Friday, June 27, 2008

Shades of Dark: The Joint Review

Thea and Ana from Book Smugglers and I have done it again! We have teamed up to write our "exclusive" reviews of Linnea Sinclair's Shades of Dark! Read mine and then go read hers and see if we are of the same mine. Plus, Ana and Thea are holding a Shades of Dark Contest over the weekend where there is an interview with Linnea and you can have your chance to win Shades of Dark.
And just to remind everyone, Sully is mine for always. Sorry Ana! :D

About two years ago, I was stuck in a romance genre rut. All I would read was historical with some contemporary funnies on the side. Also, paranormal romance was just starting to catch my eye. The thought of picking up a science fiction novel, even one with romance didn’t appeal to me. I don’t know how I came to hear of Linnea Sinclair, but for some reason I decided to give her a try. Some online message boards I would visit raved about her book, Gabriel’s Ghost. I quickly went to my local library to see if they had this book. It wasn’t in the romance section and I was shocked to see it was in Science Fiction. Why, honestly I have never even stepped foot to look at any books in that section and couldn’t believe I was there. I guess you could say I was a bit of a snob, because I really didn’t think there was no way romance could work in a sci-fi novel.
How wrong I was! I must first thank Linnea for opening my eyes to a whole new world. Because of Gabriel’s Ghost, I decided then to branch out to other genres. Soon I was reading all types of romance themed books. Linnea Sinclair is the reason I have grown from a biased type of reader into one willing to explore new books, even outside romance.

Gabriel’s Ghost is one of my all time favorite books regardless of it being a “science fiction” novel. As most of you know, I have a mad crush on Gabriel “Sully” Sullivan. He is such an ideal hero in so many ways. A bit of a loner who knows right from wrong but still feels the need for the best things in life. If he has to steal them, so be it. Of course the one thing he wants to steal most of all is the heart of a woman who seems to despise him. I won’t go into the whole plot of Gabriel’s Ghost, but the relationship between Sully and Chasidah “Chaz” Bergren, his angel-mine, is a subtle affair, not the big bang sexing love we are so use to in the romance we read and what some expect to find. Their love slowly builds up and becomes such a worthy one that can compete with most of the classic love stories we have come to adore.

When I heard Linnea was writing a sequel to Gabriel’s Ghost, I did a little dance of joy Sully and Chaz were coming back! But would her sequel, Shades of Dark be a worthy book? Would it loose its appeal or be written in a way where the love Sully and Chaz have for each other is lacking? Well, Linnea I am sorry to say Gabriel’s Ghost is no longer my favorite novel of yours, it is Shades of Dark, which is destined to be a sci-fi romance classic, in my eyes at least.

Shades of Dark takes place three months after Gabriel’s Ghost ends. Sully, Chaz and their crew are fugitives, trying to stop Sully’s cousin and his partner in crime by taking over the galaxy. These villains are able to re-create mutant beasts called Jukors that were used by the Empire. Because these things were so dangerous and hard to control, the Empire stopped all creation of them. Sully and Chaz’s self determined mission is to fine these illegal labs where the Jukors are being made and try and stop these horrendous clones before it is too late.

Things are a bit touch and go, especially because Sully is a rare human breed called a Kyi Ragkiril who has telepathic and telekinetic abilities. His kind are so feared that he would be killed right on the spot. Sully is slowly losing his identity as a human because he is not sure he can control his powers. His only hope is Chaz, who is his ky’sara. As his ky’sara, Chaz can feel all of Sully thoughts and emotions, and the same goes for Sully. They are soul mates in the literal sense and when Sully makes love to Chaz, she does literally see stars! Sully likes to show Chaz the stars a lot! Yup, much more intimate moments going on between Sully and Chaz here! :D

Even though Sully and Chaz are happy to be together, they are never safe, especially when her brother is arrested for treason. Now more than ever they must find these labs and through some rumors and inside information from associates, they may have the perfect man to aid them. His name is Regarth Serian Cordell Delkavra otherwise known as Captain "Del" Regarth who is also a Stolorth and a Kyi. He is willing to help for a price and seems to take an interest in Chaz.

As Del joins Sully and Chaz, Del helps train Sully to control his kyi abilities. But Chaz doesn’t like the way Del works. Del is a sleazy yet seductive character who not only wants to have a special relationship with Sully but wants to be a part of what Chaz and Sully have together! Yup, an intergalactic Kyi ménage. Now before you all become shocked and think, why, is Linnea going to go where none of her stories have gone before, Del’s “blackmail” shall we say, is very subtle. Chaz makes the assumption and Del doesn’t deny or agree.

Chaz is in between a rock and hard place. Her brother may end up dead, Sully is loosing himself more and more as a Kyi and Del keeps giving her the dirty eye that makes her want to shower. And then her ex-husband Philip shows up and that is when the real fun begins!

Ana and I talked about how hard of a review this was to write because there is so much going on and the action is the non-stop, buckle yourself in because it is going to be a bumpy ride type. To give anything else away would be major spoilers. A little tease I can give you is that at one point Linnea does something to Sully that made me sob and want to write her and say “WTF?”. I did end up writing her and she chuckled and said just keep reading, which I did and was truly blown away up to the very last page.

Shades of Dark is a masterpiece of science fiction fantasy. This is everything I was looking for in a book from a stellar love story, some of the most excellent written characters that I have read in such a long time and some twists that made me shout out loud. I am not one to shout as I read, but Linnea’s books tend to do that to me. For an author to bring such emotion from myself is truly a master. Shades of Dark is one of these books that is a work of art. There are only two other books this year I have given a total of 5 stars to and Shades of Dark is one of them.

5 out of 5 stars.

Katiebabs (KB)


Ana said...

Once more we agree!! This book is AMAZING, dark, romantic, heartbreaking.

I have to thank Katie to introduce me to Linnea by sending me Gabriel's Ghost and because of that I found one of my favorite writers.

Shades of Dark is going on my top 10 reads of 2008.

KT Grant said...

We have the same brain :D
Your review puts mnine to shame! EVERYONE GO READ THEA AND ANA"S review!!
Ana, you may have Sully for the weekend for some starry love.

Ana said...

Dude, are you joking? Here I was thinking the same "Katie's review is so awesome" - you managed to capture Gabriel's Ghost and Shades of Dark and everything that is good about BOTH. And how much they LOVE each other, I don't think I mentioned this oh, so "small" detail.

In any case, we do share a brain! ; )

Heather Massey said...

I am such a happy camper today. I'm glad Linnea is pushing the envelope with dark and gritty (and I saw that Susan Grant did the same with MOONSTRUCK). Those are the types of stories that grab you and never let go.

Great job on the review!

...and I posted about the joint review over at The Galaxy Express, natch.

KT Grant said...

Thanks Heather!
I have just started reading Moonstruck and Susan Grant is another great author to read for the Sci-Fi genre.
It is so good to read about men and women that are flawed but are able to overcome by finding love.

Ana, if you and Thea are Pinky and the brain what am I? :D
When Sully calls Chaz, "angel-mine" I melt alongside Chaz. That Sully is a smooth one.

Kati said...

So, Katie, was Sully actually one of your heroes?

Ana said...

marykate, yes, Katie got Sully just before I could. We had words back then.

Ciara said...

wow. 5 out of 5??? I have to read these books! Your reviews are always wonderful! Thanks!

Carolyn Crane said...

WHOA! What a review! Okay, I loved Gabriel's Ghost, and well, color me on my way to ordering this one. I mean, a masterpiece of sci fi fantasy? Them's fightin' words.

Wait, is it out? I hope so, because now you have me in such a lather.

Wendy said...

Fantastic review. I've never read anything by Linnea but this makes you want to go get them right now!

Tracy said...

Wow great review. I really need to read her stuff.:)

Thea said...

Aw, wonderful review Katie!!! I agree with every point you make--this book is a stunner, especially in terms of character development.

And y'all can have Sully...I kinda want Guth instead! :)

Sarai said...

Well dang now I need to read GG in order to move on. COme on Sarai get a move on it

Linnea Sinclair said...

Wow, I'm totally thrilled with your comments here on Ramblings. If Gabriel's Ghost was the book of my heart, then Shades of Dark was a book that came from my heart's yearnings. While I could very easily write hundreds and hundreds of pages more on Sully and Chaz and company, it's tough to do so "professionally" as an author and know that the message is getting across to readers.

Once the book is out (July 29th) and we're less concerned with spoilers, I'd love to open some of this dialogue again so I can answer fully about certain scenes and such. And characters and such. Here, I'm sitting on my hands. Suffice it to say Shades had two endings and I went with the second one because Bantam finally gave the nod for Hope's Folly (the first ending I'd envisioned ENDED the book and left nothing more to the imagination and nothing at all unanswered). My beta-readers know what that ending was and we were all pretty happy with it. But it would've mucked up Hope's Folly, so there you go...

I also--halfway or so through--wrestled with the outcome of a certain new character. I actually could have used another 50,000 words to play with in that regard as well as this character's interactions with Sully and Chaz. Of course, I didn't have that luxury so....there you go.

Doncha hate obfuscation? ;-) ~Linnea

KT Grant said...

Linnea: So the outcome of this one character you are talking about was the one I had asked you about a few months ago?
I am also thrilled for Hope's Folly.
I also should have mentioned in my review how I love the cover for Shades of Dark. So eye catching :D

Kristie (J) said...

The only reason I'm not dying of book envy here is I have this one on pre-order and hopefully I will be getting it sooner rather than later!! Plus it gives me a chance to reread Gabriel's Ghost to refresh myself on Chas and Sully.
I love this genre - no suprise there I think - and I would LOVE to see it really catch on in a big way.

Pam P said...

Now I really can't wait to read it after your review, Gabriel's Ghost is one of my favorite books. Read it so long ago, going to hunt it down on my PC and re-read it now.

Christine said...

WOW! Amazing review, Kate!
I can't wait to read this!

I have Gabriel's Ghost on my TBR pile. I've got to get going on this!!!

Anonymous said...

I pre-ordered this book but ... I want it now! And today, there's an email from the the book store saying that I'll have to wait. Well, duh, I know. Did they have to rub it in?

I loved "Gabriel's Ghost" and judging by your review, "Shades of Dark" promises to be even better. Thanks.

Frances said...


That was an outstanding review. I have been waiting, what seems like forever, for this book to come out. Linnea is indeed a master and an inspiration. :-D


Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

Lana said...

I really loved Gabriel's Ghost and I couldn't wait to get my hands on Shades of Dark. I definitely wasn't disappointed, though I admit I preferred Gabriel's Ghost because of the lighter tone.

You definitely weren't kidding when you said Shades of Dark was a buckle-yourself-in, it'll be a bumpy ride. Completely compelling! And as much as I love Sully - I'm thrilled to see Philip get his own book. LOVED him!

I really enjoyed your review, Katiebabs, so I've linked to you here.