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.
Judd 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+