Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance
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 . . .
Nalini Singh has done it again with another 5 * read in her addictive Psy-Changeling series!
I have been a HUGE fan of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series ever since I fell in love with Sascha and Lucas in Slave to Sensation, the first book in the series. I just adore how this author depicts her alpha heroes and heroines, many of them flawed by the complex society in the alternative future world she has created. This world is as unique as it is addictive and comprises the emotionless Psy, their polar opposites, the tactile changelings and humans. The peaceful co-existence of all is constantly under threat by aggressive competition between the races, including rogue elements and sociopaths.
Shield of Winter continues the story arc, where the safety of all races is being compromised by the dark disintegration of the Psy-Net, compelling many in the Psy race to commit bloody and terrifying actions en masse. Against this backdrop Singh, in what is a real masterstroke, pairs Vasic, an Arrow with Ivy Jane, an Empath, after ex Councillor Kaleb Krychek (yummy book boyfriend alert!) decrees that the only way to try to save the Psy-Net is to awaken the Empaths amongst their race. I should explain that the Empaths are a Psy designation who readers of the series will know have been denied and reviled, subjected to cruel and invasive medical ‘treatment’ designed to stifle their abilities.
Vasic, who we have met in previous books, has the reputation of being the most emotionless and unreachable amongst the Arrow squad. Like the others he is regarded as an ice-cold killer, charged with doing the dirty work for the ruling Psy, ridding the race of serial killers and others deemed undesirable. He has a dark back story and harbours significant guilt for his past actions, viewing himself as a monster.
Ivy Jane, living on a farm, removed as far as possible from a society that does not understand her gifts and one which has only sought to harm her, is stunned and fearful when an Arrow appears. However, when she hears the true reason for his visit and the role her abilities could play in rescuing her race and the world from a bloody future she does not hesitate to step up to the challenge, despite how broken she believes herself to be. After all what does she have to lose? I loved this character’s inner determination and how she grows into her true designation of Empath (which she was previously unaware of), having undergone reconditioning to such a degree that hermind and personality were almost destroyed. She has amazing strength of character in how she never gives up on Vasic or combatting the darker reaches of the Psy Net is admirable.
Both are victims of their brutal conditioning and there are, as in other books in the series, heartrending details of what they have been through. They are both so invariably strong however, and I loved how despite, or because of the fact that they are opposites in terms of their designation, they fall for each other. Their love story is beautiful to behold. It is not without a great deal of angst before any chance of a HEA is possible. Not only does Vasic have to allow Ivy Jane to break through the shield protecting what is left of his emotions, but time is ticking for him due to a decision he took in the recent past when he had nothing to live for. Now he has everything to live for, but it may be too late….
This book starts to explore the shadowy world of the Arrows and I was fascinated in learning how they operate and what makes them tick and I look forward to finding out more about Vasic’s colleagues in subsequent instalments. I also enjoyed seeing many of the other characters that I have grown to love, not least Kaleb and Sahara and Lucas and Sascha!
Shield of Winter is another expertly crafted contribution to this addictive series, containing a heartfelt romance, and will appeal to fans of the series and readers of paranormal romance, fantasy and sci-fi.
Reviewed by Tina Williams