Book Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

Posted April 26, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Published by Berkley Books on September 4, 2007
Pages: 388
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel’s Enigma, Shards of Hope, “Fairy Balloons”, "An Unexpected Guest”, Allegiance of Honor, "The Song of the Wolf", Silver Silence, Archangel’s Heart, Archangel’s Viper, Ocean Light, "Elena's School of Horror", Cherish Hard, "Ain’t No Party Like A Bear Party", Archangel's Prophecy, "One Night At The Refuge", "Secret Things", Rebel Hard, Rock Hard, Wolf Rain, "Clean and Dirty", "Wolf School", "Naya’s Most Important Visitors", "Grocery Shopping", "A Gift for Kit", "Movie Night", "Kaleb and Sahara’s Meeting with Sascha and Lucas", "Housewarming at the Orchard", "Christmas in the Kitchen", "Stalking Hawke", "Romancing Drew", "Sunday Morning", "Rowan", "Baubles & Ben", Wild Embrace, Love Hard, Rock Addiction, "Music Awards", Rock Courtship , "Rock Courtship Memo"s, Rock Redemption, "Sunshine", Rock Wedding, "With This Memo", A Madness of Sunshine, "Beary Tiny Ghosts", Alpha Night, "A Wedding Breakfast", "Poker Night", "Knives and Sheaths", "Seedlings", "Star Kissed", "A Walk on the Cliffs", "Wild Cat Blues", Slave to Sensation, Visions of Heat

Third in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series and revolving around three races: the two strong Changeling packs in North America — the DarkRiver Leopards who control the San Francisco area and the SnowDancer Wolves who control the rest of California; the icy, emotionless Psy who see themselves as superior to everyone; and, the humans who are tired of being pushed around. The couple focus is on Judd Lauren and Brenna Kincaid in this year of 2079. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Psy-Changeling books on my website.

My Take

Oh, man, Singh is so good at the tease. Spreading it out slowly in the story and along the series arc. She’s also tricky with that emotional overload the Psy suffer, as Judd learns some interesting facts about his training in Silence. In some ways, Judd is a kid in a candy store.

Every Councilor has their own agenda and no conscience when it comes to protecting or extending their power and/or business. Nor are they the only ones for there’s a traitor amongst the Changelings. And plans amongst the Councilors to destroy them.

Obviously Brenna has a character arc, one that started in Slave to Sensation, 1, and continues, intertwining with Judd’s character arc, one that provides additional, horrific, insight into the world of the Psy. Part of his arc includes the antipathy the wolves have for him. He disgusts them on so many levels…even if he did help rescue Brenna. As for Brenna, well she has her own fears to overcome after her ordeal. As well as the unexpected attractions she’s feeling.

Fortunately humor and drama comes with interactions between and amongst changelings and Psy in the packs. Sienna certainly adds her own brand of rebellious behavior, for she’s a teenager and a cardinal Psy who is just so beyond the need for training, don’t’cha know. Poor Hawke, lol.

It’s an interesting contrast between warmth and cold, friendship and enmity with a great mix of action, character, family, love, hate, touch, and all that’s in-between. The sabotage, the hints from Singh, the love that exists between the various characters, the supportiveness amongst these so-called “animals”, and the animus among these so-called “superior” beings. I know I’d prefer living amongst the “animals”!

Action that includes the sneaky attacks of the Psy and the even sneakier return attacks. Whoo-wee.

Singh uses a third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Judd’s and Brenna’s perspectives. It’s perfect for us to learn about Judd’s experiences within his own mind. ‘Cause, yeah, that would be a cool “gift”, although the dissonance he’s “punished” with takes the shine off. It is so sad how horribly emotion affects Judd. That Psy of his Tk-Cell designation never mate. The psychic rape that is so traumatizing for Brenna.

I do love the environmental aspect of the story with all the ways the changelings work to lessen their impact on the world. It’s an attitude that mirrors how they treat each other. The support, the understanding, the fairness!

It certainly is a fascinating courtship with that clash of caring, changelings who care about each other. Psy who care about their own power.

The Story

Those who protested, denied the changes, the Silence Protocol, disappeared. Arrows ensured it.

Now an Arrow is among SnowDancer wolves. And Psy can’t be trusted. Yet it’s essential that the Psy family of Laurens settle in with the pack that adopted them.

But Judd is a loner who doesn’t intend to stay, especially with Walker being a lever Hawke threatens to use.

And Brenna’s escape is a trigger for war to escalate.

The Characters

Brenna Shane Kincaid, a wolf changeling and qualified computronic tech working on her FAST project, almost died in Slave to Sensation. She did suffer brain damage that could have very negative effects. Riley and Andrew “Drew” Kincaid (he controls the San Diego sector for Hawke) are her brothers.

The Psy members of SnowDancer
A small family group, the Laurens, escaped rehabilitation. Judd “the Iceman” Lauren is an Arrow capable of smudging his presence telekinetically — his gift is both Tp (9.4) and Tk-Cell (9.9) — and had been integral to Brenna’s rescue. Walker is Judd’s brother, a telepath with a special affinity for young Psy minds. Marlee is Walker’s daughter. Sienna and Toby are the children of Judd and Walker’s dead sister, Kristine, whose actions had sentenced the entire family to rehabilitation. The five of them are just enough to create the LaurenNet.

SnowDancers are…
…the wolf pack that rules California. Their alpha is Hawke Snow. His lieutenants include Indigo, Drew, and Riley. Lara is the SnowDancer healer. Soldiers include Tai; Dieter; Elias; D’Arn (he’s mated to Sing-Liu, a.k.a. “Little China Doll”, who is a ruthless human); and, Saul (an ex-Navy human who mated in). Lucy, Madeline, Quentin, Tilau, and Laine are more wolves. Timothy is a victim. Kiki was naughty. Greg is a vicious, bigoted wolf. Dalton is the elderly librarian.

DarkRiver is…
…the leopard pack that rules San Francisco. Sascha Duncan, who can speak mind-to-mind to Changelings and Psy, is an escaped E-Psy now mated to Lucas Hunter, the alpha of DarkRiver (Slave to Sensation). Sentinels include Vaughn (who mated Faith “Red” NightStar in Visions of Heat, 2); Mercy; Dorian; and, Nate (his mate, Tamsyn, is their healer with a medical degree). Barker is one of the soldiers.

The DawnSky had been…
…a deer clan. Nine adults. Three children.

PineWood is…
…a hyena pack based in Arizona. Parrish is the pack leader. Kevin, Mahal, and Lou-Ann are members.

BlackEdge is…
…a wolf pack based in Moscow.

The Psy are…
…a race who are emotionless and use their minds, their Psy powers. They are ruled by a Psy Council, whose Councilors include Nikita Duncan, a powerful telepath who can also infect minds with viruses, based in San Francisco; Henry and Shoshanna Scott, a seemingly married couple; Tatiana Rika-Smythe is based in Australia; Ming LeBon is a cardinal and a master at mental combat based in Paris; and, Marshall Hyde is the unofficial chair and most senior Councilor.

The twenty-seven-year-old Kaleb Krychek is a cardinal Tk and the newest Councilor. He’s based in Moscow. Silver Mercant is his personal assistant. Lenik is his administrative assistant. Anthony Kyriakus is the head of the NightStar group, known for their F-Psys and extremely powerful. He’s also Faith’s father. Jen Liu is the matriarch of the Liu Group.

Ashaya Aleine, a 9.9 M-Psy, is the head scientist for the Psy lab in charge of the Implant Protocol. She has a son, Keenan. Zie Zen is a powerful businessman and Keenan’s father who prefers his coparent remains in the US.

Santano Enrique, powerful Tk-Psy, had been a councilor as well as Krychek’s trainer. He’d also been the sociopath and serial killer of many women. The Silence Protocol was implemented in 1979. The Arrows are elite soldiers, the hidden boogeymen of the Psy. Ming LeBon is their leader. The Psy call the Arrows a death squad; the Arrows see themselves as the first line of defense. The NetMind is a sentient aspect of the PsyNet, a web that keeps the Psy alive. Jax and Ruby Crush, a.k.a. Rush, are drugs with a very negative effect on changelings.

The Human Alliance is…
…determined to fight against Psy and changelings.

The Ghost is a saboteur working against the Council. Father Xavier Perez is a young priest colluding with Judd and the Ghost. Dr Shah is Brenna’s course supervisor at school. Miss Leozandra’s Beauty Parlor is in Chinatown. Sierra Tech is offering Brenna a job. CTX, a communications company, is another wolf-leopard company. The end of the Territorial Wars forced harsh laws onto changelings. The eight-year-old Paul had had a Medical ability. The Forgotten are a dirty secret.

Mercury was…
…a cult founded by Catherine and Arif Adelaja who promoted the Silence Protocol. Zaid, a cardinal telepath with a gift for mental combat, nicknamed “Martial Arrow” by his mother, was their oldest son. He was the first Arrow. Tendaji and Naeem are/were their twin sons.

The Cover and Title

The cover is the chilling blues of ice in the snowy background and a blue-tinged, bare-chested Judd looming against it, a dark jacket and coat not giving us any sense of warmth. Three thick, chilly icicles drop from the left top with the author’s name in a blue-shadowed white script on top of them. Below the author’s name is a deep blue testimonial. Yet another deep blue testimonial is to the right of the author’s name and above Judd’s head. At a rising angle from left to right, the title spans Judd’s lower torso in a colonial blue frosted with ice.

The title is what Brenna desires, to be Caressed by Ice.

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