Book Review: Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh

Posted May 4, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Published by Jove on October 28, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: the library


In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot—should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.

Also by this author: Archangel's Legion, Archangel’s Enigma, Shards of Hope, “Fairy Balloons”, "An Unexpected Guest”, Allegiance of Honor, "The Song of the Wolf", Silver Silence, Archangel’s Heart, Archangel’s Viper, Ocean Light, "Elena's School of Horror", Cherish Hard, "Ain’t No Party Like A Bear Party", Archangel's Prophecy, "One Night At The Refuge", "Secret Things", Rebel Hard, Rock Hard, Wolf Rain, "Clean and Dirty", "Wolf School", "Naya’s Most Important Visitors", "Grocery Shopping", "A Gift for Kit", "Movie Night", "Kaleb and Sahara’s Meeting with Sascha and Lucas", "Housewarming at the Orchard", "Christmas in the Kitchen", "Stalking Hawke", "Romancing Drew", "Sunday Morning", "Rowan", "Baubles & Ben", Wild Embrace, Love Hard, Rock Addiction, "Music Awards", Rock Courtship , "Rock Courtship Memo"s, Rock Redemption, "Sunshine", Rock Wedding, "With This Memo", A Madness of Sunshine, "Beary Tiny Ghosts", Alpha Night, "A Wedding Breakfast", "Poker Night", "Knives and Sheaths", "Seedlings", "Star Kissed", "A Walk on the Cliffs", "Wild Cat Blues", Slave to Sensation, Caressed by Ice, Visions of Heat

Seventh in the Guild Hunter paranormal romance series and revolving around the concept that angels rule the world and are the creators of vampires. The couple focus is on Ashwini and Janvier whom we first encountered in “Angel’s Pawn“, 0.6. If you’re interested, I put together a chronological listing of the Guild Hunter books on my website.

This story takes up during the battle in Archangel’s Legion, 6, with a special focus on Ashwini, Janvier, and Naasir’s activities.

My Take

Whoa, reading of the precarious battle Ashwini is fighting inside that skyscraper and her resolve to not be imprisoned again…dang, Singh has definitely caught my attention with that statement. Who imprisoned her before? Why? What scarred Ashwini? What broke her?

Then there’s that terrifying rescue and you’ll be panting as your heart races. Whew. I need a nap.

In spite of Singh’s intriguing me with all these comments about imprisoned, that Ashwini can never be with anyone, etc., she makes me nuts. I always hate it when characters are in that whole denial thing, where they expect to never be happy, etc. Oy.

Singh is setting Illium, Naasir, and Aodhan up for their stories. I suspect Naasir will be the next one up and falling for a hunter or a vampire.

It’s so sweet. Here is the Legion, definitely a force to consider, and I love that Elena wants to humanize them. To introduce them to joy. Singh makes me want to cry when Elena works with them in her greenhouse.

Oh, crack me up! That Titus sounds a treat, and I can’t wait to meet him. Singh sings his praises so well, lol.

“Mostly they just sigh at the sound of his name and lose their train of thought.”

I do like Janvier’s remembrance of what one very old vampire friend said about keeping cattle, that “he was tired of the constant round of meaningless seduction, wanted only the intimacy and comfort of family around him.” Now that’s a reason that makes sense.

It could be the Cajun side of Janvier that makes me see him as romantic, but I suspect it’s how he plans his seduction of Ash that sets this idea in place. It’s a sad conflict with Janvier wanting Raphael to Make Ash that she might live forever while Ash sees vampirism as a horror, and Singh isn’t giving anything away!

When Janvier talks of his family… I wanna eat gumbo and listen to zydeco and enjoy being around family. This joy Janvier takes in his family may not last, for he has no intention of living one minute longer than Ash.

I think this is one of the reasons I love Singh’s writing. The characters may be deadly, terrifying supernatural creatures, but there’s a hominess about them. A caring for others that touches your heart.

For writers having a hard time with info dumps, read Archangel’s Shadow. Singh does a nice job of informing without it feeling like an aside, an oh, yeah, here’s some information you should read.

Oh, this is so sweet and so perfect. It’s been another build-up, this one of humor as the angels and vampires of the Seven talk up Naasir’s idea of a host gift. It seems innocuous until it snaps at Elena and Naasir. And it is perfect. Perfect for Elena’s interests and in line with what we’ve been led to expect from Naasir, lol.

Wow. Ash has her own way of holding a vampire prisoner. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Even more wows…Janvier has figured out how to talk Ash into what he desires.

The Story

It’s a three-man team whose mission is to piss the enemy off and distract them. It works, even when one of the enemy slices Ashwini wide open. Worse, it makes Janvier tender, soft…kind.

It’s irritating.

Now, not only must Ash investigate a mummified dog, humans, cattle, are complaining about ill-treatment by their vampire. And now there’s a question about Lijuan. Is she dead or is she the creature who is sucking animals into a dry husk?

And Raphael’s wings now flame with white.

The Characters

Ashwini “Ashblade” Taj is a dyslexic Guild Hunter with a psychometric gift. Honor is her best friend. Dr. Arvan “Arvi” Taj, a neurosurgeon, is Ashwini’s brother. Nineteen years older than her and has acted as her father since their parents died when she was nine. Tanushree “Tanu” was/is Arvi’s twin sister, but she too is lost. Her father had been a professor literature; her mother was a professor of literature with an emphasis on South Asian texts. The whole family is of a professional bent.

Janvier is a 200 and forty-five-plus-year-old Cajun vampire who now works for the Tower using his ability to charm enemies and make friends wherever he goes on its behalf. The twin kukris he carries were made by Rhys, Neha’s trusted general. His mother adored him, and he had two baby sisters: Amelie and Jöelle. Shamiya is the vampire who seduced him.

Raphael is the archangel who rules North America from New York City. He’s mated to Elena “Ellie”, a Guild Hunter who became an angel (see Angels’ Blood, 1). Eve is Elena’s younger sister. Caliane is Raphael’s mother who only woke recently. She holds Amanat, a lost city that rose to the surface after an eon, and doesn’t care for Elena (see Archangel’s Consort, 3). At the Angel Enclave where Raphael and Elena have their home, Montgomery, with his larcenous soul, is Raphael and Elena’s vampire butler. Sivya is the cook.

The Seven are…
…a group of vampires and angels who are Raphael’s trusted men. Dimitri is the most powerful vampire in the world and Raphael’s second. Honor St. Nicholas, an expert in ancient languages and history, is his wife whom Raphael turned into a vampire for her safety and Dimitri’s love (see Archangel’s Blade, 4). Dimitri remembers his first wife, Ingrede, and their children, Misha and Catherina. Illium, a.k.a., Bluebell, is one of the most beautiful angels and renowned for his blue wings. Aodhan, a.k.a., Sparkle, is struggling with darkness. Jason is the spymaster; Mahiya is his mate (Archangel’s Storm, 5). Keir is an angelic healer. Made by Neha, Venom is the youngest of the seven. Izak is one of the wounded angels. Once he heals he will be in Elena’s Guard.

Naasir was the third man, er, vampire in the shadow team in Archangel’s Legion. He’s one of the Seven and their best scout. I don’t recall anything being said about Naasir’s mindset before Archangel’s Shadow, and it’s scarily interesting as well as heartbreaking. Trace is one of the young ones with an interest in poetry and art. Emaya is a combat-trained vampire out clubbing with Mateo.

Sorrow is a woman changed by a mad archangel.

The Guild Hunters are…
…bounty hunters. They track the vampires who think they can skip out on their contracts. They also police the vampires…and sometimes the angels themselves. Sara is the Guild Director, and Deacon is her husband and a renowned weapon master (see “Angel’s Judgment“, 0.5). Saki recommended an oil to help Ashwini with her deep-tissue healing. Other hunters, friends, include Honor; Ransom, a former street kid whose librarian, Nyree, just said yes; Demarco; and, Elena. Vivek runs the computers for the Guild, and he’s recovering from being Made by Aodhan. It should give him back use of his paralyzed body. Bracken is the Guild trainer. Hilda is another Hunter.

The Archangels are…

…the Cadre. Terrifying creatures of tremendous power who rule huge areas of the world and take almost no notice of the lowly humans.

Titus is a powerful African archangel and an ally; he shares a border with Charisemnon. Galen’s mother, Tanae, is part of Titus’ army. Elijah and Hannah are a couple and friends of Elena and Raphael’s. Favashi is the Archangel of Persia with the heart of a cobra. Neha is the Queen of Poisons and Snakes and rules in India. Janvier was at her court for most of his 100 years. Michaela is a treacherous bitch of an angel who is already clamoring for some of Lijuan’s lands. She’s sleeping with Astaad’s second, Dahariel.

Lijuan is the oldest of the Cadre and rules China; she is the enemy who came against Raphael in Archangel’s Legion. She’ll drain her people into husks. Her generals include Xi, Alistair, Philomena, and Cornelius. Charisemnon is one of Lijuan’s buddies with a new ability to create disease.

The Refuge is…
… a neutral retreat for angels to heal, teach, work as well as their home and a sanctuary for their young. Galen is the weaponsmaster ensconced at the Refuge. Jessamy is a handicapped angel who teaches the children at the Refuge and is both the angels’ historian and librarian (read their story in Angels’ Flight: “Angels’ Dance”, 0.4). She’s also been giving Elena lessons in protocol.

The Legion is…
…a repository of power that woke during the battle in Archangel’s Legion. They are powerful with wings like bats. They are led by the Primary.

Giorgio and his cattle
Giorgio was once a renowned physician. Brooke is the one who complained. Leisel, Marie May knows “Janni”, Penelope, and Laura are the rest of Giorgio’s stock.

Dr. Shamar is the vet performing the necropsy. Tony Rocco runs an Italian restaurant. Coby is his son. Nic is the doorman at Ash’s apartment building. Carl is a nurse at Banli House, a medical and psychiatric facility. Bill Smith is a vampire under contract who thinks he found a loophole. Maeve is the vampire architect tasked with converting the building into a home for the Legion. Silvan is a vampire who dwells in the bayou in Nimra‘s territory.

The vampire leaders in New York
Anais and Severin are the worst offenders.

Cattle are humans who choose to be “kept” by vampires. Vampires are made by the archangels after undergoing lots of testing. Part of the deal is a one hundred-year contract of servitude. Umber is a new drug hitting the streets. Gilded lilies are vampires who are old, wealthy, and bored, so bored that they seek out new sins.

Wildfire, born of the Cascade, is a new angelic gift Raphael now has that he can use with his angelfire. Club Masque is an exclusive and dangerous nightclub for the vampire upper class. Rupert and Lacey are a sweet couple. Flynn and Benita Ko, a nasty sadist, are a couple and work at Club Masque. Adele, who owns the club, is pushing her luck. Louis is a bouncer at Hinge. Khalil is a very dark vampire. Blood-for-Less is the blood café where Ellie has an interest.

Felicity Johnson is a woman with many friends, including Aaliyah, Carys, and Sina. Marta and Bridget are more friends. Taffy is Felicity’s cat. Seth is a student and works as the building super. Lilly Ying doesn’t want her parents to suffer.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a determined Ashwini in her black leathers and a tight black T, one hand fisted on her hip and the other holding a gun pointed at the ground. It’s the city at night, fat flakes of snow falling, steam rising from a grate, and Janvier in his leather jacket and jeans, holding a helmet as he half sits on his red motorcycle, waiting for Ash. The rest of the background is a streetlight shining behind Ash, bridge supports behind Janvier, and a windowed building at the very back.

The title is about Ashwini, Janvier — and Naasir, for they are the Archangel’s Shadows.

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4 responses to “Book Review: Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh

  1. I didn’t read your review because I have every intention of reading this series-I have a few of the paperbacks already. 5 stars just makes me want to read it more! Glad you loved it 🙂

    • Thank you, Lexxie! I do. I do love this series. I love most of Singh’s work — she does have a romance or two that must have been written early in her career and…I’ll pass on those, but the rest, oy! Her Guild Hunters and Psy-Changeling series are must-buys! Just as soon as I can fit ’em into my budget, sigh (and a grin).

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