Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh

Title: Archangel’s Storm
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter, Book 5
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 4 September 2012

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.

Nalini Singh is one of those few authors that nearly always makes me fall in love with her books. I have very rarely ever been disappointed, and most often end up gushing over how much I love each new installment. And Archangel’s Storm absolutely ended up being a book I love.

Jason is Raphael’s spymaster, with a very dark past. We know, from the previous books, that something terrible happened in Jason’s past and the only thing holding him to life is his loyalty to Raphael as well as Raphael’s promise to end his life when the time came. A few other small snippets of history associated with Jason had been doled out, but I had no idea how to connect them. It was a pure, heart-wrenching experience to read the whole thing, broken up in flash-backs throughout the book. There were many times I had tears in my eyes while learning more about Jason. But it was his integrity, honor and kindness that made me root for and love him. With the block of ice encasing his heart, the lack of feeling that he’s lived with for so long, I couldn’t help but hope he would be able to overcome all of that with his heroine, Mahiya.

Mahiya is a fascinating character. Not only a survivor, though she is most definitely that, she managed to retain her sense of joy, kindness, and pure grit and determination. I admit to liking her immediately, and it was easy to see that she was the perfect match for Jason. She suffered many terrible things in her life, forced to live under someone who would love nothing more than to see her dead, punished, ruined. Through all that she retained her heart, her compassion, and a willingness to do whatever she could to have the life she deserved. The thing that cemented her in my mind was that she was so willing to give the free gift of her love to Jason, with zero qualms and no regrets. That takes a kind of strength that I will always respect.

While I loved both Mahiya and Jason, it was the plot that pulled me through the story, anxious to find out what was going to happen, who was the one taunting Neha with deaths of those she loved. I loved that I didn’t figure it out immediately, that I could sit in the suspense of the storyline right along with Mahiya and Jason. There are some truly fascinating and interesting developments that happen in this book, making me anxious to see the repercussions on the wider world.

On top of all that, there were the glimpses – sometimes more – we got of other favorites from Raphael’s Seven. Dmitri and his new bride, Honor, had several sections devoted to them throughout the book, including some huge occasions, and it was fantastic to visit them again. Venom showed up at Neha’s palace and spent a couple of days visiting and helping Jason. And he’s quickly becoming one of my favorites! I would have loved to see more of Illium, but we got small glimpses of nearly all the Seven.

When I started this book I said “Reading Nalini Singh is like coming home.” There’s a honesty and vividness to her words that makes me feel like I’m right there, in the midst of the story, meeting these characters, living in this fantastical world. That’s why I love her books, why I end up reading them time and time again. Ms. Singh has a beautifully evocative way of writing that beckons me constantly. Archangel’s Storm definitely gave me everything I was looking for, and more. The only thing I could ask for is the next Guild Hunter book!

Grade: A-

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