REVIEW: Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair

Monday, February 2, 2009 13:00
Posted in category Review

Book CoverShannon C.’s review of Shades of Dark (Dock 5 Series, Book 2) by Linnea Sinclair
Science fiction romance released 29 Jul 08 by Bantam

I think I’ve just about resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never be happy as a reader. I want strong heroines. I got one in this book. I want complex plots that go in interesting directions. I got that in this book. I like when characters make difficult choices. They do in this book. But I did not love it.

Shades of Dark picks up right where Gabriel’s Ghost left off, so if you’re thinking about reading the series, this would not be a good place to start. We reconnect with Sully, space mercenary and handsome bastard as well as super-powerful telepath, and Chaz, capable and competent ship captain and former pride of the Sixth Fleet, on board their ship as they continue to stop a diabolical scheme we found out about in the first book. A monkey wrench gets thrown into their plans when it turns out that Chaz’s brother Thad has been captured.

Thad knows about Sully’s gifts, and it’s likely he will be made to talk. But much as Chaz wants to go rescue her brother, that seems just as likely to be playing into the hands of their enemies, so they agree to meet a contact they need, who brings his own brand of trouble to the crew, and Sully must deal with the fact that his powers are growing exponentially and have a definite dark side.

I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I liked Gabriel’s Ghost. While it was nice to check back in with Chaz and Sully, I never really felt the danger as well as I was meant to. I also felt a certain distance from Chaz as the book progressed, which is not a good thing in a first-person narrator, and since I wasn’t really involved in her character to any emotional degree, I ended up feeling that the first three quarters of the book dragged. I also still think the world-building is a shade derivative. Chaz in my head sounded quite a bit like Janeway from “Star Trek Voyager”, and I found myself bothered by a few minor little details, the revelation of which constitute spoilers.

That being said, after slogging through a huge part of the book, things do pick up. I really loved the introduction of Dell, who was the most fascinating character in the book. His motives were complicated, and I wish what had happened to him in the end hadn’t, because he would have been great as a redeemed hero in a future book.

The story also ends at a definite happy for now type ending, after Ms. Sinclair put her characters through the ringer. I liked that things weren’t resolved too neatly, and I found the end of the book gripping.

I do have an ARC of Hope’s Folly which, as of this writing, I intend to dive into. I know Ms. Sinclair is a writer with a lot of potential to write something I will find brilliant, and I’m hoping the POV shift from Chaz to a third person narrator will mean better things as far as my enjoyment goes. If you’re a fan of this series, definitely don’t miss this one. But for me, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped.

ShannonCGrade: C+

Summary:
Can love alone save the day? Award-winning author Linnea Sinclair returns with a vibrant interstellar thriller of romance and adventure in which two lovers are tested in the crucible of deep space, where there are only…

Before her court-martial, Captain Chasidah “Chaz” Bergren was the pride of the Sixth Fleet. Now she’s a fugitive from the “justice” of a corrupt Empire. Along with her lover, the former monk, mercenary, and telepath Gabriel Ross Sullivan, Chaz hoped to leave the past light-years behind—until the news of her brother Thad’s arrest and upcoming execution for treason. It’s a ploy by Sully’s cousin Hayden Burke to force them out of hiding, and it works.

With a killer targeting human females and a renegade gen lab breeding jukor war machines, Chaz and Sully already had their hands full of treachery, betrayal—not to mention each other. Throw in Chaz’s Imperial ex-husband, Admiral Philip Guthrie, and a Kyi-Ragkiril mentor out to seduce Sully, and not just loyalties but lives are at stake. For when Sully makes a fateful choice, changing their relationship forever, Chaz must also choose—between what duty demands and what her heart tells her she must do.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in the series:

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