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REVIEW: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

Dear Ms. Singh:

When I first read you a year ago, you made me realize how truly integrated romance, science fiction, and fantasy could be. I know that my reaction toward your stories is due to your ability to seamlessly blend romance and with the otherworldly aspects that create a true fantasy escape for the reader.

caressed by iceJudd dropped out of the Psy network when his sister committed suicide. He took his entire family with him and disappeared. He’s lived in an uneasy truce with the SnowDancer clan. The uneasy truce was developed because the SnowDancer’s know a predator when they smell one and Judd Lauren is a danger. He was an Arrow, a man who could kill with his mind. To protect himself and be the Psy weapon he was trained to be, he is cold and unfeeling.

Brenna Kincaid was a cosseted and carefree member of the SnowDancer clan when she was abducted and then mind-raped by a serial killer. The serial killer has been caught and apprehended but since her capture, Brenna has lost her ability to change. Her family and clan pity her and she has never really recovered. It seems like Judd is the last person that Brenna should want around her but Judd’s implacability is one thing that helps her heal.

Judd is our first Psy hero. What is interesting about Judd is that he recognizes that Silence is a discipline, a belief system that isn’t for everyone. He knows that emotion exists and he isn’t fearful of it for others. Rather he views the Silence as a method of protection. Judd, as an assassin for the Psy, has seen and done terrible things and his rejection of emotion keeps him sane. On the one hand, he is drawn to Brenna. On the other, he believes that this attraction could be his downfall and hers.

Brenna is a survivor but the treatment of her clan is preventing her from achieving complete healing (if any individual could after suffering what she did). You did a great job of showing how perfect Judd truly was for Brenna. Brenna had pity and cosseting enough from her clan. She didn’t need it from Judd and it was the pity and refusal to confront Brenna that inhibited her healing.

Where I began to be lost was toward the end. The Psy portions of the book tend to confuse me. I have a hard time grasping those more esoteric science fiction concepts. I was also disappointed in the resolution of the conflict. I thought it abided by the rules that you had set up but the way in which it was executed seemed hasty and a bit contrived (ie it seemed like it was something that should have been foreseen by the characters instead of the big surprise that it appeared to be at the end).

That said, Caressed By Ice is head and shoulders above its other paranormal romance brethren. B+

Best regards

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

7 Comments

  1. M.
    Sep 05, 2007 @ 17:56:46

    I had a little bit of a problem initially with the characters. I am the sort that has to truly like the characters off the bat. However, having been following this great series, I kept reading, and I was not dissapointed. I think your rating pretty much hits the mark. I do look forward to more stories from Ms. Singh.

  2. anu439
    Sep 05, 2007 @ 18:56:09

    I give this one a B+ as well. Brenna and Judd were very good together and good for each other. I also agree though with your last criticism. If we’re thinking about the same thing, Judd’s problem, (I don’t know how to do spoilers), then yeah, it felt like a “duh” moment.

    I also liked the recognition of the benefits of Silence. To date, it’s felt very changeling-good, Psy-bad, everything from Silence itself to the homes that Psy live in are inferior to the “naturalness” of changeling society. Too simplistic for me. In CBI though, Silence can be a force for good.

    As much as I really enjoyed Brenna and Judd, though, I am even more into the Psy/Changeling/Human world. Its intrigues, mysteries, and characteristics are fascinating as they’re revealed. Like the Forgotten. Oh my god, that was awesome! (And so true to SFF because there’s always gotta be a group of those!) And all the different players, like the Ghost and the priest—side characters for now maybe but nice figures to populate the world with.

    I do have a couple of worldbuilding questions. If I can’t figure it out on the re-read, I might bring em up.

    I’m not especially interested in the other sentinels’ stories tho I’ll of course read them. Hawke/Sienna is the only one I’m looking forward to off the bat. But I am definitely watching emerging characters like Aleine Ayasa (?) and Kaleb Krychek. With names like those, there’s no way they don’t get their own stories!

    Oh, and I hope Singh is planning a Psy/Psy romance. Imagine the tension in such a story. With the changelings (and likely also the humans), love and emotions are a given. But can you imagine what it would be like for not one, but BOTH h/h to struggle with such forces? And what if one of them was also a rebel? YUM.

  3. Jennifer McKenzie
    Sep 05, 2007 @ 19:15:19

    *sigh* I love this series.

  4. Jane
    Sep 05, 2007 @ 21:29:54

    If we're thinking about the same thing, Judd's problem, (I don't know how to do spoilers), then yeah, it felt like a “duh� moment.

    I’m thinking about the mental bomb issue. Is that what you were thinking of?

    Like the Forgotten.

    yes! and the Rebellion. I think its fascinating what is coming in the world beyond just the changeling/Psy dynamic. I think the danger for Singh is becoming too repetitive so it will be interesting to see how the relationships stay fresh. She can’t write the same Psy/changeling over and over and still maintain her audience. I think she’s a better writer than that so I am excited to see what she has in store for us. Kaleb is hero material for sure.

  5. Heather (errantdreams)
    Sep 06, 2007 @ 08:47:16

    I love the idea of paranormal romance, but I’m so sick of seeing yet another werewolf/vampire book. Thus, I’m immediately sticking this one on my wishlist as it looks quite different and interesting!

  6. Janine B
    Sep 15, 2007 @ 14:18:06

    This series has really grabbed me. Each book has fresh angle and I love watching a Psy/Changeling romance and it’s difficulties and quirks. I look forward to the next one.

  7. Emily
    Oct 24, 2008 @ 08:38:51

    I really do like this series. I love to read but there isnt many i can reread. Im looking forward to Hawke/sienna and if it doesnt happpen i think i can account for most fans that theyll be dissapointed. Agreed? Ive only read Slave to sensations and carressed by ice but… :)

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