I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #5
Published by Tantor Audio on July 20, 2021
Genres: Romance, Paranormal
Length: 10 hours 52 minutes
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands…
Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.
For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.
To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet…or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.
My top thoughts:
I’ll just come out and say it: Nalini Singh is a goddess among writers. I’m not even exaggerating.
This book is a tribute to everything I love about her. First and foremost, her commitment to diversity. But her incredible characters, intricate world-building, well thought-out plots and celebration of what happens when people come together for a common good. On top of all that, she did something really special in this book and paired unsung, silent heroism with disability.
All hail the goddess. For reals.
What I liked/didn’t like:
Okay let me flesh that out a bit with some specifics without spoiling. In this book we dive deep into an aforementioned but rarely considered Psy designation – anchors. And it’s kind of dumb how little they’ve been considered (as this book makes clear) because as the PsyNet crumbles around them you’d think the anchors would be one of the first groups you’d talk to. But here’s the thing. Anchors have been operating in the shadows for generations. They silently keep all the Psy alive without anyone really even thinking about them. And I’d love to go on and on, but that’s why you have to read this book. Point is, they are the true heroes and no one even thinks about them.
And there’s a reason why they’ve kept to the shadows – well several, but one big one – they are mostly disabled. In a race that prizes perfection, the people keeping them alive are far from perfect. They are this book’s hero and heroine – Canto Mercant and Payal Rao. Canto has a spine condition that has him in a wheelchair, unable to feel his legs. Payal has (1) brain tumors that threaten to kill her if she doesn’t get regular injections and (2) a developmental(?) disability that goes unnamed but if were to guess from what we see of her, she’s on the spectrum. This has to be my favorite book of all the Psy-Changeling books because of the way Nalini Singh wrote their story. They are such powerful individuals – not just in terms of the Psy abilities, but their personalities. They are so human (well Psy, but you know what I’m getting at) and she preserved that dignity while also making their disabilities ring so true. Payal, for example, says things in such a matter of fact way that I found it hilarious, but also you can’t help but have incredible respect for her intelligence in those moments. Seriously, I’m just blown away by this book.
Oh and I didn’t even mention yet, but that PsyNet situation? Yeah, it’s gotten catastrophic. So the world and plot development in this book are just as on point as the characters. I don’t feel like I can say much without spoiling, but I will say dang it, did it have to end there? Is it July yet? Because I am ready for the next book now.
As always, Angela Dawe delivered a flawless performance. She did this incredible book justice on all points. I am so grateful for her narration because without it, I’d probably be still working my way through the first series, as I can’t read at this same speed when reading print.