30 November 2015

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Hey everyone,

I love this series. So when Nalini Singh releases a new book in her Psy-Challenging series I have high expectations. This was no different for Shards of Hope. Also the reason I didn’t read it sooner is because I wanted a solid block of undisturbed time so that I could absorb it properly.

The book:

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

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.

My thoughts:

This is definitely not a series someone can just jump into because with each new book Nalini Singh adds another brilliant layer to an already rich and complex world. Shards of Hope is no different. As two main characters are both prominent Arrows who helped lead the revolution in the squad, with Aden being its Leader, it is no surprise that Shards of Hope offer a more thorough look at the reclusive Arrow Squad. At the start of the knowledge arguably we are witness to a squad in chaos. One being held together through the squads love for Aden and the hope of something better. Even Zaira struggles to see her place in the new Arrow squad. Believing herself too damage and dangerous to ever truly let go of silence. 
“You deserve better.” Rough, broken words. 
“There’s no one better than you.” 
“I’ll be the best soldier you ever have,” she repeated in a shattered whisper. 
“I know.”
It would have to be enough.
Yet despite the amount of despair that is seeping into the squad in the wake of post-silence Aden and Zaira are still fighting. They're fighting against those who wish to harm the Arrows. They're fighting the Arrows who wish to harm themselves. But intriguingly they're fighting their feelings for each other. Best friends since, well I want to say childhood but honestly I don't think either Aden or Zaira had anything approaching a childhood. From the moment these two met at an Arrow camp they had a connection. Aden forced Zaira to believe in someone other than herself. As a child who knew only pain and suffering from others, Aden showed Zaira that she was someone worth caring about. That she was someone who had the ability to care about
We are not that anymore. We are not only assassins trained to die and to kill. We do not abandon the weak or the hurt. And we never, ever leave our own behind." That, he decided at that instant, would be the new motto of the squad, be what all trainee Arrows were taught. No Arrow is disposable. No Arrow is to be left behind.

In typical Nalini style Shards of Hope is fast-paced action packed romance that still packs an emotional punch. As the world progresses and the over-arching story unfolds we're seeing the once isolated society becoming more interconnected. When Aden and Zaira are captured at the start of the novel they're rescued by a small predatory changeling pack. Although neither have interacted before because of the growing connections between the Psy, the Changelings and the Humans there is already a level of trust. I felt that this concept of connection and trust between the three races was a key theme running throughout Shards of Hope. The idea of trust is also key to Zaira and Aden's relationship.

“You’re the best of us.” A potent statement. “The best. The strongest, the smartest, and the one with a heart stubborn enough that it resisted Silence and cared for the most damaged among us.” 
Having battled side by side for years working against the old Arrow regime Zaira and Aiden already trust each other with their lives. Now they have to trust each other to build a life together. This is particularly hard for Zaira and I loved reading her gradual character development. She went not trusting herself around anyone to being someone even the most vulnerable arrows saw as a safe person to confide. I loved how her caring nature towards though she loved contrasted with her ferocity when those she loves are threatened. This idea of creating an Arrow squad who are both part of the normal Psy community without losing their dangerous edge was an important theme throughout Shards of Hope. It’s a battle that played out both in Zaira and Aden's relationship and also for the wider Psy population.
“It just means that when you screw up,” Remi added, “you don’t lose your place in the family. You might get a reaming, might be punished, but you’ll always have a home where you’re loved and where you feel safe.”

As usual I loved the latest instalment in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series. The layered world building, passionate romance and the incredible twists and turns in the plot culminated to create a truly incredible book that I just couldn't stop reading. Shards of Hope isn't my favourite book in the series, partly because it didn't have enough of the Changelings, but it was still a five star read. I doubt fans of this series will be disappointed!
My rating:
Happy reading and see you next time!