Casee: One of the things I liked was that just because Selenka and Ethan were instantly mated, they weren’t just happy-happy right away.

Rowena: I liked the instant mating thing and I really, really loved Ethan and Selenka. I don’t think I’ve ever read the instant mating thing before, have you guys?

Holly: I know we haven’t seen the instant mating thing from Nalini Singh before. I thought that aspect of the book was really well done. Like Casee said, they weren’t immediately all happy happy just because they were fated mates. They had to learn each other. But I liked that the instant mating made them immediately commit. It wasn’t a matter of if they got together, but how they made a future work. The way Ethan was filled up by Selenka was well written.

Casee: I loved Selenka’s pack. Everyone from the Lieutenants to the Healer to the cubs. I did feel really bad for Selenka because of her relationship with her father. He was such an ass.

Holly: I did struggle with the pacing in the early part of the book. I felt like I got dropped into the middle of a story at first. It took probably a good quarter of the book before I remembered details from earlier in the series and felt like I knew what was what.

Casee: I felt the same way. The information about Selenka’s pack was like a million books ago. It took me a bit to remember as well.

Rowena: I didn’t prepare for this read and it feels like the last book in this series came out so long ago so, like Holly, it took me a while to catch up on who was who again and what was what. Once I caught up, things really picked up for me. I enjoyed seeing everyone again, seeing our friends from the DarkRiver and all of our Psy friends.

Casee: Did you both figure out his designation?

Holly: Yes, I figured out his designation early on. I liked how his abilities morphed based on his upbringing.

Rowena: I thought Ehtan would end up being what he was and I thought it was a neat spin on that designation. He’s so different from the others that I thought it was interesting. I liked seeing him become friends with people, I really loved seeing him form bonds outside of Selenka’s pack and I really loved how fiercely loyal Selenka’s pack became to Ethan, right from the jump. There was no questioning Selenka’s authority or Selenka’s mate, there was just a ready acceptance that I felt Ethan really needed.

Nalini Singh is really good at complicated relationships and seeing the different kinds of relationships in this story was just great. From Ethan and Selenka to the other mated couples but also Mercy and Ethan and hell, even Nomi and Blaise. They’re all different kinds of relationships and I thought each of them was interesting in their own ways.

Holly: I agree, Singh is really good at complicated relationships. I love seeing Ethan navigate his way to forgiveness with the other Arrows, and how things circled back around with Selenka’s father.

Casee: I also enjoyed seeing his relationships with people in the pack develop, as well as with the Arrows. Ethan has never trusted anyone for good reason. I am curious to see what happens when Ming LeBon shows back up.

Rowena: I really liked this book and am looking forward to seeing where Singh takes up from here after what Kaleb and Aden do at the end of this one. Shit just got real and complicated, real fast….and I’m here for it. Who is the next couple, do you guys know? I give this book 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I’m looking forward to more from this pack, and I definitely want to see where she takes things after the events at the end of this book. I don’t think we’ve heard yet who the next couple will be, but I’ll be here for it.

I’m giving this 4 out of 5.

Casee: I really hope there are more books coming out from this pack. I really enjoyed Selenka’s relationship with Valentin too. Freaking bears. I just generally enjoyed the entire dynamic of this book.

I’m giving this a 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5
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Let me start this review by saying that I love this author and will read anything she writes. Literally anything. I was super excited when I read the blurb for Alpha Night and realized it would feature an Alpha wolf and Arrow pairing. What I didn’t realize until I first started reading was that this couple falls into a mating at first sight. And instalove is probably my least favorite trope. Hmmmm…

I think I can put up with things in PNR that I would hate in any other genre, instalove and fated mates tropes for example. I’m pretty sure this couple worked for me because it was more of a mating at first sight, where love came later, than actual super fast insta-love. Selenka is the Alpha of the BlackEdge wolves and her wolf chooses Ethan as their mate pretty much the moment they first make contact. Ethan is a broken, emotionally damaged Arrow who was a special project of Ming LeBon’s as a child, but something changes in him when he realizes he’s been claimed by the dominant and fascinating woman. 

One of the things I really enjoyed was the way Ethan embraced becoming Selenka’s mate right from the beginning. I’m pretty sure they weren’t even separated for at least the first half of the book. He accepted her claim and that was that. He was her’s. The other thing I really enjoyed was that Selenka was such a strong, caring woman and Alpha who embraced her dominance, and Ethan recognizes this immediately. 

While I still miss seeing older characters from the original series, I do enjoy these new characters set in this part of the world. The fact that Nalini Singh still manages to make this world feel fresh and new is always a wonder to me. I enjoyed this new addition and look forward to whatever she puts out next.
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I have to say, I love the tall dark and quiet Arrows. You just know that the old adage "Still waters run deep" applies to them and the lucky person they mate with. In this latest addition to the series, Selenka, the alpha of the BlackEdge wolves, finds herself instantly mated to Ethan, an Arrow she is conversing with at a huge E symposium. When he saves hundreds of lives through his ability to weaponize light, she returns the favor and saves his. Her wolf initiates the mating bond and he agrees so, WHAM, they are mated. Ethan has a secret that could destroy their relationship but he discloses it immediately when the bonding occurs. I was so glad he did and it wasn't something to blow up later.
What follows is an interesting look at how this rapid mating plays out with his squad and her pack. Adding to the tension is a strange power that seems to be trying to burst through Ethan's mind. It appears to be the deadly (to him) Scarab syndrome. Shades of previous stories in the series where one of the lovers has some sort of possibly monstrous thing happening that could be deadly to them or their loved one. In every one of those books, Ms. Singh comes up with a clever and believable explanation that moves the story along or fills in a need for the Trinity. It was also nice to see a female alpha be a main focus of the story, not just a brief sidebar.
This book has not only the very hot relationship between Selenka and Ethan, but it involves lots of previous characters from Changeling packs, Arrows, and Psy which is always enjoyable. I was especially happy to see mention of Yuri, an Arrow grievously injured in Wolf Rain. Every book in this series brings us closer to the inevitable collapse of the Psy-Net. This book fills in more missing pieces but ends with a big cliffhanger.
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Alpha Night by Nalini Singh is the 4th book in her wonderful Psy-Changeling Trinity series.  I can’t say enough about Nalini Singh.  She has become my go to author, as I love her Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series.   She never fails to give us a sensational story, wonderful characters, and each book continues to flow seamlessly.  No one does world building so smoothly and flawlessly better than Nalini Singh.   Once again, in Alpha Night, Nalini has created a masterpiece that grabs hold of me and never ever let’s go until the very end. 

Alpha Night takes us back to Russia and the BlackEdge wolf pack, with Selenka Durev as our heroine and alpha of BlackEdge.  Selenka is somewhat on edge, as she is one of the hosts of the first world symposium, causing a bit of chaos with so many former Psy and empaths.  Violence erupts as an attack from an unknown source threatens.  Ethan Night, our hero, and Arrow, comes to the rescue, killing an E to stop the attack.  When Selenka approaches Ethan, the two of them are both thrown for a shock, as they immediately feel the mating bond; an Arrow and Alpha wolf; an unusual bond.  Another attacker attempts to kill Ethan, but he manages to stop the culprit. 

Selenka is a powerful and strong leader and dangerous wolf, but she is loyal to her pack, who adore her.   Ethan automatically begins to see color, but fears that he is damaged and a killer; but he is drawn to the beautiful Selenka, and promises his loyalty to her.  He is the Knight to her Queen.

What follows is an exciting, suspenseful, intriguing and action-packed story that kept me glued to the book, unable to put it down. Nalini has a way of creating such wonderful secondary characters, and I loved all of Selenka’s pack members.  Selenka, who is powerful, tough and totally in control, must deal with the murder of one of her own, and find out who betrayed them? Ethan works with Aden and Kaleb to try to stop the destruction on the Psy Net, and discover who is doing this.  Who is the evil Architect?

Besides all the tense excitements, Alpha Night is also a beautiful romance between two unlikely people, with so much chemistry between them that sizzles the pages.  I loved Selenka and Ethan together, as they made such a wonderful loving couple.  Selenka was a fantastic heroine, who was also our first female Alpha, and a great one, as was strong, independent, savvy, loving and loyal to those she loved.

Selenka, though very much in love with Ethan,  knows he is convinced that he is a killer, and the time together could be short if he turns rogue.  Ethan was a damaged but great hero, who was very protective of Selenka.  This was a wonderful romance, with so many sweet, emotional and tense moments; especially when Ethan realizes how strong his love is for Selenka. Once again, an awesome romance and awesome couple.  I loved seeing many of our favorites, such as Sascha; Ivy, Aden, Kaleb, Abbot, Silver/Valentin, and Alexei/Memory and even briefly, Lucas.    

I can’t say enough about Nalini Singh, as I have said over and  over, she is my go-to author, who never fails to captivate me with her engaging creative stories, fantastic plots, and seamless world building; wonderful couples in each and every story; super secondary characters and fantastic world-building.   I loved every moment of Alpha Night.  I have said this so many times, if you have not read Nalini Singh, you are missing such a gem of an author.
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The following joint review (reviewed togehter with DA Jennie) was posted to Dear Author on June 4th, 2020:

https://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/overall-b-reviews/b-minus-reviews/joint-review-alpha-night-by-nalini-singh/
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Alpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity #4). By Nalini Singh. 2020. Berkley (ARC eBook).

When Black Edge’s Alpha Selenka Durev and Arrow Ethan Night collide at an E-Psy symposium in Moscow, it’s mating at first sight. Selenka never imagined she would bond with a stranger, but beneath the cold Arrow veneer, Ethan is beautiful and loyal and her wolf isn’t thinking twice about protecting him.

Detached and alone in a gray world, Ethan is resigned to his fate. He has a rogue power growing inside his mind, a result of the Scarab Syndrome he believes. And the outcome won’t be pretty. But then the mating bond brings color before his eyes. Emotions he has never felt directed at him before are flooding him, cherishing him. And he will devote whatever time he has left, serving Selenka however she sees fit.

Another emotionally rich and sensual romance by Singh. Even after so many romances in the Psy-Changeling world, Singh continues to grow and develop the alliances, the PsyNet, and Silence and its legacy. Ethan is unique with a TK ability never seen before, and the scenes with him and Loyal and the pack pups are *swoons.* A decent amount of action, with Black Edge dealing with a deadly powerplay, and it was really interesting to see the PsyNet collapsing and the mysterious threat behind it. Signh’s books are never ones to be missed.
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There is simply no series like Psy-Changeling/Psy-Changeling Trinity. Nalini Singh has created such a vast, complex, unique, wholly addictive world filled with memorable, endearing characters that every time I start one of the books I know I’m in for a treat. Alpha Night is no exception. I was so hooked by Selenka and Ethan’s story that I stayed up until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, only to finish the book once I woke up in the morning.

Selenka Durev is the alpha of the BlackEdge wolf pack. She’s strong, disciplined, and deeply caring in a way only an alpha can be. She was raised by loving grandparents, but carries emotional wounds from her parents’ actions. Ethan Night is an Arrow raised in darkness. Ethan was held captive by a ruthless Psy Councilor since childhood and even though he has been freed and joined the Arrow squad, he still lives in a grey fog, detached and unfeeling. That is, until he runs into Selenka and the mating bond crashes through them both almost instantly.

Mating at first sight is the stuff of fairytales and soap operas. Yet somehow it happened and Selenka is fascinated by the sexy, remote Psy who calls to her like no one else ever has. And Ethan is equally taken with the stunning and strong alpha who awakens something in him he’s been searching for. I wasn’t sure when I began the book how I’d like the concept of mating at first sight, but I never should have doubted Ms. Singh. Ethan and Selenka’s connection is electric – bold and jagged and beautiful from the start. I loved how they came together, how the instant mating played out and the reasons behind it. Selenka and Ethan were so perfectly suited and had such fantastic chemistry that I was swept away by their love story – it’s both sexy and heartwarming. Their bond helps Ethan’s true nature come out: the protector, the giver, the deeply wounded man with a kind heart. He and Selenka are lethal predators, but the balance with how warm and loving they are endeared them to me.

However, just because it’s clear Ethan and Selenka are perfect together doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for them. Ethan is convinced he’s damaged and there’s a surging power in him he’s holding back, a howling madness he’s sure will turn him into a destructive force of nature. I loved watching the layers of Ethan’s character and powers be revealed throughout the course of the story. The proverbial ticking time bomb in his head added intensity, as did the danger from outside BlackEdge he and Selenka faced. BlackEdge is facing a threat, but there’s another, far more deadly threat on the PsyNet. I can’t say much about either of these plotlines for fear of spoiling the story. The damage to the PsyNet is an ongoing storyline and watching beloved characters exhaust themselves and make hard choices to save the Psy both breaks my heart and has me hooked. And though Alpha Night doesn’t end on a cliffhanger in terms of the romance, the ending definitely had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happens to the Psy.

Alpha Night is the fourth book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series and fans of both this series and the original Psy-Changeling books will be delighted to revisit some of their favorite characters as well as learn more about the wonderful BlackEdge pack. Selenka and Ethan’s romance stands alone, but to fully enjoy the book I highly recommend being familiar with the world and having read the previous Psy-Changeling Trinity book, Wolf Rain, before starting this one. I loved every bit of Alpha Night. Nalini Singh continues to deliver strong, well-drawn, endearing characters and expands her world in fascinating ways. I cannot wait to see what she does next!
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Nalini Singh continues her wonderful Psy Changeling novels with Alpha Night.  Alpha wolf Selenka Durev forms a mating with Arrow Ethan Night at first sight something only happening in fairy tales.  Under attack by outside forces her Russian wolf pack accepts Ethan who himself has serious survival problems with his changeling stability.  Read this new chapter in the Russian changelings.
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As always Nalini Singh gives readers what they want and more in her delightfully lush romances in her ever changing psy/changing world.
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Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling/Psy-Changeling Trinity series is one of my all-time favorites. When I first got hooked on them, I read the entire original series in about a month and a half. Needless to say, a new book in this series is always an anticipated event. 

Despite my already high expectations, I ended up loving Alpha Night even more than I expected to. Selenka Durev has been one of my favorite side characters and I was so happy that she was getting her own story. Plus the whole mating at first sight thing ended up equal parts hilarious and heart-warming. I loved how Selenka and Ethan’s relationship developed over the course of this book and how they helped each other find their way. Plus, as always, Singh did a fantastic job including references to previous couples and jokes in the series (Seriously, I’d never go out drinking with a bear at this point). 

The advances to the overarching storyline were fascinating and I’m really loving how the Psy-Changeling Trinity story is playing out so far. I can’t wait to find out what happens next and will be eagerly awaiting the next installment in this fantastic series. 

*Disclaimer: I received a digital advance copy of this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Alpha Night
Psy-Changeling Trinity Series - Book 4
By Nalini Singh

Berkley Sensation - June 2020

Paranormal Romance


The Psy-Changeling Trinity series, is a continuation of Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series. It is essentially the second story arc. New readers might find starting with Silver Silence a good easy introduction into this world. However, it does contain spoilers to the previous story arc and characters. Accordingly, this review assumes that the reader has read the previous stories in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series. Personally, since I have enjoyed all of the stories to date, I highly suggest reading the series in order.

Mating at First Sight. That was not how it was supposed to happen. They were supposed to go through the mating dance, have a courting, and when the female made the decision, a bond snapped into place. Selenka Durev, Alpha of the BlackEdge wolves, had known having the Empath Symposium was a risk, but one necessary for the Empaths to learn from one another. Since it was being held in Moscow, security included her pack, the blasted StoneWater bears, and Arrows. It was just after meeting one Arrow that her wolf had lunged for, and claimed him, as her mate.

Ethan Night knew he was different. He was a TK that didn't have the same abilities as others. He was an Arrow, but separate. He existed only. Until he was claimed by Selenka. She had his loyalty, his dedication. She said that their bond was muted, but he knew he was damaged. He had a secret, one so powerful it could prove fatal.

Alpha Night was a delight that I couldn't put down. I adored Ethan and his hesitant interactions with his fellow Arrows. His background had kept him apart from the team, and even after his mating, I enjoyed watching as he built bonds with the team. Selenka was a strong heroine who fiercely holds on to Ethan, and Ethan's devotion is equal. There was a perfect mix of familiar characters and new. Overall, a fun, entertaining, enjoyable romance certain to please Psy-Changeling fans. I eagerly await the next story.

Kathy Andrico - KathysReviewCorner.com
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Moscow’s Changeling packs have joined forces with the Psy Arrow squad to provide security for a first-of-its-kind symposium. But before it can even get started, the conference is interrupted by a terrorist. The threat forces Wolf Alpha Selenka and Arrow Ethan into close proximity where they save each other from assassins. Before they can even begin interrogating the suspects, the two have formed a mating bond.

Mating at first sight was supposed to be a myth, but both are instantly committed to making it work. It's similar to a Fated Mates romance where "will they or won't they" is never in question, just how will they overcome the obstacles. Ethan and Selenka are both incredibly devoted to their mate right from the start. But they’ll have to deal with a cult threatening Selenka’s pack, attacks on the PsyNet, and a mysterious medical condition threatening Ethan’s sanity before they can truly have their HEA. 

One of the pitfalls of such a long-running series is that the storylines can get repetitive. I felt like Ethan’s situation was too similar to Silver’s and Memory’s from recent books and I knew what the “power” in his head was very early on. I started to get frustrated with the characters for being so slow to figure it out. Also, much of the action in Alpha Night is happening inside people’s heads, which is not my favorite.

At the same time, familiarity can be comforting. I had been expecting to meet the Russian wolves earlier in the series and was really looking forward to it. The pack is full of charming characters, especially the children. I also loved how their friendly rivalry with the bears influenced so many aspects of their lives. One woman tells her husband to “quit being such a bear” for example.

As always with this series, don’t skip the chapter headings. I’m still loving the excerpts from Wild Woman Magazine, but Alpha Night also introduces a Changeling soap opera and its online fan group. Both the show and the magazine play a role in the story outside of the chapter headings, which was fun.

Alpha Night isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it’s still a welcome addition. I loved being back in a wolf den and seeing so many familiar characters. Memory and Alexi from Wolf Rain play a significant role, as do Valentin and Silver, Aden and Kaleb. I have an idea about which of the wolves I’d to see in their own books, but Singh never goes exactly where I expect her to so I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next book.
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In Alpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity #4) by Nalini Singh, Selenka Durev has grown accustomed to the weight of responsibility, considering she is the alpha of her pack, the BlackEdge wolves in Moscow. But overseeing an event in her city with a bunch of Psy present? It has the potential for chaos. Selenka's instincts are spot-on, when she comes under fire and is saved by an Arrow named Ethan Night. With one look in his eyes, her wolf is sure he's her mate. Even though finding a mate without knowing them first, without courting, is unheard of. Soon, though, Selenka's attention turns to finding out who is trying to harm her pack--and she learns in the process that Ethan is more than worthy of being an alpha's mate. But she fears she may lose him before they can cement their bond, as it appears more and more like the jagged pieces in his brain, cold and full of power, are applying pressure that may end his life.

Arrow Ethan Night survived a hellish upbringing at the hands of monsters to become part of a team--yet not. Because as thankful as he is that he's no longer living a nightmare, Ethan lives in a gray fog that holds him apart from the rest of his fellow Arrows. That's why it was of no concern to him to be part of a plan to throw the symposium into disarray. But when Selenka is harmed, all bets are off. Ethan will not tolerate the alpha--or any other innocent being--coming to harm under his watch. So begins the bond with his beautiful wolf. Selenka brings him to her pack's den and introduces Ethan to a world of care, affection, love, laughter and loyalty. Things he's never known before. And as much as he craves more of it, he knows he needs to hold on to each tender memory and enjoy time with his mate before his broken mind finally gives out.

Absolutely Epic. That's the only way to describe Alpha Night. Nalini Singh never ceases to amaze me with her heartfelt, thrilling novels, but the pairing of alpha wolf Selenka Durev and Arrow Ethan Night was utter perfection.

Alpha Night. Wow! If you've been following the original Psy-Changeling series and/or the new season of it, Trinity, then you know things have been evolving from book to book since the fall of Silence. This latest installment showed the next sneaky steps the Architect and the Consortium took to further their cause. That was a huge, exciting part of the plot. What was also great was this pulled in a bunch of familiar faces: from Aden, Lucas, Kaleb and Sascha to Memory, Valentin, Silver and Alexei, among others. And they all held key roles in helping the Trinity Accord battle the issues in the PsyNet and against the Consortium.

Ethan and Selenka stole the show, though. I will be honest that I was a teensy bit worried how an Alpha heroine and an Arrow hero would be a solid match. How would two such dominant people be able to compromise and coexist without stepping on each other's toes? Thanks to a huge twist Singh threw their way, Selenka and Ethan completely meshed as a couple. I loved that they had so many tender moments between them that were sigh-worthy. Not to be outdone by the scorching hot love scenes rife with passion and yet also sweetness. Although Ethan and Selenka both went through some difficult times in their past, it was Ethan's background that will likely reduce readers to a few tears. I won't get into specifics, but I will say that he was a terrific man (I adored him!!) who became an integral part of Selenka's life *and* with her pack.

It's always interesting to see the inner workings of the changeling groups and to watch their relationships with each other. The BlackEdge wolves in Moscow were a close-knit family. And Selenka proved to be a wonderful Alpha for them. One who was kind but strong, loyal, fair, and had a huge heart. I did have to chuckle several times over the ongoing teasing back and forth between Valentin's bears and Selenka's wolves. What a riot. It showed that even though they were fierce warriors, they knew how to keep morale up during a time with so many changes and unknowns happening in their world. Ethan was another unknown for Selenka. And the fact that they mated upon first sight only added to the tough situation. But I couldn't have been happier how Selenka learned to trust Ethan and how well-suited they were for each other.

Alpha Night is a prime example of why Nalini Singh is one of the most popular authors today. With her incredible attention to detail, stories that host a myriad of emotions, and characters so tangible they could be standing in front of you, Singh's work is a must for fans of contemporary fiction.
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Holly: I haven’t loved the last few releases in this series, but I really adored this book. I loved the dynamic between Selenka and Ethan, and I really loved Selenka’s pack.

Casee: I adored this book as well. Like you, I haven’t particularly enjoyed the last few releases. This book was more than a pleasant surprise.

Rowena: I think I enjoyed the last few releases more than you guys and I really liked this one as well. I’ve been in a weird reading mood this past week but buckling down with this book was good for me.

Casee: One of the things I liked was that just because Selenka and Ethan were instantly mated, they weren’t just happy-happy right away.

Rowena: I liked the instant mating thing and I really, really loved Ethan and Selenka. I don’t think I’ve ever read the instant mating thing before, have you guys?

Holly: I know we haven’t seen the instant mating thing from Nalini Singh before. I thought that aspect of the book was really well done. Like Casee said, they weren’t immediately all happy happy just because they were fated mates. They had to learn each other. But I liked that the instant mating made them immediately commit. It wasn’t a matter of if they got together, but how they made a future work. The way Ethan was filled up by Selenka was well written.

Casee: I loved Selenka’s pack. Everyone from the Lieutenants to the Healer to the cubs. I did feel really bad for Selenka because of her relationship with her father. He was such an ass.

Holly: I did struggle with the pacing in the early part of the book. I felt like I got dropped into the middle of a story at first. It took probably a good quarter of the book before I remembered details from earlier in the series and felt like I knew what was what.

Casee: I felt the same way. The information about Selenka’s pack was like a million books ago. It took me a bit to remember as well.

Rowena: I didn’t prepare for this read and it feels like the last book in this series came out so long ago so, like Holly, it took me a while to catch up on who was who again and what was what. Once I caught up, things really picked up for me. I enjoyed seeing everyone again, seeing our friends from the DarkRiver and all of our Psy friends.

Casee: Did you both figure out his designation?

Holly: Yes, I figured out his designation early on. I liked how his abilities morphed based on his upbringing.

Rowena: I thought Ehtan would end up being what he was and I thought it was a neat spin on that designation. He’s so different from the others that I thought it was interesting. I liked seeing him become friends with people, I really loved seeing him form bonds outside of Selenka’s pack and I really loved how fiercely loyal Selenka’s pack became to Ethan, right from the jump. There was no questioning Selenka’s authority or Selenka’s mate, there was just a ready acceptance that I felt Ethan really needed.

Nalini Singh is really good at complicated relationships and seeing the different kinds of relationships in this story was just great. From Ethan and Selenka to the other mated couples but also Mercy and Ethan and hell, even Nomi and Blaise. They’re all different kinds of relationships and I thought each of them was interesting in their own ways.

Holly: I agree, Singh is really good at complicated relationships. I love seeing Ethan navigate his way to forgiveness with the other Arrows, and how things circled back around with Selenka’s father.

Casee: I also enjoyed seeing his relationships with people in the pack develop, as well as with the Arrows. Ethan has never trusted anyone for good reason. I am curious to see what happens when Ming LeBon shows back up.

Rowena: I really liked this book and am looking forward to seeing where Singh takes up from here after what Kaleb and Aden do at the end of this one. Shit just got real and complicated, real fast….and I’m here for it. Who is the next couple, do you guys know? I give this book 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I’m looking forward to more from this pack, and I definitely want to see where she takes things after the events at the end of this book. I don’t think we’ve heard yet who the next couple will be, but I’ll be here for it.

I’m giving this 4 out of 5.

Casee: I really hope there are more books coming out from this pack. I really enjoyed Selenka’s relationship with Valentin too. Freaking bears. I just generally enjoyed the entire dynamic of this book.

I’m giving this a 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5
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Nalini Singh’s paranormal romance (with a huge touch of mystery and suspense) Alpha Night is a book that comes on strong in the second half, which is great if you make it that far.

Selenka Durev, alpha of the BlackEdge wolfpack of Russia, is at the site of an attempted “empathic terrorist” attack and nearly murdered when she’s saved by Ethan Night, an Arrow assassin turned sort-of-double-agent, who, it turns out, is her mate. It’s only the first act in what, it becomes clear, is a plot of global proportions, and Selenka has authority problems on her own territory that also can’t wait. Ethan is ready to help with both as her new mate, but has a deeply traumatic past and is experiencing symptoms that suggest the onset of insanity.

I expected that as an insta-bond, mated-pair romance, Alpha Night would capitalize on those aspects, but it doesn’t until halfway through the book (and Singh’s books fill out full-sized hardcovers so that’s a lot of pages).  So much time is spent on the mystery and suspense aspects that a scene in which Selenka and Ethan share a snack is a romantic plot development. On top of that, the entire thing is conveyed in prose that is often overwrought:

his eyes devoured her, the air between them hot with need and something more—a hunger to smash through the fog in the bond, claw into each other’s soul.

Now, this isn’t my first rodeo with paranormal romance – I was initiated on Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, so I’m no stranger to some bombast, but it was too much all the time here, and felt like a way of sneaking in a lot of telling instead of showing.

Selenka thinks about how:

her wolf. . . . knew its mate was hanging on an edge and needed to be hauled in before he fell

and the problems of the first half pushed Alpha Night to the edge of a C grade from me. It, too, was saved by love and Salenka. I often feel like romance suffers from a lot of Either/Or Heroines. Either they’re gunslingers or bread-bakers, and heaven forbid they be both. Selenka comes the closest I’ve seen to embodying a balance. The trick? Be a wolf woman. As an alpha, it’s entirely acceptable for Selenka to be, as needed, “a dominant” (not in a BDSM way) and also an incredibly physically affectionate, emotionally astute person. She never treats Ethan as a Patriarch instead of a Person, as someone who needs to be put down simply for being male. Their sex life is a fabulous example of this. During Ethan’s first time (get out that Virgin Hero review tag, y’all), she thinks that

her mate didn’t yet understand how to revel in taunt sexual need

and so she deliberately doesn’t try any delayed gratification tactics. Ethan thinks:

he felt spoiled by her. . . in being simply given what he wanted instead of having his need used to torture him.

It’s rare for me to read about a couple who engage with each other with such loving awareness, let alone see things like consent, power dynamics, and strong women handled in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m reading a manual entitled How To Be A Good Modern Human, You Moron.

Singh gets bonus points for reimagining that old ‘make a guy hot by having him be good with kids’ trope – Ethan is great with all the kids who, in Selenka’s pack, who often appear in their “pup” form. I have to say I was far more charmed by the image of Ethan holding sleeping wolf puppies than I’ve ever been by heroes who are fabulous uncles.

The ending is a romantic HEA, but virtually all of the non-romance related storylines are left on cliffhangers for the next book(s) in the series. Ultimately, I’m recommending Alpha Night solely on the basis of its heroine and romance, which offer a refreshing case study of what a ‘modern’ heroine and love story can look like.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent bookstore
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Included as a top pick in bimonthly June New Releases post, which highlights and promotes upcoming releases of the month: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2020/06/junes-new-releases-part-one/

Discussed in SBTB bimonthly Whatcha Reading posts: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2020/03/whatcha-reading-march-2020-edition-part-one/

March 5, 2020:

Some non-spoilery and incoherent post-reading thoughts:

1) I am a major fangirl and am incapable of being objective. I've 5-starred every single book in this series, so just know that this is the fangirl/nostalgia status that I'm operating from. I love critiquing it and arguing about what works/doesn't work, but that doesn't take away my unmitigated love/squeeing.

2) Fascinating relationship dynamic that is new to the series. Of course we've seen Dominant Changeling + Arrow/Dangerous Psy before, but it's usually accompanied by "Oh, we can't be together because xyz. I'm not capable of love. I don't deserve you because I'm too dangerous and I've done irredeemable things in the past." None of that here. Of course Ethan has major fears about his power and believes that he's broken by his trauma, but at no point does he push away Selenka because of it. The mating-at-first-sight dynamic is super intriguing; they're all in on the relationship, they just need to navigate getting to know each other and helping Ethan manage his psychic problems. So even though it's not a new pairing type to the series, I found the new iteration of the dynamic to be refreshing.

3) I have wanted an alpha heroine for so long and IT IS SO FREAKING GOOD. I love you, Selenka Durev. You have my heart forever and ever. Not that I had any doubt, since I stan for all changeling wolves, but it was nice to know I was right.

“If you are a true threat to me or mine, I will tear out your throat and walk away with your blood on my claws—and in my mouth.” She brushed one claw over his lips. “But if you’re not . . . well, zaichik, then we’ll play.”

4) Can we talk about Selenka and Valentin grumbling together about how difficult their Psy mates are?!!! And how Selenka is slowly suckered into liking Valentin even though she claims he's a nuisance?!! I have no real observation here, I'm just very much here for wolf and bear antics.

5) So the entire novel takes place in three/four days. It's a short time span and nonstop; most scenes are chronologically set immediately after the end of the previous scene. The pacing feels different than other books. I love it, but I recognize that some readers won't like it because it's unique. I think the pace works but I also never released a breath the entire time I was reading. It felt like I was on a roller-coaster; I need to reread now that I've calmed down and can appreciate the book without panicking about Ethan's psychic issues.

6) This book is really smart about The Architect. I wasn't sure if Nalini would reveal the identity this soon (and she doesn't). BUT she does leave enough tantalizing clues that an eagled-eyed reader could figure it out. I was stuck between a few choices in the beginning and finished the book with 100% certainty about the Architect's identity (keep in mind that I've read the series a million times and can remember obscure details about certain people).

7) I have long held a conspiracy theory about Nikita, and ALPHA NIGHT not only solidified my evidence but added so many more facets to it! I love being right about things. 😂 I desperately need a Nikita book and I think we're getting one eventually. Not sure when, but hopefully it'll be in the next decade. 😭

8) Okay, if Nalini ever decides to create supplementary materials to the text, I need the following: the Arrow Sex Guide Manual, Wild Woman magazine, and a script for that soap opera HOURGLASS LIVES. I need it all. The little snippets in the beginning of each chapter are so good!

9) This is a real selfish complaint but let me be unreasonable for a moment. I love Sascha; I really do. But we see her in almost every book and I wish we saw the Laurens/Sienna more often. 😭 This is extremely selfish considering we just saw Sienna in WOLF RAIN. That being said, my other faves got screen-time: Ivy, Aden, Kaleb, Silver/Valentin, and Alexei/Memory.

10) I am fascinated by the evolution of consent/skin privileges in the 20+ book series. If you go back to the earlier books, there is never any dub-con but there is possessive/alphahole behavior around touching/sex. I don't have any trouble reading the early books but I recognize that sex was written very differently fifteen years ago.

Flash forward fifteen years later to 2020. There is a scene in ALPHA NIGHT that lays out consent in such a wonderful and explicit way. I'm intrigued by how the portrayal of consent/skin privileges has evolved in the past decade. Each book is a product of the time it was published in. I tolerate behavior in VISIONS OF HEAT (2007) that I wouldn't tolerate in a book published today. Someone smarter than me should write about it because the Psy/Changeling series is an excellent microcosm of changes in the romance publishing industry re: sex.

11) I am honestly amused by how many people need to get behind Sienna in line to murder Ming LeBon. My girl deserves to do it, but she has stiff competition! Has there ever been a more villainous character?

12) Random aside that has zero relevance to the plot: I am also amused by the confirmation that billionaire changelings don't exist (they're talking about a soap opera!). No wonder I love changelings; they're smart enough to know that being a billionaire isn't ethical! New theory: changelings are socialist if you think about their pack structure and how resources are divided. Don't yell at me; it's a working theory!

“You two realize a billionaire alpha wolf is an oxymoron?” Selenka muttered, rolling her eyes. “Alphas are about pack, not—”

13) My biggest critique of the Psy-Changeling-Trinity arc continues in this book. I love these books, I really do. But it's also more difficult to feel at ease from the very beginning. This is because we are introduced to a new pack and setting (StoneWater in SILVER SILENCE, BlackSea in OCEAN LIGHT, and now BlackEdge in ALPHA NIGHT). Everything is new. We have to learn the lieutenants' names, the dynamics between every pack member and the alpha, pack structure, pack history, past trauma, etc. Every pack feels different and it takes a while to settle in.

There's also a danger of not being fully invested in that pack's members if you don't know who they are. The sad events (injury/attack) don't hit as hard as, say, Eli (a minor character in the SnowDancer Pack) getting injured in KISS OF SNOW. Whereas the Silence Arc (first fifteen books) built on each other and focused on characters/packs that we were already super invested in, the Trinity Arc is more scattershot and moves from place to place. WOLF RAIN escaped this problem because it returned to SnowDancer territory. I love the scattershot approach because I love learning about new packs/cultures, but I won't deny that it takes getting used to. I've also realized that my rereads of the Trinity Arc are a far superior experience because I don't have to focus on learning new names/dynamics. Now that I'm already invested in the new secondary characters, the reread often yields stronger emotional punches.

While I adore BlackEdge and the new faces, I only became 100% invested in them a third of the way through (and now I'll be invested from the very start in a reread). I only noticed this disparity because the simultaneous PsyNet storyline ("How can we help save the PsyNet before it destroys us all?!" is easy to sink into because it's a continuation of the past eighteen books. In conclusion: love the Trinity arc, love the new packs and faces, I'm not fully invested from chapter 1, I always get won over eventually, and the rereads are EVEN BETTER than the first read.

I could go on for a while so I'll stop here. Loved the book, but I fully acknowledge that I'm biased as hell. This series is my happy place and I'm sad to wait another year for a new installment.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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March 2, 2020:

An arc of ALPHA NIGHT is on my kindle and my happiness is indescribable. I don't know if I'll read it right away or wait. A little patience might make the experience more enjoyable! And maybe I should categorize it as a Break-Emergency-Glass-If-Necessary book (aka "I need to retreat to my happy place after bad news"). We'll see. In the meantime, I'm ecstatic for Selenka's book!

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December 16, 2019 (announcement of couple/book title):

As longtime president of the Selenka Durev fanclub, I just want to say that I FREAKING CALLED THIS BOOK.

ALPHA HEROINE. BROKEN ARROW. WOLVES. NO, I WILL NOT STOP SCREAMING.

This is already my favorite book of 2020 and it hasn't even been written yet.
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Russian Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s city is hosting a conference of empaths; they are those most vulnerable among the Psy conversely being their hope for survival. Selenka fiercely defends her pack and any persons under her protection. All those empaths in one place are a temptation for the Consortium to act; they endeavor to rule the world by any means available including death and destruction.

A man emblematic of a lone wolf, Arrow Ethan Night, is assigned as security except he has a hidden agenda and is barely surviving the fall of Silence. In at times a near fugue state but determined to hold on the last, Ethan’s world takes a seismic shift when he literally barrels straight into Selenka, saving her life during an attack while at the same time gripped by Selenka’s mating bond. The two are instantly locked into a relationship unusual even in the Changeling world. The static interference they experience in the bond does not keep Selenka and Ethan from the intense emotions of mating; both are determined to make this new paradigm work. For the first time in his tortured and contained life, Ethan has a reason to survive and even thrive.

Selenka loves her pack with a every bit of her heart; however, it is truly lonely at the top and she welcomes this Psy Arrow with his locked down life into her life and pack. Even for an Arrow, Ethan had lived in a greater place of darkness and subjugation by His Supreme Evilness, Ming Le Bon. Ethan’s particular and unique Psy talent has been used previously for corrupt causes, now he is turning it to good. Both Ethan and Selenka have pasts hurts to deal with in order to be a couple in every way.

Ethan gets thrown in the deep end quickly with the nosy and noisy, touchy-freely yet lethally dangerous BlackEdge wolfpack. He has a big learning curve but then so does Selenka who has to deal with mating while protecting her pack plus a heartbreaking grief while seeking out enemies who would rule them all. They have been hurting those whom she holds dear. Ethan has a secret with the potential to be catastrophic, but he is determined to squeeze every bit of life and love with Selenka before things go critical.

This story will please fans of the series enjoying this new couple and seeing our favorite, Sasha Duncan playing a part, as well as the defacto ruler of the Psy Kaleb Krychek who is seemingly the most powerful Psy ever seen. While living in a world on edge as well as the Psy Net in constant danger of collapse, Ethan and Selenka find love in the darkest of times, the dangerous situations and perils making it all the more precious.
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