Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Shield Of Winter-1 Shield Of Winter
by Nalini Singh

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: June Young

The 13th in the Psy-Changeling series of paranormal romance novels by Nalini Singh and I loved it! It is a very worthwhile addition to the series, both for its primary romance and its secondary genre content. I’ve read 11 of the 13 books in the series, and a few of the novellas as well. The series is set in an alternative future Earth where there are three basic types of humans – Psy, with their psychic abilities, changeling with their ability to take an animal form and the basic human as we know it.

Each book focuses on a man and a woman as they get together to become a couple during the story. As each romance unfolds in the forefront, so does the continuous background story of the political turmoil facing this future earth created by Ms Singh. It’s a great setting for paranormal romance. We have global players from all over the world. The action can take place anywhere. Due to the revolution in Heart of Obsidian, the Psy are now free to experience emotion again after 100 years of having it conditioned out of them, in the flawed belief that it would be safer.

Shield of Winter is about two people from the Psy group who experience love for the first time in their lives. Ivy and Vasic are attracted to each other and gradually fall in love after meeting each other when they are required to work together to save their race from a psychic epidemic. I found this romance to be sort of realistic, and it made me appreciate the story all the more for it. Quite erotic directly due to the lack of sex until much later on in the book, making this a change from others in the series where the attraction was near-instant. Shield of Winter is also highly imaginative in that Vasic who is a very strong telekinetic or “Designation Tk” in the series, is experiencing some interesting side-effects while getting intimate.

Ivy also has a pet dog named “Rabbit” who features fairly prominently as a secondary character in the book. We also see more of Aden who has featured as a minor character in many of the previous books. Overall, Shield of Winter had some serious warmth and heart to the story, making it about relationships and friendship, as well as romance. I suspect some of the side-stories in this book are setups for future books.

I loved the sections in this book that show previous main characters from the earlier books getting on with their mated lives, but still part of the background science fiction story. The background story has become “epic”. Reading a few of the earlier books would help a reader appreciate the later books, especially Shield of Winter as this is the first post-revolution story.

The first nine of the Psy-Changling books could be read out of order, but it would still depend on how particular you were with your reading. From Kiss of Snow onwards, the continuous background story starts to impact the romance to the point you need a bit of the history to appreciate the context of what’s going on that is influencing the romance. Ms Singh gives just enough to cover this in each book, but if you are more of a genre science fiction fan than a paranormal romance fan, you may want the full story. You don’t need to read all the previous books in the series to appreciate this one, but reading a few would help.

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