Shades of Dark - Linnea Sinclair After reading and enjoying the first book, Gabriel’s Ghost, in this series I was excited to read the sequel. Having now finished Shades of Dark, that excitement has soured.
I will give credit to the fact that the plot-arc started in the first book is brought further in this work; the goals set forth are largely reached; tho in a disintegrating social landscape they lose some of their importance. What I felt the lack of in this book was the depth that I so enjoyed in the first book in this series. The church and its role in uniting and dividing the different species we have been introduced to, the political turmoil caused by power struggles (which is greatly present in this book, but I felt that the deft hand we saw in Gabriel’s Ghost that painted a picture was somewhat replaced by a heavy hand and a sharpie.) the history and how it interacted with the time period of the book. The foreshadowing, always a bit heavy-handed, became for me just telling me what was going to happen…more akin to a playbook than an expansion of ideas.
I did love the delving into Sully’s exploration of the Kyi. The fact that it was cloak-and-daggered a bit bothered me almost as much as the reason behind the sly exploration. I felt that some of the most interesting parts of this story were taken off-screen, as it were. Told about, but not showed.
The main characters in this volume were a grave disappointment to me. The reason I enjoy connected works, indeed one of the reasons I picked up this book in the first place, was to continue learning about and expanding the relationships that were built in the previous work. In this book, that prior relationship, I felt, was in many ways dismissed, diminished, and forgotten. For perhaps the first forth of the book, that continuation existed, but when a new primary character was introduced it changed the relationship dynamics of the whole crew, most notable Sully and Chaz. The trust that had formed was greatly diminished, and the capabilities of the individual enhanced by a partner applied only to a sexual and energy arena. It was a large disappointment to me that the author chose to take the character devolvement conflicts in the direction she chose too. I realize the motivation behind the inclusion of the character dynamic that was introduced; I just do not appreciate it.
While a fairly well written book, with intriguing elements that would have otherwise kept my attention, the conclusion of this work precludes further contact from me into this author’s worlds. I do not consider anger and nauseousness to be a favorable byproduct of such an expenditure of my time. By the finishing of this work I wanted to vomit. (Not really a reaction I look forward at the end of any kind of book, but one that I thought was going to be a romance—albeit a sci-fi one—reached its antithesis in such a reaction.) This author has broken my faith in their writing and I highly doubt I will continue to read any more of her books. I do not trust that she will not again pour bilge-water into my psyche.
I will give this work three stars for the development of plot and characters—after-all it did enact a visceral reaction on my part—I do however truly wish I had stopped reading after book one.