Author: Nalini Singh
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012
Guild Hunter #5
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
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.
What I’m talking about:
Archangel’s Storm opens with the memories of Jason, one of Archangel Raphael’s elite guard and his spymaster. It paints a gruesome picture of a terrifying event that shaped Jason’s entire life -something that created an angel of few words and full of a fierce darkness. Once we jump forward to present day, we discover these memories constantly haunt the warrior angel, continuing to mold his persona, and therefore, this story.
Taking place immediately after the previous novel, Archangel’s Blade, we find ourselves at the wedding of Dmitri (Raphael’s second) and Honor (the couple were the primary focus of the last book). While at the celebration, Jason discovers that Eris, the imprisoned consort and husband of Neha, one of the Ruling Archangels known as the Cadre of Ten, has been murdered. Jason is best suited to help solve this mystery, which is necessary to prevent Neha from complete madness and the needless destruction of any territory or loss or lives.
Right from the start I was intrigued by Jason, an angel we know little about. He has a sixth sense which helps him perfect his spying skills. He also has the ability to blend in with the shadows, making him nearly invisible. Through intermittent flashbacks, we find out that Jason was loved by his parents, but something went horribly wrong when he was young, leaving him on his own. He’s is an enigma and a riddle worth solving.
The same can be said of Neha’s adopted daughter, the Princess Mahiya. Mahiya is Neha’s niece, born of Neha’s sister Nivriti, and her father is Eris (Neha’s husband). Although Neha raised Mahiya as her daughter, the betrayal of her sister and husband left Neha bitter and angry. Mahiya was hated by both Neha and Eris as a reminder of past sins and the reason Eris was imprisoned for over three centuries. Yet, Mahiya is unbroken, even after decades of torment and hatred from her powerful Archangel aunt. We learn early on that instead of falling victim to Neha’s mistreatment, Mahiya remains determined to find love and live free.
The pace and feel of Archangel’s Storm is different than the previous books in the Guild Hunter series. However, it is reflective of the main character, Jason. He’s a shadow with force – a waiting storm. Instead of focusing most of the attention on our hero and heroine falling in love, the primary storyline that drives this book is the mystery of who killed Eris (and a few others) and what motives are behind the seemingly unrelated deaths. Although I correctly guessed early on who was behind the grisly murders, I was still drawn in and unable to put the book down. And thanks to Ms. Singh ability to write in a way (sentence structure, language, prose) that just feels so sensual, the book flows beautifully — even the violent scenes.
The romance in this story is very subdued. The first hints of any sexual attraction between Mahiya and Jason didn’t even occur until after the 40% mark (according to my Kindle). But it’s okay. The mystery of who is killing off angels is completely captivating. Meanwhile, Jason and Mahiya play a carefully calculated game of chess, wondering who will break first–who will gain the advantage. Neither are cruel, but both have the skills to be. That’s what I love about the pair – they haven’t given into the darkness that surrounds them. And I enjoyed seeing both Jason and Mahiya recognize the spark of a greater person and purpose within themselves. It’s about two people on two journeys of self-discovery that are tied to one another.
One part of the book that I wasn’t a big fan of is the side story of Honor and Dmitri as we follow her decision to become and begin the transition to a vampire. It is always interesting and exciting to find out what happens to favorite couples after their book ends, but in this case, their sections were disruptive to the intensity and flow of the primary storyline. I was hoping the two plots would come together in the end, but they remained as two separate stories.
I love that in the end, Jason is still Jason – no dramatic changes because he fell in love. And that Mahiya accepts this. The pair are so honest with one another. I love that both fought for goodness rather than falling into despair. It’s not your typical HEA, but you know that in their way they have found “forever happy.”
As I stated, the romance in this book was secondary to the murder mystery and subsequent battle. That may put off some, but I felt the romance infused the story with such subtlety that I unconsciously perceived it much of the time. The slower pace of the story resonated with the characters, and I was completely drawn into the plot. Archangel’s Storm did not blaze off the pages, but its quiet influence touched my inner being.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
Reviews in the Series: