This book reminded me why the Psy-Changeling series is one of my absolute favorites. Nalini Singh accomplishes several things here. First and foremost, she creates a satisfying and emotional romance between the enigmatic Arrow leader Aden and his damaged fellow soldier Zaira. But she also sets up a fantastic new arc to carry the series forward, with a new mysterious villain; and she introduces a wealth of new characters who can create a fertile breeding ground for future stories. Pretty impressive.
I’ll get to the bigger picture stuff in a moment, but first I want to focus on the central romance. Aden is one of the last characters I have been waiting to see featured in the series and Singh did not disappoint me. There is so much more to him than we ever knew. What is interesting about him is that he has never been entirely what he seems. He’s never really been Silent. He’s never really been average. He just hides himself very, very well. I loved watching Singh unwrapping his layers. But perhaps the very best surprise of the book is the heroine, Zaira.
As the story begins, Aden and Zaira have been kidnapped. They’re both injured. Their Psy abilities are blocked. Someone is holding them in a compound, but even injured, Arrows will not be prey. They escape, but it takes some time before they can get back home –and through their trials, we see that there is already a very deep bond between these two. It’s not a romance yet, but they are bound by their past, their mutual trust and an emotion that neither has tried to name before now.
Zaira is so very damaged, even more so than the other Arrows, who endured abandonment and torture to make it where they are today. She was driven to kill her own parents as a child and has stuffed her anger, hurt and dysfunction so far down, she appears Silent. But deep inside, she knows how volatile she is. She considers herself a monster, unworthy to be Aden’s mate. He will never settle for anyone else, though. So we watch their tentative dance as they step toward one another, then she steps back. He steps forward and around it goes. Normally that would drive me crazy, but I believed in Zaira’s fear. Her monster is real and she loves Aden too much to destroy him.
I may have cried once or twice. Or maybe three times. It’s just that her wonder at his love is so bittersweet. Her realization of her worth through his eyes really touched me. I loved them together.
Meanwhile, these two are working to drill down on who took them and why. The plot keeps widening until we see all the major players from the series to this point. As always, the world building is stellar. And the pace builds and builds to a perfect climax where we see the true glory that is Aden Kai. I couldn’t have asked for more.
I can’t wait to see where Singh takes the series next. She has done a great job transitioning us to the next arc. It’s going to be another great ride.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Shards of Hope
by Nalini Singh
Release Date: June 2, 2015