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I Belong


Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Shield of WinterTitle: Shield of Winter

Author: Nalini Singh

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Psy-Changeling (Book #13)

Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425264017 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425264010 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

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…

Quick & Dirty: Deeply emotional novel set in a dark world with engaging characters. Nalini has another winner with Shield of Winter.

Opening Sentence: The silence protocol has been the defining aspect of the Psy race for over a hundred years.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series is still going strong with the 13th installment, Shield of Winter. Nalini is an amazing writer and she consistently writes deeply emotional characters and worlds that seem so real that I can immediately get lost in. I have developed a deep appreciation for Nalini’s storytelling with each new novel in this series and I always seem to have a new favorite book of hers.

The Psy race are about to become extinct if they keep living with Silence. Their NetMind is infected and on the verge of collapse, if that happens all Psy connected to it will die. Silence was once their only hope to keep their race from the violence of their powers and emotions will now be their downfall. It seems that the Psy really do need to keep their emotions and that the hidden or long thought dead E Psy are needed to anchor that Net.

Ivy is an E Psy who kept breaking her Silence and has embraced being a different kind of Psy. As a result, she lives on a compound well away from other Psy who would have her “rehabbed”. She is also hidden on the Net so that it is not visible that she has broken her Silence. The only problem is that Ivy doesn’t quite know what she is so she has been trying to suppress her abilities and because of that she is slowly dying.

Kaleb Krychek has come up with a plan to save the Psy race using the E Psy. He hopes that their emotions will help balance the Net but first he has to test his theory. Ivy has been recruited with several other E Psy in an attempt to find a solution.

Vasic is a very powerful Psy with the ability to teleport. He is an Arrow. Arrows are trained/tortured at a very young age towards Silence and they do all the hidden dirty work of the Psy race, like hiding the dead bodies of Psy who have broken Silence. Vasic has been assigned to protect Ivy from members of the Psy race who have been hunting down and killing E Psys. Vasic is drawn towards Ivy in a strange way that will have him breaking through his own Silence.

Vasic is a quiet and observant Arrow. He will do what is needed of him by his fellow Arrows. He also harbors some deadly secrets but he also secretly remembers everyone he’s killed and victim’s from crime scenes that he has had to “clean up”. I immensely enjoyed his character and how he slowly melted from his tough, hardened exterior to a man who begins to feel emotions and fall in love with Ivy and with life. I really enjoyed Judd’s destruction and Kaleb’s ruthlessness in their stories but there was something about Vasic that had me really falling for his character. He had a vulnerability that I think the others didn’t quite have so I loved reading about him breaking apart and worrying about others.

Ivy is Vasic’s total match, while he is quiet and reserved. She is vocal and a little “pushy” but only in the sense that she has no problem showing and telling Vasic how she feels about him. She makes the moves on him. If not for Ivy, Vasic would have sacrificed himself before he broke his own Silence.

Shield of Winter is told through many points of view so if you aren’t a fan of multiple POV’s then you may not like reading this series. Although, I did feel that the story didn’t jump around too much. Ivy, Vasic and Kaleb told most of the story. Past stories in this series have really elicited emotions from me (especially crying), I never felt that way with this story. I felt more eagerness and anticipation for Vasic and Ivy’s relationship and hope that everything would turn out alright in the end.

Overall, the Psy/Changeling series is a dark and emotional world. Terrible things are happening around these people but they manage to find the light in the dark and make the world a better place.

Notable Scene:

Nodding, Ivy bit down on her lower lip as she had a habit of doing, her eyes focused on the ground and a vertical line between her eyebrows.

What are you thinking? he asked, though he had no right to know.

Give me a minute.

So close to him that he could reach out and embrace her, she—

He paused, worked through all the tiny details he knew about her. Would you like me to hold you? he asked, unsure he was correctly reading the subtle cues.

She turned into his body in answer. Wrapping his arms around her, he took care to make certain the gauntlet didn’t dig into her, and cradled her head as he’d done when he’d held her after the nightmare. She seemed not to mind the hold, and he liked the feel of her hair, silky and warm against his skin.

This touch didn’t count, either, that starving part of him whispered. Ivy needed this; to deny her the contact would be to hurt her. Cheek pressed to his chest and arms around him, she was a small weight he could feel through her jacket and his combat uniform. He preferred her dressed as she’d been the other time, her clothing thinner, less of a barrier. It made him consider how much more of her he’d feel if he, too, was dressed in light civilian clothing.

His mind jabbed a warning down his spinal cord, telling him sensation equaled pain. Fighting the psychological brainwashing, because there was nothing painful about holding Ivy, he lowered his head to speak to her, the words quiet in the intimate space between them. “Should I have been there when you woke?”

Ivy stroked his back, and he wanted the armor off, wanted to know what it felt like to be touched by someone who did it for no reason but that she liked him. “It’s all right. I know you have a lot of duties.” Con­tinuing to pet him in the way he’d so often seen humans and changelings do with one another, she said, “Was it bad?”

Vasic knew he should break contact, not for his sake but for hers. But if he didn’t hold her, protect her, who would? Yet the brutal fact was he had no right to even ask that question, have that thought.

“Not as bad as many other operations,” he said, putting aside the cold truth for this stolen instant. “I found survivors this time.” It hadn’t only been blood and desolation.

Psy/Changeling Series:

1. Slave to Sensation

2. Visions of Heat

3. Caressed by Ice

4. Mine to Possess

5. Hostage to Pleasure

6. Branded by Fire

7. Blaze of Memory

8. Bonds of Justice

9. Play of Passion

10. Kiss of Snow

11. Tangle of Need

12. Heart of Obsidian

13. Shield of Winter

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FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Shield of Winter. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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