Adult Paranormal Romance
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.
For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…
Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she'll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…
Shield of Winter is the thirteenth installment of Nalini Singh’s brilliant Psy-Changeling series, one that follows up the emotionally gripping and long-awaited story of Councilor Kaleb Krychek with that of an equally ice cold and lethal Arrow. As is often the case with books that come after a particularly captivating predecessor, Shield of Winter suffers just a touch in comparison, Vasic similar to Kaleb in enough ways that we can’t help but feel the utter familiarity of the romance’s overall progression. The slow thaw of Vasic’s rigid conditioning once he meets Ivy echoes that of Kaleb’s even though the relationships themselves are quite different, leaving us a bit more on the outside looking in than we were with Kaleb in Shield of Obsidian. That being said however, Ms. Singh on the whole never disappoints, and even with the similarities between the heroes of this book and the one before, entertains with every page as pivotal game-changing events unfold.
Ivy is a classic Nalini Singh heroine, full of a fire and steel that challenges the difficult man in her life at every turn. She’s a delightful combination of shy and bold, hesitant around Vasic in the beginning but never afraid, and once she spends a bit more time with him she's the one to make the first charming (and mortifying) move. Vasic, as mentioned previously, is as cold as his Arrow training demanded he be, simply existing day to day until the moment when the experimental gauntlet fused to his arm will inevitably malfunction and take him out in a fiery blaze of glory. He has little hope that life has anything good left to offer him, so it’s nothing short of satisfying to watch as Ivy acts as a lighthouse that guides his broken and battered ship home.
The highlight of this story (aside from Ivy’s dog Rabbit who has a delightfully starring role) has to be the sexual innocence of both Ivy and Vasic, and the sweet awkwardness that results when they finally decide to explore the attraction between them. As both Ivy and Vasic are Psy–having had their emotions stripped from them in the most brutal way possible in their youth and taught again and again that physical touch is to be avoided at all costs–they’re both adorably unsure of themselves when it comes to intimacy, with Vasic repeatedly consulting a variety of manuals to help him figure out what to do. He also has the hilarious tendency, as a teleporter, to lose control of his ability in sexual moments, relocating them all over the world and back again in a matter of minutes. With so many romance novels featuring love scenes consisting of virile men exhibiting unheard of levels of sexual prowess and skill, the cute fumblings and open honesty between Ivy and Vasic as they talk about their wants and needs together is a breath of fresh air.
Though Vasic and Ivy are the prominent couple in this story, it’s very much an ensemble book (more so than many of the previous installments), the length of it granting us time with beloved characters as well as those who we can only hope will have their own books in the future. Overall Shield of Winter, while not as strong as Heart of Obsidian, is still a highly enjoyable addition to the Psy-Changeling series, leaving us with the landscape of the PsyNet irrevocably altered and a door for what are sure to be interesting developments in future books wide open.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.