Jun 17 2017 10:00am

Nalini Singh’s Silver Silence Spoilers: Why It Was So Hard to Start the New Arc of the Psy-Changeling Series

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Long running series are so addictive. A good series writer knows how to cleverly and oh so maddeningly tease, infuriate and delight us with bits and pieces, that keep us anxious for the next book in the series, and there is no doubt that Nalini Singh is an excellent series writer.

Like you, I counted down the days, anxiously waiting to get my hand on Silver Silence, the newest book, and a new direction in the series for Singh’s Psy-Changelings’ series featuring BEARS!

The glimpse that Singh shared was so enticing:

Silver Mercant believed in control. It was what made her so good at what she did—she was never caught by surprise. She prepared for everything. Unfortunately, it was impossible to prepare for the heavily muscled man standing at her apartment door.

“How did you get in?” she asked in Russian, making sure to stand front and center in the doorway so he wouldn’t forget this was her territory.

Bears had a habit of just pushing everything out of their way.

This bear shrugged his broad shoulders where he leaned up against the side of her doorjamb. “I asked nicely,” he replied in the same language.

“I live in the most secure building in central Moscow.” Silver stared at that square-jawed face with its honey-dark skin. It wasn’t a tan. Valentin Nikolaev retained the shade in winter, got darker in summer. “And,” she added, “building security is made up of former soldiers who don’t understand the word ‘nice’” One of those soldiers was a Mercant. No one talked his way past a Mercant.

Except for this man. This wasn’t the first time he’d appeared on her doorstep on the thirty-fourth floor of this building.

“I have a special charm,” Valentine responded, his big body blocking out the light and his deep smile settling into familiar grooves in his cheeks, his hair an inky black that was so messy she wondered if he even owned a comb.

So now that you’ve read it, let’s talk about it. You have read it, haven’t you? Because this is a Major Spoiler blog for the book.

So, what is going on in Silver Silence? For me, this book had a different feel. Of course, one reason is because there are so many new characters, and a lot of world building. Ena Mercant, Kaleb Krychek, his mate Sahara Kyriakus, Nikita Duncan, Anthony Kyriakus, Ivy Jane, Aden Kai, Bowen Knight have small parts in the story (I might have missed a few).  Reference is made to other characters, like Lucas Hunter, and Tamsyn but they don’t actually appear.

SEE ALSO: Nalini Singh's Ocean Light cover reveals Bowen and Kaia!

Which I’ll be honest, was difficult for me. Singh’s “soft goodbye” felt more like a “hard goodbye”.  We’ve spent  over ten years getting to know  characters from books 1-15 and then they are abruptly gone – at least in this book. It felt like an amputation. 

There were so many questions and extra bits of closure that many of us were hoping would happen– like we discussed in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling: Trinity Speculation—Breaking the Silence on Silver Silence.

After reading Silver Silence, I'm less optimistic that these things will happen.   Just the way Silver Silence played out — it really did feel like the door was closed on many of our favorite characters. Mainly, it was the way that the characters were referred to, instead of being in the story.  Telling instead of showing. And if this is the way of the future —then it won't feel the same. Being in a characters' head is completely different then getting updates on what is going on with them. 

That is not to say that the new characters are not charming, because they are. Valentin is sexy and so so appealing. And Silver is a wonderful heroine. Strong, capable, but at times vulnerable. Still, it just felt changed. If you compare Lucas and his leopards and Hawke and his wolves –they are very similar. But the bears, they seem more dissimilar than similar.

The wolves and the leopards definitely came across as predatory animals, but the bears —not so much. They seem less menacing and more playful. Valentin’s sisters, Stasya, Nova and Nika Nova, play major roles in the hierarchy of the clan and their femininity is quite a contrast to Lucas’s sentinels  and Hawk’s lieutenants.  Valentin is the youngest in his family, his sisters are all older. Just think how you treat a younger brother. For example:

“What did you break now?” were Stasya’s opening words.

Ignoring the greeting only a big sister would think to offer her alpha, he said, “Security threats if we bring a Psy into Denhome.”  . . .

“Which Psy?” Stasya asked with her usual no-nonsense directness.

Silver Mercant.”

“Very funny, Mishka,” she said, using his childhood nickname of “little bear”—sisters never forgot anything and thy told everyone thy knew until a man had to remind people his name was actually the very adult-sounding Valentin Mikhailovich Nikolaev.

“I know you have a thing for her, but abducting women is against the law. She said the last very firmly. “Even for bears. Get that into your head.”

“No joke.” He wished it had been play, that he’d given in to his primal instincts and through Silver over his shoulder—she’d have reacted badly, but she wouldn’t now be lying unconscious in a hospital bed. “She needs a safe place to lie low, and we’re the best available.”

“If you’re messing with me, I’ll put toothpaste in your hair while you sleep,” his second-in-warned.

And Nova, Valentin’s second oldest sister is the healer for the clan. Upon meeting Silver, she starts telling tales on her brother:

“Nova Nikolaev does not do practical shoes. I fell flat on my ass more than once when I first started practicing with heels at fourteen. Valentin laughed his ass off until I dared him to put on a pair and race me. You should’ve seen the fall he took.”

Momentarily diverted by the idea of Valentin wearing heels—even as a boy—Silver had to force herself to return to the matter at hand. “I think I should stick to more stable shoes for the time being.”

“Don’t even think about the sensible shoes,” Nova warned. “Try these little black half boots instead. They’re comfortable, cute, and they go with pretty much any outfit.”

There’s a much more joie de vivre atmosphere with the bears:

“Later!” Nova called back. “I’m showing our guest around.”

A hundred questions came at them, all to do with Silver.

“Act like bears, not wolves.” Nova’s stern statement had the entire group laughing big belly laughs. The laughter sent a couple of children rolling around on the rugs scattered across the floor in a riot of well-worn color that somehow wasn’t jarring to the senses.

And Valentin is a very different alpha, isn’t he? Oh, there are some things that are the same. The strength an alpha can give to clan members; the need to protect and nurture the young and the desire to lead. But Valentin is a beta alpha.  He lets members of his pack break away rather than force than to obey him because he is alpha.

Erupting out of the trees about fifty feet from the cave system where the members of his clan who’d forsaken him made their home he caught his breath, shoved back his hair. The sentries spotted him but they could no more stop him than they could a hurricane—and it hadn’t gotten that bad yet. These bears, they were disloyal.

They were just lost... and heartbroken.

What isn’t different is the romantic play. Valentin and Silver have some wonderful scenes –both romantic and sexy:

Valentin’s hunting instincts came to full wakefulness, but he didn’t roar like a barbarian bear with no manners. Sneaky, he reminded himself, be sneaky and wily. “Want a massage?” Rising, he attempted to look like the harmless teddy bear he’d told her to call him. “I’ve got strong hands, and I promise to be a gentleman unless you ask me to tear off your clothes and kiss every delectable inch of you.”

And of course, there is plenty of angst. Like many of Singh’s heroines, Silver has a unique problem that keeps her from feeling emotion.

The book also wonderfully showcases the sense of family. And there are adorable cubs to capture your heart:


Halting at the sound of that childish cry, he immediately tracked a fresh trail of scents to find three unsupervised cubs, age six, six, and seven. All tiny gangsters. He scowled and folded his arms. “What is Arkasha doing he asked, nodding at the furry butt hanging out of a hole in a stone formation.

It was hard to keep a straight face as those little legs kicked and the butt wriggled.

“He’s stuck!” Sveta cried. “we were going to explore the cave, the hole’s too small.”

Biting the inside of his cheek to choke off his laugher, Valentin raised an eyebrow at the other miscreant. “Why is Arkasha so shiny and slick? His fur looked like it had been slicked down with hair conditioner, but that wasn’t what Valentin’s nose was telling him.

Fitzpatrick Haydon William, tiny owner of a very long name, took his hand from behind his back to reveal a familiar wrapper. “We thought if we rubbed him with butter, he’s slide in,” he admitted.

Singh never really moves fast on the suspense aspects of her stories, and that is the same in this book. We learn that the architect is probably a woman. Which can I say has me completely bumfuzzled? The only person that jumps to mind that is calculating, Machiavellian and conniving is Nikita Duncan. And I’ll be heartbroken if it is her. Surely, it’s not? What hints have I missed of another crafty, cunning female?

It does look like Bowen Knight’s story will be front and center in the next book. Drastic way to remove a bad implant – getting shot through the head.

As the story arc starts to move in a new direction my obsession with the previous characters has me dragging my feet quite a bit, even as Singh excellent writing and storytelling pulls me forward. I didn't expect it to feel so dramatic and sad— leaving the characters we grown to love behind.

What are your feelings about this new path? Is it difficult to let go and move forward, or have you completely embraced the bears?


Learn more about or order a copy of Silver Silence by Nalini Singh, available now:

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H&H Editor Picks:

Nalini Singh Excerpt: Silver Silence

14 Authors Recommend Their Favorite Book Right Now

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June 2017 Romance New Releases







Scarlettleigh, blogger.

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Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I am ambivalent about this book. I felt that the two threads, (Silver's 'health' problems and the bad guy's machinations) did not meld well. They detracted from each other rather than complementing.

I did love Valentin and the bears. However, not being familiar with Russian naming conventions, I was ofter befuddled. I do love how this author includes all races and nationalities in her books as a mater of course!
2. Scarlettleigh

I not fond of the three different names for people. I know that it is common in other cultures, and I appreciate that. But as a reader it does make it difficult. Especially at first. And to me some of the nick names don't make sense -- they not any shorter in length.

I know that I'm slow to warm up to characters. Every once in a while a character grabs me from the get go. . . but I do have to say that after reading this book --I not really anxious for anyone's story. And I'm not really a fan of the Bowen Knight story arc. . . so I'm not sure what I'll do about the next book. Maybe wait until there are a couple out and revisit this series again?

Especially since it didn't feel like the story arc is going back around to the characters ---the leopards and wolves anytime soon. I was surprised that even the story arc about Nika and Anthony wasn't even elaborated on. . . .

I liked the bears -- don't get me wrong but they seemed like a combination of Pooh bear and then at times changlings. . .

Change is hard<g>. . .
Carmen Pinzon
3. bungluna
Oh so true, especially when we've come to know and love so many characters that don't have any page time anymore.
4. RachelLeighSmith
I loved it. To the point I almost wanted to read it again the second I finished it.

The bears are incredibly Russian. I love all things Russian, and it read to me like she built bear changeling society on a foundation of Russian culture and social interaction. You put a bunch of Russians together, and they act just like the bears. Which isn't something we Westerners associate with Russia.

Did I miss everyone? Yes. But I'm also dying to see Bo get a happy ending and I really really really hope he doesn't die.
5. Scarlettleigh
@RachellLeighSmith -- I've only read one series that I can think where the setting was in Russia -- Paulline Simon's books starting with Bronze Horseman. And THEY were very different from the bears.
6. Scarlettleigh
@bungluna --

I didn't think that Silver's attempted murder and the bears' attitude melded well. She almost dies, discovers that someone wants to kill her -- and it might be family, and when she comes to stay with the bears Valentine's sister thinks she should be worried about shoes. That was just so weird.
7. Scarlettleigh
@RachelLeighSmith -- it never really crossed my mind that Bo would die. I figured that Judd would port in and fix him. And to discover the plant or traitor they going to say he dies.

(Edited -- well call me uneducated too<g>-- for those who caught it I typed trader for traitor-- and when I saw it-- all I could think of was last summer when this happened during the political campaign-- and the guy was on national TV. . . ) Sometimes you do know the right word<g> but just don't proof read!!!
8. RachelLeighSmith
@ScarlettLeigh, I adore The Bronze Horseman and its sequels. I've been fascainted with Russia for almost 25 years now and have done extensive reading on their history and culture. I want to visit there one day. I even love the architecture and a lot of the food.

But you can't judge Russian culture as a whole by what was covered in The Bronze Horseman. Stalin was just starting to go nuts at that time, and there was a great deal of fear everywhere. What had happened in Ukraine a few years earlier with a forced famine was still very fresh in their minds, and the unexplained disappearances were kicking into high gear.

The majority of the population of St. Petersburg died during the seige. Those who survived had health problems the rest of their lives due to the cold and starvation they experienced.

Russian culture pre-USSR and post-USSR is more exubarent than it was while the USSR existed. They drink for the enjoyment of it and the camaraderie, just like the bears. They laugh and joke and horse around, just like the bears. They have crazy rivalries, like the bears and the wolves.

For me, it was very real. Nalini did her homework on Russian culture, and I can see it on every page.
9. emma13
No, I completely disagree. Nalini clearly stated that this is the age of Trinity and the last book set the stage for this change to take place.....if it still feels like an amputation, then I don't know if Nalini's allowed to change at all then. As far as thoughtfulness and cohesiveness go, I don't know how many authors would carefully plan a shift in gear the way she did.

Personally I thought this is a much needed infusion of the new to make keep this series going strong and more interesting. As someone who followed the series throughout the years too, I welcome and love this change.....Nalini did a great job in keeping the original integrity and structure of the series and bringing in new elements to make the world building even more complex and fascinating. I applaud her and love this new age of trinity myself.

Especially the bear changeling. OH MY.
10. Scarlettleigh
@emma13 -- I glad you liked it. I'm the type of person that likes closure, and I especially don't like long open ended story arcs. And I appreciate that for some readers it is not an issue. Because of this I tend not to last long with long running series.

When Singh said I "soft goodbye" I took it to mean that she still would address some of the open ended questions. . . Nikita and Anthony, the Ming issue, Alice Eldridge, the web issues. I didn't expect warm fuzzies on the question of babies for a lot of the couples or information on Riley and Mercy's triplets. . . that is icing on the cake. . . but for all those threads to be dropped --then yes it felt like an amputation.

It was like a sharp right turn from South to West -- when I thought it would a more gradual integration going from South to Southwest. I realize that sometime in the future there will be answers-- but now it looks like we're zagging to the East.

And many authors do this, but usually it within a book -- and at the end the threads are brought together so that you have answers or some conclusions. . . This book just opened up more questions on the already open questions. .
11. Scarlettleigh
Another thing that bothered me was that I felt like there was a lot of telling and not showing. Silver is supposed to be so fabulous. And everyone said that she was -- but the situations weren't there that showed. it.
12. emma13
We are just going to have to agree to disagree. :) You are repeating your points, and I don't feel like doing the same. Guess we are on different ends of the spectrum.
Carmen Pinzon
13. bungluna
@Scarlettleigh - Exactly! There's the assasination attempt on Silver and it may be by family. Then she goes off with Valentin and decides to give sex a try, even though it may drive her into an early(er) grave because of her gift, and nothing about the attempt for a while.

I felt like I was reading two stories melded uneasily into one.
14. Rizos4312
I had very high expectations for this book and to me it was just 'meh'. I was fine with the new arc and though I missed the old characters and have the same unanswered questions as @Scarlettleigh, I was fine with the change. However, it felt lacking and I think the lack of action is what I missed the most. Where was "Silver Fucking Mercant"? It was all smoke and mirrors. I wanted her to be part of the investigation and kick some ass. So she scared the guy toward the end... not enough. Sienna is my least favorite character but I loved when she released the cold fire and destroyed everything in her path. And the fact that she used Hawke's alpha connection to the pack was genious. That redeemed her in my eyes. Honestly, I was more interested in Bo's story line than what was going on in Russia.

I hope this series doesn't start leaving me cold like Kresley Cole's IAD. I haven't read the last book. I didn't finish Sweet Ruin and I won't buy Wicked Abyss until I do. I enjoyed Shadow's Seduction because it brought closure to Mirceo and Caspion.
15. Karen E near Tampa
I have read and loved all of the previous Singh books and I had no trouble with this change. Perhaps it's because I read across genres and authors so much, but I tend to take each book as it comes. As long as I feel the individual book has a happy ending, I'm not bothered if the characters never appear in a subsequent book (though since I love a series of interconnected books, I am always happy when they do). And none of the dangling strings mentioned are very important to me (interesting, but not important) so I'm happy to trod Ms. Singh's new path, as long as Bowen pulls through, that is.
16. 715helva
I truly enjoyed Silver Silence. To the point of rereading it again two days after finishing it the first time. I feel the author tied the two story arcs together much better than I had expected. To say that she has left unanswered questions from the first series ignores the possibility that future books will solve these issues. Like Emma13, I have no problem with having previous characters show up to add their bit, even though the main new characters carry the plot. Remember, not many actual years have passed since Sasha Duncan stumbled into the Changelings' lives. So many new characters have been introduced that to keep working with only them might be tiresome and rut-making. I thought I might not be too happy with the bears and the Mercants, but once into the story, I really enjoyed them. Especially, Grandmother Mercant.
17. 715helva
I truly enjoyed Silver Silence. To the point of rereading it again two days after finishing it the first time. I feel the author tied the two story arcs together much better than I had expected. To say that she has left unanswered questions from the first series ignores the possibility that future books will solve these issues. Like Emma13, I have no problem with having previous characters show up to add their bit, even though the main new characters carry the plot. Remember, not many actual years have passed since Sasha Duncan stumbled into the Changelings' lives. So many new characters have been introduced that to keep working with only them might be tiresome and rut-making. I thought I might not be too happy with the bears and the Mercants, but once into the story, I really enjoyed them. Especially, Grandmother Mercant.
18. Scarlettleigh
@715helva -- I do understand what you'e saying about it being tiresome and rut making dealing with the same characters.

Her last book was definitely a feel-good book, more an epilogue book-- where she reiterated how happy the couples are with their mates. . . and I would completely agree that there is a limit of how much she can elaborate.

I think there is an inherent or intrinstic problem that writers of romantic suspense face. We as readers expect HEA. So every issue or problem must have a solution.

I would be beyond shock if Bowen dies. It never crossed my mind that he would. Would I be upset if he did. Nope --but I know that there are thousands of fans that do care for him. Is there really a question in your mind about his survival?

And going into each book I expect that each heroine's or heroes with her talent will be solved so that she can experience emotion.

As a reader of this series -- the mystery of who behind the Pure Psy, the Consortium or even how the hero or heroine overcomes their issues with their talent is not a big pull. Honestly sometimes the resolution is a big distraction because it seems more convoluted.

After fifteen books, I expect that Singh WILL pull a rabbit out her hat and all will end well.

So what brings keeps me coming back to the books are the characters.

I think @bungluna & @Rizo4312 have made astute comments about what bothered me about the book. Silver wasn't that impressive, and it was difficult to understand the actions of the characters in context to the seriousness of the situation. Therefore no connection to the characters.
19. trulywicked
Regarding the possible Architect, if it winds up being a Psy then I rather think it could very well be Shoshanna Scott. Before being implanted drove Henry off the deep end of fanaticism it was universally acknowledged that he was the beta member in the partnership with Shoshanna, that she was the one who made the plans. And in earlier books it set her and Nikita against each other as adversaries. Nikita wouldn't have respected Shoshanna as the threat she did treat her as unless Shoshanna was devious and manipulative enough to get one over on Nikita.

Plus Shoshanna is very much a dangling thread from the old Psy Council. Every other member is either dead, marked for death (Ming NEEDS to die), or a member of the Ruling Coalition. But Shoshanna is a mystery. When it comes to the remnants of the old Council a dangling thread is far, far too dangerous to not be snipped or tied off.
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