*I received a free copy of Shards of Hope from Tantor Media via Tantor Media. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy-Changeling #14
Published by Tantor Media on 2 June 2015
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
Length: 16 h
Source: Tantor Media
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.
Shards of Hope is an amazing story, brought to life by a truly great narrator. Zaira and Aden are very intriguing characters to follow, and this story had so much depth.
My Shards of Hope review:
Shards of Hope is a very intense installment in the Psy-Changeling series, and this was actually the very first time I’ve listened to a book without having read and loved it before delving into the audio. It was such a great surprise to discover a story through the voice of a very skilled narrator, who brought both the story and all the characters to life in a way that made me feel even more as if I was a part of the story than when I read myself. The story-telling is very much Singh, she definitely knows how to write a tale that makes me engrossed, especially when that story is set in a universe I have already visited several times, and Shards of Hope had me in the middle of the action from the beginning. It starts out pretty tense, and that is something that stays throughout the whole narrative.
There is a plot-line that was set up several books ago that continued in Shards of Hope, and there were at least two smaller plots and storylines that were fully developed during this installment as well. When I was about half way through, I suddenly realized I hadn’t yet read the book just prior to this one, but that wasn’t a problem at all. The intricate way this series works still worked anyway, and most of the characters were already known, as they had minor parts in earlier stories.
One of the things I love in the Psy-Changleing series is that there are humans, changelings and psy. The psy have mental powers that can show as telepathy, telekinesis, extra strength, and they usually heal faster than humans, and sometimes even the changelings. Because their powers are mental, those who are born with very strong powers are often sent away from their families when they are small, sometimes after accidentally killing or hurting their family members because of tempter tantrums. This is also one of the reasons why psy have been ‘silent’ for a long time, however in Shards of Hope, silence had fallen. Learning to feel, touch, taste and smell things that they had not been familiar in the past was a big part of the underlying storyline. Both Aden and Zaira were insecure when it came to sharing their feelings, even if they realized they had feelings before silence fell as well. And when they got more confident, their thought process was very clinical – which is normal! – and made me giggle quite a bit as well.
Even with all their mental and physical strengths, Aden and Zaira finally also understood that they needed to be able to just be themselves at time, and from that point of view, their abduction was actually a blessing in disguise. Shards of Hope did start out as being pretty hopeless, but as the story moved on, that little glimmer became something more, and I think calling that a shard of hope was very apt. Hope can be dangerous for some people, and that was the case when it came to psy in general, and the arrows in particular. And while there was a lot of action and adventure going on, I think the most important themes of the story were trust and also love and respect. Especially because a covert group seemed to be playing shaky allies against each other, adding to the intrigue and the uneasiness of all.
Expertly written, in third person past tense but with a narrator who knows more than the main characters, I felt very close to both Aden and Zaira. And I have to say that Angela Dawe did an amazing job as well! She brought on different voices for the dialogues, and her storytelling sucked me in as well. So with the mix of beautiful writing and an expert narrator, Shards of Hope was brought to very high levels for me!
Some of my favorite Shards of Hope quotes:
Who the fuck bought that land, and why?
He kept getting back to the girl; she even looked like the female victims he preferred when he had a choice. Every other kind of victim was a mere snack – this specific type fed his hunger.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: