All good things should come to an end
Singh, Nalini. Kiss of Snow. London: Hachette. 2011.
Waning interest in the Psy-Changeling series meant it was quite some time before I got around to reading the latest installment, the most-eagerly anticipated in the series amongst fans. In the lead-up to the writing and publication of Kiss of Snow, Hawke’s (the SnowDancer wolf alpha) book had been the most talked about on Ms. Singh’s blog. Despite hints of another love interest for Sienna Lauren in the form of a young cub, Kit, in the previous books, I had not much doubt that ultimately Hawke would end up with Sienna. It’d be a very brave writer to disappoint rabid fans that way. (Sort of if Harry Potter ended up dead, methinks.)
I’ll have to admit the Hawke-Sienna pairing had never fascinated me as much as it seemed to have other fans of the series. Perhaps that is why, to me, Kiss of Snow had been a good read, but not a keeper. After nine books in the same vein, I have begun to find the series, sorry to say, tiresome. In some part, this is also due to the unvarying characteristics of the heroes. They are, without variance, alpha males (although only two were actual ALPHAs *snicker*) and it seems I have reached my limit for alpha males somewhere along Book 4: Mine to Possess (Clay’s book). I had such high hopes for Book 9: Play of Passion, with Drew starting out less dominant than Indigo but, no dice. I’d like to see a beta-male, alpha-female pairing, but I guess 1. those books won’t sell 2. Ms. Singh herself seems to favour alpha males (a preference detectable from her first books for Harlequin). While I understand the appeal of a dominant male, for a series this long, I think there should have been some (heck, I’ll take just one) variation within the society. Instead, such pairings are mentioned in passing when a story like that could shed more light to the world Ms. Singh builds so expertly.
So, you can sort of guess which direction the romance in Kiss of Snow takes: alpha male hero fights his feelings for heroine for various reasons blah…blah…blah…till happy ending. Yawn. Thank you, Ms. Singh, by the way, for chucking all the steamy bits to the end, enabling easy skipping of the sex scenes. Sex that felt almost like an afterthought. Sigh. I don’t mind sex in romances, per se, but, unlike the earlier books where sex -while pushing towards an x-rating- is integral to the development of the relationships, the sex in Kiss of Snow felt tacked on; a bone thrown to the fans.
The only thing that saved the book (as a romance, but more on that later) was the Lara-Walker romantic sub-plot. My only complaint is the inevitable ‘plus alpha’ formula; Walker Lauren had been portrayed as a kind, gentle man who loves his kids (and children in general). But apparently, being male and a teacher is not sexy enough. No, he has to have taught *spoiler*Arrow children because they are, like, deadly and military, you know?.
Le sigh. Never mind that. At least the romance between Walker and Lara was emotionally satisfying.
That being said, while as a romance, Kiss of Snow did not rock my boat, the book did succeed in continuing the story of the Psy-Changeling war. I do not often say this but this is one series that could have been better served as a non-romance. I do want to find out what happens next in the war, the changes escalating violence will have on the Psy society, the Psy themselves (loved the Sascha-Nikita interaction in KoS!). I just wish we can get there faster, without being side-tracked by boring romances.
On the other hand, this should satisfy Hawke-Sienna fans. Me, I’d probably read the next book only when it crosses my path. (Unless it’s Nikita’s story. Unless the hero is another alpha male. Maybe.)