BP Note: Time for another one of our mega joint reviews because we can’t just say no to a Nalini Singh tale. One again we providing our early review spoiler free! Hope you enjoy.
Publish Date: 3 Jun
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
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…
This blurb came from the author’s website.
1. Thoughts on the Hero
MinnChica: I can’t even tell you how much I was looking forward to Vasic. He was such a mystery, and yet so strong and heroic, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of woman would be able to come in and win him over, especially since he lost faith in himself. I thought Vasic was such a wonderful character, he was so steady and Alpha and fabulous. I loved everything about him. I loved the way that he cared so deeply for his Psy people, and that he was determined to save them, despite the fact that he didn’t think he could save himself. His devotion to Ivy made my heart melt too, because he was so thoughtful, so careful with her. I loved Vasic, I think he might be my new favorite Psy hero.
Marlene: I loved Vasic, too. Both for himself and for what he represented; that one of the “broken” Arrows could be saved. The way that the entire Arrow squad looked up to him, and the hope he gave them that they could have a real life after Silence was broken was awesome. He is so completely self-sacrificing, that he is willing to give everything for his people, even when he believes he’s going to die, and soon.
The way that he slowly changed from the cold Arrow to a man who could let someone in was beautifully done.
E: I have had a soft spot for Vasic since he first started coming on screen. As his page time gradually increased and so did his mental despair I became increasingly worried. He was the centerpoint of a group of people who survived the harshest of treatment, did unspeakable things in the name of trust and protecting their people, lived through having that trust betrayed, and now have to do previously unthinkable things to protect their people. To me watching his journey through discomfort, to trust/desire, to embarrassment, to love and a lust for life was really watching the journey of the Psy people themselves. I loved seeing the gradual changes as Vasic’s emotions rose to the surface and manifested in subtle actions yet he never lost his or sense of judgement and ability to react with deadly force when necessary.
Has: Vasic was a wonderful hero and I have a soft spot for heroes who are aloof and reserved. Judd is my second favourite hero in this series (Hawke and Kaleb share the top spot for me) but I think Vasic almost managed to bypass his spot! I loved how he slowly opened up to Ivy and started realizing that there is hope in his dark world. Especially when the events around them were so terrible and shocking with the growing major chaos and violence amongst the population. There were moments of light and happiness which he needed and I loved how he slowly melted towards Ivy.
2. Thoughts on the Heroine
MinnChica: I have never been a huge fan of psy/psy romances in this series, as the shifters were always more my speed. However, with Ivy and Vasic, I thought they were wonderful. I loved that Ivy never really lost herself in silence, that she was still able to retain some feelings and emotions. I thought she had a huge inner core strength, and the way she was able to stand up to Vasic and fight for him to live with her was so perfect!!
Marlene: The Psy is such an interesting concept; an entire race of humans trying to be Vulcans, but without the wisdom (or the charm). Humans aren’t meant to hide everything they feel so completely. Something had to go wrong. Ivy is makes a great heroine because she represents both the good and bad ways that Silence could go wrong, yet still managed to maintain her core self. The story required a heroine who could both understand the importance of Vasic’s silence and had enough power and empathy to break through it. It made the romance extra sweet that they were both inexperienced, because they could learn together.
E: Poor Ivy. She was just as broken as Vasic in her own way. I found it fascinating to compare her to Sasha, their different upbringing, parentage, and yet same determined inner strength. She really stuck out to me as I learned about her past and witnessed her struggles for the future. I enjoyed watching her interact with Vasic, other individuals, and Rabbit. Just like Vasic she grew painfully and healed along her journey of discovering who she could be. I loved how she made every decision the best that she could and managed to find herself even after being mentally brutalized. Her mental awareness that she should be scared of and avoid Vasic but unable to turn her back on her people was so amazing and really spoke to who the Empaths were before Silence. Seeing her struggle, fail, only to get up and struggle again also showed how the Psy originally made their place in the world and gave additional hope they could make a place again.
Has: I really like Psy/Psy parings because it brings out different dynamics and I liked Ivy who came from a more unconventional Psy upbringing which helped to open her up her abilities even though she was so broken due to reconditioning. She never gave up her real sense of self and it definitely made her stronger because of the torture she went through and I think Vasic would have seen a kindred spirit in her because they were proof of the awful repercussions of Silence protocol. I felt that Ivy was a fantastic foil towards Vasic who was so cool and restrained but managed to crack open his shell. I also loved Rabbit her pet dog who was cute in helping them warm up towards each other but he was also great with other characters especially one who becomes very helpful to the couple in the end, he did bring out some fun elements and humour in the book. I also loved how they explored their new-found sexuality which I have to say was very very sexy and also funny because like Judd and Kaleb, Vasic’s control when doing the bow chica bow wow had some unintended consequences which cracked me up. I was glad there were some humourous scenes in the book, because I think this was one of the darkest yet.
3. Favorite Scene
MinnChica: Oh man… I don’t know that I can pick just one. I think it would probably have to be the long scene when Aden and Vasic are talking about the future of the Arrow squad, and how Vasic and Ivy had attracted the attention of the media. To me, it not only showed the dedication that Vasic and Ivy had to each other after the action stopped, but it also showed the strength of friendship between Vasic and Aden, as well as the desire they both had to keep all Arrows safe once the fighting stops.
Marlene: I think my favorite may be the scene where Vasic manages to ask Judd how to control his teleportation during sex. Sweet, hot and funny, all at the same time. It’s terrific to see such a formerly unflappable Arrow completely flapped. And any scene with Rabbit in it.
E: Ooh those scenes were great! And since I can’t pick just one I am going to say my two favorites both involved other Arrows. The first is when Ivy realized the vast amount of trust the other Arrows had in Vasic when he asked them to think a certain way about her and they did. The second was when Kaleb seriously realized Aden was more than a bit unusual. To me both of those scenes were so telling of the Arrows and their potential that I can’t wait to see Singh explore more.
Has: There were a few scenes too that I loved and it was hard to choose, but I think I would go with the first scene where Ivy unintentionally flashed her breasts as a telepathic image to Vasic who was shocked to his core. I loved that scene because not only it sets up the tone of their romance but also it was a catalyst in Vasic in realising there is more to his existence and the cracking of his silence. And for Ivy it was the first step in embracing her sexuality and being open about her feelings and embracing them.
4. Dislike about book
MinnChica: I think when it comes to the Psy/Changeling series and Nalini Singh in general, the only thing I dislike is that it ends. For me, this was absolutely the case here!!
Marlene: There are two things that I dislike. That it ends, and that I have to wait entirely too many months for the next one. Three things; that everything about the next book is a secret.
E: And I am just going to say “thirded”! As long and as complex as Singh made Shield of Winter I was not ready for it to end and the wait to begin anew.
Has: Ditto! I really enjoyed this installment and this was a wonderful entry to the series.
5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade
MinnChica: All in all, I loved the way Singh started a new series arc while still keeping within the old one. Getting to see older characters is always such a blast, but I love seeing the direction that the world is taking. Things are getting a little dark with fighting a war, but Singh does such an incredible job of showcasing the romance and love story, that it all flows so seamlessly. I am, once again, anxiously awaiting the next release in the series!
I give Shield of Winter an A
Marlene: I swallowed this book in just about one sitting. As per usual for an entry in this series. I’m always grateful to the friend (hi Arlene!) who convinced me to read Slave to Sensation. I love the way this story both follows the big arc of the fall of Silence, and also tells a beautiful love story that shows the effects of the new world order on individuals.
Getting to find out how so many favorites from the previous books are doing is an added bonus!
I also give Shield of Winter an A.
E: I have to admit after the awesomeness of Heart of Obsidian I was wondering how Singh would either top or shift the story so I didn’t find following installments lacking and she certainly managed it. I loved how the entire series arc has shifted; Psy, Changeling, humans, and The Forgotten were all charting new paths and learning how to work together against an evil that threatened to destroy everything. In addition to the post Silence challenges I loved how Singh threaded in her trademark romance heavily laced with character development. As usual I was completely sucked into every aspect not to mention I LOVED the Psy-Psy pairing *happy dance*.
I give Shield of Winter an A.
Has: Shield of Winter was a great entry to this series. I loved the slow burn romance which built up with intensity over the course of the book, and the ongoing plot arcs interweaves with more complications and twists that despite the fall of Silence the world of the Psy, humans and the shifters are in more grave danger. The real highlight for me is the romance between Ivy and Vasic which was just delicious and I loved every minute of their story!
I give Shield of Winter an A-