Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh

Title: Archangel’s Enigma
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunters, Book 8
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 1 September 2015

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required – those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare...

**Disclaimer: I am a HUGE Nalini Singh fangirl. I’ve loved her books since I first discovered Slave to Sensation back in . This means that I tend to love her books, but it also means that I measure each of her books against her other books, so the competition is stiff.

**Spoiler warning: There will be spoilers from the previous 7 books (and various novellas) in this review. If you haven’t read the previous books, please go see my review for Angels’ Pawn and Angels’ Blood

Prior to Archangel’s Shadows, and maybe a little in Archangel’s Legion we didn’t really know a lot about Naasir. He was an enigma, because he was just not as prominent as a lot of the other Seven. Because of this, I honestly wasn’t even really curious about him until Legion. By the time I finished Shadows, I needed to know more, so I was SUPER excited to learn that his book was going to be next. And a little nervous. Naasir, despite deciding it was time he gained a mate, seemed … almost childlike in his views. I hesitate to describe it that way, because I didn’t want to paint that picture – even to myself – but his thought processes were incredibly simplistic and straightforward. With Naasir, what you see is what you get.

So, I started Enigma with some trepidations. Luckily, Naasir’s direct view on life and his desire to just be accepted for himself was one of the things I ended up loving most about him. He has such a cut and dried way of looking at life, with little judgement and game-playing. Not to say that he can’t put on different “skins” (as he likes to call it) for different situations, but he is who he is and makes no apologies for it.

His single-mindedness about finding a mate was so incredibly adorable. Honestly, I found Naasir more charming and cute than sexy. Part of this might have had to do with the vow that Andromeda took (and that wasn’t thrown away at the first convenient opportunity – Bravo to that).

Andromeda ... what can I say about her? I honestly didn’t have strong feelings about her one way or the other. I liked that she was a scholar by choice, but that she also was martial and knew how to protect herself in this vicious world that our beloved characters are in. She’s never simply a damsel in distress. But I still wish that she’d have taken more of a role in freeing herself from a couple of sticky situations. I get there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot that she could do, but I felt that she could have done a bit more – I guess I’ve come to expect a great deal from Nalini’s heroines. They’re strong and self-reliant most of the time, even when out of their elements. And Andi showed signs of that, but I wanted more. Maybe she just needs to grow into her skin a bit more?

Either way I can’t deny that she’s a good match for Naasir. She sees him and accepts him for who he is. Naasir deserves that. There’s a lot of tender moments between them, and plenty of sexually tense moments (even if I didn’t really feel them, I think a lot of people will). I do love Naasir’s growl. So cute. See? I think it’s hard to think of him (and thus Naasir & Andi) as sexy when I can’t help but seeing him as “cute.”

Anyway, what I really, really, really loved in this story was the plot itself. An Ancient (and I won’t spoil who even though it starts talking about them in the first chapter of the book) is being sought by many parties – not all of them friendly. The search is interesting, the glimpses into the different happenings with some of my other favorite characters are awesome and had me on the edge of my seat, and the world-changing events happening around this Cascade continue to be amazing. I can’t wait to see what happens next. The Ancient who awakens? I’m SO interested in that one as well. Must have more.

Nalini Singh continues to be a go-to favorite author of mine. I know that I can always count on her to deliver a great story with fantastic characters. Archangel’s Enigma, though not my favorite in the series, is an excellent addition to the Guild Hunters series, and I am aching to see what happens next.

Grade: B-

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