3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Archangel's Blade: The Guild Hunter Series (Paperback)
I might as well start off by saying that I absolutely love Nalini Singh, especially the Psy-Changeling series. I started picking up the guild hunter series on a whim, and I found them pretty descent entertainment. The guild hunter world has really interesting ideas, some fascinating characters and Nalini Singhs writing and development of relationships is always good.
Having said that, I've always felt that The Guild Hunter series was somewhat cheesy and predictable, using stereotypes and having a number of characters that are little more than fan-service, to the point where I feel like I am being forced to like certain characters because they are "mysterious" and "cool". I've personally always felt that this was Nalini's secondary series, and I honestly think it shows in the quality of the books and their plots. They are FAR weaker than the Psy-Changeling series.
Having said all that, the guild hunter series has many good points and has been entertaining. Until this book.
"Archangel's Blade" is by far Nalini's WORST book published since 2005. Nalini's writing is still awesome, the Guild Hunter world is still interesting and shows great potential, but that's about it on the positive side. This story is predictable and cheesy, the plots and characters come off as unimaginative, repetitive and, well, dull. Everything in this story was sooo convenient (especially the ending between Honor and Dmitri) and I had a number of problems with the book.
Firstly, Honor as a character was dreadful. I absolutely hate the fact that Honor is the stereotypical tortured female lead with a Xena - The Warrior Princess syndrome. Throughout the book, Honor continuously shows she lacks the ability to communicate with others without the use of swearing, violence and generally acting like a stereotypical emo-kid. She is supposed to be a strong independent woman learning to overcome her horrible past, but comes off completely flat. NOTHING she does is new, and in fact, she resembles an Elena-rip-off (and Elena was never Nalini's strongest character). I honestly felt that Honor's tortured past was more due to lazy writing than because Nalini had anything new or interesting to use it for as a plot or character device. The plots had potential, but never felt developed and I was left with underdeveloped characters and obnoxious side characters from the previous books.
Which brings me to the male lead, Dmitri, who was not the character introduced in the previous books. Instead we got the cheesy and utterly predictable I-lost-my-wife-and-kids-background story complete with more torture and emoness. I'll honestly admit that I personally HATE the dead-wife/girlfriend-syndrome, even when well executed, and especially in any kind of romance story. The whole "I am attracted to this woman, but whatever she does, she can never live up to my perfect, dead wife/girlfriend"-thing is just soo dull and unimaginative, and again, bad in romance books. In the previous books, Dmitri came off as a genuinely dark, cold and utterly pragmatic character, in this, he was forgettable at best.
I knew I was going to hate this book as soon as I reached the Sorrow plotline in the book. I know I am being repetitive here, but Sorrow as a character and the obvious plot being developed around her was cheesy and predictable and toe-cringingly bad. It seems like Nalini is trying to go with more angsty and tortured characters, like in Ward's "Black Dagger Brotherhood", but falls short. The Guild Hunter world is obviously meant to be a dark and almost dystopian world, where humans are at the bottom of the food chain and are helpless victims of the Angels and Vampires, but honestly, this series never reaches a level of emotional depth and intensity to pull it off. And it really, really pains me that Sorrow obviously will get her own book/novella at some point, and considering how interesting her character could have been, it hurts even more.
All in all, this book is not the worst book in the genre, but it is far, FAR weaker than all of Nalini's other books. The issues I have with this book are based both on personal issues with it but also on relatively objective analysis. The plots and characters are weak (especially compared to what the author can do and has done previously), the romance is not particularly outstanding, and everything in this book is seen before (and better done) in Nalini's previous books. I am only giving this book two stars because of Nalini Singh's skills as a writer.