Review: Temporal Shift by Nina Croft

temporal shift by nina croftFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genre: science fiction romance
Series: Blood Hunter/Dark Desires #4
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Entangled Select
Date Released: November 17, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KoboAll Romance

Caught between destiny and desire…

After diving into a black hole in search of the source of Meridian, the key to immortality, the crew of the Blood Hunter finds themselves stranded in an alternate universe.

Engineer Devlin Stark doesn’t want immortality. He just wants to live long enough to get his revenge on the man who murdered his brother. Now, he’s trapped in a strange world with a crazy woman who claims he’s fated to be her lover.

Saffira Lourdes has a destiny: to save humanity and lead her exiled people to the Promised Land. Haunted by visions of the past and future, she’s been sustained through the years by a dream lover. Unfortunately, Devlin doesn’t believe in fate. But it’s obvious there’s a connection between them, one that will soon be tested by the limits of time and space. Saffira is about to make the crew of the Blood Hunter an offer they’ll find impossible to refuse.

They’re heading back to Earth, and they’re going back in time…

My Review:

First, I want to take whoever decided to play with the series title, and whoever chose the strange series listing for Temporal Shift at Goodreads and Amazon, and shake them until their teeth rattle.

break out by nina croftIt is extremely unobvious in a lot of the blurb copy, but Temporal Shift is very definitely the fourth book in Nina Croft’s awesome science fiction romance series, Blood Hunter. The series starts with Break Out (reviewed here) and continues with Deadly Pursuit (here) and Death Defying (here). Temporal Shift makes way more sense if you’ve read the other stories first.

The series is also being renamed Dark Desires, which I find less descriptive but possibly more saleable, but that just adds to the confusion.

The action in Temporal Shift follows directly from the harrowing events at the end of Death Defying, but the whole thing only works if you have at least some understanding of the players and the set up.

The owner of the ship, El Cazador, is a vampire named Rico Sanchez. The year is 3048, and the Earth as we know it was destroyed centuries ago. Only a select few made it out on large colony ships, but somehow, both the vampires and the werewolves managed to get themselves aboard those ships. (People in cryosleep don’t notice that a vampire is taking a sip, after all)

The story in Temporal Shift contains more than enough time travel to cause the crew of El Cazador to question whether everything they thought they knew about their history is actually true, or whether that temporal shift is more of a loop.

It all starts by falling (or fleeing) through a black hole to an unknown destination. When you are being pursued by not just one but two space armadas, any port in a storm, even a potentially deadly wormhole, looks like a viable escape.

But they don’t find a safe haven. What they find is that they are the starring players in a centuries old prophecy, and that it’s a bit difficult to figure out exactly where, or when, they are. What they discover is that they may have looped back to the beginning of their own history. Which means that they are in the unfortunate position of being able to screw it up completely.

Everything hinges on the local time-mancer (read prophetess) Saffira. She’s been saving herself for her destined sacrifice to history, and for a man who loves her in her dreams. Both arrive in the El Cazador, but not in the way that she expects. Finding a way to help her people escape, and getting the very angry and closed off Devlin to fall in love with her, is going to take way more time than it should. Centuries in fact, but only for her.

When the woman who returns is not quite the same woman who left, no one is sure whether any of the complex plans they have laid will work. But they have to try, or they are all doomed.

Escape Rating B+: I think this story only works if you’ve read the rest of the series, or at least the expanded edition of the first book, Break Out (which is totally awesome).

The thing about time travel stories is that they can be totally confusing if you don’t know all the history involved in the time being traveled to. And I’ll confess to getting confused, even though I have read all the books. At the same time, it was a lot of fun to meet Rico back in the 15th century. Also bloody and terrifying, but neat to see the time streams cross.

The whole story is about crossing the time streams. Callum Meridian was on the original voyage, but his ship survived and he discovered the immortality drug, Meridian. So the ship in orbit on the planet inside that black hole represents his own personal past, dropping into the middle of his present.

There is a lot about messing with time, and trying to figure out how to make sure that they all (or their ancestors) act in time to get saved so that they are not on Earth when the disaster strikes. But this is all a giant time loop, and they caused the future they now live in. This is obvious at the end, but not so much in the middle.

I never did get how Saffira’s people came to live on the planet in the black hole. In the end, it’s not as important as what she does to get them all out. It was obvious how she was going to solve the central dilemma, but that didn’t make it any less painful when she does.

I’ve enjoyed the entire Blood Hunter series quite a lot. This is science fiction romance mixed with a very interesting bit of world building. And that world building only gets more convoluted (and fascinating) with the time travel explorations of Temporal Shift. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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