Title: Shield of Winter
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #13, Psy-Changeling Season One #13
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance, Shapeshifters
5th sentence, 74th page: “Study the details of your assigned assets, alert me of any security threats.”
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:
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 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…
Vasic’s role in the Psy rebellion throughout the series was always a little confusing – he appeared to be on the side of the good guys, but seemed to be working for the bad guys. His short appearances throughout the rest of the novels make it incredibly difficult to pinpoint his motives and alliances. The same can be said for most of the Arrows, their presence throughout the Psy-Changeling series hinting that they may be on the right side, but the very darkness that they carry due to their gifts make that a questionable assumption. Shield of Winter, however, changes all of that.
I tend to get a little frustrated when the Changelings aren’t as present throughout the story – I have a love for wolves and big cats. However, a story that focused almost entirely on the Arrows, Kaleb and the newly acknowledged empaths helped to lesson this frustration. Yes, the Changelings are incredibly tactile and enchanting characters, but the delightful mix of the caring conscientiousness of empaths and the deadly capabilities of a squad of assassins created a story that I look forward to reading again and again and again.
In Vasic’s plight and inability to accept his past, Singh highlights the ways in which we can be systematically and brutally destroyed if we go against our natures. The newly awakened place for the empaths within the world of the Psy is a great echo of this throughout the story. Constantly being told not to follow your instincts can be incredibly debilitating, not admitting their importance and being taught to go directly against them, as Vasic did is a pain that I cannot imagine.
Again, Singh has managed to not only write an amazing paranormal romance and dark fantasy, but she has created a story that makes me constantly think about my own actions and impulses. Something that all truly talented authors are able to do.
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