Monday, July 27, 2015

A Perfect 10:

SHARDS OF HOPE - Nalini Singh A Perfect 10 
Psy-Changeling , Book 14 
Berkley 
ISBN: 978-0-425-26403-4 
June 2015 
Paranormal Romance 

2082 

Even though his psychic talents are mid-level at best, Aden Kai is, without dispute, the leader of the Arrow Squad.  Formed to enforce the Silence Protocol when it was first instituted, the Arrows now, post-Silence,are still protecting their race and the world at large.  Aden has fought, not just as an Arrow, but for them, not willing to leave anyone behind, even those deemed useless by their former leader, Councilor Ming LeBon. 

When Aden wakes up locked in a cell with a critically injured Arrow commander, Zaira Neve, his only thought is to escape.  With both of their psychic abilities blocked, neither can call for help, and if he doesn't get Zaira medical attention fast she will die.  When they escape their captors, it leaves them unprotectedduring a storm in the wilderness belonging to an unknown changeling Pack. Aden will do whatever it takes to ensure both his and Zaira's survival – both because it is necessary to find out who is targeting the Arrows, and because a world without Zaira is not a world Aden wants to live in. 

For most, the fall of Silence is a good thing, but Zaira knows that Silence is the only thing keeping her from insanity.  Isolated and tortured to the point that at age seven, Zaira viciously murdered her captors – her parents – she knows that she is one of the Psy beyond saving.  Zaira will do anything for Aden, the only person who has ever cared about her, but is she ready to embrace the future that Aden wants? 

SHARDS OF HOPE, the fourteenth Psy-Changeling novel, tells the story of two deadly warriors in a changing world.  Arrows are Psy with high level psychic abilities with a tendency towards violence, so many of the Arrows have been abandoned by their families.  In Aden's case, his parents were both Arrows, so he became one in spite of his lower level abilities.  Their goal was to create a rebellion that would remove the Arrows from Council control, and his parents engineered their own “deaths”, removing themselves from public life and leaving Aden as a sleeper agent in their cause.  While Aden's true power is so deeply hidden that only a select group is aware of it, his true gift is his dedication to the squad. He refuses to leave an Arrow behind, and often puts their needs ahead of his own, creating such a bond of loyalty among the squad that they would follow him anywhere.  Zaira is one of his most dedicated commanders, and has been since the second time Aden freed her from restraints.  They met as children, and Aden's belief that she is worth caring about is all that keeps the madness inside her at bay.  She chooses Silence for that same reason, but in this novel, all of her beliefs will be challenged. 

This isn't going to be your typical romance story, because Aden and Zaira are soldiers who have been taught to live without emotion since their infancies.  Their relationship isn't warm and fuzzy or one of overwhelming lust, but based on a trust so deep that it's difficult to fathom, and a need that is impossible to ignore.  In the midst of learning how to deal with emotion and trying to change things within the squad in order to give them a way of dealing with their evolving world, a new threat rises, one that is trying to destroy not just the Arrows, but the world itself. 

Fans of the series who have been waiting for Aden's story will not be disappointed with SHARDS OF HOPE, as Zaira is a perfect match for the warrior strong enough to hold together a group of assassins.  Many familiar characters will make an appearance, and a few new people are introduced, including a few scene-stealing children.  An enthralling story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, SHARDS OF HOPE is one of my favorite books so far this year, and deserving of a Perfect 10. 

Jennifer Bishop

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