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Book Review: Caressed by Ice

Brenna is a wolf. A changeling. But she’s also the sole survivor of a sadistic Psy serial killer. Which makes it very odd that she feels drawn to another ice cold Psy, Judd Lauren. But when death strikes at the very heart of the pack, Brenna knows that there is no one else she can trust. No one else she wants. And so she’s going to have him. Even though he is an ice cold Psy. Judd is a Psy. A telekinetic. And one of the elites know as an Arrow. He used to work for the council, but when the council decided his family was slated for rehabilitation–a gentle way to refer to death of personality– he knew that he had to defect. Now a guest of the wolves, Judd works to disrupt the rotten core of the Psy. Even as he must embrace the Silence himself. Because if he allows himself to feel, bad things could happen™. And he could never live with himself if he hurts someone he loved. A small group which now includes a very persistent wolf.

So…I mostly like this book. Kinda. Sorta. It’s complicated.

Here’s some trigger warnings: discussion of sexual assault, discussion of suicide, discussion of torture, ableism, stalking, child endangerment, and more that I’m likely forgetting since I read this book months ago.

Straight out, I love Judd. And now having read the rest of the series, I still love Judd. Judd is great. And this book introduces so many great characters and concepts. But… Yeah.

So going into the book, I was intrigued by Judd’s character. I thought his history was interesting. The fact that he was an Arrow… one of the Psy Council’s assassins… fascinating. We also got to learn more of why the Lauren family defected and were willing risk so much to get out of the Psy Council’s sphere of influence. I also was fully invested in Judd’s self imposed quest.

But in a way, I felt this book spent a bit too much time on seeding the threads for future plots. I mean there’s the ghost… which the foreshadowing there is well done. There’s the whole issue with the Arrows. There’s the stuff with the Psy Council. There’s the stuff with Hawke’s dead mate. So much stuff. So while I liked Judd and I liked the overarching plot of the series, I was less impressed with Brenna. Some of the information regarding her came way too late. I also didn’t like how pushy she was. While I understand her reasons, Judd makes her feel safe. I’m just never fond of somebody who doesn’t respect somebody else’s no. It doesn’t matter who the person is… no means no. And as someone who was assaulted they should really get that. It felt hella hypocritical. And it dropped the book a star for me.

I did like that we got to see more from some of the earlier couples and the POVs of other characters including Kaleb and Faith. That said, I’ve noticed a tendency in these books to head hop randomly and it is very random and it is distracting. Additionally I did not feel that the antagonist was foreshadowed well. The first book did it better. Heck the whole “main” plot of the book was poorly done. It was a repeat of books 1 and 2.

Also, spoiler alert, I didn’t love that Brenna has a disability now because of her trauma… which okay… that’s fine. But it gets better by the end of the book because of the “Oh My God, Judd’s Magical Healing Cock of Doom”. It’s ableistic. And it drops this book another star.

This book is also when I started noticing two things… 1. the author’s tendency to have EVERYONE bite their partner’s lips while kissing. (Which for me is a thing I do not like when kissing but YMMV) And 2. A sameness in plots and characters.

For instance… so far all of the heroines are “damaged” in some way. And all of the heroes are “alpha/Dominant”. Each of the books has introduced a new and unique Psychic Type (Empath, Foreseer, Tk-Cell). Each of the books has dealt with a serial killer. It’s gotten so bad that a friend @meiedwards/ @backwardsandinhighheels​ made a spreadsheet to keep track of some of this.

I’ll be sharing snippets of this spread sheet as I go… I’m also documenting if the book is series arc necessary or not.

That said I did enjoy the book mostly. But I had enough problems with it that I can only give this… Three Stars.

If this is your jam, you can get it here.

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