Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Title: Shards of Hope
Series: Psy-Changeling
Author: Nalini Singh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: December 29, 2015
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 0425264041
ISBN-13: 9780425264041

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably Zaira.

My rating:

Aden Kai, the leader of the Arrows, and one of his most trusted Commanders, Zaira Neve, wake up on a concrete floor of a bunker in the middle of nowhere, their psychic abilities blocked. Zaira knows that with her bleeding, Aden won’t get far, but the man is determined not to leave her behind. He never has so far, he’s not about to start now.
Escaping into the unknown forest, the two must rely on each other to stay alive, but that might not be enough...

After a rather disappointing previous book, I’m glad Aden’s story came back swinging.
The man was never really on my radar. Yes, he’s the leader of the Arrows, but he was always somewhere on the sidelines, quiet and watching, not really making a lasting impression, except as Vasic’s friend. Boy, was I wrong.

I loved him in his story, which is how it should be (and which makes Vasic’s such a strange occurrence). He was quiet and watching, yes, and also steady, a grounding force for the rest of the squad and his friends, with a protective streak a mile wide, stubborn, strong, resilient, and determined. Determined to do what was best for the squad, and determined to have a partner by his side. A partner of his choosing, and he’d chosen well. But as determined he was about having her, he was prepared to have her however she wanted to be had. Never on his terms, it was always her choice.
And Zaira also chose well. How could she not. And how could they even stay apart, when they were made for each other, balancing each other out. It was wonderful reading a love story that has taken its time through years, not one of those love-at-first-sight deals. Aden and Zaira knew each other, they trusted each other, they’ve been friends and partners for years, which made the transition to lovers, despite everything that was going on around them, and inside Zaira (with her being “broken” and insane), that much easier, that much smoother.
They fit, and they fixed each other, anchoring each other. I just loved it.

The rest was the usual Psy-Changeling fare with conspiracies, dangers, blood, and mayhem, and although I liked the more laid back suspense plots from the beginning of the series, with just one danger lurking around the corner, this vast conspiracy was chilling and intense, keeping us guessing, leaving us dangling at the end of the book, desperate (at least me) to know more.
I guess I’ll learn everything in time.
The action was also as gripping and intense as we’ve come to expect from Ms Sing. Vividly depicted, chilling in their intensity. Especially that last fight in the park (I loved how the ring pulled her back from the brink), and the goose-bumps inducing demonstration of Aden’s true power. Very Matrix-y.

Once more everything worked. The characters (old and new with promises of future stories), the relationships (old and new), the plot, the resolution and the loose ends, the action and romance. I like this post-Silence world, I really do.


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