Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Title: Shield of Winter
Series: Psy/Changeling
Author: Nalini Singh
Read copy: eBook
Published: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 1101605200
ISBN-13: 9781101605202

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 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...


My rating:

Well...this was unexpected.

After reading about Vasic in the last few books of the series, I expected his book to be something...More than it was. Because while it wasn't bad, it wasn't great either. Which irks. I simply couldn't connect to either the characters, the story, the plot, the continuing arc of the series...to anything, really.

I was expecting Vasic to be more like Kaleb. Not in the psychotic, kinda-crazy sort of way, but dark, dangerous, and brooding. And while at the beginning of the book it looked like I just might get my wish, it didn't really happen. Because he went mellow a little too soon for my liking. I know he's been living with this constant guilt gnawing at him for a decade (if not more), I know he had a death wish, but after a few chapters I didn't see it anymore. He simply got sucked up in the goodie-goodiness of his empath, Ivy Jane.

Who, unlike Sascha Duncan (a cardinal empath, which should've amplified the goodie-goodiness), got on my nerves from the beginning. She wasn't a bitchslappable heroine, quite the contrary, I never got the urge to hope for a character to come up to her and slap her silly for being annoying, an idiot, a diva or anything else. She just didn't click with me, rubbed my fur the wrong way, because she was too...cheerful, goodie-goodie, too optimistic despite everything that went around her.
I know that was the point in creating her, in writing her that way—she was optimistic, she was light, she saw the good in everything despite the darkness, ugliness, and death surrounding her. But it was too much a contrast for me to really appreciate her. And accept her and Vasic's bond, romance, whateveryouwannacallit.

They were complete opposites, and while I agree that opposites sometimes do attract, just look and Kaleb and Sahara, it wasn't the case in this book. Not for me. Kaleb and Sahara worked because there was a sliver of darkness in her as well, with everything she's been through, with everything that had happened, yet there was no darkness in Ivy (not that I could see) and it made the difference between her and Vasic all the more glaring. And everything regarding the two of them together suffered for it.

Even the plot itself somehow didn't click with me. The resolution to the problem was a bit too easy in the end, too simple, if you will, with everything we've learned so far in the series or read about in this book. The infection spreading ominously through the PsyNet, the madness leaking into vulnerable minds, the murders, the riots, the psychosis...And it took a mere book to resolve?
Yet another mismatch in this book—the resolution didn't live up to the buildup. I kept thinking the series should've ended with Heart of Obsidian, with the 'hope' in the end.

This book didn't match that spark of hope, didn't match the series at all with everything falling into place too easily, too neatly, no square pegs in round holes. Meh.



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