Author: Nalini Singh
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Guild Hunter #4
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.
Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.
As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…
What I’m talking about:
For the fourth (and possibly best) Guild Hunter book, Ms. Singh steers away from main characters Archangel Raphael and his Hunter Consort Elena, who were the primary focus of the first three books. Instead we follow Raphael’s second-in-command, the ancient vampire, Dmitri and recently abducted Hunter, Honor. Chronologically, this story follows the third book, Archangel’s Consort (review HERE, purchase info Archangel’s Consort (Guild Hunter)), and readers of the series will recognize several familiar faces.
With the change in character focus, I feel that readers new to this series *could* start with Archangel’s Blade, however, this is such an amazing series, I recommend starting at the beginning where readers witness how cold and cruel Dmitri is. Dmitri is near immortal and has lived a long life, completely loyal to no one except Raphael. The development of Dmitri’s character over the course of the first three books washes over and clings to you like I imagine his ability to manipulate scents to lure and trap his prey. She managed to draw me into Dmitri’s web, where I too became one of his “victims.” I love that Ms. Singh did nothing to change this truly complex and forbidding creature. Without softening Dmitri, Ms. Singh indulges us with glimpses into the psyche and heart of a man who will only weep before one woman.
Honor is a special woman as well. As a Hunter for the Guild (a group of trained individuals that help control errant vampires), she knows that her life is in danger at all times. She was abducted, tortured and raped by a dangerous vampire, and at the beginning of the book, is finally learning to conquer her fears and control her self-doubt. When she is paired with Dmitri to work on a case, her first case since the abduction, she isn’t sure she will survive, and she most likely would not have made it with any other man. Without missing a beat, Dmitri carefully pushes Honor, using a restraint he has never shown before, forcing her to face her fears and heal. Although she is frightened, Honor has always felt a bond and attraction to the mysterious Dmitri, and she pushes back, fighting and becoming whole.
I was a bit concerned about Honor and her recovery. It seems that lately there have been more storylines that use rape/recovery as a means for falling in love. I’m not here to comment on that fact, but rather note that some authors handle this and write a better story than others. In this case, Ms. Singh does, in my opinion, a good job. Honor does not go riding off into the sunset. She starts and stops many times before allowing herself to fall for Dmitri. Her character was developed in such a way that leaves little doubt in her desire and ability to survive and overcome. As Honor herself said she’s not a victim, she’s a survivor.
The characters make this book, but the story is equally intriguing. First, Dmitri and Honor search for her abductors, taking them down one and a time to find the mastermind. Second, Honor helps Dmitri track down an ancient foe, one that made Dmitri the vampire he is today. In addition, we read more about Holly (now known as Sorrow), the woman abducted and tortured by Archangel Uram in the first Guild Hunter book. (And maybe we are giving clues about a future pairing?!) All of these plots mingle and move at just the right pace to keep you glued to the pages.
Archangel’s Blade is a fabulous addition to the Guild Hunter series. With the difficult topic of rape/abduction, Ms. Singh gives the story grace and power. I grew to care about Dmitri and Honor and hope that we will see a lot more of them in the future.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)