Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Archangel's Storm

(Guild Hunter #5)
Nalini Singh
Adult Paranormal Romance
336 Pages
Berkley Sensation
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 THOUGHTS
As 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.

Rating: 4/5

41 comments:

  1. I only skimmed your review cause I haven't read this series yet. I do like how you describe the characters though. Ive heard this is a good series, I will have to pick it up one of these days...

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    1. I love all things Nalini Singh, she's one of my favorite authors:) Both this series and her Psy-Changeling series are fantastic:)

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  2. Again one series I haven't read. You and Mary (The BookSwarm) always make me aware of my lack of paranormal adult series knowledge. *sigh* I truly need to make a break and get to a few of those great adult series... and I know you have been gushing about Nalini Singh a few times already...

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    1. YES DANNY! You've got me reading new adult books, I'll get you reading some amazing adult paranormal romances:)

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  3. I'm glad you're reading this series, Jenny. When I picked up the first book, I couldn't stop. I had to get the second and then the third and... well, you get the idea.

    When I found out that this book wasn't about Bluebell, I was crushed but reading your review makes me think it's not all bad. I am excited to read about how Mahiya shows her strength.

    Fabulous review, Jenny :D

    (You may find it shocking that I've read this but rest assured, I tackled it with a mature mind which is why my parents trust me. :D)

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    1. I know, I want Bluebell's story so bad! He'll probably be the last one though, just because I want him the most. I'm guessing Venom will be the next one up, or we'll go back to Raphael and Elena:)

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  4. I have heard great things about this author's work, but I never checked her books out. It seems like I'm truly missing out.
    The characters seem really great. I'm glad to hear that you're liking this series!
    Great review, Jenny! :)

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    1. I love Nalini so much Nick! She just writes such great characters I think, I manage to fall in love with every romantic pair:)

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  5. Nice review Jenny. I had a harder time with this one. Or maybe that is the wrong choice of words. I just found it slow and not as engaging as her other books in this series. I know Jason's demeanor added to this...I liked the heroine and Jason...the storyline wasn't as interesting to me. I am excited to get back to Raphael and Elena though!

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    1. It was definitely slower, I agree. I thought it kind of fit Jason though - he's so careful and methodical. I'm definitely excited to go back to Raphael and Elena, I'm always ready for more of the archangel of New York.

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  6. I only scanned your review since I haven't read the previous books, but Ms. Singh certainly sounds like a fantastic author! I'll definitely have to try her series one day when I'm on a YA reading hiatus :D heheee

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    1. Her books are my breaks from the YA world:) Sometimes I just need to get away from some of the angst and dive into a sexier read!

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  7. I am so far behind on this series but I have them :) I need to clone myself so that the clone can go to work and I can stay home and read. I wonder if the clone would also go work out for me!

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    1. Right? That would be so fantastic. Let me know if you get it figured out ;-)

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  8. ahhhhh, another man without a shirt book!!! I really need to check this author out once and for all, she seems to be your fav...:D

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    1. Hahaha yes, isn't he lovely? *pets Jason*

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  9. Fabulous review! I so can't wait to get my copy of the book and devour it :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope you love Jason:)

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  10. Loved this book, not only great characters but a murder mystery as well. All good things and again I have you to thank for getting me hooked on this series.

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    1. I'm happy to get as many people hooked on Nalini's books as possible:)

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  11. I listened to the first book in this series during one of my teaching semesters, but I never got a chance to go any further with it. But perhaps I should.

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    1. I hope you do! I love that she's veered off away from Raphael and Elena to some of his Seven, but next book we're headed back to our main couple:)

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  12. Yet another series I have to catch up on! I was gifted the first few books but haven't had a chance to get around to them yet. It sounds like I am missing out! Beautiful review as always, Jenny. Mahiya especially sounds like a great character. Strong, even if not obviously kick-ass on first glance. I can't wait to meet her! :)

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    1. I really liked how she seemed all meek and subservient, but it was a clever ruse to ensure her survival in Neha's court:)

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  13. Oh yes... Book 325 of the list of series books I have yet to read but heard AWESOMENESS about! Gah!

    Totally unrelated... Can't freaking WAIT to hear your thoughts on Monstrous Beauty! Lol

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    1. Love her books! If you get some free reading time (*snort*) I hope you consider her books. You need to read Ty and Zane first though!

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  14. "her hand a feather light touch at our backs to guide us as she carefully draws the often violent topography of her protagonists' pasts." You so tap the word usage to perfection. Seriously, using feather in your review was genius. I'm not even just saying that.

    I'm actually really excited for this book because I've been dying to see the background for Jason. I was kind of hoping we were going to get Illium's book next, but I have this feeling she'll save it for last. I do miss seeing Raphael and Elena though.

    On an entirely different note, I miss you! How are you? How are things with your niece? I've been thinking and hoping she's doing good. Hopefully that doesn't sound korny. I love you! That is all. :)

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    1. I love you to pieces. You have an email from me:)

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  15. First off, HOT cover! I'm loving it. Second, nice review. I like a dark and dangerous character. For some reason, bad boys with deep dark secrets always attract me!

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    1. Right? I love all the covers for this series, they're gorgeous:)

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  16. I have only read the first one but I did want more cos ..whatever the angel's name was, mmm so alpha

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    1. Raphael is definitely the epitome of alpha isn't he? *shivers* Love him:)

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  17. #5?! I swear I have like the second book or something on my tbr and have have been waiting (don't faint) for the first one so I can go in order. I said don't faint! LOL

    The way you describe Jason.. oh man! I gotta know him! GOTTA!! Angel area of the harem? ;D

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    1. You? Go in order? I DON'T BELIEVE IT MELISSA! And I think having an angel area in the harem is a brilliant idea:)

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  18. *whimper* Jason sounds...lickable. Nalini Singh is the goddess of Alpha men and I'm looking forward to meeting Jason and his muted menace!

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    1. SO LICKABLE MARY! All Nalini's men are. *stares at Jason*

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  19. I enjoyed reading this post although I don't know if I would ever get to this book. I know she has a ton out - but I've never read her. Is she more romance than UF?

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    1. Yes, she's paranormal romance! I adore all her books, she writes amazing characters. Her books aren't super sex-heavy, so even if romance isn't really your thing, they're great reads:)

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  20. Woohoo! I can't believe this book is already out. I thought Jason and Mahiya were interesting characters. I'm very excited for a future story with Bluebell. He's my favorite. :D

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    1. Bluebell is my favorite too Rummanah! I can't wait for his story, though I have the feeling she's going to make us wait a while. That thought is painful!

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  21. As usual, I'm stunned by your brilliant review, Jenny. :) Albeit I wasn't familiar with this series previously, it sounds fantastic!

    *saunters over to library to pick out first book*

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