Book Critique – Caressed By Ice (Psy-Changeling #3)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

My Recommendation: An exciting continuation into a series filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, who are living together, ruled by Psy but the other two races making the playing field even. Of course there is romance, passion, war, friendship, loyalties and betrayals along the line. 

Caressed by Ice is the third book in the long running Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh, published in September of 2007. The primary plot revolves around Judd Lauren - a defected Psy into the SnowDancer Wolf Changeling Pack - and Brenna Shane Kincaid - a SnowDancer Wolf who was rescued from a Psy Serial Killer.

Psy-Changeling series focuses on three races living side-by-side on Earth - The icy Psy who rule the world but are facing the fall of Silence; the Changelings of varied kind with natural mental barriers to fight the unwanted entry of any Psy into their brains; and the Humans considered the weaker of the three but have decided to level the playing field. The series shows the readers to the downfall of Psy, their drawbacks, why all three races are needed for survival of each other, and above all finding mates across races thus disintegrating the walls further.

In continuing with the series that intrigued me when I picked it's spin-off, Psy-Changeling Trinity Series, here is my take on the third book in the parent series. Nalini shifts her focus on to the SnowDancer Wolf Changelings clan with this story. It begins immediately after the events in the previous book Visions of Heat and set in 2079.

We had met Brenna as a victim of a Psy Serial Killer in the first book Slave to Sensation, who was rescued by the DarkRiver and SnowDancer Changelings. We had also met Judd Lauren in that same book who was part of the rescue.  However, I didn’t expect Nalini to pen a story for them this soon. My thoughts were going on to the DarkRiver Sentinel, Clay instead. Guess we have to wait for that story to be penned.

Brenna Shane Kincaid had been facing the repercussions of the experiments that the Psy Serial Killer had committed on her while in captive. But are they visions of something that would happen? Or nightmares of what happened to her? Only one person can provide her answers, Judd Lauren. And Judd doesn’t want to have anything to do with Brenna other than aid her in healing from the psychic attack. But someone is killing again exactly how the Psy Serial Killer had done throwing Judd and Brenna together to figure out the criminal at the same time forcing them to acknowledge the invisible emotions between them.

In the past two books, Nalini showed us what it would happen to a Psy woman who goes off their PsyNet or mates to a non-Psy. She had hinted that it would be the same for Psy men too. In this plot she explores it further and shows us the perils from male person's point of view. Although similar, she does show some distinction between the way how females are impacted by Silence or cutting off the PsyNet as opposed to males.

I always say that the authors match the hero and heroine perfectly, complementing each other. However, in this case it is really really spot-on. Judd's silent and unemotional way he talks to Brenna is exactly what she needed. Not that she doesn’t need the love of her pack, protectiveness of her family. But that love and protection was smothering her. Contrarily Judd saw her as a true fighter who could face any evil, only he had to be stark with no sugar-coating for her to realize.

Nalini sneaks in various eco-friendly concepts and things around in her plots. In this one we see laz-fire a holographic fire that saves energy and yet keeps warm; leather-synth and gen-synth (genetically synthesized materials); recycling of waste water into pure water (yes, it is still not a well advanced technology now, but I am sure it would become a norm by the time we reach 2079); hover-mechanized vehicles that switch between hovering and tires.

She also goes a bit more deeper into how the PsyNet works showing us the severe complexity around how the PsyNet and NetMind works, how the Silence Protocol carries on for the Psy. A very scary concept I must say. She also keeps continuity of the sub-plots from the previous books. By doing so she answers a few of the questions that she leaves in those inconsequential details that she throws around in the plots. This keeps the stories tied together like the weaves in a tapestry. 

Like her other series (GuildHunter, Rock Kiss or Hard Play), there is romance and more in the plot with hidden humor that lightens the plot, taking the sting of the darkness away. She has some repeat paraphrasing. And definitely some of the concepts are beyond imaginable. It will take more than a few books for me to get the depth of all the technical jargon behind her complicated concept. She does leave a lot of inconsequential details and new characters introduced, which will definitely form meat for future plots.

A good continuation to a long running series in a fantasy word filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, although we don’t see a lot of humans and their role yet. Looking forward to read the next book as soon as possible.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Judd Lauren was a member of Arrow Squad per this plot.

b. With more of Kaleb Krychek we see in this plot. Although he is sounding more as a villain than a hero. Of course he is a protagonist with an agenda per the two books in the spin-off series that I read. Now I am craving for a story of Kaleb as well while I wait for Hawke's story to come out

c. The Psy Council is faced with a new enemy who calls himself Ghost, who is infiltering the Psy and systematically destroying their plans. I have a distinct feeling it is Kaleb Krychek, but we have to wait and see. Father Xavier Perez is their middleman to handle the drops between Ghost and his crew.

d. Kaleb runs the Moscow region and he has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. Wonder where Nalini will bring this up again.

e. Judd is made a SnowDancer Lieutenant towards the end of the plot. 

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. There are several Psy Designations that are thrown around by the author Nalini Singh. I wondered if there was a list of all of them some where. And true to that, some fan had posted about them here.

b. Psy, Changeling and Human terms:

i. Silence Protocol - Introduced first in 1969, conditions Psy to not feel any emotions so they can perform better. 

ii. Enforcement - similar to the Law Enforcement.

iii. PsyNet - Psychic Network that the Psy are connected to through minds, to share information, converse and much more. 

iv. NetMind - the central controlling factor of PsyNet, the policeman and librarian encompassed together. It's twin is DarkMind that houses everything negative. NetMind also confirms the possibility of thousands of E-Psy alive living in incognito mode.

v. Web of Stars - the network that Sascha forms with Lucas's mind and the sentinel's minds he is connected to.

vi. Cassandra Spiral - The ultimate cascade of a Psy who was breaking from Silence and being unsuccessful.

vii. Protocol I Implant - To condition the Psy even beyond what the Silence does, by creating a true hive mind.

viii. 18th Century Territorial Wars

ix. The Human Alliance - Human Conglomeration representing the supposed weaker species of the three. 

c. Various Psy we would see as the series progresses:

i. Members of the Psy Council - Nikita Duncan, mother of Sascha Duncan; Tatiana Rika-Smythe, youngest to become a Councilor; Marshall Hyde; Ming LeBon; Shoshanna and Henry Scott, only Psy couple on the council; Kaleb Krychek, newly ascended Council member.

ii. Latham; Sione from PsyClan Pacific Rose; Juniper (8yr old F-Psy); Gia Khan (an M-Psy); Silver Mercant (Kaleb's sr. personal assistant, introduced in this plot); Lenik (Kaleb's admin assistant); Ashaya Aleine (head scientist for the Council) and her son Keenan;

iii. Lauren Family - Introduced first in Slave to Sensation. Walker and his brother Judd; Sienna and Toby, their dead sister's kids; Marlee, Walker's daughter. All defect into SnowDancers territory, unlink themselves from PsyNet and live their lives with the wolves. There is some attraction between Sienna and Hawke as seen from Slave to Sensation plot. Indigo, SnowDancer Lieutenant, is assigned to train Sienna in Visions of Heat. Ben, a wolf pup, is friend of Marlee. Powers for all the three young Psy are unfolding and expanding per this plot. 

iv. Arrow Squad - First introduced in Visions of Heat, as mere glimpses of this elusive squad. Originally created by Zaid Adelaja century or more ago when Silence Protocol was introduced.

v. Forgotten Psy - Psy who never had linked to the PsyNet when Silence Protocol was introduced.

vi. In Slave to Sensation, we see:

1) Shoshanna and Henry Scott, the Psy Council couple, are looking for some kind of markers in Sascha's family. They have concern on one of the youngest Psy male. Who is that?

2) There are at least 50 Psy serial killers according to the Psy Council's investigation. Only one is killed in that plot, will the remaining be annihilated in future plots?

vii. In Visions of Heat, we see

1) Faith NightStar's father Anthony Kyriakus is the governing force of the PsyClan NightStar- the clan of Psy that begets atleast one F-Psy in every generation. He is also the leader of a quiet revolution against the Council. She has a brother Tanique Gray and a cousin Sahara.

2) Faith's sister Marine is killed by the Psy Serial Killer. However, there are still unexplained reasons as to why she was targeted.

3) Faith has a vision for Clay and one for Dorian. Who will Nalini pick for her next book? I was guessing Nalini would pick Clay since Dorian's vision has some time to occur. But Nalini went to SnowDancerWolves instead.

d. The various Changelings we see during the course of the series are

i. DarkRiver Leopards with their territory in San Francisco and surrounding areas.

1) Lucas Hunter is their alpha, a black panther; great-great-grandmother was a Psy. Mated to Sascha Duncan, an E-Psy. Story told in Slave to Sensation

2) Other Leopards and pack mates we see - Kit Monaghan and Zara (a wildcat, distant cousin) - the designers and architects; Ria, a human mated to DarkRiver leopard; Rina (Kit's older sister); Tara; Nico, Cory, Jase, Nicki and Sarah (juveniles); Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Desiree; Barker;

3) Lucas's Sentinels (second-in commands) - Nathan "Nate" mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" their healer and have twin sons Roman and Julian; Vaughn D'Angelo (mated to Faith NightStar, an F-Psy, Story told in Visions of Heat; Clay Bennett; Mercy; Dorian, a latent leopard.

4) Seems to be Dorian and Rina have a relationship in Slave to Sensation. Will she be his mate eventually?

ii. SnowDancer Wolves with their territory in California

1) Hawke is their alpha. He has captured my interest more than the actual hero and heroine of this plot. I am sure we will see more of him in future plots, but I cant wait to read his story.

2) Other Wolves and packmates we see - Andrew "Drew" Liam Kincaid - Brenna's brother; Lara (their healer); Dalton (librarian); Tai; Lucy; Elias (a soldier); Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui

3) Hawke's lieutenants - Indigo; Riley (Brenna's brother)

iii. BlackEdge Wolves with their territory in Moscow.

1) First mentioned in this plot.

iv. DawnSky Deer - First mentioned in this plot

v. PineWood Hyenas - First mentioned in this plot.

1) Some members - Kevin; Mahal; Lou-Ann;

3. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 17, Line 10, it should be "…that Judd had been…"

b. On Pg. 97, Line 4, it should be "..If it had…"

c. On Pg. 236, Line 3 from bottom, it should be "…was to obliterate Kevin's…"


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