**REVIEW** ~ Shield of Winter, by Nalini Singh (Psy~Changeling #13)

Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance

Nalini

Book Blurb

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 . . .

Review

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

Purchase Links

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Heart of Obsidian, Psy-Changeling Series, #12, by Nalini Singh

uk%20heart%20of%20obsidian%20small%20with%20shadow[1]Dark, Dangerous and oh SO Seductive!

I ADORE this book! Heart of Obsidian was for me and other Nalini Singh fans one of THE most anticipated books of 2013 and it more than lived up to my expectations. The novel, #12 in the author’s fantastic Psy-Changeling series has a dark and seductive hero, ex Councilor Kaleb Krychek. I am a huge fan of Nalini Singh’s heroes, but she has reached new heights with Kaleb, the anti-hero of this novel. Kaleb is dark, tortured and deadly, the most powerful Psy on the planet, with awesome psychic powers, even for his race. Indeed he has telekinetic powers so great that he could penetrate the Earth’s crust, has the ability to induce madness into the minds of his victims and can teleport at will. I strongly recommend that you read this series in order to fully appreciate it.

Kaleb has the potential to be the destroyer or the saviour of the Psy race and the rest of the world inhabited by the Changelings and the humans. He is also a seemingly ruthless killer who lets no one stand in the way of his lust for power, destroying those in his path. Yet he will do anything to find the one person who was cruelly taken away from him seven years ago and atone for his role in her abduction and disappearance. I also cannot resist a man who can literally make the earth move when making love and who is a virgin hero who states that he has “researched sexual intimacy the same way as I research everything else. Methodically and in intricate detail.”

Readers have witnessed Kaleb’s rise to power in previous novels in the series and wondered whether he is on the side of good or evil, or somewhere in between….. In Heart of Obsidian the truth is out. We also learn of the identity of the mysterious and elusive Ghost, whose meetings with the Psy Judd Laurens, who has dropped out of the Psy Net and defected to the SnowDancer changeling wolf pack and the human Father Xavier has featured in previous instalments. Kaleb’s destiny is inextricably linked to this shadowy figure.

Sahara Kyriakus, of the Clan Nightstar, who has the power of back sight, has been held captive for the last seven years, her captor ruthlessly trying to exploit a formidable second power that she also possesses for their own evil intent. Sahara has resisted this at great cost to herself, retreating deep into her mind and creating a protective labyrinth. When we first meet her she has been rescued by Kaleb, only to be imprisoned by him in his home, unaware of the part he has played in her life. Although Sahara is wary of Kaleb, fearing that he too wishes to exploit her power she cannot resist the attraction she has for him. The fate of the Psy Net and the world rests on how Sahara will react when her memories return and recalls the role that Kaleb played in her past.

Both Kaleb and Sahara have tortured pasts. The abuse they have been subjected to is truly horrific and yet I love how they come together. Kaleb has the reputation of being as cold and calculating a they come, a wholly Silent and emotionless individual, with a dark past. Yet Sahara has the key to his heart. It is only with her that he is open to compromise. I adored how possessive Kaleb is when it comes to Sahara, reminding her often that she is his and belongs to him alone. Yet Sahara is no shrinking violet and has an inner strength. Indeed, I loved how this woman. Initially so broken and vulnerable regained her physical and mental strength after years of abuse and asserted herself.

Much of the novel focuses on the relationship between Kaleb and Sahara, with the main backdrop the continued disintegration of the Psy Net and the actions taken by Pure Psy. We also encounter ex Councilors Tatiana, Ming, Anthony and Nikita, and the Arrows Aden and Vasic and some scenes take place in San Francisco and the home of the DarkRiver Leopards. The past actions of Santano Enrique, who we met earlier in the series also plays a part.

As usual Nalini Singh’s plot and character development and descriptive powers are superb.  I am hoping that there will be a good few novels left in the series yet. The book contains some fantastically erotic lovemaking scenes, which are always a big plus for me! It brings new meaning to the meeting of minds as well as bodies, when Sahara’s merest touch can cause both Kaleb’s shields and the very Earth to fracture!

I recommend this book to fans of Nalini Singh and those who like to read paranormal romance or romance with a Futuristic/Sci-Fi theme, with a plot which keeps you at the height of suspense throughout.

Reviewed by Tina 🙂

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Tangle of Need, #11 in the Psy-Changeling Series, Nalini Singh

uk%20tangle%20of%20need[1]Mating Bond versus Unconditional Love

I have been reading Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Series since being bowled over by the first book, Slave to Sensation, which, like all that follow, is a fantastically sexy and phenomenally original read. I love the world that she creates, where the Psy, a race with powerful and sometimes terrifying mind powers, who have rejected emotion, vie against the Changelings and the Humans, in what threatens to culminate in a brutal war of cataclysmic proportions. The series contains palpable sexual tension and passionate lovemaking scenes, which contrast sharply with the political machinations and unspeakable acts of violence from some characters who are true sociopaths. There are also others who fight to defend their own race and foster harmony and some whose motives we are never quite sure of. The central romance in each book is set against the overall story arc, told in the manner of a master storyteller. You are advised to read the series in order for maximum enjoyment.

Tangle of Need follows on after book 10, Kiss of Snow, which covers the romance between Hawke, the alpha of the SnowDancer pack and Sienna, the powerful X Psy, and the battle against some of the Psy. At the heart of Tangle of Need is the romance between two wolf-changelings, the soldier Adria and Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant. The journey to their HEA is emotional and it pulls at the heartstrings. Adria has returned to the SnowDancers after a disastrous union with another, where she felt compelled to suppress her natural dominance. This has damaged her self esteem and she hides her true self under a prickly exterior, fearing commitment. Riaz, a lone wolf, has returned from Europe, where he met his true mate, only to be devastated when he finds that she is married to another she is very much in love with.

These two wounded individuals are initially drawn together by an overwhelming physical attraction, despite their initial dislike of each other. There is a hugely sexually charged scene early in the novel, where this attraction is left in no doubt. However, Riaz subsequently rejects Adria when she proposes that they come together for physical pleasure alone. However, constantly thrown together in the course of their work, they begin to form a strong friendship, which soon progresses into ever stronger ties, unable to resist the primal draw that pulls them together. Yet what future do they have when Riaz knows in his heart that Adria will never be his mate and the guilt of betrayal holds him back? Also how will Adria cope with the fear of being second best and coping with yet another dominant male? In this novel Nalini Singh explores the strength of the mating bond versus the free will of true, unconditional, love and she does this beautifully. As usual the lovemaking scenes are supremely hot, especially in this novel, where Adria and Riaz are both powerful dominants.

Riaz and Adria, strong, yet vulnerable individuals are characters whom I really feel for. Adria is a seasoned soldier, but with a gentle and giving side to her nature, which Riaz starts to value more and more as they get to know each other. I loved how once he made up his mind to pursue Adria, after cruelly rebuffing her, he really went for it, despite his initial guilt over betraying his mate. His actions were very romantic and the novel is a real tear jerker before it reaches its conclusion.

There is a lot going on in the tale, apart from the main romance, not least the continuing sickness and disintegration of the Psy-Net and the power play between the Psy Councillors, which not only threaten the Changelings but world peace. In particular, Councillors Ming, Henry Scott and Kaleb make several key appearances and impact on the plot. Into this mix there is also the growing strength of the Pure Psy and the Human Alliance.  In terms of the Changelings, we see little of the DarkRiver leopards in this book. Instead we catch up with those in the SnowDancer pack, especially Hawke and Sienna, who we see a lot of. We also meet other characters again, such as the Ghost, Alice, the brilliant researcher from the past who is recovering from being in statis, the Arrows and other factions which reveal themselves, seeking to align with others in the face of the oncoming war. The many sub plots, which exist alongside the central romance, make the book another gripping read and a great addition to the series.

I recommend this book to those who like to read paranormal romance or romance with a Futuristic/Sci-Fi theme. with deliciously sexy scenes, set within a complex world and overall plot which holds your interest and keeps you in suspense throughout. Like all of Nalini Singh’s fans I am also itching to read the latest book in the series, Heart of Obsidian, which is a much anticipated read.

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Cover design by Craig Fraser

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