Archangel’s Heart (Guild Hunter #9) by Nalini Singh #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
One of the things I love about the Guild Hunter series, what keeps me coming back so faithfully, is the rock solid love between Raphael, the Archangel of New York, and his once-mortal consort, Elena. Their connection drives the storyline of the series without dominating it, and they never ever fail one another.
Raphael caught the change in her mood, glanced over. “What amuses you?”
“Why do you sound so suspicious?”
“Because your favorite things are sharp and draw blood.”
“Funny, Archangel.” Laughing because he was guilty of feeding her addiction to the most beautiful blades, she said, “We’re holding hands. I never held hands with anyone before you, and when we first got together, I never thought we ever would.” He’d been so hard, so dangerous.
“In this, Elena, I, too, was a virgin.” His fingers tightened on hers, his wings outlined with a glow that would’ve terrified her once.
Raphael is easily one of my favorite romance heroes, paranormal or no. He embodies power and yet his love for Elena makes him vulnerable in a way immortals wouldn’t normally tolerate. I adore how she brings out his playfulness.
Then he rose high, only to drop down beside Elena in a hard, fast dive that required precision timing.
“Show-off.” Admiration glinted in her eyes.
And he felt young again, as he felt only with Elena. Not the archangel responsible for millions of lives, mortal and immortal, but a man with his lover. Raphael with Elena.
Eternity would mean nothing without you. For no power on this earth would I trade my Elena.
Every Guild Hunter story that features Raphael and Elena has a personal thread woven into it—after all, they are the foundation the entire series grows from—but Archangel’s Heart has a particularly intimate feel, both in giving readers a deeper glimpse into the couple’s very intense relationship and in its focus on Elena’s heritage.
“I would wear your brand on my skin, Elena-mine. Even if it meant searing it anew each day when I woke.”
“Ahem.” Elena pointed to the wing that bore the bullet scar. “You already wear my mark, Archangel.”
He unfolded his wing, smiled in open satisfaction. “So I do.”
Every new story I read in this series makes me want to go back and read them all again. This story world is so unique, so vibrant, so real in its myriad, thorough tiny details, I both lament and am relieved at being unable to be part of it in real life. I enjoy the setup of the series story arc as well, with the books devoted to this main couple featuring a rotating cast of other characters that are then given their own stories in the interim books. Archangel’s Heart spotlights Aodhan, a powerful member of Rachael’s Seven who is appropriately nicknamed Sparkle: he literally shines like thousands of precious jewels. His friendship with Illium is so tight, the two could be blood brothers…or lovers.
“Everyone wants to own Aodhan. He’s a beautiful jewel and the world can’t bear just to look at him and wonder at his beauty. They want to break him, cage him.”
I loved getting to know Aodhan in this story. All of Raphael’s Seven are unique in their own distinct ways, but Aodhan—despite his brilliant physical assets—is probably the most reserved and traumatized, so he is the one readers have seen the least of so far in the series story arc. And as with Jason and Dmitri and Naasir’s stories, Archangel’s Heart, with its focus on art and introspective studies, is ideally suited to his strengths. I’m looking forward to seeing who Ms. Singh pairs with Aodhan, and secretly (well, now not so secretly) hoping she may break from the m/f pattern and bond him to a male character…(psst, Illium!). This book made several mentions of fluid sexuality, so whether that was groundwork for an upcoming story or simply extra world-building, only time will tell!
Archangel’s Heart is probably one of the less intense stories of the series so far, spending much of its page time building up then unraveling the mysteries of Elena’s past, but I liked the sudden burst of momentum at the end and the emotion woven into the close of the book.
Will you call me Elena-mine when we’ve been together two thousand years and you’re annoyed by the size of my knife collection?
The firelight of Raphael’s wings brushed hers as he passed. First, as I would be responsible for having given you the majority of those knives, how could I be annoyed? And second, I will always call you Elena-mine.
Another solid—and emotionally satisfying—installment in one of the best urban fantasy series ever written, Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh is a do-not-miss book for fans of the Guild Hunter series. New readers should start with Angel’s Blood; click here to read the GraveTells review!
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