Shards of Hope
Psy-Changeling Book 14
Author: Nalini Singh
Page count: 483pp
Release date: 4th June 2015
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
I’ve been reading Singh’s Psy-Changeling series now for quite a few years, and have been engaged with it from the start, but if you’re picking this up for the first time, as a starting point, you will manage, but this brief pointer will help.
It’s the future; 2080s, and there are three races on earth; changelings (or humans who shift into various types of animals such as wolf, tiger, panther).
Psy (pretty much short for psychic, this race also has sub-strands (E – Empaths) for example and Tks, who have telekinetic power. And humans.
Back in the good old 1970s, some of the Psy were prone to madness and there were Psy serial killers. To control the insanity the Psy-Net was established- creating Silence. A cold existence in which Psy are punished for having or demonstrating any kind of emotions. They can be reconditioned for such a crime.
So, that’s the stage set for the adventures to come over the first twelve to thirteen books. But Silence was never foolproof and by book 13 it has fallen, and Psy are trying to cope living with emotion. This would be impossible if not for the mating bonds already created between Psy, Changelings and humans, which started with Lucas of the DarkRiver pack and Psy Sacha Duncan in book one.
In book fourteen, society is somewhat unstable following the fall of Silence, but the Ruling Coalition are attempting to work with the Psy-force The Arrows, to police the world.
No one really knows why Aden became leader of the Arrows who bit by bit escaped the cruel control of former councillor Ming Le Bon, after all, he only registers mid-range on the Psy-plane, and is a medic, despite being a formidable physical opponent. But best friend Vasic, recently mated to Ivy, knows the truth about him. He has indescribable powers not yet seen, though the Arrows truly follow him, because of his loyalty to them. He will fight for every single one of them. The same way he fought for the broken, beat child, Zaira, he met twenty years ago, as a boy.
When Aden and Zaira wake up in a room, both battered and bloody unable to use their Psy powers to call for help, they know they have to escape. So they fight their way out in true Arrow style and find themselves near to death, collapsed in a hostile environment; on the land of a changeling leopard pack ran by Remi. And they must convince Remi to help them survive and return home, because their abduction is just the beginning of a plot to overthrow the Arrows.
Amidst the action, and the sub-plots, is the budding, yet fractured romance between Aden and Zaira, which is the heart of the book. Like many romance heroines, Zaira is damaged, having been tortured by her parents as a child before becoming an Arrow, but where the heroine falls back, Zaira steps forward and fights, but it is this anger, this rage, which she is afraid of. This burning fire is a barrier between her and Aden, so it will take some perseverance to battle through.
The romance, as always with Nalini Singh is believable and passionate, growing in the right way.
But in this book, a whole new world opens up to the reader.
The conspiracy behind the abductions is explored, other races are introduced, new ventures, new relationships, new plot-strands, new futures. And it’s bloody exciting!
Fast-paced, full of action, erotically charged love scenes and humour, this book takes the rule book and throws it out.
It ends on a brand new high, and a new story arc, which I’m sure will continue to grow.
I particularly want to see how Beatrice Gault develops, how the children of all races grow, how romance blossoms between the various factions and I want to sea more if the BlackSea pack.
There is so much more to enjoy here, but in this instance, for the nature of nostalgia (netting old characters again) and the exciting future it foretells, and the sensitive handling of child abuse Shards of Hope scores 5/5.