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Archangel's Blade: Book 4 (The Guild Hunter Series) Paperback – 8 Sep 2011
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Thrilling, sexy and heart-wrenching, Archeangel's Blade is one of the best paranormal romances of the year ... Prepare to be captivated... 5 stars (LOVEVAMPIRES.COM)
The #1 Urban Fantasy series continues - with a war amongst the angels . . .See all Product description
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This is the fourth book in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series (after Angels' Blood,Archangel's Kiss and Archangel's Consort) and is the first to move away from Elena and Raphael as lead characters. Instead the book focuses on Dmitri who has been a supporting character from the start and introduces a new Guild Hunter named Honor. Elena, Raphael and all the other characters I've come to love are still featured despite the narration change.
The book is tightly plotted with dual storylines running together. The investigation into the severed head leads us into Dmitri's past while a concurrent investigation tracks down the vampires who abducted Honor. There is a fair amount of tension and some scenes manage to be deeply creepy which makes for compelling reading. The romance takes a backseat to the character's healing from their pasts, which works well both for the storyline and overall development of the characters.
Dmitri has been a favourite character of mine since the beginning of the series. He's always been portrayed as arrogant and controlling so it was fascinating to see why he is that way. He has lived a long existence but never recovered from the events surrounding his turning, leading him to become darker and more deadly. However, when he meets Honor he begins to change and it is fascinating to see how he develops.
I found Honor to be incredibly well written and the way in which she gradually deals with the horrors of her past feels believable. She is very different to Elena as while Elena is physically very strong and confident from the first page, Honor is broken and delicate yet holds herself together with an extreme level of self-control.
Holly (a survivor of Uram's rampage in the first book) and Venom both stand out as supporting characters with Holly's recovery being aided by Honor and Venom showing a slightly softer side. Interestingly the book steps back from the global changes in the previous installment to tell a tighter, more character focused story and this was a refreshing change.
All in all, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Archangel's Storm.
Despite this, I can only give the book 3 stars. All of the archangel books have had a level of violence (as do the psy/ changeling books to a lesser extent) but this book really ramped it up, and at times I found it hard to read. This suprised me because I often read violent crime or horror books, but I think it was the way the violence was justified and essentially permitted. I accept that in this fictional world there is some need for the brutal behaviour of the male leads, but in the previous books Elena thought about these issues more, giving me a 'way in'. I appreciate that Dmitri had a hard time but I found him quite repulsive on occasion and this is not made okay by some loyalty to a friend and being unwilling to hurt children. There does have to be something about suspending belief when you read, but if you ever met Dmitri, or were on the wrong end of him, I doubt that romance would be on your mind. Perhaps all of this lends more of a realism to a genre which often skims over unpleasant aspects, but for me it was too much with no meaningful acknowlegement this behaviour is morally questionable. Honor seems to make much of the fact that Dmitri would never harm her, but there are passages that suggest that he has been involved in sexual situations with unwilling partners, which I would find impossible to accept in a partner (which is a shame as I was fascinated by Dmitri from the get go!).
I'm aware that many will disagree with my concerns, but this bothered me significantly and I wanted to highlight it for others who may have similar reservations.
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