Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling, book 14) by Nalini Singh
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.
It's so surprising to find out that a romance between two Arrows can feel so sweet and innocent. While I found myself a hair's breath away from being all consumed with fiery passion, I found myself happy to be in the middle of an adorable romance. Which is funny because Zaira is is one tough cookie, and refers to herself as a monster throughout the book. She's intense, scary sometimes, and thinks a bit differently. But I stand by what I say. The romance between both Aden and Zaira was adorable.
Maybe that's because both never got to experience true childhoods and with both their personalities they can see their love—and one another—in childish wonder. Especially since they both see the dark side of the world. The terrors and horrors. Zaira's selfishness and fire balances out Aden's over protectiveness and selfless care of others. That's not to say their not both great people. Zaira is amazing and I have to be honest the way she kept saying she was a monster got old fast. Because it's clear that she is a wonderful person and she cares deeply about others. Maybe it's just the contrast of how Silence made her believe that by defending herself as a child that she was the person that was evil. I liked that Aden pushed her and let her know that he wanted her. However, it was Zaira observing her own actions that made her think that maybe she wasn't a monster.
Shards of Hope excellently displays the world after Silence has fallen and the Psy are taking tentative steps into their new hope. With the Empaths at the center of it, and the Arrows finding there footing in the world. It's a beautiful thing to see Aden's dreams for his Arrows. How he wants them to be more. To be a family. Much how Snowdancer and DarkRiver are. It's haunting and touching to see how not only the children find hope and a new life, but the senior Arrows. It was fabulous to see the children become children. And the adult Arrows start to thaw out. To see some romances spark up! To just see the joy. Even as some very dark events haunt the squad as Aden tries to lead them into the brighter future.
This book is definitely an intro into the new world that the Psy-Changeling books are going. A stepping stone as a new enemy appears on the horizon. The Consortium, a group that mean trouble for all three races. They're crafty, and while are heroes come out on top this round it's clear that the Consortium is quite the enemy. They’ve learned from Pure Psy and the Council's mistakes. It's also really fun trying to guess who might be the mastermind behind it all. (Come on we all had fun speculating who the Ghost could be, even after knowing 100% who it was.) It was like watching a crazy, and more exciting, game of chess. There were some devastating moments.
Oh, and RainFire is introduced. A new group of cats who are trying to setup and build their own pack! I loved how they helped inspire Aden and became allies. The members presented are characters I hope to see in future books. I have my fingers crossed.
Overall Singh does it again. I know a lot of readers are complaining about how it's basic romance setup. You know the two characters involved are going to end up together by the end of the book. However, Singh puts so much emotion into it I never get tired. Each new couple are their own people. No two characters can be mistaken for the other. Plus the world building is so fantastic that it not only influences the characters, but is influenced by them. I love how intricate the world is. How Singh steers her world and creates the politics! Not to mention the dynamics between humans, Psy, and Changelings. It's all so believable, and I'm invested. Shards of Hope is very much a book of hope. For those who believe they're damaged and can no longer be human, the hope for a brighter future, the hope that the three races can truly interact together, and hope itself. I enjoy how much attention and importance Singh's books are about family and friends. The different aspects of them. Those values and ideas definitely shine here. Bravo! This series, and the world, is not running out of steam.
(For me the amount of characters and all the cameos are a treat! I love seeing all my beloved characters come back. However, there are a lot of characters and sometimes the guide at the front is not enough. Check out Wicked Scribe's character guide if you need a brush up. I know sometimes my brain stalls out. Especially with a year in-between installments.)
Sexual Content: Sexual humor, some villains threaten rape, and some bedroom scenes.
4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.