Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 10, 2020
Repetition is here again and minor inconsistencies. So far Silence with Valentin is the best of this new arc and the rest of the series is struggling with transitions and balancing plot set up with romance level. kinda long, potential spoilers.**
I wanted to like this more than I did. Not because it was bad but because there wasnt much to this. I'm not sure what the page count was but it felt as if this story wasnt long enough. After careful reflection, I reread before doing this review to figure out what was wrong. 40% of the book (I checked) takes place within a 24 hr period. Its hard to imagine a couple in love when almost half of the book only takes place during one day. Selenka and Ethan meet at an event and the mating bond snaps into place. Instalove but rare for changelings??
I wouldnt have minded this if we got a vivid courtship after they became mated but Singh never fully goes back and lets us enjoy the stages (mating dance)of falling in love with these two that she usually does in the other books. Most changelings eventually recognize their mate and go into courtship mode I thought. This is glossed over though. again most of this book takes place in ONE day. Even worst, we get Ethan who is psy trying to initiate the courtship with romantic gestures when technically as the changeling in this relationship, it should have been Selenka doing this and showing the hero who has never understood emotions how to love. He's psy!! How would he know to be flirty if you dont show him??
the other issue I had is that the author doesnt do a good job of the dominant aspect of the Alpha wolf Selenka. She comes across as aggressive and angry all the time and never really mellows or lowers that intensity during the relationship. this surprises me the most because we've seen the author pair strong female dominant changelings with submissives or fellow dominants and the heroines are still loveable or witty and you just enjoy them getting love without sacrificing their strength. Selenka (and the author) spend too much time trying to assure us she's dominate. To the point that Ethan, an arrow, doesnt know what he's feeling or what the mating bond means but she tells him constantly "to wait, stay back, she'll talk later, not now, go away I need to be an Alpha." :o/ Ooookay. Thats how we're treating our mate? In between pushing him away she aggressively kisses him and its just a confusing mix to throw at a psy who's spent his whole life being non emotional.
Once we get past the first day, the rest of the story is focused on who's attacking the pack. Selenka brings Ethan to her pack and proceeds to ignore him so she can hug EVERY body in the pack. Constantly. In Hawke, I found him hugging packmates natural and a great aspect of his alpha persona. With Selenka its like she spent the whole time saying she had Alpha stuff to do but this seemed to revolve around hugging pack members and a one time sparring match with a LT who is struggling with grief. I'm not sure I felt like she actually did any leading. Lucas runs a company so we see him being an Alpha. Hawke keeps the juveniles in line. Selenka...hugs people.
Lastly, other changeling and psy pairings show the psy excited about their mate in animal form. Selenka doesnt shift into her wolf until 95% mark (I checked) How do we get a changeling romance where the changeling doesnt shift the whole book? the villain or villains are easily handled in an absent minded way and partly off screen which also adds to the disappointment of this in a lot of ways. I wish we'd had more of Selenka meeting and talking with Valentin to understand how to deal with a psy mate or had more Arrows like Judd or even Kaleb give Ethan guidance on being in a relationship and how they manage it being psy. He's given the infamous book they've made and its basically teach yourself kid and good luck.
Ethan spent the entire book being a background character standing on the side and waiting for attention or to be noticed. He deserved better than to be an afterthought. Selenka should have taken time to tell her pack she was going to court her mate and let us see her teach Ethan about love. This would have proven her alpha strength more than her putting pack first as if that meant she was a better alpha because she didnt let love distract her. It made her look self centered and oblivious to his plight.