Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shades Of Dark by Linnea Sinclair

An Advance Review

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.

First and foremost, I’d like to say a huge THANKS to Linnea Sinclair for the privilege of reading this book early – a privilege that was accorded not only to me but to my two friends as well. My utmost appreciation to Kat and Mel for submitting to my mind-probe, and for their promise of not suing me for mind-thievery.

There are three things I need to point out:

1. If you haven't read Gabriel’s Ghost, please do so before reading this book.

2. This book should carry a Health Hazard label: Read With Caution. This book is highly addictive and you may not be cognizant of the passing of time. You may also experience some or all of these symptoms – finger cramps, stiff muscles, leaky tear ducts, gradual increase of blood pressure and rapid heart palpitations that may bring on a heart wrench.

3. Before reading Chapter 21, you may want to have some tissue at hand.

Now we proceed …

Two words – Absolutely Riveting.

This story continues some three months after Gabriel’s Ghost, and the setting and characters are familiar ones. It is narrated by Chaz, in the first-person point-of-view. Compared to Gabriel’s Ghost, this is a darker, grittier story and a certain plot element maybe disturbing to some readers.

Sully, Chaz, Ren, Philip and the rest of the crew continue with their mission to destroy Burke’s jukor-breeding lab, and to gather enough proof to wreck Tage’s sinister plan of controlling the entire galaxy.

Our heroic rebels receive help from a devastatingly powerful Stolorth prince, Del, who provides much tension and drama to the story.

And now I disclose, for your reading pleasure, the transcript of the above-mentioned mind-probe. Do be aware that there may be some spoilers.

Jace: Ladies, what a thrilling read this was! I thought that the continuation of the story from Gabriel’s Ghost was well done … it was seamless. I could feel a space saga coming on!

Mel: J, I'm hoping and praying it doesn't end with Philip's story! I also hope there is more with Sully and Chaz. I *need* to see from Chaz's eyes what happens next.

Kat: This book was very hard and intense on me. I loved it. It kept me on the edge of my seat so much, that sometimes I almost couldn't stand it and had to take a break.

Jace: I felt that this was Sully's story - which wasn't so well-defined in Gabriel’s Ghost - but here, it was clear that this was his story seen through Chaz's eyes.

I thought this story was more about relationships than space adventure, but it was well done on both heart (relationships) and action.

Mel: Yes, I agree with you. I loved the relationship building that went on.

Jace: I really liked that Sully and Chaz were not perfect. Sully had his moments of weakness and Chaz too made some mistakes. I felt that she was too righteous sometimes … as Del said, she required Sully to change into what she wanted.

Mel: You are 100% right on that, J. Chaz at times was too hard on Sully. It almost seemed that as much as she loved him, she still feared him in certain ways. I also thought there was some jealousy on her part with regard to Del ... you know, all the time that Sully spent with Del.

Kat: Sully was frightened about the changes that were happening to him in body and in mind, and I think he would have talked to Chaz, had he known what to say and how to explain it. Chaz was worried about Sully and she was right. She didn't understand what was happening to him and she couldn't follow into his world. She felt like she was losing Sully, not so much to Del, but to the world and the being he really was. She just took her fears out on Del.

Sully and Chaz both made mistakes out of fear, love and selfishness. In the end, they both acted just like human beings and that made them so adorable.

Jace: Oh, that alluring yet despicable Del; I thought Linnea really did very well with this character. I was fascinated by him – extremely and dangerously powerful, playful, charming, sexual … also menacing, sly and loathsome. I thought he was neither truly good nor truly bad - he was just staying true to what he was.

Mel: I agree with you on Del. I felt Chaz's fear and Sully’s fascination. He was a very seductive character. I could see his influence on Sully's life and how Sully was changing because of Del.

Kat: I really liked Del … a lot. He was just himself, with all the good and bad. He acted in every situation absolutely true to his essence and never faltered. I adored that. He was neither good nor bad, just Kyi-Ragkiril in perfection. He was happy to find Sully, someone to share all his excitement and feelings, but only in the end, he realized that Sully was human and not Stolorth.

Jace: I was quite disappointed that my favourite dude, Ren, was muted and insignificant here. I was hoping for more of him.

Mel: Yes, it would have been nice to see more of Ren. I thought he was so sweet.

Kat: I regretted that Ren took a back seat in this book. I wanted very much to see more of him, but I thought he attained a new outlook. His view of life got a little more gray and the boundaries between good and bad, and black and white weren't as clear for him now.

Jace: I agree, K. He had to accept some horrible truths, didn’t he?

I also really liked Philip. He was such a noble and likeable guy. I enjoyed his grudging friendship with Sully. I hope in his own story, he will be sexy too – here, he was a bit stodgy.

Mel: I'm excited about Hope's Folly after reading the excerpt. I like Philip and think he will make a great hero. Remember too, we saw him through Chaz's eyes, and since he was her ex-husband, perhaps that was why he didn't come across as sexy.

Jace: M, I never thought of that … thanks for pointing it out! That, seen through Chaz’s eyes, Philip would be slightly boring and certainly no match for Sully, the love of her life!

Kat: Philip was great and I can't wait for his book. I loved his interaction with Sully and I adored his efforts to really get to know him. He threw all his prejudice overboard because he wanted to be friends with Chaz. I liked it too that they could solve all their remaining problems from their former relationship. He'll make a fantastic hero!

Jace: I truly liked this story. I feel kind of sad that Sully and Chaz will not be lead characters any more, and we’ll see even less of Ren. Oh, I suppose they may all appear in Philip's book, but they'll be secondary characters. I'm already missing them!

Mel: I sincerely hope Linnea will write at least one more book with Sully and Chaz as leads. I can dream, right?

Kat: I loved the book and I hope many people will feel the same way.

Shades Of Dark will be available in July 2008.

Another winner from Linnea Sinclair. Another unanimous rating from us.

5 out of 5. I love it. It's phenomenal - in a class by itself. Sensuality: Warm


katrin said...

great job, J

Phyl said...

Color me green with envy. I am so looking forward to this one!

Katie(babs) said...

Linnea's books are very addicting!
Ah, Sully.... thump.

Melanie said...

What a great review Agent J! You have such a way with words.

Linnea Sinclair said...

I'm absolutely thrilled you kids enjoyed SHADES. It meant a lot to me to get your reactions after GABRIEL'S as I'm guessing that's how a lot of people (who've never heard of me) might end up reading the books, in a one-two punch (especially now that Bantam is reshelving me in romance.) Yeah, Del was oodles of fun. A good nasty, if you get my drift. As for Chapter 21... it's the crux of the story. I guess that says it all.

Thank you all again, with much hugs, ~Linnea

Jace said...

K & M, you're too kind. I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... I couldn't have done it without the two of you. Until the next one, eh? ;)

Jace said...

Phyl, I'm just thankful that Linnea offered me to read this so soon after Gabriel's Ghost. This is truly a great story. I'll be buying the book when it comes out in July too.

Jace said...

Katie, I can't agree more! I'm well and truly hooked on Linnea. Thank goodness I still have 3 more books to tide me over until Hope's Folly!

Jace said...

Linnea, it was totally our pleasure to read Shades. Kat, Mel and I are waiting anxiously for Philip's story (I know it's still some time away but we can't help it).

Sully, Chaz, Ren and Philip are like old friends by now, and I hope this series will continue for a few more books yet. :)

Brie said...

I still have DHZB and GOC in my TBR pile. Reading your glowing reviews about Sinclair's work makes me want to tear through the rest of the books in line to get to them.

Kristie (J) said...

Oh Maaaannnn: How am I going to wait to get to Chapter 21?????? I'm green along with Phyl!

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege to be one of the beta readers for SHADES OF DARK. Till then, I had thought that GABRIELS GHOST was her best book, but SHADES is even better! Totally gripping and the climactic chapter had the tears flowing.

I too liked the development of Philip and think he'll make a fine hero for his own book.


Jace said...

Brie, I haven't read DHZB yet, but soon!

Linnea's books are really addictive. Her characters and romances are very well-developed, all in the midst of some sci-fi action. :) I don't know how she does it, but everything just comes together so well.

Shades is a remarkable book. But make sure you read Gabriel's first!

GOC, when compared to Gabriel's and Shades, is heavier on the sci-fi aspect and action. But its romantic aspect is fantastic, featuring a totally wonderful hero. :)

Jace said...

Kristie. LOL

I wish I can tell you about Chapter 21, but I truly don't want to spoil the story for you. You need to read it from the beginning to appreciate the depth and essence of the story.

Jace said...

Hi Marcia ... Welcome! :)

Isn't Shades great? I really liked the darker tone and deeper meaning of the story. I find myself thinking about the characters and their circumstances even up to today. I think I need to quickly read another Linnea book! :D

Christine said...

Hi Jace! ... and Kat & Mel, too. ;)

Katiebabs has been encouraging me to read Linnea's books for several months already, and after I read your passionate review of Gabriel's Ghost a week or so ago, I decided the time to start reading Linnea was NOW! So I ordered Gabriel's Ghost and it arrived in the mail today. Yay! I can't wait to read it.

And I'm so excited that you loved Shades of Dark just as much, if not more! (I skipped the spoilers section... thanks for marking it!) Thanks for the great reviews!

Jace said...



The first Linnea book I read was Games Of Command. I was sceptical and didn't know if I would enjoy a Sci-Fi Romance even though I'm a huge Star Wars fan. I was blown away by that story.

I didn't hesitate at all with Gabriel's Ghost and I will say that I like it even more than GOC. I hope you will like, and I'll be looking out for your review. :)

Shades Of Dark is as good as GG but in a different way. It is a fitting sequel to a great story.

I am anxiously waiting for the next book, Hope's Folly. I hope this series will continue for a few more books yet, as I'm not ready to say goodbye to the extraordinary characters. :)