Friday, June 10, 2016

Really Short Reviews: Psy-Changeling #13-14

As you all know, I've have become hopelessly obsessed with Nalini Singh's books. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have come to love them but I can tell you that I have reread this series five times since I first marathoned it last June. See? I told you I've become obsessed.

The fifteenth book in the series is set to come out this month and in celebration of its release I've been reviewing two or three books in the series at a time. There's less than a week until Allegiance of Honor is out! I was lucky enough to get a copy of it for review and I've already read it! It was SO good! Since I don't have enough to say about each book to warrant a full review, I'm going to do Really Short Reviews of the series so far! Today, I'm reviewing the last two books which are my favorite books in the series so far! If you haven't started this series yet, you still have time to start it because the next book is out on Tuesday!

Shield of Winter
(Psy-Changeling #13)
Nalini Singh
Release: June 3, 2014
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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…
Review by Rose Red:
Guys! We FINALLY got Vasic's story! I've wanted to know more about this grey-eyed teleporter since the first time he showed up on the page. And his story did not disappoint! This book was so good! Vasic is an Arrow to his core. He’s incredibly loyal and he's willing to protect his people until the end, though he may not have long due to some of his choices. Ivy really is something else! She's had a tough life thanks to a botched-up reconditioning when she was a teen. I loved that Ivy had a pet! Her and Rabbit are a determined pair and I loved how they saved each other. Ivy really shows how stubborn and caring empaths can be. Vasic and the rest of the Arrows really didn't stand a chance against her welcoming warmth.

Shield of Winter is such a well-crafted book even by Nalini Singh's standards. Vasic and Ivy are two characters that immediately stole my heart. 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 very few outside of the Arrow squad see him as more than such. Vasic has encased his emotions in ice to keep himself going until he could find the peace in he craves. Ivy takes a sledgehammer to that ice and he is able to truly experience life and love. Ivy is 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 one heck of a couple. I loved their passion and watching their relationship develop even in such dire circumstances. I want more stories from their points of view!

While Ivy and Vasic’s romance is the heart of Shield of Winter, the Psy-Changeling world is going through some major changes 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. I loved the worldbuilding that happened in this book in regards to the PsyNet. It was heartbreaking but it was satisfying to see the empaths in the spotlight and the solutions they came up with in this book.

I loved the previous book, Heart of Obsidian, I really did. But it was dark and super depressing (seriously, even when things were going well for our two heroes, it was a bummer fest). This book is happier, mostly because you get the sense that Vasic and Ivy will be okay, in spite of any terrible stuff that happened to them in the past. I seriously loved it. It was an excellent addition to my favorite series. I can't wait to get more stories revolving around members of the Arrow squad! I love them so much!

  5 / 5 Stars!

Shards of Hope
(Psy-Changeling #14)
Nalini Singh
Release: June 2, 2015
The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.
Review by Rose Red:

Guys. I have a lot of favorite couples and I've loved all of the books in this series, but this book is my absolute favorite book so far. I've been dying to know more about Aden almost as long as I've wanted to know about Vasic. The desire has only grown exponentially the last couple of books as the Arrows have come more and more into the spotlight. Who wouldn't want to know more about the medic who ousted a Councillor to take over the leadership of the Arrow squad? I loved finding out more about Aden and he's officially become my favorite hero in this whole series! Don't worry. Judd and Vasic are tied for a very close second.

Also, can I tell you how much I adored Zaira? I'll be honest. I was not expecting her to be Aden's love interest at all before I started reading Shards of Hope but now I can't imagine him with anyone else. We really didn't know much about the commander of the squad's Venice base before this book because she only made a brief appearance in Tangle of Need. I loved learning more about her! She's a bit of a magpie and more than a bit damaged from her horrific past. The relationship between these two leads is my favorite of the series.

Nalini Singh proves with each new book of hers that she is a powerhouse writer and that the Psy-Changeling world has tons of stories left to tell. First and foremost, she creates a satisfying and emotional romance between the enigmatic Arrow leader, Aden, and his damaged commander, Zaira. But she also sets up a fantastic new arc to carry the series forward with a new mysterious villain and she introduces a host of new characters who all hold the potential to garner future stories.

I’ll get to the bigger picture stuff in a moment, but first I want to focus on the central romance. Aden is one of the last characters I have been waiting to see featured in the series and Singh did not disappoint me. There is so much more to him than we ever knew. What is interesting about him is that he has never been entirely what he seems. He’s never really been Silent. He’s never really been average. He just hides himself very, very well. I loved watching Nalini Singh unwrap his layers. He's a way more complex character than I could have ever pictured from the previous books. But perhaps the very best surprise of the book is the heroine, Zaira. She is so very damaged, even more so than the other Arrows. Her horrific childhood caused her to stuff her anger, hurt, and other emotions so far down that she appears Silent. But deep inside, she knows how volatile she is.

From the first page, we see that there is already a very deep bond between Aden and Zaira. It’s not quite a romance yet, but it's not just friendship either. They are bound by their past, their mutual trust, and an emotion that neither has tried to name before now. Zaira considers herself a monster, unworthy to be Aden’s mate. And he wants Zaira to be his and he'll never settle for anyone else. So we watch their tentative dance as they step toward one another, then she steps back. He steps forward and around it goes. Normally that would drive me crazy, but I believed in Zaira’s fear. Her monster is real and she loves Aden too much to destroy him.

I may have cried once or twice. It’s just that her wonder at his love is so bittersweet. Her realization of her worth through his eyes really touched me. I loved them together.

Meanwhile, these two are working to figure out who took them and why. The plot keeps widening from there until we see all the major players from the series to this point plus some new faces. As always, the worldbuilding in this series is amazing! And the pace builds and builds to a perfect climax where we see the true glory that is Aden Kai and his vision for the squad's and the world's future. I couldn’t have asked for a better book!

This book marks the end of this first story arc of the series and I can’t wait to see where Nalini Singh takes this world next. She has done a great job transitioning us to the next arc. It’s going to be another wild ride. 
  5 / 5 Stars!

My reviews of other books in this series:

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