June 8, 2011

Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Consider this review a spoilerfest, so if you haven’t read the book then please skip the review. You have been warned.

Kiss of Snow is the 10th book in the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh, and if you are a regular reader of our blog you know that I was anxiously waiting for it because I’m a bit of a fan-girl when it comes to Nalini.

I’m assuming that you are a fan of the series because if you are not then there is no point in starting with this book. Not only will you be lost and won’t know any of the characters, but most important you won’t be emotionally invested in them and that is the key element for a series to work, you need to care for the characters, but that is impossible if you don’t know them. So please go and read this series in order because you are missing out on something amazing.

Having said that let’s get on with the review. After the developments of the past two books, the war against the California changelings is on. The main objective is the Snowdancer pack because they are the biggest and most powerful of them all. Hawke is the pack’s alpha and he has his hands full. Not only there is the pending threat to the pack, but he is also sexually frustrated. Some years ago the Snowdancers gave asylum to a family of defecting psys, the Lauren, one of them was Sienna to whom Hawke has felt drawn to since the first time he saw her. Sienna is also very much attracted to Hawke, but her power is very unstable which causes her a lot of problems.

In this book all of Sienna’s control issues have apparently been resolved. She is now pretty much in command of them and her focus is on getting Hawke. I know that through the books she has been working on that but I was expecting it to be part of the book’s main plot since the last time we saw her she was considering returning to Silence.

I will be the first one to admit that I was never really happy with the Sienna/Hawke pairing mostly because I always found her a little bit immature and I was hoping that dealing with all of these issues would make her more likeable. In the end I did like her, I understood her character, and in a way I was rooting for her, but I don’t think I really connected with her. I couldn’t see past through her being too young, and I don’t mean age wise, I just found her behavior immature. The way she pursues Hawke was that of an obsessed teenager, sometimes I felt like I was reading one of those books where the high school student has a huge crush on her teacher and does embarrassing things to get him, although I guess that every now and then we do embarrassing thing when we are desperate right? The reason she works as a heroine is because first she was goodhearted and sweet and second she had layers, her tragic past is what redeem her and gave her some mature moments, but I think she needed more years to grow and the book would have benefited from that.

Hawke was a great hero. Nalini is the queen of the alpha male, she has turned it into and art form. If you think about it Hawke is aggressive, possessive, jealous, dominant, and always on the edge of violence, but all of those things that should make you turn around and run for your life are some of the things that make you want and love him. I don’t know how she does it but she makes it work. I guess in part is because these guys are fiercely loyal, loving, caring, they would never hurt you, and they treat you like their equal and relay on your judgment and opinion. My problem with Hawke in this book was that his relationship with Sienna felt patronizing and slightly paternalistic at times, not to mention that he was always sending her mixed signals. I’m not normally bothered by age differences in books, but in this one it was too obvious. I don’t know if it was the fact that she kept throwing herself at him even though he kept telling her that he could never be what she wanted, or the fact that after resisting her he just decided to go for it and damn the consequences, but the romance never really grabbed me. In the end there was a huge cop out but to me Sienna would always be second best in Hawke’s heart. I think Sienna deserved better.

This book was more focused on the romance aspect than the worldbuilding. Maybe I’m too invested in everything that’s going on with the Ghost, the Council, and the war, but I would have loved to see more about it. I’m pretty sure that I know who the Ghost is, and I’m pretty sure that his book will be the last one. I can’t wait for Nalini to give us a Psy/Psy pairing, and I’m just plain excited about what’s to come next because there were a lot of things hinted at in this book.

The romance I enjoyed the most was the secondary one between Walker and Lara. It was sweet and engaging, and there were some surprises in Walker’s backstory. This was my favorite part of the book, and I think they would have made a great main couple but I don’t think this will be the last time Walker takes on a more important role.

I find that the Snowdancer pack is much more interesting and complex than the DarkRiver, but I really miss those cats, so I hope that in the books to come they would take on a more prominent role.

Overall I enjoyed the book, it may not seem like it but I did. Maybe I was a victim of my own expectations but I do think it could have been better. It wasn’t my favorite of the series, but it was a great addition to it. I would definitely recommend it but you should read the series in order. I’m just in awe of the incredible world that Nalini has created. And now that I’m done with Hawke, I’m waiting for Dmitri!

Review by Brie
Grade: 3.5
Sensuality: McSteamy


Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.  
Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf. Then Sienna changes the rules-and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. 
Yet as they strip away each other's secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight... A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna's darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home-and the alpha who is its heartbeat.

Berkley Hardcover. May 31, 2011.

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