REVIEW: Shield of Winter by Nalini SinghMonday, June 2, 2014 0:00
We’ve had glimpses of Vasic with fellow arrow Aden in almost every book in this series and yet not once did he strike me as a romantic hero capable of carrying off a full-length novel. But Ms. Singh’s genius and magic not only transforms him into the poster child of a hero but makes him stand head and shoulders over many of the heroes we’ve met in the pages of her books. This entire book is an emotional smorgasbord that fired my imagination and grabbed my heart. I don’t want to sound trite, but I do believe this is one of the best books in a long line of bests from this author.
Ivy Jane has always felt incomplete, as though a part of her was missing after she had gone through the re-programming treatment to help her Silence. Now she lives a quiet, hidden life with her semi-perfect Silence and surrounded by the love of her parents and her dog Rabbit. When Vasic shows up at her doorstep with his proposition that could help her recover the lost part of herself and potentially stop the madness that’s taking over their world, she agrees to leave her safe home behind and go with him. From the begining she seems to be able to look beneath the fearsome façade he presents to the world to find the hidden core of softness he keeps well hidden.
Vasic is an assassin with his hands so steeped in blood that it needs only another killing or two for him to totally lose it. He’s never had a childhood, since his strong TP skills manifested themselves publicly at birth when he teleported himself out of his mother’s womb. Trained from babyhood to be a lethal instrument, his Silence is so perfect it’s a wonder that Ivy manages to worm under his strong shield to forge any sort of connection. The slow awakening of their relationship from starting off where each interaction with her feels like sandpaper rubbing against his nerves to a full awakening of the softer emotions in him where he beards an alpha like Lucas in his bedroom with his wife and child to seek help for Ivy.
The story is set in the darkest of times. The Psy are reeling from the fall of Silence and the acceleration of the disease in the dark net, which is engulfing healthy minds, causing outbreaks of extreme violence which devolve into a killing frenzy sweeping up everyone in its path. Can the empaths help control the spread of the disease? Or even act as a temporary band-aid at the site of the outbreaks?
In an unprecedented demonstration of solidarity, Changelings, Psy, Forgotten, and other races stand together in a guarded show of friendship to stabilize the situation. There are so many moments in the story that stand out in my mind and touch different chords in me that I can’t help but share them with you. The sweet innocence of the wolf cub who tells Sascha darling his embarrassing story of falling into his friend’s birthday cake. Lucas, our much beloved leopard alpha, in his role of protective husband and father who would prefer to keep Sacsha wrapped in cotton wool stands beside her as she wields her empathetic skills to help calm the violence. Lethal Kaleb, who could kill someone with a flick of an eyelash, brings such emotion to his relationship with Sahara that he makes the earth move with the force of them. The almost shy, awkward moment when Vasic seeks advice from Judd on how to control the dissonance from his programming so he can make love to his Ivy Jane. I could go on and on, but I will refrain so you can have your own pleasure in discovering them for yourself.
I salute the imagination and writing style of Ms. Singh, who does such a great job of inviting us readers into her story that we want it to continue forever and never end.
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 suffocate 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…
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: