Published 2011 324 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past… but Dmitri's need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.
Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel's right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality… the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.
As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting, and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…
Archangel’s Blade is the fourth book in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter urban fantasy romance series that features to-die-for angels, über-sexy vampires and the human vampire hunters who work with them. Archangel’s Blade is something a departure from previous series instalments in that it no longer focuses on the developing romantic relationship between Raphael (the archangel of New York) and Elena (his human-born consort) but follows the romance of two different characters. The story works fairly well as a stand alone paranormal romance but since most of the fantasy world building was done in earlier series instalments it’s probably best read as part of the series…
Guild Hunter fans will need no encouragement to read Archangel’s Blade. The ground work for Dmitri’s character has been seeded in earlier stories and what red-blooded romance fan wouldn’t be fascinated by his super-sexy, super-powerful yet hugely antagonistic vampire character? In some ways Dmitri is throw back to the romance heroes of the ’80s – he’s an uncompromisingly strong male character, rather than the wimpy “new man” of later decades. He’s saved from being a controlling monster by the author’s masterful manipulations of his character and the reader’s heart-stings. By the time Nalini Singh has finished, Dmitri is redeemed as a desirable (and above all loveable) male, who has been moulded by his tragic past into the lethal vampire leader who polices the vampires of New York with an iron fist.
Honor is a guild hunter whose skills run more to the academic than the physical hunting of vampires. She enters Dmitri’s life when she is assigned to work with him on decoding a tattoo found on the body of a dead vampire. It’s Honor’s first job since she was kidnapped and brutally attacked by a group of unknown vampires. She has many issues with vampires but as Dmitri pushes and challenges her, she finds a new will to live and a desire for justice and revenge on those who attacked her. This gives the romance a backdrop of multi-stranded mystery. While investigating the dead vampires, Dmitri and Honor also start a search for her attackers. The resulting story is one that rockets along at a fast pace – romantic tension is punctuated with danger and horrific fantasy thrills – giving readers the best parts of both the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres in one terrific story.
Best of all, the author doesn’t neglect developing Honor’s character while developing the storyline. Any romance that features an abused character is always going to be treading a fine line between giving the character realistic reactions and getting completely bogged down in their past traumas. Readers can see Honor dealing with the trauma of her abuse… and getting over it. It feels real – rather than love conveniently fixing the entire past trauma that she suffered with little effort on her part.
Thrilling, sexy and heart-wrenching, Archangel’s Blade is one of the best paranormal romances of the year so far. I devoured my copy within 24 hours of receipt, so a one- or two-sitting reading is a distinct possibility here. Prepare to be captivated…
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