Storm Echo (Nalini Singh)

Storm Echo is the sixth novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (or the 21st novel of the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 21.8.2022
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the Psy-Changeling series.]

Content Note: drug abuse/addiction, child abuse/neglect

Plot:
Ivan Mercant is a security specialist, making it his business to prepare for every eventuality. But he couldn’t prepare for running into an intriguing changeling in the woods while on a training. He and Lei spend beautiful days together, but after Ivan tells Lei about a dangerous, always hungry part of his abilities that he can probably not keep in check forever, Lei fails to make their meeting. Devastated, Ivan accepts her decision to stay away, even after he finds her gravely injured in an attack – and loses track of her again. But when they run into each other a third time, this time with Lei in a bad state, including partial memory less that means she can’t actually remember him, and on a mission to kill the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack, neither Ivan, nor Lei’s cat half are willing to let go of each other.

Storm Echo not only has a lovely couple in Lei and Ivan, it also pushes the overarching plot forward quite a bit, balancing the comforting tropiness of the series with exciting new developments and making it very satisfying to read.

The book cover showing the face of a man with blue eyes in front of a starry sky.

Storm Echo returns to San Francisco and gives us glimpses at DarkRiver and some very well-known characters from the very beginning of the series, and honestly, I love that part. It’s a bit like checking in on old friends (and makes me itch to start a re-read of the series, which – given its length – is actually a rather daunting prospect by now). But still. Lucas, Tamsyn and Nate get particular attention here, and I am here for it. (I’m also here for Arwen and Pascha, and I do hope that they get their own story at some point.)

But of course, the main focus is on Lei and Ivan. And while their romance includes some very familiar elements of the couples in this series (His abilities are eroding, he might turn dangerous! She brings life and joy! Both have big traumas in the past!), I still haven’t grown tired of these things, because Singh knows how to handle them. I also liked that Lei put into words what I often think when it comes to “we don’t know what my abilities will do, but chances are, I will kill everyone, so I better make sure I die before that happens” (or “we don’t know what my abilities will do, but chances are, I will die”): how do you know that this will happen, and have you really thought of every other possibility instead of suicide? Plus, she tells Ivan outright that she doesn’t want him protecting her by refusing their mating because that is not his decision to make.

Additionally, I really liked how they met and the amnesia part was really well done – not soap opera dramatic (which is not bad per se, but wouldn’t fit with the tone of the series, I think), but with a good explanation and to a realistic extent.

As usual with the series, the romance feeds right into the overarching plot, and it felt like Storm Echo brought us a huge step forward in that regard: the Architect/Scarab Queen got an (not 100% confirmed, but almost) identity and there is new insight in how the PsyNet works and how it might be saved. I really like how the world-building holds up – it really is one of the strong suits of the series.

Summarizing: exciting and sweet and exactly as the doctor ordered.

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