Alpha Night (Nalini Singh)

Alpha Night is the fourth novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (or the 19th novel of the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 20.6.2020
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the Psy-Changeling series.]

Content Note: ableism/saneism

Plot:
With the first ever Empath convention happening, and knowing that Empaths are integral for the survival of the Psy, tensions are high and the Arrows are running security. One of them is Ethan who runs into alpha wolf Selenka who fears the repercussions of the convention on her city. Selenka and Ethan are both more than surprised by the instant bond between them. They literally mate at first sight – a myth that isn’t supposed to be actually real. Now they need to figure out what to do with that even as Ethan fears his abilities slipping, and the politics around them demand full attention.

Alpha Night was another good and quick read, but it is probably not among my favorites in the series – I took issue with the way they dealt with Ethan’s mental health.

The book cover showing the face of a man with amber eyes in front of a night sky full of stars.

First, let me tell you what I loved about the book: I loved that we got another female alpha and to see the book acknowledge that it is not easy to be a female leader – and that men will push back against that – sometimes even men you are close to and you’d hope would be your biggest supporter. And I loved that Selenka is not a lonely woman at the top. She has (female) friends around her.

I also liked Ethan and Selenka. While I’m not the biggest fan of “love at first sight”, I thought it was nicely handled here and there was a humorous note to it that I definitely appreciated. So all of that worked for me.

What didn’t work so much was the way they dealt with Ethan’s issues. Ethan fears he is going insane, and Selenka’s first reaction is “no, my wolf would never have chosen somebody who is insane”. She later amends that to “well, sometimes mistakes happen and maybe my wolf would have chosen somebody who is insane, but I don’t think you are”. And this was so very troublesome because mentally ill people are just as loveable and deserving of love as sane people, so that felt incredibly dismissive of them (especially since it was coupled with the “insane = murderous” trope). That Ethan is perfectly healthy in the end is not great either (well, for him it is, but not for representation), but that part I saw a long way coming and never expected any different.

Anyway, despite that part, I enjoyed Alpha Night – but ultimately I didn’t love it.

Summarizing: Good, but not the best.

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