Review: Archangel’s Blade (Guild Hunter #4) by Nalini Singh
Archangel’s Blade is the story of Dmitri and Honor, a 1000 year old smolderingly lethal menace of a vampire and a tortured steel magnolia Guild Hunter with unmatched determination & spirit. Gruesome murders and suspicious disappearances are happening all over New York, and while following the bloody trail, Dmitri and Honor must confront their own brutal personal demons. Soul-baring explorations, deliberately steamy passion, and long-awaited answers to questions about Archangel Raphael’s vaunted Seven are what you can expect from Archangel’s Blade. This is most definitely a must-read novel!
- Title: Archangel’s Blade
- Series: Guild Hunter – book #4
- Author: Nalini Singh
- Prominent Characters: Dmitri, Honor
- Recommended reader age: 16+
- Sexual content level: moderate
Honor starts out so vulnerable and fractured, and Dmitri is so lethally alluring, that you’re immediately sucked right into the story. Even readers with no background on this series should have no trouble “getting” the characters because they are so definitively written. One thing about Honor that did annoy me a little bit is when she started getting tiffy that Dmitri didn’t consult her for every decision he hadn’t yet even made. First off, he’s the leader of one of the most lethal cadres of fighters in the world – he doesn’t need tactical or technical advice. Second, he’s nearly 1000 years old – he’s lived long enough and experienced so much that the amount of knowledge and wisdom he has gained over the centuries is almost inconceivable. Obviously, he’s not infallible or perfect, and he’s going to need to get to common ground with Honor if she’s going to end up as his mate in the end, but her reaction to these core traits of him made me like her just a bit less than I liked him. Of course, his being smolderingly sexy probably helped a little with that. *grin*
It is fascinating to see this gentler side of Dmitri. Not soft or forgiving – he’s never that – but patient and generous with his time and abilities. Doesn’t sound like the Dmitri you know, does it? Readers of the Guild Hunter series are accustomed to seeing the polished, dangerous, sensual, calculating and unforgiving side of the deadly leader of Raphael’s Seven, so Archangel’s Blade is… not really a change of pace, but rather a change of heart. In the other books, we see Dmitri as the enforcer, the cold-hearted mercenary leader who is relentless in training and in his brutal intelligence. In Archangel’s Blade, he sometimes seems human and we get glimpses of, and (toward the end) whole conversations with, the man he was before he was made. We also get to see more of the relationship and history between Raphael and Dmitri, something I’ve been itching to get a peek at for a looooong time!
You can’t talk about Dmitri without talking about sex. Dmitri is sex. He oozes it, he breathes it, he wraps it around you like a feathered whip or a warm chocolate blanket. He is the epitome of sinful decadence and violent delights. When he seduces, he does it effortlessly and deliberately, and he is always confident and in control. Because of Honor’s recent trauma, Dmitri can’t steamroll over her like he does with all his other conquests, and he sees a vulnerability in her that he aches to protect. This is what makes the story work so well, what allows us to see the softer side of him without it being out of character. It is both surprising and alluring to see a man who is so outwardly strong run the gamut of emotions over this woman that is the chink in his own armor.
I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the supporting characters from the other Guild Hunter novels in AB. Especially the references to and talk about Ashwini and Janvier… I think their book is probably in the making. I also had inklings of a possible lady love for Venom, but she’s still quite young and immature, so perhaps not. We’ll see. ;-) We also get a healthy dose of Illium and Venom, two of my favorite among the rest of the Seven… Illium with his stunning beauty and Venom with his reptilian ruthlessness. I am eagerly awaiting the stories for both of these men, but I have a feeling it will be a while for Illium, at least – it seems he still has some ground to cover before he’s ready to settle down. Something I really enjoy about these vampires and angels that serve Raphael, is their sense of smooth, sexy, effortless style. They wear luscious, sleek designer suits and drive (or covet, in Illium’s case) Ferraris and helicopters with equal panache, and all of that is just a thin veneer of civility covering a core of merciless lethality.
“Do you think I will fall again, Dmitri?” Memory in his voice, whispers of pain. ”Lose my wings?”
Some men like a little pain with their pleasure…
“Something about me seems to make a woman want to use knives.”
What’s behind Door #2?
“Death by Dmitri,” he said, leaning against the doorjamb with a laziness that would’ve fooled no one who knew him. ”Is that what you were aiming for?”
Bring out the shark cage, boys!
“You look like some rich playboy.” If said playboys were sharks.
What are friends for?
“I might have sort of picked the lock on your storage unit and moved all your stuff in last week, but if you tell anyone, I’ll say the gremlins did it.”
Some things never change…
“Honor. Stop flirting with Illium. It only encourages his vanity.”
The perils of immortality…
Eternity, Honor thought, was a long time to spend as a victim.
The essence of Dmitri…
His sensualty was potent, as raw as it was sophisticated, as dark as it was patient.
If you liked Archangel’s Blade of the Guild Hunter series…
If you enjoyed Archangel’s Blade for its large cast, mysterious detective-style storyline, and strong bonds between the characters, you might also enjoy the Fever series (starting with Darkfever) by Karen Marie Moning.
If you liked Archangel’s Blade for its gruesome murder scenes and trail of clues spread across an urban metropolis, you might also like the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series (beginning with Guilty Pleasures) by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Don’t forget to check out Nalini Singh’s other addicting urban fantasy (Paranormal romance? Who can tell?! Aaah!) series about the Psy and Changelings. Lucas & his Dark River leopards face off against Hawke and his Snow Dancer wolves until both are forced into an uneasy alliance against the eerily cold-hearted, ruthlessly manipulating Psy.
Dmitri has always been cold and calculating. Impenetrable. The way this story unfolds fits so well into the existing Guild Hunter lore that there’s only acceptance when we learn of his brutal past, when we see him act like a human, when we experience the first stirrings of softer emotion that he’s experienced in a millenia. Dmitri & Honor’s story could have come across as contrived and overbearing, or as a cheap manipulation of readers’ fears. Instead, it is tender, compelling, and heart-breaking.
One thing to note, for readers new to the Guild Hunter series, is that there is a good deal of conversation and references to existing plot arcs and past storylines. You can still enjoy AB if you don’t want to read the first three novels, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the innuendos and character/event references. And you probably won’t grasp the full appeal of Dmitri, Raphael, Illium, or Venom, and that is a damn shame. *wink*
I literally couldn’t put this book down for two days. I read it constantly, and when I had to do actual work, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I badly want to give Archangel’s Blade a 5-heart rating, but I think I wanted JUUUUUUST a little more menace and tough guy from Dmitri. I don’t mean that he wasn’t – he definitely got his nasty on – but there was such a constant undertone of flashback and vulnerability that it took me a little further away from he badass I know than I wanted. That said, this was possibly my favorite Guild Hunter novel to date and was ALMOST a Gold Heart Award winner… THIS CLOSE! So even though you see this grouped with the Silver Heart 4.5s, it is absolutely a must-read and a GT favorite!
Rating: Archangel’s Blade
Buy Archangel’s Blade: Amazon
http://www.nalinisingh.com/ (Nalini Singh’s website)
http://www.karenmoning.com/ (KMM, author of the Fever series, website)
http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/ (LKH, author of the Anita Blake series, website)