Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Title: Shards of Hope
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling, Book 14
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 2 June 2015

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races...

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 broken...like Zaira.

Nalini Singh tied up the over-arcing storyline for the Psy/Changeling series in Heart of Obsidian, two books ago. She then wrapped a nice epilogue on the plot in Shield of Winter. One would be forgiven for going into this book thinking that Shards of Hope couldn't possibly live up to the bar that Nalini Singh has set for herself. Though I was desperate for Aden's story, and seeing more of the Arrows, I wasn't sure what to expect from the plot - something that I'd always greatly enjoyed in this series.

Shards of Hope takes the changed world and ups the ante. There are lingering threats that still get page time, and there are new threats that are clearly going to take us into the next plot-arc. From the first moments, when Aden and Zaira wake up captured, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who this new, insidious, enemy is. Anxious to know where the world was heading and if those characters that I've come to love so dearly were going to be able to come out on top, continuing to build and shape the world in the best possible way.

There is a lot going on in this book. A LOT. And that's why it's a little hard for me to talk about the romance between Aden and Zaira. I loved their moments, but more than that I loved seeing Zaira figure out a way to actually live in this new world, not just survive. Plenty of times they had me near tears and I became so invested in them that I couldn't stop turning pages. However, everything else that was happening - and I don't want to say too much - kind of distracted from it as well. I don't mind that because in the end I really read this series for the wonderful world, real characters and engrossing plot.

With each new revelation, I became more and more invested in what was happening in this new world. I need to know who is pulling the strings. Is it someone that we know and loathe already, or a new player(s) come to wreak havoc?

I loved seeing the glimpses of characters we know and love - they fit in with the storyline and weren't just thrown in there for no reason at all. Nikita, in particular, has become a character that I'm anxious to see more about. She's intriguing, in the way that "villainous" characters are. Even more intriguing when taking into account the minute changes in her outward actions - that perhaps, just maybe, betray a deeper well of emotion that we might have originally imagined.

As I said at the beginning of this review, one could have been forgiven for going into this book not expecting Ms. Singh to pull it off. However, the same can't be said upon finishing it. One major change has been achieved, but like real life the story doesn't end there. There's tons more conflict to be fought and victories to be won. I, for one, can't wait to read what she has in store for us next.

Grade: A-

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