The sixth installment in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel’s Legion is an excellent blend of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Writing about this book for me is more like “book appreciation” than anything else, for how can you review a book that you already loved?
My fifth reread at the least convinced me that I have to put into writing what I love about this book and why this is my favorite of the series.
I fell in love first with Nalini Singh’s lovely prose. She is that rare artist of words who superbly balances elegance with edgy and gritty dialogue.
Elegant discription of a vampire’s scent:
Copper dust and cinnamon spice, with an underlying hint of burnt oak.
Complex and interesting and unique.
And then this dialogue:
“I always wanted to ask something,”…
Ransom made a face when she described what she’d picked up from the passing vamp. “Yeah, except I don’t say shit like ‘cinnamon spice with a hint of burnt oak.’ I say ‘dude smells like an electrified tree with a side of doughnut topping.'” 😂
Nalini has created an intricate world of humans, vampires, angels, and the archangels (The Cadre of Ten) who ruled them all. The atmosphere and the sense of history, the way people interacted with each other just have a natural thing about it that it didn’t felt forced. Vampires are not the undead and angels are not messengers of the gods we thought them to be. They are more akin to celebrities or rock stars, larger than life and seemingly out of reach, but nevertheles part of everyday life. Except, of course, vampires and angels are lethal beings. And the archangels are just too dangerously ‘other’ and immensely powerful, they defy any description.
Different kinds of people tuning in to news reports:
She knew angelkind in general remained fascinated with her, the first angel Made in living memory and one who continued to hunt. According to what she’d heard from Illium, there were as many angels glued to news reports about her as there were humans and vampires….
Ms. Nalini has outdone herself with this one. The story just grabbed me and refused to let go until the end. And after that, left me with a feeling of wanting to read it all over again. Dark, fascinating and full of twists, with unexpected moments of light and humor. It is a tale of greed and violence, where oftentimes the innocents fell victim to the ambitions of the powerful. But also a tale of hope, bravery, and enduring love.
Angels falling from the sky:
Birds continued to fall from the sky, the “cloud” created of thousands upon thousands of their tiny forms. Elena’s instincts urged her to do something, stop the terrible rain, but there was nothing she could do….
“Have you ever heard of anything like this?” she asked the archangel beside her.
“No. I-” Words slicing off in midthought, he slid open the doors. “Stay here.”
“Where are you-” Her question caught in her throat as she realized the wings above and crashing into the Hudson were suddenly far bigger than those of the dying birds.
Angels were falling from the skies.
What makes a great story even more so is having great characters. And Archangel’s Legion not only has an amazing lead couple in Raphael and Elena, but also an equally impressive secondary characters. Be they mortal or immortal, they are distinctive and interesting in appearance, personality, traits and/or powers.
Take for example, The Seven, Raphael’s elite men. They are not merely “Yes Men”. Quite the opposite in fact. They are beings of lethal powers who served the Archangel of New York. And they do so not with fear but with utmost respect, honor, and loyalty.
Description of Aodhan, one of Raphael’s Seven:
… this angel who was beautiful in the most inhuman of ways. Fractures of light, that was Aodhan.
His eyes splintered outward from an obsidian pupil in shards of crystalline blue-green, his skin alabaster stroked with gold, his hair so pale as to be colorless… and yet so bright it was as if each strand had been coated in crushed diamonds. The illusion of light was echoed by his wings, until in sunlight, he dazzled the eye beyond the human ability to bear, his beauty a painful blade. Though Illium had wings of blue, and Venom the eyes of a viper, it was Aodhan who was the most ‘other’ of Raphael’s Seven.
Scenes that tug the heartstrings makes the characters more human and relatable, the book special and unforgettable. I don’t know what it is about this recent reread, but I found myself tearing up every few paragraphs. Maybe because I’ve gotten to know the characters so well, I was feeling what they’ve felt as if they were my own. Authors who can make me cry are pretty rare so kudos to Ms. Singh’s ability to bring forth such emotions that can elicit that kind of response.
Elena with her father, Jeffrey:
“Papa.” It was the first time she’d called him that in an eon. “Papa, I’m sorry.” Sliding her arms around his chest, she held him, his body an icy rock. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Her father’s arms came around her, crushing her so tightly, she could barely draw breath…. When his body shuddered against her own, she thought he might be crying, but it was a thought her mind couldn’t accept….
“I will always be your father… And I wish to God I wasn’t.”
The hateful words no longer hurt, not when she heard the fear she’d been too angry to hear the first time. Her father, this man who held her with such fierce tenderness, was afraid to watch his daughter die the same horrific death as his mother.
A dose or two of mystery can add spice to a story. Here are some from this book:
The Cascade – it is described as the “confluence of time and certain critical events that leads to a surge of power in the Cadre.” Although it is an event known to Angelkind, it still presents a great and dangerous mystery, as each Cascade is different from the one that preceded it.
The Legion – Seven hundred and seventy seven powerful and deadly winged beings acting as one, an elite and formidable army.
“Five hundred woke to the Sire’s call in urgency. Two hundred and seventy-seven need more time. They will arrive when their hearts begin to beat fast enough for flight.”
Naasir – is one of Raphael’s Seven. He appears as a vampire. But is he one?
… as she watched Naasir loping atop the wall with a strange, liquid grace that made him appear boneless, she had the feeling she didn’t know as much as she thought. “What,” she said to Raphael “is he?”
Raphael gave her a distinctly amused look. “Naasir is one of my Seven.”
“What do you think he is?”
“A tiger on the hunt, that’s how I categorized his scent the first time I met him, and I haven’t changed my mind,” she said….
“I think,” Raphael said at her frustrated growl, “I will leave Naasir a mystery for you to solve. I wouldn’t want immortality to become boring for my consort.”
“If that happens to us,” she whispered, unable to wrap her mind around the idea of a life so long and so full of tragedy, “If we feel ourselves, who we are together, becoming lost in time, I don’t want to sleep. I want to say good-bye when I’m still me and you’re still you.”
“…he knew that while war was inevitable, the loss of his soul was not.”
“Eternity would mean nothing without you. For no power on this earth would I trade my Elena.”
Sleep, he said, and because he couldn’t bear to think of her in pain: As you dream, know that you are loved.
‘Course I am. I’m yours.
What to expect:
Creepiest Villain… Check
Epic Action… Check
To give it justice, as one blogger had said, I recommend reading Archangel’s Legion after you have read the first five books in the series.
Note: You can also check out my first blog post – Guild Hunter series.