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.
Nalini Singh has described ‘Shards of Hope’ as the end of an arc . She wrote:
“I’ve consistently been using “tangent” books to describe these future stories, but I’ve decided it still sounds too much like “spin-off” and that’s not what I’m thinking. The books, characters, and storylines are too interlinked for that, with the second arc being as coherent and as connected as the first one. I think it’s better and clearer to simply say we’ll be opening up a new story arc, going on a new journey in this world.
Think of it like seasons of television, where a series has a strong background story/plot. We’re coming to the conclusion of season one, but watch out – because something in that conclusion will lead directly into season two.”
With a large number of storylines to close through the course of the story, I’ll admit to some trepidation about whether or not Aden and Zaira’s story would get short shrifted. It’s happened before (not with Nalini) but with authors whose ability to write a strong series I had never questioned before the book where it went awkward.
Now I realize that I shouldn’t ever doubt an author who’s previous treatment of intricate plots and beautiful worldbuilding never came at the expense of character development.
Why? Because Shards of Hope was an amazing book at every single level. It continued Nalini’s pattern of choosing the kind of couple that would allow her to tell the elements of the larger story she needed to tell without sacrificing the personal story. Of course Aden would be the hero of the story that would begin to deal with the organizational aspects of the end of silence and the Arrow’s place within it.
But finding the arrows’ place in a post silence world finally requires Nalini to speak of something she’d been referring to through the rest of the series: the kind of psy silence was created for, the ones seemingly unable to function in a world where silence does not exist. They are either damaged or possess an extremely dangerous psychic ability. Now, it is finally time to 1)introduce them and 2)explain how they will function without silence.
And that, aside from her close relationship with Aden, is why Zaira is the heroine of this story. Zaira allows Nalini to bring readers into the paths of these psychics, in a way that makes us understand the whys and the wherefores, how much has to be done to help them adjust and what that path might be.
As far as my path goes? All I’ll say? Bring on season two!
Grade : A