2008, Science Fiction Romance
Bantam Spectra, $6.99, 410 pages, Amazon ASIN 0553589652 Part of a series
When Shades of Dark arrived, I was excited because it was my first Linnea Sinclair novel and Iíve read such good things about her writing. Then I noticed that it was the second of a series involving the same couple, somewhat of a disappointment because I find it incredibly hard to enter a world-building, science fiction romance mid-stream. However, I didnít stay disappointed for long and I would now describe the feeling as impatient to continue the series and read Gabrielís Ghost, the first in this series.
Chasidah Bergren, otherwise known as Chaz, is the captain of a fugitive crew hiding from Imperial forces and planning to destroy an illegal gen-lab created by those bent on taking power. When word comes of her brotherís arrest and imprisonment, she and Sully - her lover and a human Kyi-Ragkiril who has secret telepathic and telekinetic powers - know that all hell will break loose for them and all those connected to them. However, their own mission to meet someone with knowledge of the jukor labs is more critical and practical than the rescue of her brother, a Fleet Commander with powerful connections but deadly information.
Gabriel ďSullyĒ Sullivan is determined to stop the creation of jukors, genetically engineered monsters, and the two powerful men using them to bring war to the Empire in an attempt to seize power. However, before he can keep the people within the Empire from destroying each other, heís got to deal with his own secrets that will have damaging consequences. Other than a select few trusted friends, no one knows he is Kyi-Ragkiril (a very small group of feared individuals with unique powers). When the Empire charges Chazís brother with treason, they know heíll revel Sullyís secrets against his will when questioned by other Kyi-Ragkiril. The revelations will turn many of Sullyís contacts, and some of his own crew, against him.
To complicate matters, his powers are changing and intensifying and he doesnít know how to cope. Sully and Chaz share a kyísara and kyísal bond that enables them to communicate with each other telepathically and share the otherís feelings and experiences. As a result, she experiences all of his uncertainties, fear, and angst until he begins to shut her out, particularly when he discovers a mentor who can teach him how to use his powers more fully, but who also causes more trouble than Chaz and Sully need.
Sinclair's world is solid and her characters are unique and intriguing. Chaz is a strong heroine who holds principles dear, yet doesnít compete to control with her mate. When itís time for her to be the ďcaptainĒ she is, but when she needs to step back and let others lead, she can do that too. Sully is a hero who isnít afraid to show fear or uncertainty. Because of the changes he undergoes, he questions himself and is willing to listen to others and admit when he is wrong. During the course of the story, he tries to find himself - his personal journey is heart wrenching at times. The secondary characters, especially Sullyís mentor and Chazís ex-husband, help enrich the tension of the plot while keeping attention focused on the primary couple and the unfolding drama. Also, the story is written in the first person from Chazís point of view, but because of the bond she and Sully share, the reader is able to experience his emotions and feelings as well.
While a definite keeper, Shades of Dark isn't quite perfect. Because of the build up in tension and the powerful emotions between all the characters, I found the ending somewhat rushed, certainly bittersweet, and marked with uncertainty. Since the problems arenít all resolved, I impatiently want to know what happens next.
Linnea Sinclair has definitely found a new fan in me and I can eagerly recommend this book for those who enjoy intense emotions and the action-packed adventure that science fiction romance provides.
-- Heather Brooks
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