I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin on 2014-06-03
Reviewed by Shayna
“The alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) draws us back into her extraordinary Psy-Changeling world, a world torn between violence and peace, passion and ice... 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...
Silence has fallen, bringing hope to the Psy race…if they can survive the aftermath. The Psy’s only hope for survival lies with the empaths, a designation almost entirely obliterated when the Silence Protocol was put in place.
Vasic is an Arrow to his core. He’ll protect his people until the end, though he may not have long. His conscience is weighed down by all that he has been forced to do and the implant in his arm is slowly killing him. Empath Ivy Jane breathes new life into Vasic when he’s tasked with guarding her. He’ll stand as her shield as she risks everything to save their people, and their growing bond means there’s no chance Vasic can deny his attraction to the beautiful Ivy. But their burgeoning romance may not survive what lies in store for them. For not all Psy believe the empaths should exist, and some will do anything to protect what they believe is the “purity” of their race.
Shield of Winter is a stunningly well-crafted book by paranormal romance superstar Nalini Singh. Vasic and Ivy are two endearing, memorable protagonists who join a long line of fantastic Psy-Changeling heroes and heroines. Vasic is a man who’s been used as a weapon for so long it breaks my heart. He’s so much more than his abilities, yet precious few outside the Arrows see him as more than such. I wanted to see Vasic truly experience life and love, and Ivy is the reason he does. She’s strong and deeply caring, and I admired her willingness to risk so much for the good of her people, even though she was almost broken as a child because of the Silence Protocol. Vasic and Ivy make a heck of a couple, their passion and blossoming love for one another making the pages of Shield of Winter fly by.
While Ivy and Vasic’s romance is the heart of Shield of Winter, it’d be remiss of me not to mention the worldbuilding Ms. Singh does in this book. The end of Silence has sent shockwaves through the Net and we see the horrifying fallout that threatens to crush the Psy race. If they can survive the infection and chaos among the Net, there is hope for them to become stronger and better as a whole. The empaths are the key to the race’s survival, but figuring out how to unlock the empath’s abilities and use them to protect the race isn’t easy. There’s amazing advances as well as heartbreak in Shield of Winter, and I’ll leave it to readers to uncover what Ms. Singh has in store for the Psy.
Shield of Winter is the thirteenth full-length book in the Psy-Changeling series and I don’t recommend reading it as a standalone. Each book in the series builds upon the last, and though Ms. Singh does a great job of providing all the information necessary to read Shield of Winter within the book, I suggest at least reading Heart of Obsidian before diving into Vasic and Ivy’s story. Fans of the series will surely devour the new information uncovered in Shield of Winter and the appearance of some past favorite heroes and heroines is both necessary to the story and just plain fun.
Ms. Singh consistently writes incredible, intelligent stories and Shield of Winter is no exception. I loved this complex, fascinating romance from beginning to end and I can’t wait to see where Ms. Singh takes readers next. Joyfully Recommended!