Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter #4)
September 6, 2011
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote – “I don’t intend to break you, Honor.” The harsh edge replaced by black silk, sinful and tantalizing as the rich scent of chocolate seeped into her very bones. “I intend to seduce you.”
If you’ve read the first three Guild Hunter books, you’ve met Dmitri. The dark and dangerous vampire that is Archangel Raphel’s second in command. He loves to wrap his strong arousal scent around women and has had many, many go through his bed. He teases and seduces Raphael’s mate, Elena, but this is allowed to happen because Raphael trusts him with his and his mate’s life. But Raphael also knows Dmitri’s secrets and what happened so many years ago that broke him.
Dmitri has not always been a cold hearted man, who from the outside appears to never have a deep feeling of emotion. Throughout the book, we get flashbacks into Dmitri’s life and as you read, you start to understand why Dmitri acts the way he does and why his bond with Raphael is so strong. And then he meets Honor. Honor (a guild hunter who specializes in ancient languages) was tortured herself by vampires, held captive for weeks as they raped and fed. She survived, but with a lot of internal scars. But when the head of a young vampire is discovered with a tattoo that only Honor will be able to decipher, she is forced to work with Dmitri. The fear of working so closely with another vampire almost debilitates her. Working for the guild, Dmitri is no stranger to her, she even had a strong attraction to him – before she was tortured by vampires. Now she can barely look him in the eye without falling apart. But Honor decides she is not going to let her memories best her. And when Dmitri offers revenge against those that hurt her, she decides it is the only way to move her life forward.
My favorite thing about this book (and there is so much to love) is that Dmitri is so dark and wicked. SO DARK. Are we understanding how dark he is? The first time he meets Honor, he pushes her, invades her space and in a panic, Honor cuts his face with her knife:
She held her position, a ragged attempt to erase the humiliation of the panic attack. “I’m fairly certain you’re not a nice man at all.”
His answer was a slow smile that whispered of silk sheets, erotic whispers, and sweat-damp skin. The unhidden intent of it had her heart slamming hard against her ribs. “No,” she said, voice raw.
“A challenge.” He wasn’t touching her and yet she felt caressed by a thousand ropes of fur, soft and lush and unmistakably sexual. “I accept.”
Dmitri knows Honor was tortured at the hands of other vampires, but he never pities her, or babies her. He is angry on her behalf, but his solution – hunt them down, one by one and torture them back. Let Honor be a part of it, let her unleash her anger on the ones that hurt her. They slowly build a trust. Little by little, Honor lets Dmitri in. And Dmitri very slowly starts to reveal a little of his past to her. They both come from places of extreme hurt and pain, and they form a bond. Dmitri carries so much guilt from his previous wife’s and children’s death, and these memories slam into him. They are written so brutal – at some points it was almost too much. But I think to understand the extreme violent way that he lost his family, allowed me as the reader to accept him and his actions in current day.
I also must say that Nalini Singh is the queen of writing sexual tension. She somehow turned Dmitri, who has come off a little sleazy in the previous books into a sexual god. The tension between Honor and Dmitri gave me shivers. Repeatedly. I refer to one of my favorite scenes in the book as the “Ferrari Scene” – I’ll give you a tiny taste:
It did something to her that he’d hardened immediately under her touch, made her even bolder. “Try not to drive beside a semi or a pickup,” she said, closing her hand over him and squeezing just enough that his jaw turned to granite, “or they’ll get an eyeful.”
“Fuck that.” He punched something on the dash and the car’s roof unfolded over them with a smooth electronic hum, locking into place in under half a minute. A second press and the windows were up and opaqued.
Good God. “How much is this car worth?”
Putting his own hand on hers, he urged her to pick up the pace.”You can’t have it. Not for a hand job. Maybe if you use your mouth.”
Her toes curled, desire igniting liquid and hot in her abdomen. “You can’t come,” she warned, pumping him with her hand. “Or you’ll have to drive all the way back to change.”
Clenching his fingers on the steering wheel, he hissed out a breath. “I won’t forget this, Honor.” It was a threat.
Oh Dmitri. A friend of mine who had read the book, told me Dmitri is nasty, but in the best possible way. This is so true! And the best thing- he stays nasty and wicked. He doesn’t necessarily change – it’s just that Honor and him find in each other what is missing in their lives.
Why am I giving this book an A- rather than an A? Well, the details lead to a spoiler area, but I will say I didn’t love how something is wrapped up at the end with Honor. You discover something about her and it felt too easy and perfect. Not the end of the world or anything, but I just didn’t love it.
Final thought – Read this book! Even if you haven’t read the previous three, I think there is enough back story to fully engage in this world.