Lieutenant Ramie Ashdyn is an anomaly, a person whose genetic makeup makes her stronger and smarter than the average human. She’s pledged her life to protect the Coalition, an alliance of thirteen planetary systems, but when a top secret operation turns bloody, she’s charged with treason and the brutal executions of her teammates.
The Coalition needs the information Ash’s team stole on their last mission, so they send in Commander Rhys “Rest in Peace” Rykus to get it. He’s the man who’s responsible for turning Ash into an elite soldier... and he’s a man who isn’t, never was, and never will be in love with the woman he trained. Or so he tells himself.
Ash wants nothing more than to clear her name and be the woman her former instructor wants her to be, but the enemy who killed her teammates did more than frame her for treason and murder: they telepathically silenced her mind, preventing her from saying anything that might point to the truth about what happened.
Now Ash is trapped and set to be executed, the truth dying with her. Unless she can prove her innocence. But taking that path could destroy the Coalition she’s sworn to preserve and protect...
Shades of Treason is a gritty, dark Science fiction / Fantasy novel with harsh tones and a definite thriller-like feeling as well.
My Shades of Treason review:
Political intrigue, betrayal, war. Shades of Treason is a fast-paced story where the two main characters, Ash and Rykus are like two planets, with all the other characters in orbit around them – reacting to their actions and trying to follow in their wake. The action happens both through discussions and thoughts as well as actual fights, hand-to-hand combat, scaling cliffs and shooting. Ash is strong, she’s not completely human, but called an anomaly. On top of that, she’s been given drugs to make her stronger, faster, and more cunning.
Shades of Treason pulls the reader straight into the action without preamble, and I loved that! My first meeting with Ash was realizing she was imprisoned for treason against the Coalition, and that she had her reasons for not telling anyone about what she knew. Nor did she try to defend herself in any way – and that really intrigued me! When her former trainer Rykus showed up to question her, she used her manipulation to try to get out of there, but he was just as strong-minded as she was.
The underlying political intrigue and a hunger for power propelled the story forward, and it quickly became obvious why Ash didn’t trust anyone – I wouldn’t have either. Between her earlier training, where she hadn’t only been given chemicals to enhance her, but where she had also been brain-washed and attuned to her trainer – in order to have to answer to his command, obey his orders – and the fact that it seemed that there were telepaths who had infiltrated the government, there really was no possible way to find out who was trustworthy and who wasn’t.
With the fast pace, the intriguing story and the complex characters, Shades of Treason worked for me on every level. The third person point of view and past tense made me feel like I had a good overview of the story, as well as the characters and their inner workings. If you’re into science fiction that bends the genres in every direction, you should definitely pick this one up!
Some of my favorite Shades of Treason quotes:
Ash lowered her gaze to the table, but Rykus’s stare drilled into her. She didn’t have to look up to imagine his expression. After a year of training under his command, she’d memorized the harsh set of his jaw and the dark, I’ve-bee-to-hell-and-back depths of his eyes.
Ash was exactly what they desired: beautiful, lethal, and supremely intelligent . More importantly, she was willing to submit to the loyalty training. Only the desperate agreed to got through that terror and give up their free will.
Maybe she should have lifted her blanket or patted the sleep-slab to make her point. His eyes didn’t narrow and his strong jaw didn’t clench. Not good.
Shades of Treason Giveaway:
About Sandy Williams
Sandy Williams has lived and breathed books all her life. When she was a teen, she was always the first to finish her class assignments so that she could read as much as possible before the bell rang. Her grades didn’t suffer (much), and she was able to enroll in Texas A&M University. She didn’t sneak in novels there, but her college lecture notes are filled with snippets of stories. After she graduated, she decided to turn those snippets into novels.
Sandy writes books with high-octane action adventure infused with a strong romantic element. She is best known for The Shadow Reader novels, an urban fantasy romance series about a human who can both see and track the fae. When she’s not reading or corralling her twin boys, she enjoys playing EuroGames like Dominion, 7 Wonders, and Agricola.
Shades of Treason excerpt:
“Please.” Ash’s voice was so raw, so striated with emotional pain, that Rykus wasn’t sure if the jolt he felt through his heart was her will breaking or his.
She had never uttered that word in his presence before. He was almost certain she’d never used it in her life. It wasn’t part of her vocabulary. It would have been seen as a weakness on her home planet, just as it would have been a weakness on Caruth.
But the word was a submission, complete and irrevocable. All her walls were down. She was pleading for his help.
She was pleading for his help, and he was hurting her.
He released the pressure on her arm.
A moment passed. Then another. Then Ash’s green eyes opened.
She stared at him.
He stared at her.
It felt as if he’d been sucked into another dimension, one where the loyalty training had flipped the axis of the universe. Instead of her being bound by his wishes, it was the other way around. She held his free will in her hands. He could feel it missing in the center of his chest. His heart beat within the hollow space, lost, unable to orient itself, but one command, one word from her, could make everything right again.
Her lips parted. No sound came out, though he waited for it, waited for some command he could carry out for her.
Is this what it felt like to be a loyalty trained anomaly? He wasn’t in control. He wasn’t thinking reasonably. If he had been, he wouldn’t have been this aware of how her body fitted with his. He wouldn’t have been able to picture himself lowering his mouth to hers. He could almost taste her. He wanted to taste that beauty mark to the right of her lips.
He allowed himself one weakness. He drew his thumb over the small, dark spot. It was real. As real as the woman lying beneath him. He’d seen Ash naked once before. He’d tried not to focus on her body back then, but he wanted to focus on it now. He wanted to take his time surveying every inch of it.
And he wanted her beneath him, vulnerable to his touch, his presence. Ash was always in control of herself. He wanted to see her shatter…
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