Since the introduction of Hawke, leader of the SnowDancer wolf pack, and Sienna Lauren, a Cardinal X-Psy given sanctuary with the pack, readers have been anxiously awaiting their romance. The tenth book in the series (and Ms. Singh’s first hardback) finally grants our wish.
Kiss of Snow is a solid entry in Ms. Singh’s highly popular Psy/Changeling series. Even though this book could be read as a stand alone, I do recommend that you read the books in order because the couple met in the first book, and the larger conflict between the psy/changelings has evolved throughout the series.
Fans of the series know that from the very first meeting Sienna has an innate ability to get under Hawke’s skin and disturb his wolf. Even though Hawke recognizes that Sienna is attracted to him, he resists claiming her because of her age and his belief that she would be unable to handle his wolf. Also, he already found and lost his true mate, Rissa, and doesn’t believe that he can give Sienna the love she needs. The mutual sexual desire plus Sienna’s growing powers caused such havoc with her control that she withdrew from the SnowDancer pack, spending time with DarkRiver leopards and working with Sascha Duncan, mate of the pack leader and Cardinal E-Psy (empath). But now at almost twenty years old, Sienna is back home with her family and the wolves.
The book opens with Sienna being disciplined for having an altercation with another wolf while they both were on duty. Previously, Sienna’s stability had been so impressive that senior members of the pack made note of it, but after seeing Hawke with an exquisite blonde she feels out of control again. Hawke also has problems controlling his wolf, especially after seeing a DarkRiver leopard’s hands on her. Since it has recognized Sienna as adult, Hawke is constantly fighting the primal urge to possess her. As Hawke and Sienna continue this dalliance back and forth, Hawke also has to contend with signs that the Pure Silence fringe is preparing for another strike against the changelings.
I realize that it is unrealistic to expect the author to jump straight into a full-fledged love affair, but the first 100 pages or so seemed like a continuation of the couple’s interactions from the first nine books causing me to feel impatient with the amorous toying between the two. Because of this and the fact that Hawke feels that he will never have a mate bonding with anyone else, the emotional intensity seems muted. Ms. Singh’s premise that Sienna is old for her age because of her X-Psy designation and the years she spent under the control of Ming is perfectly understandable and does bridges the age gap. But when Hawke finds out about her missing childhood, and offers her playtime, like games of chase, this amplifies the problem once more. Still, the age difference wasn’t enough of a problem for me to mark down the book significantly because there are so many other things that it does right.
And while this is not a complaint at all since I had gotten tired of the psy character’s problems with dissonance, one of the first things that stood out as a difference between this book and other books is that Sienna doesn’t have as many difficulties with touch or emotion. I know that she has worked with her brother, Judd, Faith Nightstar, and Sascha Duncan plus she has had three years away from silence. However, after finding out that Sienna was under Ming’s brutal control from age five to seventeen, I didn’t feel that this variance was completely addressed.
While I first mentioned the items that brought me out of the story a little, this is still a very pleasurable book. Sienna has grown up to be an admirable young woman even when she acts young in trying to make Hawke jealous. While not original, those scenes incorporate both humor and passion. Hawk’s characterization seems more formulaic. Still, there is plenty of sex appeal in this wolf.
The conflict between the Changeling and Psy is more straightforward and easier to follow than some of the previous skirmishes and it comes with a very satisfying ending. Of special interest were the minute changes in Sascha and Nikita Duncan’s relationship. A large portion of the change is brought about by the imminent birth of Sascha and Lucas’ child and Nikita’s grandchild. Most of the story revolves around Lucas’s vigilance, but the reader does have glimpses of Sascha’s daily challenges of carrying a psy/changeling child.
Along with the romance between the two main characters, I very much enjoyed the developing relationship between Laura, the SnowDancer’s healer, and Walker Lauren. Even though Walker doesn’t recognize his ability to feel, both have nurturing personalities.
Ms. Singh really shines with the action-filled ending. I love how she turns the curse of psy power into a blessing, and this book is no exception. Sentimentalists will have reasons to love the conclusion, too. With a nine book buildup, some of the questions readers will ask others are, “Is it what you expected” and “Was it worth the wait?” I enjoyed the book. While it isn’t a perfect book for me, the worldbuilding, revisiting favorite characters, humor, touching scenes, and an overall feeling that Hawke and Sienna are a good match make this a definite recommended read
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