Shards of Hope a Psy Changeling Novel by Nalini Singh
We join our hero and heroine in a precarious position opening the way for what is a great adventure story. The first chapters take us through their mutual struggle to survive going so far as to perform brain surgery on each other as well as other detailed medical procedures which, while seeming mildly far-fetched, was explained and clarified. The action did not let up and the intense passion between them is as strong and explicit as one would expect in a novel of this nature.
There is a lot right with this novel. The characters are certainly well rounded and a lot of thought is given to their behaviour and motivations. The story moves along well in points and there is plenty of action. The descriptions lead to a great, imaginative landscape allowing a film to play out in the imagination with ease. Suspense and fight scenes abound and from the get go, the main characters rarely get a break from threat of imminent death or the claws of a precarious situation. The violence is surprisingly unflinching at times but not gratuitous and appropriate for the storyline to flow.
While the adventure story itself could have the pace to keep the reader interested the first half of the book is constantly and frustratingly punctuated with needless pin pricks of back story that puncture the atmosphere and the flow. This also occurs with endless retrospectives to Zaira’s back story even interrupting romantic scenes. Her history is so tragic that its extreme nature itself was distracting and rather incredible.
The relationship between the two main protagonists is credible and it is just unfortunate that, in apparently trying to capture their back stories and other ideas in the first half the book, the dialogue can at times become rather unrealistic and manga-like in its unnatural rhythm and word usage.
The second half of the book really takes off once Zaira has moved further on in her emotional journey and her understanding of how families and love works. The story is then allowed to move along at a greater pace and becomes a much more satisfying read. The dialogue and characterisation is much more credible here and the passionate and violent exchanges more realistic.
From starting the novel feeling a bit as if I was wading through treacle, the book moves apace and keeps the pressure and intensity of both passion and action alike going to the last page. One is willing the protagonists to win the day and after a little patience, the novel becomes the unrelenting page turner that so befits this genre.
GS Rating: 3.5/5
GS Blogger: The Aviator