Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Caressed by Ice - Nalini Singh



In Caressed by Ice we catch up with characters first introduced in Slave to Sensation - the first book in the Psy/Changeling series. Brenna Kincaid is still feeling the aftershocks of her abduction and fears the full extent of what Enrique Santano's abuse and torture may have done to her. She becomes increasingly drawn to Judd Lauren one of the Psy taking refuge with the Wolves. But he cannot feel emotion and she cannot contain hers. Will they be able to find a way to make a future together.

Okay. That summary sucks. LOL. But it seems the more I enjoy a book the harder I find it to encapsulate it in a paragraph.

This is my favourite book in the series so far. Having looked at a few other reviews I know that while everyone (I've seen) has enjoyed the story, some people prefer the Changeling hero. This is not the case for me. (As could probably have been guessed, when Judd came up as the result in the Psy hero quiz.)

I initially noted I thought this was a more standalone story and could be appreciated without having read the other two books in the series. However, having finished the book I no longer think this is the case. Although CBI takes place away from the leopards, at the Snow Dancer wolf pack. The overall arc of the Psy/Changeling story has some major developments here which I think are best appreciated having read Slave to Sensation and Visions of Heat. Plus both sets of protagonists from those books appear here, so I think it's beneficial to know the backstory.

We learn much more about the Psy in this book. Including some of their history. I thought Zaid the first Martial Arrow sounded like an interesting (if remorseless) character. See I said I had a fascination for the Psy hero. As an aside I also wondered if perhaps a future story might be set during the 18th Century (Changeling) Territorial Wars.

I found Judd fascinating. And thought he gave a much clearer impression of what it means to be Psy. He has so much control, and underneath he's not bubbling like a volcano, he doesn't feel rage, there's just more control. It's mentioned it's significant that the first two Psy to publicly drop out of the Psynet are women, which I think is an interesting point. I always felt that both Sascha and Faith had access to some emotion, whilst with Judd you realize what Silence truly is, from someone who embraces it because they have to.

Brenna is a curious mixture of vulnerability and intense anger. Her relationship with her brothers - I loved. I thought Nalini Singh captured the sibling capacity for annoyance and affection perfectly. When things in the Changeling world start to fall apart and everyone's loyalty comes under question (leopard to wolf, Changeling to Changeling) this family strength almost becomes a double edged sword. And you stand with Brenna questioning exactly what her brothers are capable of.

I loved that Brenna and Judd's mating wasn't as smooth or immediate as in the previous two books. That would have been unrealistic. This was something the two of the them had to puzzle out between themselves. I liked the slow intensity of it. And I look forward to catching up with them in later books.

There was a lot of other stuff happening as well, this book was packed with information. We learn more about the wolf pack structure, and I like that the maternal females can order Hawke to think about what he's doing. The Psy council take their machinations to a higher level of brutality, and new alliances are formed. We get quite a lot of Kaleb, so I was happy, including some tidbits about his past. Nalini Singh has managed to maintain his ambiguity. He could be a good guy, or he could be very bad. I'm hoping he turns up again in Book 4.

Other new characters are hinted at - Ashaya Aleine and Zie Zen. My gut says they'll be playing a bigger part in the series. As will The Ghost I think. :) And we find out a little more about Walker Lauren, Sienna Lauren and Hawke - whose story I'm patiently waiting for, one of his conversations with Brenna is short, beautiful and heartbreaking.

Although the next book Mine to Possess isn't out 'til February. Nate and Tamsyn's story will be available as a short story in the October anthology An Enchanted Season. Which is good 'cause patience isn't really one of my virtues. :)


Marg said...

I'm glad this is good! It should be on it's way to me by now hopefully!

Anonymous said...

I haven't actually read your review since I'm currently reading Caressed by Ice. I think it's fantastic as well. I love the way Nalini blends a complex story line with multiple POVs AND a romance while managing to keep it all coherent. Major Kudos. I had to drag myself to work this morning rather than read the whole thing.

Judd is such an interesting character. Of all the Psy we've seen so far he's the one most isolated from his emotions. I love watching the barriers crack.

LesleyW said...

Marg - Hope you enjoy it.

Jepad - Looking forward to hearing your thoughts once you've finished. :)

Naomi said...

I just finished reading Slave to Sensation and loved it. I wasn't sure I would, but I'm happy to have been proved wrong. Now I'm just trying to restrain myself from snapping up Visions of Heat and Caressed by Ice. My paycheck just doesn't cover all the books I want.

Anonymous said...


I have a lot to say about this, so bare with me....

I loved that Nalini was able to build a wonderful romance and weave in a complex story line with the Protocol I, Brenna's kidnapper, and the scheme to cause a changeling war without making it so complicated you couldn't follow.

I'm not sure where you went with this, but I think that Kaleb is the Ghost. It seemed like the Ghost had access to Council information about the new lab, but couldn't do anything yet because it would likely implicated him. That sounds like he's high up in some ranking. Plus both Kaleb and the Ghost will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal.

Brenna and Judd were fantastic together. At times Brenna was too emotional for me. She seemed to fly off the handle and get incredibly angry at the slightest provocation...but considering all she'd been through, I can see where she wouldn't be reacting normally. I'm also a big fan of romances that show the slow development of two characters' attraction, and Nalini did that so well here.

I guess Sienna and Hawke will get together. Not really sure what to think about that since she's 17 and he's 32.

My only complaint is that all the Psy we've met (especially the Laurens) all have some unusual/unique/odd about their powers? I can accept that a few of the Psy have unusual abilities, but the whole group of them? I'll have to see how it all plays out, but it's starting to stretch the bounds of credulity. Unless, of course, it turns out the Laurens are carrying around some very unusual genes which is passed along to the whole family.

I don't know if you noticed this, but that Protocol I sounds exactly like the Borg from Star Trek TNG. I guess Shoshonna wants to be the borg queen...

LesleyW said...

Naomi - Glad you enjoyed StS. That was one of my favourite books from 2006. And on the plus side you still have VoH and CBI to look forward to.

LesleyW said...


Spoilers Below
I think Kaleb may be the Ghost. But then I think, maybe I'm just hoping that because I really like him as a character and want him to have his own book. I'm not sure if NS is doing a double bluff there. LOL. So I don't want to get too excited and then find out the Ghost is someone else on the council.

Sienna and Hawke - I think they will as well. There is so much tension there. Which is another reason why I think Hawke's story isn't going to be for a few years yet. I'm not keen on the reincarnation idea I've been seeing in a few places. I think characters should be allowed to develop on their own without a lot of baggage. Partly because I think it can be a very lazy way of getting a couple together.

I think as far as the Psy designations are concerned there are the five? - M,E,F,Tk,Tp - and within those there are sub-designations. So Judd is a Tk-Cell. That doesn't really bother me too much because I think people would just specialize and develop the areas they were strongest in. I'm curious about both Sienna and Walker. And I agree that maybe there is something special about the Lauren family.

And yes, I think Shoshannah definitely sees herself as being Queen.

Anonymous said...

damn, I was trying to not read this because of the spoiler warning but had to.

Still waiting on amazon for my copy (it'll be here soon :)) and now I REALLY want to read it, sounds fascinating.

I liked the ambiquity of Kaleb in VoH so really glad that continues.
Looked from the start as though Sienna and Hawke will get together, got a feeling if it's true then Sienna will be doing the chasing though.

LesleyW said...

Clare - it's well worth the wait. And hopefully you haven't been too spoiled by the few little bits we've let slip.

There's still lots left for you to sink your teeth into. :)

Look forward to hearing what you think.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on not liking the reincarnation idea. I'm not sure why readers love this concept so much. Like you, it strikes me as a lazy way to bring two characters together.

Although, with that said, I do suspect that Kresley Cole is going to do that in her next book (Wicked Deeds on a Winter Night). In that case I'm okay with it because it wasn't like they were together the first time around. Bowen totally screwed up and the woman died. I see this more of a redemption of past mistakes.

LesleyW said...

Jepad - Still have to read Book 2 of Kresley Cole's series. Must get my finger out and do that.

I've become rabidly anti-reincarnation lately. I've decided it's something that should only occur once in a series. A get out of jail free card you only get to play once.

LOL - in a way this is ironic. 'Cause in my own writing I have two reincarnations. But neither is done to bring characters into a relationship. Well, okay, one is...kind of.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine where the anti-reincarnation thing came from...

I think it's a more interesting story when someone gets a NEW love rather than rehashing an old one. Much more room for character development there.

At least with the Wellsie situation we know she's not coming back. I believe JRW 'fessed up to that in Dallas.

LesleyW said...

jepad - you know me so well. LOL. Yep I confess it probably stemmed from my unwillingness to wish Wellsie a happy reincarnation in the BDB series.

I am a bad bad person.

Anonymous said...

So does that mean that I'm the only one holding out hope that the Wellsie was kidnapped for her baby and is still alive in the possession of the bad guys?

Anonymous said...

Scooper, I'm sorry to say but think you might be. From what JRW has said, Wellsie is gone. Although, I still think it's possible that Tohr might be allowed like one visitation in the Fade to say a final good-bye.

LesleyW said...


I don't think you're alone in wishing it wasn't that way.

Although I'm glad that JRW is going with Wellsie being dead. That doesn't mean I didn't like her as a character. I did. And I loved her and Tohr together, and the way she welcomed JM into their family.

But the thing I like about the BDB books is that JRW doesn't go for the easy solution. And I think reincarnating Wellsie would have been the easy path to follow.

I hope that in Tohr's book (or in other future BDB books) that we get to learn more about his and Wellsie's relationship.