(Guild Hunter #5)Nalini Singh
Adult Paranormal Romance
Available September 4th
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)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.
MY THOUGHTSAs with all of Ms. Singh’s books, Archangel’s Storm gives us a pair of beautifully rich characters perfect in their flaws and imperfect in their strengths who lead us through a dark dance of pleasure, pain, and heady hope. Ms. Singh has an uncanny ability to craft characters and relationships that have us feeling as though we’re a vital part of the events as they unfold, her hand a feather light touch at our backs to guide us as she carefully draws the often violent topography of her protagonists' pasts. Never once does she sit us down and detail the darkness of either Jason or Mihaya’s lives before they meet, instead she provides us fleeting glimpses and telling flashes, thus allowing us to fill in the blanks and ensuring our relationship with each of them is completely unique. Reading their story is profoundly intimate, the conclusions we’re able to draw based on the snippets we’re given throughout binding us to them irrevocably as we revel in the quiet intensity of their romance.
Mahiya is a fascinating deviation from previous Guild Hunter heroines Elena and Honor, her physical strength and fighting ability far below that of either woman given the sheltered nature of her upbringing as a princess in archangel Neha’s court, but it’s these differences that make her so interesting. Ms. Singh’s heroines are always strong women–women able to go toe to toe with extraordinarily alpha men–but she manages to stunningly portray varying degrees of strength to keep and hold our attention. Mahiya appears meek on the outside, quietly taking Neha’s verbal abuse and offering no defense, but we quickly learn Mahiya has painstakingly built over time a near flawless façade of subservience, playing to her status as a “trinket” with consummate skill. While she will not be the first to pull a blade or jump into the fray as Elena or Honor might, her appeal lies in her ability to believe in something better despite the horrors she’s seen, and the radiance emanating from her untapped capacity to love makes her stand out among her battle-ready peers.
Jason is as dark and dangerous as either Raphael or Dmitri, but like Mahiya, his true nature lies in stealth and shadow; in making others see what is not truly there while expertly hiding what is. He’s not one for bravado, arrogance or loud intimidation, instead allowing his more muted menace to do all the work for him by forcing those around him to question what he’s capable of as well as what he knows while he near-invisibly learns all their secrets. His attraction to Mahiya is not quite as explosive as Raphael and Elena’s chemistry or as combustible as Dmitri and Honor’s connection, but we feel the force of it no less than we did the others, knowing each small gesture is worth more than pretty words could ever be, and we breathe shallowly while we read, waiting for the most undemonstrative of angels to gift us with a peek at his true feelings.
Archangel’s Storm is a strong addition to the Guild Hunter series, providing us with a relationship intriguingly different from what we’ve seen before, while also giving us a much-desired taste of the other characters in this world we love so much. Venom, Illium and the remaining members of Raphael’s Seven are of particular interest, and here’s hoping books for each of them are on the horizon along with the continuation of Raphael and Elena’s story.