I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Published by Berkley on November 1st 2016
“He was hers. She was his. And together, they were something far better than either one of them was alone.”
FINAL DECISION: Goes deeper into Elena’s background in unexpected ways. This book is a tightly drawn suspense story, political thriller and a very human story about surviving and rising above the past. Plus, there is a very settled and sexy couple: Elena and Raphael.
THE STORY: This book continues the focus on guild hunter turned angel Elena and her archangel lover Raphael. Things have been quiet since the disappearance of Lijuan, the Archangel of China (who also happens to be crazy dangerous). A year has passed and because no one knows whether she lives or has withdrawn from the world and is sleeping, there is uncertainty. An ancient order of angels called the Luminata calls the Cadre together to make a determination of what to do with Lijuan’s territory.
Attending the Luminata requires Raphael and Elena to travel near the place of her grandmother’s birth. There, Raphael and Elena must deal with dangerous archangels, mysterious threats, strange events surrounding the Luminata. Elena also hopes to find out more about her past and that of her family.
OPINION: The Guild Hunter series returns to focus on Elena and Raphael. I have to admit that I love the Elena and Raphael books most in the series. This book, thankfully, doesn’t involve problems in the relationship between Elena and Raphael (that remains increasingly strong) but rather Elena’s own history.
This book continues the overarching series story regarding the Cascade, Lijuan and the possible end of the world. While this book doesn’t have a romance as its organizing feature, it doesn’t need one. This book delves into the adventure and politics of the Guild Hunter world — but reserves its emotional core for Elena’s discovery of her own family’s past.
There is a dark suspense story involving the Illuminata who are a mysterious addition to the series. Elena ends up investigating what is going on with this mysterious group and their connection with her own family. That story keeps the pace of this book quick and the pages turning.
While the suspense story keeps the books hopping, the theme explored in this book is about how the past makes us who we are and how one can overcome the pain of the past to go forward. Multiple characters in the book have to deal with their past — the question is how will they respond. This is most present in Aodhan who is recovering himself after years of separating himself from those he loves. The events in this book challenge his recovery and he must make a choice. The series has been an increasing interaction between those of Raphael’s world and Elena. In this book, we see the developing relationship between Elena and Aodhan, which has its own contours.
Singh goes deep into the emotions of her characters and even as the events feel dark and dangerous, her characters possess a lightness and beauty that gives the book heart. I always love reading Singh’s books because even when things seem bad for her characters, they maintain a likeability and a lightness of spirit that overcomes all the darkness.
The events of this series appear to be approaching a crescendo and this book provides a little breather that allows the exploration of character and relationships. Elena finds out the truth about her mother’s family which has been shrouded in mystery. I’m glad I didn’t know where this book was going because I enjoyed the resolution which provided a happy ending in an unexpected arena.
Without giving away the secrets of this book, I can say that this book is about survival and overcoming darkness. So many characters express this theme and it leaves such a good feeling that I dread that more darkness is on the horizon for these characters.
For fans of the series, this book gives more background on the characters you love and gets everyone in the right place for the next stage in this series. There are no new romances but much happens in this book that illuminates where the characters are now and where they have come from.
WORTH MENTIONING: We learn more about Aodhan.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ARCHANGEL’S HEART is the ninth book in the Guild Hunter series. This series builds upon each of the prior books in the series and thus should be read in order.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.