Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Archangel's Blade

Archangel's Blade
Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance
Guild Hunter/Book 4
Berkley/September 6, 2011

From Goodreads ~

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...

In the fourth full-length book of the series we get a marked change in the protagonists. Raphael and Elena are out of the country leaving Dmitri in charge of the Tower. I've been curious about the dark, brooding vampire. He's perceived as being cold and cruel, the humanity long gone from him. But we know he can't be all that and still be a romance hero. There is a dark history to Dmitri that explains so much of his remoteness.

Honor has been hiding from the outside world. She's been living at the Guild, keeping close to the one place where she feels some sense of safety. But it's time she gets out and back to work. She's given an assignment at the Tower and ordered to report to Dmitri. This is where Honor shows not only courage but sheer guts. She was tortured by vamps for two months and Dmitri is the vampire other vampires fear. This is where my emotions engaged, feeling a protectiveness towards Honor.

Dmitri is determined to keep this cold shell around him but I do think we see little cracks in the armor. Whenever he is talking to Raphael we can see a bond that goes beyond their working relationship into camaraderie and a deep respect and friendship. I liked that Dmitri didn't suddenly become this sweet, docile being once he accepted Honor's love and compassion. He stayed true to his nature but opened up and brought her into the small circle of beings he cares about.

The two external challenges Dmitri and Honor face are finding out who is leaving bodies for Dmitri to find and who was involved in Honor's kidnapping and torture. It's a matter of both Dmitri and Honor facing their ghosts. I liked how they each encouraged each other, Dmitri's method may have been harsher but it got the job done. Honor isn't timid when dealing with Dmitri, which worked. Had she been cowering in a corner half the time I don't see how Dmitri could have developed any respect for her let alone love.

The ending is where I had a problem. In trying to keep this spoiler free, I won't go into details but the secret of how Honor was able to connect with Dmitri and help him break out of that coldness that surrounded him didn't work for me. I felt let down and couldn't help but wonder if this had not been the case, would Dmitri still have fallen for Honor?

I don't know who the hero and heroine will be in the next full length novel or if Raphael and Elena will take center stage again. I'm kind of hoping they keep to the background a little longer since there are a few secondary character I would like to see more of. I do like this series, although it took me far longer to get into than Singh's Psy/Changeling series. It doesn't have the full power to completely suck me in just yet.

Rating: B

Books in this series ~

Angel's Pawn (special e-book prequel)
Angel's Blood
Archangel's Kiss
Angel's Judgement (novella in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology)
Archangel's Consort
Archangel's Blade
Angel's Wolf (novella in the Angel's of Darkness anthology)
Angel's Flight (3 previously released novellas, 1 new/March 2012)


  1. Thanks for the review! I'd been wondering whether this book was worth buying new or not. While I adore the Psy-Changeling series I never quite got into this one as much... it feels like it's lacking in clear direction, pace is flagging and going on and on instead of getting to the point. And Dimitri was never one of my favs (of the bunch Illium's my fav *g*). So for this title I think I'll wait maybe until I find it used or at the library. Thank you!

  2. Hmmm, I'm a bit torn with this one. I was really happy that the book was very character-centric, that it was really about Dmitri and Honor. Still, I thought that the overall story though was weak - the one about the missing angel. It was just weird that after soooooo much time, something linked to Dmitri's past would re-surface. Perhaps something more current or just Honor's traumatic event would have been enough.

    The revelation at the end, about Honor... Meh. It's good that Honor is her own woman... but yeah, it cast a shadow at how much does Dmitri truly love Honor.

    For me though, the biggest issue was the tone of the book. I know Ms Singh is trying for something a bit darker and sure, vampires and angels have long life and regeneration... but some of the torture... and their jaded view of it. It's just becomes too much at some point.

  3. Mm.. still working on catching up with this series, but Mary's and nath's comments are making me more curious. Still... a B is a good grade. I'm sure I'll agree. ;)

  4. ... should that have been "curiouser?" I think yes, but it sounds so odd.

  5. Mary ~ this series definitely has a different feel to it than the Psy/Changeling series. Illium's one of my favs too. And Venom for some reason I'm not sure of.

    Nath ~ I didn't like the revelation either. Maybe it was suppose to be romantic but I felt disappointed.

    Christine ~ It is Singh so the writing is good. Maybe it's that we can't help but compare it to the Psy/Changeling and find it's not quite up to that standard?

    *I think it's 'more curious' but I wasn't an English major. Either is fine with me. :)