I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...
Title: Shards of Hope
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling Series #14
Publication Date: June 4th 2015
Synopsis: "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 civilisation. 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 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, protext the only person 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."
My thoughts: I have tried this series before, and have not had much luck. Granted, every time I try this series it is one of the later books, so I think that may be a bit of a no-no, as I find it really hard to gauge who is who and what is actually going on.
This book started off no different. I had no idea what was going on. But the characters were intriguing and so I stuck with it. The development of Aden and Zaira's characters and their relationship was extremely interesting, and I found myself thinking about it occasionally when I wasn't reading. I was also fascinated by the changeling characters and their concepts of family and pack, and that has made me interested in maybe going back and reading from the start, to see if I can find more out about them.
However, I had quite a few issues with this book. Occasionally it felt like every single character in this entire world had a shocking and traumatic past which was mentioned more than once - with Zaira, it felt like it came back every single time she was on the page or in the scene. There is only so many times that you can read about someone's horrific, abusive past, and their murderous tendencies. I understand that maybe Singh wanted to make it authentic, perhaps try to reflect the obsessive mind or indicate lingering issues with post-traumatic stress, but I know little about these conditions and it ended up feeling tedious to read about it often, if not a little bit triggering for me.
There are other storylines going on within this book, of which I will say little so that I don't give anything away, but to be honest I think I could have dealt without them. The storyline following Aden and Zaira was interesting enough for me, and I think the book could have benefited from being made a lot shorter and having less going on - I found myself kind of skim-reading the other parts of the book so I could get back to the main couple in question.
Overall, this book has made me interested in starting the series 'properly', which I think is a good result, but I also wasn't overall impressed with it.
I received an unsolicited review copy of this book from Hachette (thank you!).
You would like this book if: You have been following the psy-changeling series and want to know about Aden and Zaira; you enjoy darker paranormal romance books with damaged characters.
Tea to drink while reading this book: something dark with a bit of bite, maybe a nice rich Russian Caravan.
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