Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh
Published: September 4th, 2012 by Berkley
Picture and synopsis from the Goodreads book page
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With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.
Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.
With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.
I absolutely loved this book! I have been having mixed feelings about the last few Guild Hunter books, but this ended with this book. Jason is a character that I never expected to love and his story is one that I wasn’t too terribly interested in knowing. Mainly, I looked forward to reading this one to learn more about Neha and how she is coping after the death of her daughter, and now her consort. She was teetering on the edge of madness after losing her daughter, to lose her consort too I suspected might push her over the edge.
This is where Jason enters. He is Raphael’s renowned spymaster, who has the ability to literally blend into the shadows and go completely unnoticed. He offers to help Neha find the killer, hoping to stave off a rage that could end in war with millions of casualties. She demands from him a blood vow to her niece, Mahiya, basically meaning that anything he learns he cannot reveal to anyone else about her family or how she runs her court. This story intrigued me and I wanted to see what we would learn about Jason and Mahiya, and what would ultimately be the result of his investigation.
I was apprehensive when we got the first few chapters that continues the stories of Raphael and Dmitri, but excited to see what is going on with their characters at the same time. I was concerned that these chapters were added because Jason’s story was going to be very thin and needed some buffer material. Thankfully that turned out to not be the case, and Jason’s is my favorite story so far. Like all of the angels (vampires too) that we’ve met, Jason has a very troubled background. It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on with his flashbacks and what his story would end up being. Although, even though I guessed it, it was still heartbreaking. Mahiya has also had a hard life and has her own reasons for wanting to appear invisible. But she’s not invisible to Jason and he is not invisible to her. They find themselves drawn to each other and drawn to the darkness they recognize in the other.
In a way the story of the murder of Neha’s consort was secondary to the story of the budding relationship and trust between Jason and Mahiya. Though I was much more interested in Jason and Mahiya, my jaw still dropped in shock when the murderer was revealed. I don’t think I would have ever seen it coming, and I appreciate a story that can surprise me.
I appreciate Jason for being a flawed character and for having very dark demons that haunt him. But he’s not looking for someone to save him and Mahiya knows she can’t save him. Neither is trying to change the other and that makes their relationship all the more special. They each hold to the other out of love and trust that the other will stay despite their flaws and that perhaps together they can begin to make a new future and leave behind their dark pasts. When we arrive at the final paragraphs and Jason flies away on assignment, my eyes filled with tears. Jason found a way even through his darkness and pain to show his princess the things he couldn’t say. I have found this book entering my mind constantly for the past few days and I need another Guild Hunter book. I can’t stop thinking, who is next? Who’s story will we discover after Jason? Aodhan perhaps? Venom maybe? We haven’t seen much of Galen of Illium lately. I want to know what happens next and I look forward to reading it when it gets here.