Saturday, 5 January 2013
Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #4
Type: Adult Paranormal Romance
When the tattooed severed head of a nascent vampire is discovered, the case should have been passed directly to the Guild but Dmitri has an ominious sense of familiarity. In his long life as a vampire, Dmitri has seen many things and his search for the truth of the killing leads him to work alongside Guild Hunter Honor. But while Honor is a competent Hunter, she has just survived a brutual imprisonment by vampires and the last thing she wants is to be forced to work with one...especially one as powerful as Dmitri.
This is the fourth book in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series (after Angels' Blood, Archangel's Kiss and Archangel's Consort) and is the first to move away from Elena and Raphael as lead characters. Instead the book focuses on Dmitri who has been a supporting character from the start and introduces a new Guild Hunter named Honor. Elena, Raphael and all the other characters I've come to love are still featured despite the narration change.
The book is tightly plotted with dual storylines running together. The investigation into the severed head leads us into Dmitri's past while a concurrent investigation tracks down the vampires who abducted Honor. There is a fair amount of tension and some scenes manage to be deeply creepy which makes for compelling reading. The romance takes a backseat to the character's healing from their pasts, which works well both for the storyline and overall development of the characters.
Dmitri has been a favourite character of mine since the beginning of the series. He's always been portrayed as arrogant and controlling so it was fascinating to see why he is that way. He has lived a long existence but never recovered from the events surrounding his turning, leading him to become darker and more deadly. However, when he meets Honor he begins to change and it is fascinating to see how he develops.
I found Honor to be incredibly well written and the way in which she gradually deals with the horrors of her past feels believable. She is very different to Elena as while Elena is physically very strong and confident from the first page, Honor is broken and delicate yet holds herself together with an extreme level of self-control.
Holly (a survivor of Uram's rampage in the first book) and Venom both stand out as supporting characters with Holly's recovery being aided by Honor and Venom showing a slightly softer side. Interestingly the book steps back from the global changes in the previous installment to tell a tighter, more character focused story and this was a refreshing change.
All in all, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Archangel's Storm.