Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Published by Berkley
Published on: November 1 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a dangerous and exhilarating world where a deadly, beautiful archangel and his once-mortal consort are caught in a fury of twisted darkness…
One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.
Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…
Nothing will ever be the same again.
My knee jerk reaction to ARCHANGEL’S HEART is to say it was a roller coaster.
But that’s not right. I wasn’t up and down and sideways on repeat from start to finish.
It was more that I was way, way down, struggling up that first incline until somewhere between 25 – 30%, then I hit cruise straight through the next 50 – 60%, then that last 15% was so spectacular . . . It almost made me forget how long it took to settle in.
That extra 10% that kicked the MEH into a full quarter of book, though . . . Unfortunately, forgetting wasn’t in the cards.
But first things first. I’m sure a lot of you are concerned about the POV switch back to Elena and Raphael. It’s hard to muster up the same excitement we had for Janvier and Naasir in the last two installments for our returning alpha couple, am I right? Especially, when what we really want is Illium and Aohdan’s book.
The good news is, it’s a’ comin’. At least it has every appearance of coming, based on my decidedly biased opinion. Regardless of whether it’s the next book or three after that, the majority of the groundwork laid for future HEAs, was in reference to Aodhan. We still don’t know what happened to him, but it’s clear he’s healing, if not healed, and the mysterious mystery was brought up half a dozen times at least.
The neutral news is, there’s no getting to it without more Elena and Raphael.
So suck it up, and let let Singh do what she needs to do. *orbit gum smile* Trust me, by the time you finish GH #9, you’ll be glad you did.
But I repeat, first things first, and in order to get to the super fantastic revelations at the end of this book, you have to wade through the swamp:
1. There’s no mystery surrounding who the Bad Guy is.
“By dint of their spiritual quest, the Luminata have no earthly ties and no loyalties beyond that to their quest for luminescence. They take no lovers, participate in no wars, and when they become Luminata, they sever all blood ties.”
“A perfect neutral body.”
“Perfect,” Elena says.
*scoffs* BEWARE anything described as being “perfect.” That’s just common sense.
2. Our common sense isn’t enough to clue us in.
The slight redundancy that can be characteristic of Singh is more than slight in ARCHANGEL’S HEART. We are reminded constantly that something’s not quite right:
“There’s something off about this place,” she muttered. “Gian’s spookiness aside, the sense of peace I expected is missing.”
And on the very next page:
The shallow bow from an escort who had not earned that right, the fact Gian had taken the names of the Cadre without adding “Archangel” to the front, the Luminata who’d watched them from the shadows, their faces hidden under the hoods of their robes, none of it was as it should be.
This pattern continued, but once the plot picked up the pace, it was easier to ignore (per usual).
3. On a similar, yet different note, basic rituals are given point-by-point explanations:
There was no shower, but someone had already partially filled the large stone bath with cold water, minerals swirled into the clear liquid. It was a normal angelic courtesy to ensure guests didn’t have to wait too long for their bath to fill.
Finding the handle—old but functional—that made the hot water start to gush out from a spout in the wall, Raphael turned it on.
By the time it filled to the top, it would be the correct temperature.
These kinds of things made getting started an uphill climb.
I want to be clear that I very much enjoyed this book.
I can’t tell you what made it so wonderful and lovely and ALL the good things, b/c huge, enormous spoilers, so instead I’m being painfully honest about the less than stellar start. That way, if you have a similar experience, hopefully, you’ll be encouraged to push through.
It’s so very worth it. I promise. Highly recommended.