Monday, October 31, 2016

ARC Review: Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh

Series:     Guild Hunter #9
Pub. Date:Nov 1, 2016
Publisher:Berkley
Length:384 pages
Source:NetGalley

Archangel's Heart is a wonderful rejoinder back into the relationship of the couple who started it all... Raphael and Elena. This story picks up about two years after Archangel's Enigma, where we saw Naasir and Andi pair up, an ancient archangel awake, and the Cascade continue to shake things up for everyone. Things have been quiet over the past two years, and the stagnant period has everyone getting more and more antsy. With all the trouble that Lijuan has caused in the past, everyone is concerned by this long period of silence. So when an ancient sect of monk-like angels, the Luminata, called a conclave of all the archangels, I just knew things were going to get interesting.

So the Cadre of archangels, including our two ancients, are headed to the Luminata's hidden compound in Morocco. As the Archangel of New York, Raphael was tied up in political meetings with the Cadre, which allowed Elena to poke around the the compound and its library in search of information about her family history. I don't remember if we were told in the past that Elena could trace her family to Morocco, but the interweaving of her history with the political intrigue of the Cadre, and the strange Luminata, kept me turning the page well into the night. The pacing of story moved along at a steady clip, with several different story angles converging together at the perfect time for the big reveal. I know that I was completely captivated as the facts were trickled out, and I felt super greedy for more! So now I am really excited to see where the future is going given what we learned.

While the plot focus was more on Elena, there were some sweet and steamy moments between our couple. I love seeing Elena and Raphael as a pair, especially when they can drop their serious demeanor and engage in some playful flirting. Aodhan (a/k/a Sparkle) had a larger secondary role in this installment, and I continue to be drawn to his character. He is continuing to grow and come back to himself after the tragedy that occurred in his past. Through Elena and Illium, we learned more about Aodhan, and I just know that his story will be heartwrenching when we get it in full. 

I love how Nalini has structured this series to be a mix between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. While I really like following a constant couple through a series... I can appreciate having books for some of our favorite characters that continue to advance the series arc in between books about our main couple. In addition, I have to commend the quality of Nalini's writing. Her language/vocabulary in this series is so evocative of these majestic beings, it really gives you a sense of the beautiful fantasical characters that she has created. The writing conveys a sense of power and wonder for me... and I want my own set of wings, dang it!

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.

Excerpt

Raphael’s response was silent, his wing brushing hers as he . . .

“Raphael!” The damn archangel had dusted her.

Glittering, sparkly stuff stuck to her, delicious beyond compare when she parted her mouth and it licked onto her tongue. Her thighs clenched. “This is not funny!” She glared at him even as arousal flooded her system, but he was laughing too hard to care.

Her heart, it just stopped.

Even now, the Archangel of New York rarely laughed and never like this. Until she could see the youth he must’ve once been, with eyes of a wild, astonishing blue that asked a woman to laugh with him. She’d never before seen him as truly young. How could she? He had so much power that it pulsed in his every touch, burned in his skin.

Hauling him close to her with her hands fisted in the cream linen of his shirt, she took a kiss, took him. He sank into her, his wings sweeping up to wrap around her until all she could sense was Raphael, all she could taste was him. And angel dust. The special blend he’d created just for her.

He pushed one hand into her hair, fisting it as he wrapped his other arm around her waist and backed her up against a wall. Something fell with a dull thud. Maybe the vivid painting of wildflowers that had just been put up, all the art having been taken down during the repainting.

Elena loved that simple piece Honor had found in a thrift shop, but right now, it could’ve been a priceless artwork by the Hummingbird and she wouldn’t have cared. She was far too happy to be pressed up against the hard warmth of her archangel tip to toe after spending the previous night on watch. No time for shenanigans with Dmitri away and Illium off-shift, Aodhan assigned to patrol the sea border, and Raphael dealing with the overall security situation.

She’d flown a proper defense grid, both to stay in practice and because none of them could afford to be blasé with the Cascade an unpredictable foe that could unleash itself at any moment, smashing the world back into chaos and, possibly, war. 

Today, however, the others were on‑shift and she could kiss her lover. He burned hot, Raphael, but he was a crashing sea in her mind, a tumultuous, passionate storm that swept her up and thundered through her veins.

We can talk to Dmitri later, she sent to Raphael, sliding her hands up the ridges and valleys of his chest. Let’s go upstairs to our suite.

“A‑hem.” 

She tried to ignore that pointed cough that held a biting amusement.

Raphael’s lips smiled against hers. I think my second has other ideas.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2016.

Guild Hunter Series