Review Of Archangel's Blade By Nalini Singh
I started the Guild Hunters series by Nalini Singh a while back and after devouring the first book, Angel's Blood, I was captivated and determined to finish this series at a stretch. As soon as I finish one book, I begin the next one. These books are written in such a way that the ending leaves a reader in suspense and an immediate desire to continue the next book. The author did an excellent job of always picking up right where the book ended.
This fourth book in the series was published in May 2011 and it's about 310 pages. As I later discovered, unlike the first three books, this book is not solely centred around Archangel Raphael and Guild Hunter Elena, the principal characters of the series. Though they play a minor role in this book, the core attention was on Dimitri, the second in command to Archangel Raphael.
As the archangel in charge of North America with his headquarters in New York, Raphael is surrounded by seven powerful beings (angels and vampires) who are considered dangerous and lethal in this alternate universe created by this author. They are called Raphael’s Seven and have sworn a blood oath of loyalty to the archangel. Not only that, but they can also communicate with him mind to mind.
At the top of the hierarchy of these Seven is Dimitri, a thousand-year-old vampire referred to as Raphael’s Blade to portray his power and ruthlessness.
This book first takes a reader down memory lane through Dimitri's POV about how he was once a human being a thousand years ago with a loving wife and two children. This revelation takes me by surprise because I was already familiar with the image of Dimitri as a character who had no love for anyone and liked his pleasure to be laced with some pain.
After this introduction into Dimitri's past, Honor St. Nicholas is brought into the picture. She's a guild hunter and ancient language expert who had never met Dimitri but is aware of his reputation. Honor has a tortuous history of being kidnapped and raped for two months. While some of her captors were caught, some escaped and she was determined to find them.
Hiding out in Guild Hunters' secret apartment, Sara, the Guild Academy Director instructs her to get back into the hunting business by working with Dimitri in a consultancy position to solve a series of murders.
As Dimitri and Honor work together, they become attracted to each other even though Honor is not Dimitri's 'usual kind' of woman. This attraction grew into loyalty and elicited a vow from Dimitri to bring the remaining culprits to justice after he discovered what Honor had been through.
One cogent thing that sets Archangel's Blade apart from its forerunners that thrilled readers with mystery, horror, urban fantasy and romance, is the subject of reincarnation that was incorporated in this book.
I enjoyed how the author weaved her story by giving readers a glimpse into the past lives of Dimitri and Honor —damaged and tortured pasts— only to bring them both into healing and a fresh start on life.
I understand the need of the author to give Dimitri some closure to his past by kind of 'reincarnating' his former wife through Honor, but I wish she did not. I would have preferred Honor to be her separate self and not a return of Dimitri's past. I'll say these two characters have a good rapport throughout the book.
As always, I appreciate the vivid description of the characters and scenes in this book. They are powerful, thrilling and compelling but some parts can be repetitive. Maybe because I have read books 1-3 and always feel like telling the author, "Oh yes. I know already!" but I get why the author felt the need to repeat some distinct details about her characters and their world.
Unlike books 1-3, this one takes the medal for gore and violence due to Dimitri's and Honor's pasts. So if you cannot stand such scenes, I would advise you to skip these parts but the book is definitely worth reading.
It's satisfying to read that Honor and Dimitri could find love despite their tortuous pasts. Overall, this book is intensely thrilling, action-packed as always and fast-paced.
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