Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Source: E-arc via Netgalley from Berkley

Synopsis from Goodreads:
One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…Nothing will ever be the same again.

Ronnie’s Review

Admittedly, while I have grown a bit tired of the Psy-Changeling books, I still feel very compelled by Singh’s Guild Hunter series. I think part of this is due to the structure of the books and how they feel more Urban Fantasy than Paranormal Romance. Elena and Raphael’s relationship is now well established and the arcs are more focused on developments that are external in nature. Her writing of supporting characters is second to none and that shows quite clearly in how she pulls a reclusive, secretive Angel and gives him a sizable role in Archangel’s Heart.

Called by an ancient group known as the Luminata, Elena and Raphael make their way to Lumia, to confer with the Cadre and decide what to do about Archangel Lijuan. As the territory of Lumia is located within Morocco, Elena’s past plays a major role in this book and drastic things come to light. As I was reading, I was rather surprised to note that there’s very little fighting, but that doesn’t mean the book lacks tension. The atmosphere at Lumia is hushed, haunted, and is packed with surprises. I loved the fact that one of the angels we know the least about, Aodhan, is the one who gets a fair amount of page time within the book. Singh drops details about his past, his relationship with Illium with ease and leaves the reader clamoring for more.

When the books alternate between Elena/Raphael and then a supporting character, you get a fair mix of developing plot lines and romantic relationships. Because their relationship is so well developed, there’s little “drama” to be had, but you see it being tended to and the trust that grows and deepens with each book.

There’s also a sense of battle lines being drawn when it comes to the archangels. Raphael has a complicated relationship with his mother of course, but Elena also helps him cultivate that relationship and remember the good that came from it. With the exception of perhaps Charisemnon, each Archangel is written as a complex being with both positive and negative traits. As I’m still very much enjoying the journey that Singh has written, I can’t wait to see how future books will lay out various Angels in a deeper perspective.

Rating: 4.0 Stars = B+

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