The Syndicate by Shelena Shorts

Publication Date: July 9th, 2012
Lands Atlantic Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 301 pages
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
For centuries, the Petrescu family has been protecting society from a danger that moves among the population undetected. Eighteen-year-old Vasi Petrescu has never had a problem carrying out his duty, but, when ordered to eliminate an eighteen-year-old girl, he is immediately taken out of his comfort zone.

The Syndicate has never targeted a female before, yet somehow this one has ended up on more than one hit list. Vasi would like to find out why, but there may not be time.

Now, he’ll have to decide whether or not to keep her alive even if it means going against his own family.

The action, mystery, and conspiracy in The Syndicate will take readers on an immersing journey in which decisions are not only life changing, but irreversible.

Vasi Petrescu has only ever known one life: the role of a Guardian who protects the humans from Hybrids – humans infected by a virus that turns them into rabid animals. But when he was given an assignment to kill a suspected female hybrid, he began to question just how reliable their Readers and Elders are. One look at Riley Bennett and he knew instantly that someone made a mistake. First of all, she’s female; Hybrids aren’t able to infect those of the xx chromosomes. Second of all, Riley isn’t even infected. Caught between duty to protect his family and protecting a girl he barely knew, he was forced to make a decision that will ultimately change the future of The Syndicates.

The Syndicate wasn’t…bad. But it wasn’t that good for me either. Consider me apathetic. There were just things that Ms. Shorts had fallen, er, short on and it starts with her writing. Male POVs from a female writer is such a different ballgame and more often the story itself suffers if not done well. I can only name a few female authors that have excelled in this. Unfortunately, I found Vasi’s voice dry and a little too matter-of-fact that he comes off cold.

This isn’t a very long book pages wise but for some reason, I found myself bored and consequently, skimming a lot. My main problem is the slow pace for which Riley’s role as the catalyst was revealed. It literally took the entire book. It wouldn’t be such a problem if not for the fact that I felt detached for the most part. The mark of a good mystery is the author’s ability to keep a reader engrossed and interested right from the beginning till the end. This reader, however, wasn’t. The history and the much-needed information to acquaint the readers to the world Shelena Shorts was trying to sell was ambiguous and sometimes convoluted. Which is surprising since she only spent about a page or two on the history of how The Syndicate came to be.

It’s hard to picture Riley as a girl plagued with endless nightmares involving monsters. If anything, I thought she was well-adjusted. I couldn’t decide if she was an incredibly strong-willed character that she wasn’t at all bothered by the nightmares or the author forgot that Riley needed to show any indications that her nerves were fried. She’s a religious girl who was told by God not have sex before marriage but I guess He was a little late since she’s already done it. Uhm. Okay. I guess it all boils down to the underdevelopment her character has suffered. There’s not much you’d know about her. And the little interactions she had with Vasi didn’t really give the readers much to go on but then again, I can say the same thing about Vasi.

VERDICT: At first glance, The Syndicate will lure you with the forbidden romance it alludes to. If not, it’s the young executioner who hunts ‘hybrids’ and therefore, the expectations of action galore. Unfortunately, both story arcs weren’t really executed well. However, some readers may still enjoy this take on the lycanthrope myth and the secret society that protects the people from ever knowing they exist.