Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
What can I say about this book - other than WOW! I started it and finished it in one day (at 2am) because I couldn't put it down. And then could barely stop for dinner. 4.5 stars out of 5.
If you are a fan of Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series already then you will love this book. If you have not read any of the psy-changeling books before I'm not sure I would recommend you starting with this one. Not because Singh doesn't ground and explain her world well (she does), but mainly because the characters in this novel are ones we have seen and followed over the course of many books so far, and finally getting to see their side of the story is what makes this novel so wonderful. Truly, I would recommend starting with Slave to Sensation, the first book in this series.
Kiss of Snow is book #10 in the Psy-Changeling Series, but they don't need to be read in order, Singh builds her world well and it is easy enough to follow as a new reader.
The shadow war between the Psy Council and the changelings is heating up, with more intrigue, action and altercations in this book. Hawke, the SnowDancer pack leader and alpha is busy trying to keep his wolves safe. However, he is constantly tormented by his attraction for Sienna Lauren, a Psy defector who has been living with SnowDancer for years now. Problematically in this relationship is both Hawke and Sienna's inability to truly trust their emotions and take action on their feelings.
Sienna has this problem because she still holds to part of the Silence protocol because of her Cardinal abilities and also partially because emotions are still new to her. The few mentions of the love Sienna has for the sensual sensory pleasures of food are a very poignant reminder of just how limiting Silence is, and how far Sienna has come since defecting.
Hawke has a few issues with this developing relationship. First and foremost is the fact that he is the pack leader and his pack will always come first. But equally troublesome is his inability to see Sienna as a woman, instead he sees her as the young girl she was when she first came to the pack. Also an issue is Hawke's past and we do learn more about it in Kiss of Snow.
This is a great read. Not only are we dealing with two characters that readers have come to love over previous novels, but they are both equally compelling and complex characters in their own right. Their relationship feels real and true to the characters. Their journey towards each other feels real, tangible and authentic.
The side stories of Walker Lauren and the healer Lara, as well as the continuing relationships of Indigo and Drew, Judd and Brenna, Mercy and Riley and, of course, Lucas and Sascha are an added bonus and a snapshot into the fabulous world that Signh has created with these novels. The slices we see of Sienna interacting with her brother Toby and the other children in the den are sweet and touching. They underscore the true horror of Silence and also how far all of the Lauren's have come.
Kiss of Snow will grab you from the start and not let go, the emotional arc of our two protagonists, the stories that surround them, the intrigue, action and politics, all are stellar and combine to create a wonderful novel. Singh has created a unique and magical world, one that exists not so far off from ours, but with a vibrancy and distinctness that is rare among urban fantasy and romance novels. She is an extraordinary writer, and now I will have to simply wait and see what other fabulous things she has in store for her readers in the future!
(Book 4 of the Guildhunter series, Archangel's Blade , is slated to be released in September, so I don't need to wait too long!)
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