Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Shards Of Hope Shards Of Hope:
Psy-Changeling #14
by Nalini Singh

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jan Butterworth
June Young


Aden and Zaira wake up in a dark cell, with their psychic abilities gone and, in Zaira’s case, seriously wounded. Breaking free from the prison where their gaolers are both human and psy, they find themselves t the mercy of the elements and far from civilisation. To survive they must make it to the hidden lair of a predatory changeling pack that doesn't welcome outsiders.

A target has been put on the back of the Arrow squad and the leader, Aden, abducted to give up information, while Zaira was taken to show the world the squad isn’t invincible. 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 as 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.

The plot was very complex, full of twists and turns and kept me enthralled till the very end. It set the scene for upcoming challenges in the post-Silence world. I really liked seeing seeing so many of the characters from the previous books and finding out more about them, like the water changelings, as well as totally new characters, like Remy and the RainFire pack.

It was so cute when Aden is figuring out how to alpha and watching clueless Arrows trying to figure out kids – changeling and psy – is sweet. The Arrows finally have a chance at life and Aden is determined they will become a family.

Can’t wait for #15!

- Jan Butterworth

Shards of Hope is the fourteenth novel in author Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and it is awesome. I love it. This is paranormal romance at its best with its mix of romance and science fiction, and rolled in with a suspenseful political thriller to go with the plot. Ms. Singh’s romances always go way beyond "boy gets girl after some complications are dealt with". It is why I keep reading them; I enjoy the mix of hot romance, good science fiction and clever political machinations that has evolved as the series has progressed.

Shards of Hope is Aden and Zaira’s story. Aden has made brief appearances in many of the previous books in this series, and we got a glimpse of Zaira in Shield of Winter. Both are Arrows, trained from a very young age by the Arrow Squad, the protection and if needs be, the enforcement arm of the Psy race. Aden and Zaira have known each other since they were both children in training, but have never been free to pursue their love for one another until now; they have the choice.

When I first started reading this series, most of the romances involved the Changelings, humans who can change into animals, who by nature were passionate. As the political climate changed, the Psy, who are humans with physic abilities, also begin to change to pursue love. Each romance is different, depending on the situation and the couple. After fourteen books all the romances have stayed fresh, alive and vibrant, possibly because Ms. Singh has three races of humans to write about in the Psy-Changeling world. They also have regular humans, so there is plenty of variety and combinations, as well as issues. However, I really liked the recent Psy romances from the previous two books because they have the most political storylines.

Shards of Hope is another action-packed political thriller with an enduring love story at the forefront. We get to know Aden, and he has a very big secret, and it is a good one. We get to see a female Arrow as a main character in action, and Zaira is extremely good at what she does. We get to meet a new predatory Changeling pack, RainFire, as well as get more exposure to the secretive BlackSea changelings. Many of the couples from the previous books make an appearance or get mentioned. There is a lot going on in this world as all three races adjust to the political changes that occurred in the two previous books.

I think this book can be read by itself, without needing to read the previous books, but this is subject to how you read and what is important to you. The author does summarise things very concisely without boring established readers, but I think it is enough for new readers, and there is now a Cast of Characters listing. This book is an excellent addition to the Psy-Changeling universe, as we see Aden emerge as the leader of the Arrows.

-June Young

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