September 4, 2012

Review: Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh


Source: we received an e-ARC of the book from the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

Nalini Singh is special. I don’t know how she does it, but she has created two very distinct, complex worlds. I admit that the Psy/Changeling books are closer to my personal taste, but I find the Guild Hunter series very compelling, especially now that we get to see the world through a different set of characters. I’ve been intrigued by Jason since he first appeared in the previous books, and I’m happy to finally learn what makes him tick.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the Guild Hunter books take place in an alternate present where angels and vampires live among us in relative peace. Angels have their own society and rulers, and one archangel is in charge of each territory. Raphael, the ruler of North America, has been the protagonist of the first three books, but now we also get stories for some of his closer friends and protectors. Jason, with his dark wings and ability to blend and listen to the wind, is Raphael’s spymaster and our newest hero.

A terrible tragedy deeply affected Jason’s childhood and upbringing. As a consequence, he’s reserved, quiet and not that in touch with his feelings. In fact, he has no feelings. Or so it seems. When the archangel Neha’s consort is murdered, Raphael sends Jason to her territory to help with the investigation. Because the relationship between the archangels is complex and the political machinations abound, Jason takes a blood oath with Neha’s niece, Mahiya. This blood oath makes it impossible for him to betray or divulge Neha’s secrets, so he becomes almost part of Neha’s family. The blood oath also works as a marriage of sorts, and Jason plans to manipulate Mahiya if necessary (but not sexually manipulate her, he’s not a douche).

Mahiya is a princess that’s closer to a prisoner than to royalty. Her childhood was also marked by tragedy and her upbringing wasn’t easy. She fears for her life and in Jason she sees a way to scape. So she asks him to help her and in turn she will assist his investigation. 

Who killed Neha’s consort? The answer to that question is more complex than anyone could guess and there’s a possibility it will bring war. So Mahiya and Jason must work together to find the murderer and then figure out how to avoid more tragedy. And of course they also fall in love. But Jason has issues (he’s a tortured hero, after all), so the love story won’t be that easy either.

This book was very good. I thoroughly enjoyed the Romance and the excellent characterization. Ms. Singh stays true to her characters and I was grateful, delighted, and yes, surprised. Jason isn’t an emotional character. He doesn’t know how to love, so it makes sense that he’s reluctant to fall in love with someone. The result is an interesting and unique romance. This is an author that’s not afraid to break the rules and Archangel’s Storm is an example of that. Not every reader will be happy about it, but I loved it.

Mahiya wasn’t what I expected. The angels in this series tend to be god-like and inhuman -- it’s one of the reasons why I have mixed feelings about the series. And now we have an angel that’s also a princess and related to a powerful archangel, so I was surprised when I realized she was a shy, sheltered, young woman. She had wings and immortality, but she was as vulnerable as a human, maybe even more. It was a contrast to Jason who was hard, experienced and unfeeling. Mahiya was dying to be free to love and feel. I liked her very much and it was a different type of heroine.

I thought the story was lacking in the mystery subplot. I liked the fact that the book was almost like a police procedural and I enjoyed the investigation. It was a bit obvious, but I liked it. However, the action and the ending were rushed and the execution poor.  It was anticlimactic and underwhelming. 

Overall this was a great addition to the series. It’s refreshing to meet new characters and to get different points of view. The setting is different and unlike anything we have seen in the series, and I loved the Romance. It doesn’t stand alone well, though, you have to be familiar with the world to fully enjoy it. So instead of recommending it as a standalone, I’ll just recommend the whole series.

Review by Brie
Grade: 4
Sensuality: McSteamy
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late. 
Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster. 
With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.

Berkley Sensation. September 4, 2012.

10 comments:

  1. OOoh this sounds like a good series to get into. And there is something interesting about powerful angels with the feelings and vulnerabilities of humans. Too bad there was a great build up with a disappointing ending. I hate when a story is anticlimactic. But this still sounds like a great series. I'll have to look into them.

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    Replies
    1. You haven't read this author before, right? You should, she is so, so good, it's almost ridiculous ;-)

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  2. Thanks so much for the review, Brie. I love Nalini's books A TON and am miraculously caught up in both this series and the Psy-Changeling series. I honestly cannot say that for many series I read so it speaks for itself that I'm caught up in BOTH of Nalini's series. Well not completely caught up yet, because I have to read this one!! haha

    Anyway, I've been intrigued by Jason since the beginning, too. Nothing like those quiet, elusive, loyal ones to pique a reader's interest. Mahiya sounds like a good character, too. Now I'm really looking forward to reading this one! :)

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    1. I tend to avoid series because it's pure torture. I don't like waiting and also PNR is not my genre of choice. But I'm with you in that Nalini is fantastic and I'm hooked to anything she writes. Same goes for Meljean Brook (are you going to read Riveted? Now I can't remember if you're a fan of the Iron Seas books... You should, BTW).

      My favorite character in this series was Dmitri, so I'm a bit less stressed about it because I already read his book (we see him again in this one). Now I'm dying to read Venom's book!

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    2. PNR was my first romance genre of choice, but interestingly, I'm not drawn to any new ones. I do, however, remain pretty loyal to my first loves, if that makes sense.

      As for Meljean, I am one of her earliest fangirls. I started reading her Guardians series right about the time Demon Moon came out.. late 2007, maybe? Anyway, I unfortunately feel behind in that series and while I read the novella prequel to the Iron Seas series, which I loved, I haven't picked up the full length novels yet. Gah. I can't stand falling so far behind. It's my goal to catch up with her over the next several months. Definitely before Michael's book.

      As for the Archangel's series.. what about Illium? He's story's gonna be interesting, too!

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    3. I must be the only one who's not really interested in Illium. I think I'm more anxious about Adohan (is that his name?) and Venom. I really want Venom's book *grins*

      The new Iron Seas novel is fantastic and it stands alone perfectly well, so you don't have to catch up in order to read it. You have to read all the Guardians soon because Michael's book is almost here, hurry so we can scream like crazy fangirls! LOL

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  3. I have not read your review, but I'm looking forward to it after seeing your grade, which is good right? I have to say, I don't love this series as much as the Psy-Changelings, but it's still a solid, good series :) Would you consider this PNR or UF?

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    1. I'm thinking a mix between the two or a heavily romantic UF... I think of these series as PNR, really, it doesn't fit my idea of UF, but now I'm confused. You know half the time I don't understand labels and categories, so I'm the wrong person to ask. I agree that this series doesn't work for me as well as the Psy-Changeling, but meh Nalini is still awesome by any other standard.

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.