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Friday, October 31, 2014
ARC Review: Archangel's Shadow by Nalini Singh
Going into reading the seventh novel in the Guild Hunter’s Series by Nalini Singh, I had no idea what to expect. Though I hadn’t read the first six novels, I had the chance to finally enter the Guild Hunter world via providing a review. Naturally, I jumped right in! I’ll admit straightaway that I had to get through the first few chapters to grasp the setting, and I wish I had known more about the characters prior to reading, but nonetheless, I loved it! What surprised me most, perhaps, is that in this world Archangels, vampires, and hunters live amongst the human populace. I also would have never thought of vampires being Made and working under Archangels. This alone was very intriguing, and once I began to understand the universe these characters thrived in, I loved how she wove it together.
Of course, an amazing story cannot thrive without substantial, beautiful characters. This one in particular, centers upon two former enemies who in years past have become allies, partners, and potential lovers. Janvier and Ashwini are perfect for each other, and both are very protective of one another; fiercely so, which added to the depth of their connection. Such love and longing between two characters made the story much more beautiful, especially in the midst of criminal activity and recovery from war. This novel takes place after the war with the Archangel of China, Lijuan. Apparently, Lijuan can literally suck the life force from others and leave them nothing but a decrepit husk, turning to dust at the lightest touch (ick). As the city of New York (and the Archangel Raphael’s territory) begins to heal from the staggering casualties, a new enemy is hiding in the shadows.
Though the dead bodies resemble that which remains of Lijuan’s enemies, the victims appear to be connected to a sadistic vampire. At the same time, Ashwini and Janvier are trying to not give in to love (well, maybe just Ashwini is the stubborn one), while trying to find the murderer. There is a hunt formed because this monster is leaving taint in the city, and so soon after the war, tension and grief are running rampant (not to mention bloodlust). Will Ashwini and Janvier be able to bring this freak down, and find a way into each other’s arms? One will definitely spend the entirety of the book hoping for a happy ending; hoping that she beats the odds, becomes immortal, and is able to stay forever with Janvier.
Now, I can honestly say that Ashwini is a very loveable character. She is delicate and afraid because a certain genetic malformation gives her special abilities that come at a cost; her sanity. At the same time, she is ridiculously strong. In fact, this is the first character I have come across in a very long time that truly shines with endless inner strength and an iron will, while still remaining vulnerable. She grew up with much tragedy in her life, took care of herself into adulthood, and became one of the best Guild Hunters out there. With that said, she has such compassion for other’s as well, despite being brutal to those that deserve it; a fine line to walk. So, I felt for her in her moments of raw honesty and sadness, but admired her ability to take strength from the broken aspects of life around her. There could not have been a better heroine to become acquainted with.
As for Janvier, well, this man is an absolute joy. Ruggedly sexy, with a sweet demeanor, unwavering honor, and strength (both physically and intellectually); I wanted him as mine! Seriously, Janvier is an amazing character. I absolutely loved how playful he was with Ashwini, and he gave her courage when she was afraid to take the chances especially with love. Furthermore, he was able to be dominant, and also to be dominated. Hell, there is nothing better than a man that can give and receive in that area! In all ways, these two were amazing together.
On to other characters! I really thinkNalini’s way of writing is unique. Though the POV would change randomly, every part of the book moved fluidly; gracefully, and I loved it! Yes, I really liked Eleana and Raphael. Their relationship was intriguing and I had to get used to the wording they used with one another, but they were equals; partners. To me, this made their relationship great! Though I did not get to spend a lot of time with Honor, it is clear that Dmitri and her were wonderful together, and the way their love was spoken of, makes me excited to go back and read their story! There are so many characters! Aodhan was curious, and I find him mysterious and intriguing; I cannot wait to learn more about him! Then, there is Illium….oh, I liked him.
I am hoping that Illium does not go down in flames since there was unspoken and spoken concern for the darkness within him, but honestly, he is fun! A sense of humor, honorable, and very, very pretty (I enjoyed imagining him in my head). However, ultimately I found my favorite character in the entirety of the book to be Naasir. Oh my wow! I cannot get enough of his wicked playfulness and utter honesty despite what other’s think. He had the perfect devil-may-care attitude and he is raw in every way. Not to mention thinking about golden skin, liquid silver eyes, shimmering silvery hair, and a catlike grace whipping me to attention! Then, the way he talked about wanting to find a mate? Yeah, I will be racing to buy the novel that focuses on his story, without a doubt. Though there were many more characters, it would take forever to mention them all, but let’s just say that they were all great for different reasons!
Truly, this book was fantastic; I really enjoyed it. I will be picking up the prior stories to get more in tune with all the characters, and the background, as well as learn more about the world in which they live. I believe Nalini has found a new, big fan as of now, and I am happy I had the chance to finally delve into one of her stories. To clarify an earlier comment, anyone would love this story, but because of its complexity, I would recommend reading the other books in the series first. Definitely worth the time! Finally, I say thank you Nalini, for a new world to love.
**ARC provided by Publisher**
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