Saturday, 26 August 2017

Clare Reviews: Shifting Sands by Michael Shusko

Shifting Sands: Tradecraft: Phase OneTitle: Shifting Sands
Author: Michael Shusko
Format: Paperback
Source: Received for an honest review
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
Blurb: Iranian physicist Dr. Sara Qaderi has been leaking intelligence to the UN detailing her deadly work at a nuclear facility in Iran for months—but her time is running out. Colonel Mostafa Sabri is on the hunt for the traitors who have been compromising Iran's national security. And he always finds his prey. 
Since birth, Sara has been taught that Americans aren't to be trusted. Now her life is in the hands of Nick Shane, an American Marine whose mission is to get her and the vital information she carries to Afghanistan before Israel drops the first bombs of the next world war. He has his own reservations about this Iranian physicist and her motives. But he also has his orders, and will carry out his mission at all costs. 
Will they make it in time to save the world from erupting into a violent global conflict—or die in the unforgiving Iranian desert?

Military thriller is not a genre I read often so I wasn't sure what to expect going into this. I was very pleased with how it turned out and am definitely interested in reading more, both of this genre and of this series. This is the second book in the series but they work as companion novels and can definitely be read separately, I had not read the first book but did not feel the story was affected. 

The characters were something that really stood out to me. Shusko does a marvellous job of making the characters flawed, relatable and likable. Although Nick and Sara are arguably the main characters of the novel, other characters get plenty of page time too. And it was especially interesting to see so many different viewpoints in relation to each other. The relationship between the three brothers; Mark, Nick and Joel was especially interesting to me and being able to read from the view of all three really added a dimension to their relationship and my own response to it. 

The plot was just as exciting and action packed as I was hoping. There were times when I felt a little lost in military detail - I am not super familiar with American military structure or tactics but I understood everything essential and the rest was explained well enough that I didn't get too confused. The details of the missions really made the whole story seem more realistic. I felt like everything was very plausible and that just enhanced the tension of reading it!

One complaint I have is with the romance however. It wasn't developed terribly well and the story would have worked just as well without it. I didn't really believe in the sudden connection between the two and the resulting romance lost its impact because of this. I felt like it was thrown in purely because a romance was expected but I honestly would have enjoyed it more without. It also resulted in a couple of moments towards the end that I nearly winced at because they were overly emotional when no emotion was really conveyed to the reader. 

Overall though, I really enjoyed this and I am excited to check out more of Michael Shusko's writing in the future. The epilogue of this book left an opening (I hope) for a future book and it is definitely one on my wishlist!

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