Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Publisher: Berkley
Where did you get the book: Purchased
Release date: Out now
Reviewer: Lou

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.

shieldofwinterFor 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…

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

I was so late reading this book due a death in the family last year that I was unable to read it in time for the group review with the other girls. Shield of Winter follows on from Heart of Obsidian where the PsyNet is imploding into violent and psychotic outbursts due to the dark and insidious infection that’s claiming thousands of lives. Vasic, along with Aden, have been much-talked-about characters since they were first introduced to the series. The Arrows play a massive part in Shield of Winter where they are teamed up with empaths who were wrongly and tragically labelled defective from when Silence was born. It turns out empaths are the key to stopping this infection and Kaleb Krychek comes up with the idea, along with his mate, Sahara, and Arrow leader, Aden, to team up a group of arrows with a group of empaths on DarkRiver changeling land for an experiment. This is where Vasic meets his Ivy as he becomes her Arrow partner.

Ivy, despite her mind once broken beyond repair as a teenger, is a well functioning empath psy who lives with her parents who took their child away from the horrors that were inflicted on her. It took a lot of time for her to heal and she was able to learn the ability to function again with the help of her adorable mutt, Rabbit. Ivy takes an instant shine to Vasic when they first meet, despite her initial wariness when he first tells her of the experiment program. Ivy decides she must try because despite what she went through in the past she knows this may be the only chance in saving millions of lives. I really liked Ivy; she had inner strength, passion and determination in saving the lives of her people, as well as battering through Vasic’s ice-shield. It surprisingly didn’t take long for it to shatter. I was expecting a lot more resistance from Vasic towards Ivy’s attempts at friendship and flirting but due to the fact she was an empath, it had a huge effect on his mental barrier.

I think one of my only complaints about the psy male heroes is that they’re all similar, but again that’s due to the silence protocol. But at times I did find Vasic to be a little bland. Out of all the Arrows it was explained he was on the cusp of imploding because of his terrible past deeds done on the behalf of Ming LeBon which weighed heavy on him, and because of a biological science experiment that he partook in which left him with a half-cyborg (I think it was actually called the Gauntlet) arm which was killing him because of it being connected to his central nervous system. Vasic never thought he could have a life of his own but he and Ivy soon become a fast-acting unit, and their romance was a slow-burn where small touches were really heightened and it really worked. Vasic bonded with Ivy really quickly and sometimes I wished there was a little more conflict between them. But the romance was slow and sexy and I loved Vasic’s reaction to sex and the conversation he had with Judd about smexy times!

With Ivy and Vasic building a relationship with one another, with Ivy heartbroken at the idea that she’s may lose her love thanks to this science experiment, they also work and battle against this infection that’s killing thousands of people. Some of the scenes were quite brutal but thankfully the violence wasn’t too graphic but Nalini did a great job in showing the madness and brutality of the sickness in the PsyNet and how Kaleb might had to use drastic and ruthless measures in protecting other innocents from being infected. Along the way we are introduced to more Arrows and I cannot wait for Aden’s book. He’s a natural born leader and I’m itching to find out who his heroine will be. The battle of the infection is concluded and I’m wondering which direction Nalini is going to take this series. Ming and his evil self is still out there but there are still many characters to explore, such as Alice, and I would love to see more changeling stories as they are my favourites.

All in all, SHIELD OF WINTER is a much quieter and slow-paced book but Nalini always moves her story along without it ever becoming stagnant. While Vasic and Ivy were not my favourite couple, I really enjoyed their romance.


2 thoughts on “Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh”

  1. When I think about Shield of Winter, there’s always an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, and you’ve just put the reason into words for me. Vasic was a little too bland–particularly for someone who, we’ve been told in half a dozen books, is on the verge of imploding/exploding.

    Where Heart of Obsidian and, earlier on, Caressed by Ice, completely delivered on the promise of intensity, and power, and barely contained violence of both Kaleb and Judd, I never felt anywhere close to that with Vasic.

    Mind you, it’s a decent book, but my bar for Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling books is high, and this installment in the series felt a bit short.

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