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NYT 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.

384 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 20, 2021

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About the author

Nalini Singh

268 books24.8k followers
I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 859 reviews
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29.1k followers
May 12, 2022
3.5 Stars

This sat on my kindle for far too long...especially when you consider the fact that I had the ARC on my kindle WAAAAAAY before the release date.

I genuinely have no excuse.

I'll be honest though, having been on the Psy-Changeling/Trinity train for many moons now, I already know that I personally prefer the installments where the main couple involves a changeling. (I go more into my reasons for that in my review of Shield of Winter review.) And, outside of the unicorn that was Heart of Obsidian, I just don't see that changing anytime soon. So that might have played into why it took me so long to pick this up.

That said, I definitely enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I might. I really liked Canto and Payal. An I really liked the whole Designation A angle. Just when you think Nalini Singh has perfected the onion, she adds yet another layer.

I think the machinations and mystery surrounding the Scarab Queen is also going to be exciting. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one, which I am lucky enough to already have (and which I definitely plan get to a lot sooner than I got to this one).

***ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Corina.
759 reviews2,130 followers
July 24, 2021
Excited to start this book!!

This is one of my oldest series to date, don't remember anymore when I started it, but it's always exciting to get back to this world.


It was really good, reminded me a lot of Heart of Obsidian

Full review:

Last Guard reminded me of bit of HEART OF OBSIDIAN. Similar to Kaleb, Payal was such an interesting character. Disciplined and cold on the outside, but broken on the inside. Her demeanour was fascinating. And she is probable the most distinctive character in this new series of books. And her relationship with Canto was romantic, deeply moving, and palpable. A relationships that was forged during childhood and was unbreakable.

Canto was a wonderful hero. Possessive, dangerous, smart, calculating, and decisive. When he finally found Payal he didn’t play around but bounced. He also displayed the most endearing Bear characteristics. And taking care of Payal was ingrained into his personality from a very young age. I also realised that The Mercant family is one of the most interesting families in this series, outside of the two big packs, SnowDancer and DarkRiver. And I would love to read more about them.

With each new book in this series, a slew of new characters are introduced. And with each book there is an additional layer to the overall story, another layer to the PsyNet. Also with each book I read I feel like I’ve heard it all, only to be shown that I know nothing. There is still so much to come.

One part of LAST GUARD I really LOVED was the MM supporting cast pairing, they were SO CUTE!!!!!!! And my hopes are going back up that we’ll finally get the MM pairing we are all hoping for in the Guild Hunter series.

And, are we ever getting a Nikita book???????

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

You can find me on my blog and on Bookstagram
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,024 reviews10.1k followers
July 16, 2021
We’ve got a Psy-Psy romance for this 5th Trinity book! Even though this isn’t my favorite kind of pairing (I say this even though my all time favorite PC book is Psy-Psy lol), Payal and Canto’s romance is lovely and heartwarming. They are a part of Designation A, who are essentially the foundation and backbone of the Psy race, and unfortunately, they’re dying.

Canto, a Mercant, brings the formerly unknown A’s together and finds Payal, the girl who saved his life when he was a boy. There were lots of Heart of Obsidian vibes here, which made me happy. Payal reminded me of Kaleb, Silent and ice cold to prevent herself from the chaos inside of her learning out. Canto was the perfect hero to bring love and passion in her life and break down her walls. There’s also disability rep here, with Canto in a wheelchair.

I really enjoyed Last Guard! It always makes me so happy to be back in this world. All the bear cameos made me smile. I’m crossing my fingers we’ll get another bear changeling romance because I can never get enough of them. And I’m still looking forward to a Nikita/Anthony book, if we ever get one!
Profile Image for Stephanie.
Author 69 books975 followers
April 22, 2021
Ohhhh. Nalini Singh is one of my very favorite authors, the Psy-Changeling is my very favorite of her ongoing series...and this just might be my very favorite of her books so far. It's a wonderful romance AND a wonderful spec-fic novel - and ohhhhh is it emotionally intense in such a powerful way!

"Even furious, he was feeding her. She didn't understand him."

Payal is neurodivergent; Canto is physically disabled; they were both brutally punished by their abusive first families when they were children for thereby being "wrong." They both grew into incredibly powerful adults, but now - just as the full PsyNet around them is threatening to fall apart - they not only have to find a way to save it but also to let go of their own emotional shields with each other.

"I'm not broken." It was the first time in her life she'd ever verbalized such a thing. "I just function differently from other people."

I loved, loved, loved the disability rep in this book. I can't remember ever reading another paranormal romance where the romantic hero was disabled in this way (with a spinal injury that means he can't feel his legs and moves around in a wheelchair), but it was handled just perfectly, with a matter of fact approach, great use of assistive technology, and absolutely no nonsense about miracle cures. There was one particular conversation between the two of them about the meds the heroine has to take for her mental health issues (which, again, are not "cured" in the course of the novel) that felt so healing to read, I actually teared up during that scene. And ohhhh their physical and emotional chemistry is so intense! I LOVED the way they meshed together.

As I read this book, I kept on wanting to recommend it even to friends who don't normally read paranormal romance, so I wondered whether or not it would work as a standalone intro the series. The answer is....I'm not quite sure? I think it might - but if not, a new reader could certainly start with the first book in this arc of the Psy-Changeling series, Silver Silence, and catch up from there by July (when this book will come out).

Powerful, emotional, sexy, romantic, and smart - I loved this romance and I can already tell I'll be re-reading it often as a comfort book.
August 13, 2021
3.5 ☆ rounded up

After a few mediocre installments, Singh's fifth novel in her Psy-Changeling Trinity series was actually good! In Last Guard, Singh returned to some familiar characters - the Mercant family based in Russia - and further advanced the ongoing crisis afflicting the Psy race.
Talk about a small group that held an excessive amount of power. ... [the Mercants] were the primary shadow players in the PsyNet, with a network of spies so skilled they were said to have something on everyone.

Distinguished by their extrasensory mental abilities, members of the Psy race are the ultimate proponents of eugenics. Led by matriarch Ena, the Mercant family however always valued blood over perfection. By age eight, Canto Mercant had been deemed as flawed by his paternal Fernando relations and Ena had rescued him from filicide. Thirty years later, Ena intends granddaughter Silver to be her successor and Canto, the older grandson, to be Silver's right-hand man. Canto holds cardinal power as one of the rare Designation A - a crucial anchor-hub.
Anchors are the foundation of the PsyNet. They aren't simply integral to the psychic network that the Psy rely on for life. They are the PsyNet.

The PsyNet has been unraveling and killing thousands of Psy in the process. Canto knows that it's time to organize his fellow reclusive Anchors before the Psy race is extinguished. He asks Payal Rao, the CEO of the Rao family conglomerate, to be their public leader. The Psy Ruling Coalition had recently ended their forced policy of Silence, in which all emotions are suppressed. Canto's traumatic childhood had prevented Silence from ever taking hold but Payal has continued it to protect herself from her treacherous family members. But Canto and Payal share more in common than their Psy Designation A...

Strengths of Last Guard were many. The biggest for me was the injection of first-hand accounts from Anchors. Because the progression of the PsyNet crisis (which was first mentioned in Heart of Obsidian, eight books earlier) has been discussed so frequently with only minuscule gains, it has come to feel like a rinse-and-repeat cycle. Maybe that it isn't fair of me because our real world equivalent is the climate crisis. The development of the main protagonists' relationship worked for me as I had not at all been enamored with the 48-hour lovefest in the preceding Alpha Night. Family dynamics played a big role in this novel and added more depth to the characters. While the aquatic BlackSea changelings from Ocean Light may be the most fascinating, I find the bears to be the most fun. And the Mercants have strengthened their alliance since Silver mated with Valentin, the Alpha of the StoneWater bear changelings, in Silver Silence. The bears made many guest appearances in Last Guard as Canto lives within their territory and Canto's younger cousin and empath Arwen has a budding relationship with bear changeling Pavel (this secondary pairing is the first LGBTQ couple in the entire series).

I only have a few criticisms. On one hand, it looked very up-to-date of Singh to include such an atypical range of characters - in terms of physical ability (Canto uses a wheelchair), gender fluidity (a secondary character uses "they" as a personal pronoun), and neurodiversity (Payal is "neurodivergent"). On the other hand, there was just so much compared with practically nothing in previous installments that these looked like marketing plug-ins. Upon more careful reading of the Anchors' operation, so much of it was cloaked in vague metaphors that it sounded like another deus ex machina that Singh tended to utilize. On a more significant point, Singh remained close-mouthed with information about her villain, dubbed the Architect. . And be warned, Singh concluded Last Guard with a cliffhanger. So it looks like Singh will continue to milk this series in the near future (why butcher the cash cow, right?). It is possible to read this as a standalone but appreciation would be enhanced by more familiarity with this world of three races - Psy, changeling, and humans. And it has been this particular futuristic world-building that has kept me invested enough to read all twenty books in the two related series. Silver Silence and Last Guard are among my best picks in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,562 reviews3,778 followers
March 12, 2022
UPDATE: Pretty much the same feeling this time around... slow to start, but sticks the landing

While I do think this one is a bit slow to get going (the first ~20% felt rather info-dumpy since these were characters/character groups we haven't seen as much of before), this combined the things I loved about Slave to Sensation with the plot type of my favorite book in the series, Heart of Obsidian, so.... I mean, sold. I had a great time with this one, and I appreciate how it explored themes around trauma and abledness. Luckily I'm in the middle of my big reread for the podcast (Changeling Cast, if you're not listening ;)), so I won't have my yearly withdrawal while I wait for the next installment

CW: violence against children
Profile Image for Giorgia.
303 reviews27 followers
July 28, 2021
God i need the next oneeee. It has to be illegal to have just one book a yearrr!!!
Like always Nalini did an amazing job and i'm really curious to find out who are going to be the protagonists in the next book!! 🙋🙋
Profile Image for Liber_Lady.
421 reviews110 followers
May 11, 2021
ARC generously provided by Netgalley

4.5 Stars rounded to 5

Rep: Indian female character (woot woot), hero with a disability, lgbtq side characters (double woot woot)
Bonus: Virgin characters (They're both Psy. What did you expect?)

I absolutely loved this book. We finally FINALLLY get the book of the secretive and recluse Anchors.
And it did not disappoint.

From Page 1, I was hooked. We have been dealing with the destruction and trying to protect the Psy net for as long as I can remember. With each book, we get closer, with more clarity in the roles of all the different designations of Psy getting introduced. And this book was no different. We meet the anchors and I loved them all.

Payal Rao and Canto Merchant had a dynamic start. Both are damaged characters, but both have grown up in very different backgrounds. And their upbringing has shaped their present. It has made Canto a fierce, loyal, grumpy Mercant, and Payal, a mistrusting, ruthless CEO only caring about few selected people in her life.

But when these two collide, it was absolute fireworks. I would associate these words/emotions with their relationship: loyalty, trust, love and soulmates. I adored how Canto was with Payal, and once Payal opens up, OH MY GOD. She is like a female Kaleb. And that's saying something.

The story flowed smoothly. I could not stop reading it. The entire book, I finished it in a weekend. The entire overarching plot was so intriguing. The personal conflicts made me fuming mad for our characters and I wished death upon a few evil characters. This book, on one hand, felt like a fast paced story, but on the other hand, it seemed that some explanations took a while to get there. Nevertheless, I was completely engaged in the story.

Special love: BEARS. We need more BEAR love. I thought no shifter could beat the leopards but Nalini Singh has done it. I officially love the Bears the MOST. They are the warmest, the funniest and the craziest shifters I've read. Also, our favorite Councillor Kaleb is in SPADES in this one.

I wonder who the next book will be about..!!
Profile Image for Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures).
1,554 reviews865 followers
August 12, 2022
Nalini Singh is back with another exciting installment in the Psy-Changeling world. I’ve been a fan of the series for many years and I always look forward to a new book. This is true with Last Guard, the fifth book in the spin-off series Psy-Changeling Trinity.

This time around we focus on two Psy. The Psy are emotionless beings, but with silence gone some are waking up. I’m not a big fan of the Psy; because of this emotionless state, but this time around I enjoyed diving more into the Psy world. The author introduces use to a new designation, the anchors, which are a unique designation. We know nothing about them, but we get to explore that aspect and learning more about the virus that is affecting the Psy net.

The romance is a slow build, as expected, but it burns bright. I enjoyed Payal and Canto’s budding relationship. They were cute together even while still having spines of steel.

One of the things I really enjoyed in this installment is Canto and his disability. The Psy are known for removing those that aren’t perfect. It was a pleasant surprise to learn about him and see that his family, the Mercant’s, never saw him as less. It’s a powerful read and/or listen.

Singh’s writing is one of my favorites. She builds the world and characters bring out all the details and never skimping. The world has and still continues to blossom.

Audio: Angela Dawe continues to impress me with her voices. I was captivated from begging to end and enjoyed listening to Last Guard. The voices are distinctive and unique. The pace is consistent. I highly recommend the audiobook!

Last Guard was a compelling listen. I loved returning to the world and I look forward to the next installment. You can never go wrong with a Nalini Singh Psy-Changeling book.

Rated: 4.5 Stars

Profile Image for D.G..
1,363 reviews342 followers
July 25, 2021

But if Ms. Singh can do it - meaning, recycle the same plots over, over AND OVER - then I can keep repeating myself in my reviews.

Recycled plot #1: PSY COUPLE THAT MET AS CHILDREN, separated and he's been looking for her ever since (recycled from #10 & parts of 17.) It seems the only way for Psy couples to get together is to form bonds as children.
Recycled plot #2: SOMETHING IN THE MC'S HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE and if they don't find a solution, she (or he) will die/go insane!(recycled from almost every other book but I can remember that it definitely happened in #1, 7, 8, 17)
Recycled plot #3: SOMETHING IS ATTACKING THE PSYNET and they need to save it! (recycled from books 13 or 14 onwards - this is 20). Characters are mostly first responders and there's almost no action.
Recycled plot #4: A DESIGNATION INTEGRAL TO THE PSYNET WAS "FORGOTTEN" (recycled from book 1, 13 and anything to do with Empaths.) Can you really believe that Kaleb fucking Krychek FORGOT anything THIS important? Let's get REAL!!
Recycled plot #5: NO FUCKING HUMANS!!! (recycled from books 16, 18 & 19) They are part of the TRINITY and you supposedly need them to fix the PsyNet!! In each Trinity book, we should be seeing at least some secondary Psy characters forming relationships with humans!!

Things I enjoyed mostly revolved around Canto, the hero:
✔ He's disabled and not in a "sexy" way (i.e. scars, missing one eye, etc.)
✔ Never been silent and he's so grumpy!!! (when we see non Silent Psy, they tend to be the women)
✔ Didn't think he knew better than the heroine about her own issues, just asked her to consider her problem from a different POV
✔ Really liked the setting in India

I really don't know if I'll be reading this series anymore. It's clear that Ms. Singh is tired and has nothing left in the tank.
Profile Image for Angela.
3,198 reviews369 followers
September 16, 2021
Throughout my sixteen years of reading this series the thing that blows me away the most is how Nalini Singh can continuously expand this world and our understanding of it. Things that you know in previous books – well they may not be wrong, necessarily, but it doesn’t mean we have the full understanding either. As I just re-read Slave to Sensation, I’m amazed all that we – and the characters – didn’t know we didn’t know. The world is full of uncertainty and lost history, peopled with unreliable narrators – not because they’re trying to obfuscate, but because they are mostly just best-guessing as well. This makes every revelation feel like truth. It doesn’t feel forced or like the author rewriting the rules. It feels natural. I love that in the twentieth book Nalini Singh can still surprise me with where we’re going.

Sometimes the world and story are the main draw, but here I also loved and adored our two main characters: Payal and Canto. They are complex, unique, and absolutely wonderful. Nalini has always been ahead of the game with regards to diversity, but here she escalates even that. Payal is Indian and clearly neurodivergent. Canto has a disability and uses a wheelchair. There are LGBT characters that are more than just blink-and-you-miss-them cameos. For me, the representation here was beautifully and lovingly done. There were times that tears filled my eyes because I felt so seen. So understood.

Last Guard gave me everything I hoped for, everything I wished for, and everything I didn’t even know I wanted.

Full review: Last Guard
Profile Image for SuchiB.
7 reviews9 followers
Want to read
February 23, 2021
I wonder if this book focuses on the Anchor's themselves (Nalini did say this next book is about the Anchors). What if both love interest are Anchors? Nalini describes them as reclusive and in the above description she uses words "defined by their aloneness." At least one main character is an Anchor for sure. They actually do guard the net in a way since they hold it together. I'm betting the second character if not an Anchor is gonna be Pax Marshall. He seems the most alone of these recent introduced characters.

The mystery is killing me ⊙﹏⊙

Update: first main character is Payal Rao who we have heard of before. The male character is again a new character we haven't met. He's of the Mercant family. Lots of new characters being introduced. Wish it was human and psy though. That would have been a bit more interesting imo.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Somia.
2,051 reviews131 followers
July 1, 2022
Psy under the designation ‘A’, are the most overlooked Psy, in this book they take centre stage with Anchor MCs Payal Rao and Canto Mercant.


I also wish there had been some in-person interactions between Payal and her litter sister (even one), it would have added a lovely dimension to the story and shown more of the complexity that is Payal Rao.

Plus, would have liked to see how Payal would have reacted to Canto no doubt bonding wonderfully with her younger sister.

I did want to see more of Canto interacting with enemies/adversaries. I know he likes to work in the shadows but those scenes would have been so entertaining.

Loved all the scenes with the bears, they always make me smile.

There are times when it felt like a lot of information was being thrown at the reader, don't get me wrong I love the world-building and it didn't dim my enjoyment of the read, but at times it felt like a lot to absorb/remember.
Profile Image for Annie .
2,442 reviews814 followers
July 19, 2021
Read this review on Fresh Fiction

Nalini Singh returns with another exciting installment in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. I’ve been a fan of this author and series for quite some time now so I always look forward to a new book from Singh. This is especially true for LAST GUARD, which is the fifth book in this spin-off series.

With Payal and Canto’s book, we have a larger focus on the Psy again. Typically speaking, the Psy aren’t usually my favorite characters to read about because of their emotionless personalities so I expected this book to be slow in the beginning. Since I was prepared, I felt like I could appreciate it more. This series does seem to change in tone depending on whether the books are about the Psy or the shifters, so I feel like I was prepared for what Singh was going to do with this book.

The romance, as expected, is a slow build, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t burn brightly. Singh’s writing is one of my favorites, especially in this series because she doesn’t skimp on the details. The world continues to blossom and grow, creating new and exciting things for readers to look forward to. While not my favorite book in the series, I can still appreciate the charm that LAST GUARD has and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys deep worldbuilding and excellent characterization. You really can’t go wrong with a Nalini Singh Psy-Changeling book!
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,852 reviews824 followers
August 1, 2021
Last Guard is the fifth installment in the Psy Changeling Trinity series, and it continually baffles me how long of a series this is becoming especially if you combine all the books in this marvelous series together. I was actually wanting to enjoy this so much but unfortunately, it didn't quite make it to the rating that I was expecting. This story just didn't engage me immediately like I was expecting it to, and it took a while to really become invested in the story. I think I have tried to read this over the past couple of months, but finally pulled myself together to get it read. And I am so relieved that I was able to do that. Because while it starts slow, once you become invested in this pairing, you won't be able to put it down. This is the talent of this author, that I just wanted to see how these two would find their HEA and overcome the conflict that is facing their people.

Last Guard features our two main leads:

Canto Mercant-Head of the family, Spinal Injury, Cardinal Empath and Anchor

Payal Rao- Anchor, Designation A, Cardinal Telekinetic, CEO, Indian Descent

Last Guard features two characters that once knew each other as children, where they were tortured among the unwanted at the time, until they were rescued and they never saw each other until now when they are to work together in the search of solving the problems involving the psy net, and now the net is dying, and only if the anchors work together will they be able to save it. But Canto recognizes Payal for the girl he always loved and never stopped, but he also needs her to help save the net. Payal, the girl he once knew, is hidden behind her cool exterior, but he is going to take a lesson from the courting handbook of the bears, and court his girl no matter how long it takes. He is dedicated to digging deep and finding that sweet strong girl who loved fiercely. Payal is not the girl that Canto used to know. Her father and brother are brutal psychopaths, who only use her for their own means, and as a means of survival, she protects herself behind a shield of ice. She doesn't truly know Canto, but there is a hidden part of her that trusts him completely. And with each day, she feels her shields against him, softening and slowly trusting him and desiring full on "skin privileges" and more with Canto. But they have enemies, and the whole psy's survival depending on them. Will Canto and Payal find their way fully together and saving their people?

Last Guard was such a brilliant story and I was so much in love with this one here. But it took a while to get to the "love" part of the story. I do struggle with books where you want to love it, but can't quite get on board all the way through. However, despite the struggles I had initially, I just knew that I would eventually fall for this book, and man Singh really worked her magic in this book. I just couldn't get enough of Payal and Canto. They were utterly brilliant together, and one aspect I have truly adored about this author, but most especially in this series, is seeing characters fight for each other in such a equal way. I truly appreciate the way that she shows the hero AND the heroine fighting for each other in the relationship. In most romance, you will see more fight from the hero than the heroine, but in this one, even though the fight begins with the hero at the beginning of the story, this heroine fought for the hero in the latter half defended him, and protected him. And this is my true catnip in a romance and will win my heart every time. This book also contains many of the tropes I adore: friends to lovers, childhood sweethearts, second chance romance, forced proximity. The secondary characters in this one (most specifically the BEARS) were hilarious, and I just wanted more of them. They are the true delight from this "trinity" series that Singh has implemented. Loved seeing members of the Mercant family and even some delights from our beloved favorite psy "Kaleb Krychek". I am very curious about what Nalini Singh has planned for the series next because I need more but she is an author worth waiting on.

Overall I found Last Guard to be a story that combines the beauty of two lost souls finding each other once again, to the intensity of the battle in the fighting for your people, a sweet yet sturdy courtship that wins your heart with each step in the dance, a romance that will strike a transcendent chord in your soul and leave you with a smile on your face.
Profile Image for Annabella.
683 reviews9 followers
August 8, 2021
2.8 ... No me vayan a malinterpretar. Amo a Nalini y eso nunca cambiara. Pero esta novela "no la senti" no llego a mi. Los protagonistas me parecieron una pareja adorable y quedé muy a gusto con Canto.... Pero en general "Nada". Incluso creo que los momentos en dónde estaba Nikita y Anthony me sentí más fangirl...😍 y fueron literalmente dos. Y no hablemos de Arwen y su oso ... Diosssss que bellosss🤭💖

Para mí esto se podía desarrollar en una novela corta.
Profile Image for Inna.
1,400 reviews193 followers
July 21, 2021
Rating this at 3 stars hurts my heart...but it's the right thing to do because this book just isn't on the same level that other Psy-Changeling books have been.

Where do I begin?

This one is about two Psy: both basically unknown to us in past books and both Anchors for the Psy net (which is in danger of collapsing at essentially any minute). The heroine is Payal Rao, a cardinal TK, who is also the CEO of her family's company. She's got a crazy father and psychopathic brother, she has to watch her back every second to avoid being a victim in her family, she has the psy net collapsing around her every 5 pages, and worst yet, she has medical problems up the wazoo. She's got so much shit going on in her life, that if I were in her shoes, I would have been sitting in the corner, crying, and rocking like a mental patient. Actually, I think she does that at least once.

The hero is Canto Mercant, who is ofc related to Silver Mercant. Gag. I wish we could have left her in the past. Silver FUCKING Mercant... a useless heroine if ever there was one. He's also an Anchor, he can't use his legs so he's in a wheelchair, and he is loved by his family and the bears. Canto is so loved that his whole storyline is mostly about how much love and support he has from everyone around him. He had a bad start to life, but then it's seemingly just all rainbows and butterflies. He doesn't act at all like a Psy, and I was frequently wondering if he should have just been made a bear since he acted so much like one. Canto is ok, but I felt like his character just was "too nice" at times.

Actually the biggest problem I had with this entire book is how NICE all the good guys are. They don't really have a second level to their personality besides being super selfless. I'll just go ahead and call it, Nalini Singh has gone soft in her latest work. Everyone is too nice, too sweet, and too unrealistic for me. Everyone's kissing babies and being all charitable and shit. WHAT HAPPENED TO REALITY PEOPLE? No one is THAT good all the damn time. And now I'm wondering if I'm the only one who feels this way? I feel like a grinch just from writing this paragraph.

So like I said, Payal and Canto are both Anchors and the majority of this story revolves around the crumbling psy net and how the Anchors are spread so thin. I really hate to shit on anything Nalini Singh writes, but I had trouble concentrating while reading this book. It seemed somewhat repetitive, with a slower pace than most books in this series. There are definitely good parts to this story, but the bad seems to be outshining the good in my memory right now. The ending was happy, but maybe wrapped up a little too quickly and easily. Can't decide if I can call this a true HEA, but it's as close to one as this series can get. I also had a major problem with how the first time for both of these two VIRGINS was portrayed. It was so eye-rollingly perfect, that I was just SMH at the unreality of it. I can't pinpoint why the sex scenes felt so different from previous Psy virgin couples, but Caleb and Sahara were super hot together...while this couple just wasn't.

I will say that the "preview" for the next book seems super interesting. I really do love the series and the overall story is so interesting. I can't wait to see how the storyline for the Architect will progress and finally figure out who she is.

Safety is good, both virgins, no others.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Namera [The Literary Invertebrate].
1,195 reviews2,947 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
March 31, 2021
I downloaded the ARC because it's like a Pavlovian reaction - see a Nalini Singh book, download ARC. But I've got to say I'm not thrilled about having total randomers as the protagonists. I couldn't even read the last Psy-Changeling book because I felt so meh about the newly-introduced hero. Singh has SO MANY characters who deserve books, who the hell are Payal and Cantor???

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Profile Image for Sh [hiatus].
133 reviews33 followers
January 1, 2023

I wasn’t even gonna leave a rating, but I have to write a review (which is very unlike me🤯) because this book deserves it allll 💫
Payal and Canto have my entire heart 🥹they’re just so perfect and well written, I fell in love with both of them. I’m gonna add this to my reread list because this masterpiece deserves constant appreciation 👩‍🍳🤌

The world building was confusing at first, especially since I skipped all the other books (there are 22 books, but this can be read as a standalone). But as the book went on, it was much easier to pick up on the details and make sense of what’s going on.

For a general overview, Payal and Canto are part of the Psy Race, powerful psychics. An overwhelming percent of Psys are mentally ill (borderline and psychopathic), so they’re suppressed. At a young age, both Payal and Canto are placed in a compound to be broken into emotionless telepaths. But Payal and Canto, 3K and 7J, find each other.

Even as little kids who knew nothing but violence and isolation, they took care and protected each other. When they were starved in the facility, he’d slip her some of the little food he had, and in turn, she saved his life 🥺

She ran to him, to the boy who’d made her laugh and slipped her extra food when the teachers weren’t looking. “Come on,” she said, tugging at his hand.
The teacher was choking on his own blood and making gurgling sounds, but she didn’t look, tried not to hear. She’d done a bad thing, a very bad thing, but he’d been hurting the boy.”

I love Payal, she deserves so much. Despite her ice cold, robotic exterior, she’s the most loving and caring person. it was amazing to see Canto slowly break down those walls, while being so understanding and patient with her.

“You held my hand so I wouldn’t be alone.” It came out a harsh rasp. “You protected me when I was alone and broken even though you’d been equally brutalized. You have more courage and hope and generosity inside you than most people on this planet.”


“Hello, sleepy.” He fought the urge to go over, cuddle her warm, sleep-dazed body against his.
A flare of her eyes, her body leaning toward his . . . then she took a deep breath and squeezed her eyes shut. Her muscles lost their softness, her features no longer open.
Canto shoved aside his frustration, killed his anger dead. No fucking way would he ever lash out at Payal for doing what she needed to do to survive. “Hungry?”

Canto is truly the best boy❣️Three decades later he still feeds her, even when he’s angry (and sweet, sentimental Payal keeps the wrappers of the nutritional bars he forces her to eat)

I also love their dynamic. He was such a grumpy bear, but never towards Payal. He was her sunshine, and patiently taught her trust, and how to open herself. His awe and love for Payal was so refreshing, it made my heart ache ❤️‍🩹. I really cannot describe Canto’s character, read and find out how perfect Canto is

It was so rewarding to see her open herself 🥹 in one of her extreme swings, zoinked out of her mind, she still tries to protect Canto. (Forget Canto I want my own Payal)

“My father told me I was a blot on their genetic history, too broken to be worth saving even for my cardinal status.”
Half the furniture in the room rose up off its legs before slamming back down. Hard. “I’ll kill him,” Payal said firmly, then frowned. “No, he’s already dead.”

They weren’t perfect- they both had their flaws, but they loved each other more because of them. Canto’s inability to walk, and Payal’s extreme moods never hindered their relationship, only served to create a stronger bond.

“I met you before the meds, remember?” Canto lifted their clasped hands to brush his lips over her skin, the touch slight—and the eye contact constant, so she could deny him at any instant. “Our bond will hold in all our guises. Would you break it if I end up bedbound, only my eyes capable of movement?”
Payal saw then his private nightmare. As losing herself to the compulsions and aberrant impulses was hers. “No,” she whispered, her hand spasming tight around his. “Our bond is unbreakable.”

😭 Too precious. How will I move on from them?

You guys don’t understand the disappointment I felt when I realized I finished. Since this is one of the more recent books in the series, I won’t find their cameos. 😰😔
There’s so much more to their story, and I don’t want to give too much away. Definitely read and enjoy their story for yourself, because nothing I say does them justice. Before moving onto Kaleb Krychek’s book, I’m gonna go beg miss Nalini Singh for an extended epilogue or ANYTHING atp 🧍‍♀️

“It doesn’t matter. We’ve had this conversation—no matter what, no matter how, we stick.”
“7J and 3K?” she whispered.
“Always. Always.” Sometimes it wasn’t a childhood thing; sometimes you found your person early. She was his person and always would be.

Profile Image for Merve Özcan.
798 reviews31 followers
July 25, 2021
Edit on 20.07.21
It was a lovely story but ground for it was not that strong. Story was a bit predictable. There was not any hard hardship, a bit too much sweet cottoncandy if u ask me.
But i liked it. It was diverse, touching also.
Me likey Nalini.


We have a name and date.

Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,349 followers
June 19, 2022
It’s strange having to wait for the next few books in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series after having binge-read the books during the pandemic. I’m not quite sure Nalini Singh does it, even after 20-something books, she keeps me excited for the next book. By no means was Last Guard my favorite of the series. In all honesty, it’s probably one that sits closer to the bottom of the list, but that’s not saying much given how even the lowest rated in this series for me is a solid 3.5 stars read

Anyways, I think the reason I wasn’t as enamored with  Last Guard  was because the romance takes the back-burner and the focus is more on the world-building. It makes perfect sense why: the series is at the crux of a major event, so the author is taking every opportunity to build on the world. I remain in awe of all the fine details that go into crafting such a complex world. It’s truly all fascinating.

That being said, I do want the romance to also be a focal point of the series. Payal and Canto are two great characters, with dark and traumatizing pasts. They were both Psy kids who were experimented on and have a shared history. So, there’s this intensity to their burgeoning romance as they work together to help stabilize the PsyNet. They care deeply for one another and there’s never a moment that the author makes you doubt that. So what you’ve got is a tender romance between two characters who were perfect for each other. I only wanted to see more of them.

I’ve mentioned before that I personally prefer reading books with Changelings as main characters (they are more playful and fun), but here, I didn’t miss them much because Nalini delighted us with so much bear content! I love how they basically embraced Canto and declared him of one of their own and had no qualms invading his space. The bear cub moments with Canto were ADORABLE. I was screaming!!

Lastly, I want to mention how much I liked how Nalini Singh dove into the topic of neurodivergence and disability here. She did so with care and respect for the characters and I’ll always be grateful to authors who don’t turn their characters into caricatures.

While Last Guard wasn’t my favorite of this series from Nalini Singh, it’s still an important story and I acknowledge that. It ends such an interesting note (what will happen to the PsyNet??) that I’m really excited to check out the next book whenever it releases.

Content notes: child abuse, violence, eugenics, on-page sex

Relationship disclosure: Nalini Singh & I are mutuals on social media

Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews876 followers
August 29, 2021

AUTHOR: Nalini Singh
SERIES: Psy Changeling Trinity #5
RELEASE DATE: July 20, 2020
RATING: 4 Stars

This author is phenomenal. I could end my review here because I've said it all before. The complex world building is already brilliant, yet Nalini Singh adds another fascinating layer with Last Guard. This time we get a deeper look into designation A. The anchors of the PsyNet and those who can actually access a widely unknown network of it, the Substrate.

This is where our main protagonists come in. They are the hub anchors, the most important players in the game to safe the PsyNet which is rotting away but vital to the survival of all Psy, who need the bio feedback given via the network. Anywho, long story short - these two are as heroic as they can be and as kind and sweet as only Nalini Singh can write them. I loved Canto who reminded me very much of Kaleb Krychek, a little more broody where Caleb oozes danger. Being from the most influential and best informed Psy family, the Mercants, comes with a lot of responsibility. Every addition to the family has to pass Ena Mercant's scrutiny. As the matriarch of the family she's a tough one. I'm gonna let you find out how Payal masters this feat.

Payal's hesitance over trusting Canto is absolutely relatable when you know that her whole family is a bunch of psychos (pun intended). They dance around each other for a long while but it's that sweet slow burn that the author excels at and makes these books so outstanding. I also love this gentleness all of the characters in this universe have. It's portrayed differently by each of them but they all have it and Payal is no exception.

One thing that I need to mention is that Nalini Singh does recycle major plot devices. Often times the characters are in danger either due to illness or some explosive device in their body or their power being uncontrollable. She uses this frequently to increase the tension. I'm still on board though and enjoy the hell out of it.

This book was a fabulous addition to the series. I think we may get an MM romance soon - at least it is hinted at and I can't wait to find out how this is going to play out!

Profile Image for Dísir.
1,665 reviews171 followers
April 22, 2021
The designation ‘A’—Nalini Singh’s most overlooked Psy—finally get their chance in the spotlight with ‘Last Guard’, as Singh turns the focus onto what the Anchors do and what afflicts them, starting off with Payal Rao and Canto Mercant’s story.

Both Payal and Canto aren’t familiar characters at all, but represent a step further into this massive world that Singh has built (and is burrowing into still) as they were held brutally together as children, then reunited by chance at the very beginning. As Anchor-psy, they help hold up their own feedback network helping all Psy to survive post-Silence, but Psy-Net is always doing funny things in a cyclical cause/effect when it comes to the very people holding it up just as the ’net sustains them. Payal/Canto cautiously wade into this complicated mess and find each other once again, all the while dealing with unknown shifts and unseen enemies that lurk in the darkest corners.

Psy-characters are always hard to read ‘around’, so to speak, given their hard, distant and emotionless surfaces that Singh exploits to the fullest, which means they aren’t also the most likeable sort of characters. If I was initially excited about the bond that Payal/Canto had as children, their first interaction left me more bewildered than excited as they ping their own hard exteriors off each other while discussing the situation surrounding the anchors.

‘Last Guard’ was unfortunately, a more or less lukewarm read that doesn’t count my favourites in this series. From a storytelling POV, it’s a solid offering, though somewhat drier than others, which made it harder to keep my nose in the pages despite Singh’s thorough and creative exploration of anchors. Point is, if you like the ‘technical’ aspects of the PsyNet—and it’s delving deep into the Psy-part of the universe here—, then this is the book to go for. What it isn’t however, is the more straight-up, earthy romance and pairings of the first ’series’ of the Psy-changeling universe that first enraptured me, and that’s really the wilder and more windblown aspect I find myself missing the further along we go.

*ARC by the publisher via Netgalley

Profile Image for 1-Click Addict Support Group.
3,749 reviews443 followers
July 27, 2021
Tension-filled complications....

And that’s an understatement! The PsyNet continued to teeter on the edge of collapse and threaten the lives of thousands. Canto and Payal were in the thick of it and how they collaborated, how they bonded to create a unifying force, was the next step in this amazing journey.

Payal Rao was an enigma to many yet Canto saw below the surface. He knew the real Payal and he was determined she would see that too. Payal was afraid to release her rigid control, afraid what Canto would unleash. Both scarred in so many ways, they found healing and love together, which made them an unbeatable team. The emotion, the support – the feelings that bound them – it felt like being part of something real and substantial. Anyone says these are ‘just stories’ needs to read them…

So much happened in this instalment with the overarching series story arc moving forward with still so much unknown. It felt like disaster was just waiting to pounce. With tension swirling around there were also sweet moments to savour as well. Getting to know Ena Mercant on a deeper level. Revisiting the Bears (oh how I love the Bears!). Delving into the secrets that PsyNet continued to dole out one tantalizing piece at a time… All that and a hella love story meant another fantastic read! ~Diane, 5 stars
Profile Image for Gwen .
104 reviews
August 4, 2021
Update: 1/08/21: Just finished, absolutely loved it!! More coherent review to come

Update: 13/04/21: The synopsis has been out for awhile and I am super intrigued!! I love the psy/psy books and I'm looking forward to reading this one, particularly since the reviews coming out have been so positive.

Update: 27/01/21: The new cover is growing on me, love the colour scheme and the location images look very promising. I don't think we've had a psy/changeling book set in India specifically yet (Tazia's novella left locations vague). From the image of the FMC, I don't think its Alice, as she was described as having curls. From Nalini's hints and the starry background in the cover, I'm fairly confident that this will have a psy MC. I'm kinda hoping that it will have a human MC because this book will focus on Anchors and as we saw in Allegiance of Honour, the three most stable anchors in the Net are all bonded to humans. Can't wait for the blurb to be released!


"two people defined by their aloneness"


I know that Zaid is supposed to be dead and I'm super hyped for whoever we get but...my shipper heart, can't help but hope...
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
July 21, 2021
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

4.5 hearts

The Last Guard is the fifth book of The Psy-Changeling Trinity the spin off series to Psy-Changeling .  While I think you can start the spin off series without having read the main series, you would miss some of the nuances that intermingle a lot of the side characters.  But the new Big Bad is different in the Trinity series.

We don't get two Psy main characters very often so I'm always intrigued on how it is going to work when both have had some form of silence imposed on them at some time in their life.  Both Payal and Canto are Psy and Anchors.  They are integral to the nets survival and all of the Anchors are taxed to extremes right now.  Canto and Payal need to figure out how to work together to make other Psy understand how important the Anchors are and what will be needed to adjust them in a way to combat the Scarab disease affecting the Psy.

Canto is fantastic.  I really liked that he wasn't the perfect Psy, being in a wheelchair made his life a bit different and so he has been in the shadows working on all the secrets of the Mercant family.  But they see him as an asset and have never made him feel less for not being able to walk.  Payal, on the other hand comes from a very different family and everyday she has had to play the perfect Psy, watch her back and fight for everything she has.  They were a great compliment to each other as Canto shows her what a family could be.

This was actually one of my favorite books in the series.  Both of the main characters were strong, I loved the reason behind why they were bonded from childhood and how that event followed them long after.  I made the transition to being in love just that more sweet.  Being in bear country is always a good time and I love all the bear moments.

It is fantastic that this many books in I am still having a great time with this series and I'm excited to see, after that ending, what will happen next.


Angela Dawe is the voice of this series for me.  She has been the voice of it for so long that I really can't imagine anyone else doing it.  She brings all the characters to life for me and can make some of the steamy scenes all the more hot for the emotion in her voice.  I always know going in that it will be some great audio.

Listen to a clip:  HERE

Profile Image for Grecia Robles.
1,486 reviews342 followers
September 1, 2021
Este es el libro 20 de la serie Psy/Changeling y tiene como protagonistas a Payal Rao Psy-tq CEO del imperio Rao y Canto Mercant Psy-tel uno de los pilares de la familia Mercant, la verdad no sé si son personajes secundarios de libros anteriores porque con tanto libro, tanto personaje e información mi memoria está como la de Dory que sólo recuerda la dirección en mi caso a Kaleb.

Esta historia está llena de información nueva, conocemos a otra asignación Psy que son solo A o anclas y ayudan a mantener estable la PsyNet pero debido a que hay escasos A, está colapsando.
También se conoce más de la PsyNet como está conformada y es que a estas alturas uno pensaría que ya es experto en la red pero NOOO, sigue surgiendo más información.
Ah y por si tenían la duda los protagonistas son anclas.

Al principio me costó un montón meterme a la trama, ya que estos libros no son tan ligeros tienes que estar en el mood pero si lo disfruté y me gustó mucho pero ya estoy dudando si fue por la historia y la relación amorosa de los protagonistas o por… sí sí por KALEB my love, tuvo mucho protagonismo, cosa que esperaba desde hace varios libros es que es Kaleb no sé cómo desperdicia a ese pedazo de personaje, oscuro, peligroso, poderoso, no les pasa que.. PERFECTO.?!

Lo que empezó con un crusheo intenso se convirtió en una obsesión enfermiza pero yo lo llamo amor y cada vez que sale me da mil años de vida.
Y tuvo su POV, yo necesito otro libro para Kaleb por favor.
Fue mucho mi fangirleo en este libro pero yo encantada denme ´más We love here.

En cuanto a la villana de esta nueva era ya necesito saber quien es la arquitecta, si es un personaje conocido o un nuevo personaje y a como se quedó el libro quiero más pero a esperar a otro año.
Profile Image for AvidReader.
1,146 reviews210 followers
April 2, 2023
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about reading this book because the protagonists weren’t that familiar. But… this was a fantastic book.

Canto and Payal gave me some Kaleb-Sahara vibe maybe because they first met and connected as children and was friends. I adored them. The way they overcame their past and thrived.. whew!!!
The psy net finally had a break through. It was amazing how everyone came together and saved the psy race. And BEARS!!!! They were the highlight of this book. I especially loved Arwen and Pasha.

Profile Image for Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms.
2,724 reviews330 followers
May 25, 2021
*I received a free copy of Last Guard. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review which is honest and unbiased.*

I'm not sure I'll be able to be coherent right now! I absolutely adored Last Guard! The two main characters were the cutest ever! Even while still having a spine of steel. And I'm just so happy with this installment! At the same time, I'm extremely anxious about what will happen next. As always, Singh nailed it!
Profile Image for Hannah.
592 reviews1,052 followers
November 28, 2021
As always, I enjoyed the worldbuilding and I am excited to see where the series goes next - because I always trust Nalini Singh in her macro plots, but this one didn't completely work for me. The pacing was off and the central couple not my favourite.
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