Feature book: Archangel’s Storm
Book 5 in the Guild Hunter series, this is Jason’s story. Jason is one of Archangel Raphael’s Seven and his Spymaster. Jason has wings black as night that seem to absorb light and he can blend easily with the shadows. From the earlier books, we know that Jason is largely silent and that he has a tortured past and keeps mostly to himself.
The book commences at Dmitri’s and Honor’s wedding, where Jason is a guest. He hears there that Eris, the Consort of Neha the Archangel of India, has been murdered. To save everyone from the devastation of an Archangel mad with grief, Raphael agrees with Jason’s suggestion that he go into Neha’s court to discover the identity of the killer. Because Jason is Raphael’s Spymaster, though, Neha insists on a blood vow with a member of her line. By this, Jason will be unable to reveal any secrets he learns while in service to Neha, at risk of not just his honour, but his life. Mahiya is the daughter of Eris and Neha’s sister, Nivriti. She appears to live the life of a pampered Court princess but in reality, Neha keeps her around as an act of vengeance for Eris’s betrayal.
Both Jason and Mahiya have their scars and wounds and each recognises this in the other. However, whereas Jason has locked his deeper emotions away to cope with his childhood trauma, Mahiya has determined her ‘revenge’ will be living a life of joy—not becoming bitter and vengeful, but rather loving with a whole heart—as soon as she can escape from Neha’s clutches.
Mahiya’s strength is unusual and I haven’t come across it very often in romance—possibly because it seems too passive. But, she is not a victim or in any way weak. Terrible things have happened to her but she has, largely as an act of will, remained a kind and loving person (well, angel). Mahiya has had very little experience of love and when she meets Jason and falls for him, she is able to accept that he may never return that feeling—just being able to love a worthy man is a great gift to her. It sounds a bit wishy-washy when I write it, but in the book I felt she always comes across as being very strong and willing to risk rather than being a doormat.
Perhaps because Mahiya does not seek to cling or chain him but fights with him over her right to choose her own feelings for him, Jason finds himself more and more drawn to her. Jason is not Dmitri. The book is perhaps less action packed than Archangel’s Blade but that is fitting because Jason works in the shadows—confrontation is not the usual method of the covert operative. Jason doesn’t do a miraculous turnaround as a result of true luurrve (TM) but again, I found this entirely consistent with his character—I wouldn’t be surprised to see his relationship with Mahiya be further developed in future books where they feature as secondary characters.
By the end of the book, the killer has been revealed and new complications are exposed in the Guild Hunter world, which further the series arc. We also get a bit more of Dmitri and Honor and the early days of their marriage, a little of Raphael and Elena, and Aodhan arrives in New York to assist in running the Tower—he is the member of the Seven who does not like to be touched so I am expecting wonderful things for his book.
I have enjoyed both books about the Seven so far, more than the other books in the series actually. I find that Nalini Singh can always be relied on for a good read and very often—like here—I find that the experience is better than good.
reviewed by Kaetrin
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.