Reviewed by: Amanda
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review is spoiler free, it does assume you’ve read the previous books in the series. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Slave to Sensation.
With the fall of Silence, some members of the deadly and elusive Arrow squad start to question their place in the world. They are perfect soldiers: efficient, logical, and unfeeling. There’s no place for emotions in their line of work.
And outside of the squad, some are certain the Arrows are no longer necessary. They must be eliminated, and to do that, they’ll need to start with their leader: Aden Kai.
Aden’s won the fierce and unwavering loyalty of his squad members, despite having no discernible powers. He’s just a medic. He shouldn’t be too hard to remove, right?
Whoever thought of taking out Aden didn’t factor Zaira into the equation. She’s not about to let anyone hurt Aden, much less kill him. When the two of them are kidnapped, it’s the start of a complex, sometimes frustrating battle, fought on several fronts. They need to uncover their enemy, and Aden needs to prove to Zaira that their connection goes beyond leader and soldier—everyone deserves a partner in life, and Aden will have Zaira as his, and no one else. Zaira’s afraid to give him what he wants, though. There’s a monster living inside her, and if it ever slips its leash, there’s no telling how massive the destruction will be.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Shards of Hope came this close to knocking Heart of Obsidian out of the favorite spot. Aden’s absolute and unshakable conviction that Zaira is the only one for him made my heart go squish and kept me turning pages. He’s always seen her as more than she sees herself—capable and deserving of affection, friendship, and love. To him, she’s not a barely contained killing machine; she’s a vibrant, intelligent woman, and he desperately wants for her to see herself as such.
He never discounts her fear, either. There’s too much violence in her background to ignore it. And it’s made her almost insanely possessive of Aden. She believes Aden needs someone better than her to stand at his side while he ushers the squad into the post-Silence era. She insists Aden was never truly Silent—if he was, he’d have left her in the dust long ago. He’d have left all the Arrows behind, instead of looking after them as he has.
The bond they forged as children is what proves them both wrong—neither were completely Silent when it came to the other. When the kidnapping leaves the pair psychically cut off from the Net for a period of time, Aden knows how dangerous it is for Zaira, and offers her the only thing he can to remind her that she is not alone: physical comfort. While it’s not full-on skin privileges at first, the tight yet gentle embraces, the soft touches remind her that Aden is there for her. He’s always there for her.
While the plot to destabilize the Arrows and eliminate Aden moves along at a quick pace, and the subplot to upset the delicate balance between the three races is intriguing, the evolving relationship between Aden and Zaira is the central focus. What starts as sweet and almost heartwrenching becomes something as hot and feral as any changeling coupling. Zaira’s growth and acceptance of Aden will have you rooting for her the whole way through, and there’s no one in this series that deserves his happy ever after more than Aden.
Silence may have fallen, but the story’s not over yet. I can’t wait to see what Nalini Singh’s got in store for readers next.
Sexual content: graphic sex