Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #14
Published: June 2, 2015 by Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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.
It hurts me to say this but I didn’t really connect with this book and it’s probably my least favorite of the whole series. The overall world building was interesting as always and I’m really digging into this new Post-Silence world and I love seeing all these established characters dealing with the changes. There’s a lot of setup in this book for the books coming in the “second season” or the Trinity Series. We get to see more of the BlackSea changelings which I find absolutely fascinating and I hope this is a preview of how much we’ll see of them in the future.
I liked Aden but he also felt a bit flat to me, like so much of his personality is still being suppressed. We know he cares deeply for his Arrows, that his loyalty to Vasic is air-tight, and that he truly wants Zaira by his side in any way he can get her. However, all those feelings come across as muted and this makes it hard to really “feel” Aden as a real person. I was intrigued by his abilities and how he had kept them secret all this time but I wish we had gotten more hints along the way so that it didn’t come out of left field.
“Every white knight needed a deadly black sword at his back.”
The real struggle for me was Zaira and the big reason this is 3 instead of 4 stars. I just couldn’t connect with her and frankly, I think Singh did too good of a job convincing me of Zaira’s damaged nature. Every time she would express concern over her rage getting out and hurting Aden, I worried as well, and not in a good way. Her obsession with Aden was also a little unnerving and it’s didn’t seem particularly healthy. I kept thinking how readers would feel if Zaira’s obsessive behavior for Aden was swapped and it was Aden acting this way. I don’t think readers would be very happy if it was Aden who was so aggressive, so possessive, so angry toward anyone who shows an interest, and if it were Aden completely losing it in the desert scene.
I loved Remi and the RainFire pack and I really hope — fingers crossed — that we see more of them, please! I also loved watching The Valley be created and seeing Aden and Zaira interact with the Arrow children who are desperate for acceptance and a gentle hand. BlackSea was as intriguing as always and I want to know all their secrets.
**Reader Safety: Hero and Heroine abused in the past (referenced, off page)
3 stars – it was good
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