Kiss of Snow - Nalini Singh
Kiss of Snow is the long awaited and much anticipated tenth book in the Psy-Changeling series and ties up a few major plot threads that have been woven throughout the previous books. So it is fitting that it focuses on Hawke, the alpha of the Snow Dancer wolf pack, and Sienna Lauren, the Cardinal X Psy who is the bane of his existence. These two have become firm fan faves, and we finally get to read their story. And I have to say that it was well worth the wait, because their story definitely met up to expectations and then some.Hawke is really reluctant to engage into a relationship with Sienna, due to his inner fears and doubts that he would be an unsuitable mate — even though his thoughts, instincts and feelings are at breaking point to relent and pursue her. Whilst Sienna, who shares the same attractions, feels that Hawke will never see her as someone who he could have a relationship with due to her age and differences. But over the course of the book they each challenge and break each other’s walls down which really helped with the buildup of tension between them. I really felt that Kiss of Snow was one of the best books that utilizes sexual tension in a fantastic way. The moment when Sienna finally challenges and pushes Hawke’s control, I could actually feel and sense the romantic tension between them which was very vivid, sensual and earthy.I also loved how their courtship evolved from the initial fiery confrontation from a hilarious scene where Hawke had to stop Sienna from inciting riot at a bar, to the playful chase and catch games that really brought out Hawke’s wolf. That ratcheted the tension up even further and really cements their relationship.I also loved how they resolved their issues and inner conflict especially about the fact that Sienna is younger and inexperienced compared to Hawke — I know there have been some comments about this pairing. But we learn that Sienna bearing a heavy burden due to her dangerous gift and her childhood has her matured much faster than a typical person. She also forces Hawke to face some truths about his past and engages with him to treat her as an equal and I loved how she turned the tables on him! Whilst Hawke shows Sienna that she can open up and share her fears with him.This leads up to them realising that they are equals and this is what makes it believable and makes this a top-notch romance. I know some people have had commented about the age gap but in this case, it wasn’t an issue and there was no power imbalances. I also loved how Sienna dealt with Hawke and his wolf, who is really intense and I loved how Nalini Singh conveys that aspect to the reader. I really felt she really captured this shifter side well because Hawke has lived with his wolf side more openly to help him being alpha unlike other shifters. This helped to define who they were and what it meant to be together. There is a key scene in the book which symbolises their relationship and it has become one of my favourites. They dance for the first time and both remark they are equals after talking about their Psy and Changeling aspects. The dancing scene reflected the way they had danced around together metaphorically and they have finally have stopped evading and confronting each other and realised that there is possibilities between them.Another aspect that I loved in the book was the secondary romance with Lara, the pack healer, and Walker, Sienna’s Uncle who we really get to know in this book. I loved how their relationship mirrored Sienna and Hawke’s romance which is fiery and full of inner and outer conflict. But with Walker and Lara their romance was much more subtle but no less intense and whew *fans self* sure can give Judd a run for his money with the icy brooding stakes.Kiss of Snow also focuses on plot threads about the upcoming war with the Psy Council which has fragmented with opposing factions. It is also the book that due to the buildup with all of the plots and schemes that Psy councillors have caused, their nefarious schemes come to a head which has major ramifications with the members and the changelings. There is also some interesting and plot threads that are introduced, which I think will start a new story arc, as well as new hints due to a new character that is introduced.Previous major characters appear. Sacha, Lucas, and Judd also have prominent roles, and there is some fantastic scenes involving them which I enjoyed immensely. In a lot of ways the minor subplot that involved Sacha and Lucas was a great way to sum up this previous story arc but also symbolises a new change and direction which mirrors the direction of the series.Kiss of Snow was a pure and utter joy to read. I inhaled this book and reread it again! This is how you tease and tantalize and reward readers for a long promise romance and it is done with real heartfelt emotions and passion. I was totally lost into this story and the characters, and I have to say this is the best book of the whole series. This is a wonderful steamy romance with the best build up of sexual tension I have read and jam packed with action and plot that the pace never stalls. I think this will be a firm fan fave and it definitely lives up to the promise, especially after that long wait. I will reread this again and again, and I hope we get more glimpses of Hawke and Sienna in future books because I wished this book never end.