Joint review by Tori And Sheena
Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.
Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare… (Goodreads)
The Cascade has started and no one is safe from its effects as it begins to change the world and its inhabitants in ways never seen before. After her defeat in New York, Archangel Zhou Lijuan is now more determined than ever to rule the Cadre of Ten and the world, stooping to unimaginable depths of depravity in order to secure what she feels is hers by right. In order to thwart her, Raphael sends his more trusted and capable tracker, Nassir, to find the sleeping place of the Archangel of Persia and wake him before Lijuin finds him first and makes his resting place his grave. Helping Nassir is a quiet angel whose scholarly nature belays the fire that burns within her.
While I adore everything Nalini Singh writes, her Guild Hunter series has always held a special place in my heart. as it was my first introduction to this gifted author’s writing. The tempestuous world and dynamically constructed characters Ms. Singh has created continues to hold my attention as I am forever gleaning new and often entertaining bits of information that only adds to my love of the series. This glorious alternative world of supernaturals and humans is ever expanding and evolving with nonstop action, suspense, and mystery that balances nicely with deliciously intense romances and addicting light-hearted moments that help to offset the tension and darkness of the series. It’s perfect blending and consistency is what makes Nalini Singh a continuously best selling author.
What say you, Sheena?
Sheena: Nalini is a paranormal world building goddess. I remember first reading book one, Angel’s Blood, and being absolutely blown away by how the writing was so captivating, the world and its inhabitants almost tangible. Eight books in and the Guild Hunter Series continues to build on that early momentum and evolve into the one of the most dynamic and compelling series in its genre. Singh’s balance of romanticism and action and adventure is unparalleled. The battle scenes are epic, the sensuality is potent, and the story arcs twine and bend to blow your mind. There is also this strong, bone marrow deep thread of loyalty and friendship that brings tears to my eyes. Series alpha-hero, the Archangel Raphael is deeply bonded to his elite guard, The Seven, comprised of vamps, angels and one being that is so unique, so other that his true identity has all but been a secret- until now. We finally get to uncover the bestial mystery that is Nassir- and I could not get my mind wrapped around him fast enough! Quicksilver eyes and an appetite for the hearts of his enemies, he was a perfect contrast with his almost child like hyper-literal declarations and his propensity for carnage. Nassir is not as good as I thought he would be. He is BETTER. He is feral and amazing and his heart is so damn big. Front and center and ready to tell his story, he did not worm his way into my heart, he burst it wide open!
Tori, how did you like your introduction to Raphael’s mysterious hero?
Tori: Every character in this series has a personality that shines a spectacular and unique light as Singh introduces and builds them to not only exist but to live. Nassir is no exception. He is a joyful, confusing, brilliant, amusing, and confounding anomaly in this world. I loved him to PIECES! Rescued as a child by Raphael, he is now one of his trusted Seven. Though his exact species is unknown and he’s not telling, his nature and personality is a delightful combination of childlike innocence and fiercely protective instincts. The Refuge and the Seven are his family and he will go to all lengths to protect them. I love that Singh uses Nassir’s memories of his childhood to show us how much he has “matured” and how much he adores his family. He has a wonderful openness to him that is not had by any other character in the book. His nature allows him to be freer with his attitudes and actions as he already knows where he stands in the food chain…very near the top. I love the juxtaposition that is made as we see his wonder and delight at the everyday things we take for granted merge with the cold eyed animalistic side of him that demands the world take notice of his predatory nature. This dual nature of his results in much laughter and delight throughout the story.
“I honestly do like you all. I haven’t thought about eating you for at least two centuries.” (Archangel’s Shadow)
This eighth installment keeps readers on their toes as she balances the rich tension filled ongoing storylines with an intriguing and quite humorous romance. Singh offers us two people whose secretive natures and compelling differences are the driving forces in what becomes a race towards fighting to save their friends, and their love. Nassir’s need to find his mate features heavily in the storyline. Singh uses this to help introduce a new character to the world and build a romance that runs alongside the main conflict. At first, I was unsure of Andromeda but once we (I and Nassir) spent some time with her, I had no doubts she is the one he had been searching for.
Seven months Nassir had been hunting. Seven months since he’d told Ashwini he was ready to find a mate. Seven months and still his mate hadn’t made herself known to him. Didn’t she know he was looking for her?
Andromeda is an angel and has been a resident of the refuge for almost 400 hundreds of years. The grand-daughter of the archangel Charisemnon, her childhood was a never ending lesson in deception, fear, and betrayal. A small quiet unassuming woman with the heart and spirit of a warrior, she has spent her time and energy into locating and mapping the sleeping ancients that reside all over the world. Nassir sees Andromeda at first as a roadblock to his goal of finding his mate in the beginning but soon learns the face she shows the world is nothing more than a false front she built to protect herself. Nassir sees Andromeda as a challenge and uses their time together to unwrap and discover all her hidden and fascinating facets.
“You have secrets. You wear another skin, too.”
How did you feel about Andromeda as Singh’s choice for Nassir, Sheena?
Sheena: I was elated. Andromeda was this heroine hybrid that I really connected with. She was something along the lines of Spy Master, Jason’s heroine, Mahiya – soft, and innocent but with a definite archangel consort, warrior, Elena edge. She was scholarly, but had bite. Andromeda was also chaste, her virginity held hostage by a virtually impossible vow. A vow that Nassir is eager to bat and paw at, in his quest to win his mate in body and heart. They were a good match. She fed a need in him, and he was her loyal and valiant protector. Andromeda harbors her secrets and believes she is doomed without a real future to call her own, convinced she will never be free of the horrors and debauchery that await her at her Grandfather’s court. This dark vision of her future forces Andromeda to loosen the reigns on her carefully constructed life and horde every tender moment she shares with Nassir. Lucky for all of us, she underestimates her feral admirer because he has locked on to her fiercely and will not rest until he uncovers her every layer to reach the core of her. Shivers!
I found Enigma to be luscious in its darkness, the depravity exercised by certain characters truly made the skin crawl. Add to that the burst of life and light that shone through the relationships, friendships and ties that bind and I was in sensory nirvana with ambrosia dripping down my chin.
Tori, you mentioned your love of the delicious balance Nalini strikes between the romance, mystery and action-adventure. More battle lines have been drawn and the possibilities as to what lies next are endless! How did you like the arc and subplot developments?
Tori: Singh does a fantastic job with evolving the arc while addressing ongoing subplots. The darkness continues to grow but sharp shards of light break through as everyone struggles to gain the upper hand. Lijuin is a formidable antagonist whose growing power will not be easily defeated. This opens the door for interesting potential alliances between friends and enemies. The battle lines are being drawn and sides will have to be taken.
The non stop action of this road trip adventure/romance speeds the story along as you frantically absorb all the various nuances of this ever shifting world. Intriguing plot elements and clues towards future storylines kept me riveted as the main story revealed itself.
*hold me, Sheena*
With each unfolding scene we watch Nassir and Andromeda flirt, charm, and battle their way to love. They face their fears and overcome internal obstacles while dealing with external factors that try to stop them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc.
“You know that’s bad behavior.”
“I’m often bad.”
New and old faces dot the landscape, once again showcasing Singh’s prolific skill in her ability to characterize each of them as individuals and not merely fodder or filler. They all have their own lives, loves, and troubles that exist beyond the main conflict and that’s not only remarked upon but continuously evolving. New information is gleaned that alters your perception of previously met characters; causing you to reevaluate your first impressions. All in such a clear and concise manner that you are never lost or left wondering what you missed.
What did you think about some of the revelations Singh revealed in here,Sheena?
Sheena: Breathless. I am excited and quite literally waiting on pins and needles for the next installment. There are so many intertwining subplots that there is room for any number of characters to step into the forefront. Is it finally, finally Illium’s turn next? I am deeply invested in his fate- gawd but he tore me in knots. Also this new dimension with Aodhan has me wary- intrigued- but wary! What is going on there. I am still not done with Nassir, I look forward to snap shots into his life with Andromeda in the future. I love how the series is bursting with activity and none of it feels cluttered or extraneous.
Tori: As always, Singh leaves me both satisfied and wanting more. Archangel’s Enigma takes a seemingly incompatible couple and wields her magic to produce a romance that defies the odds while stoking the flames of excitement for book nine. Nalini Singh has brought her A game to the table to once again to remind us why she is one of the top reigning Queens of PNR.
Tori’s RATING: A
Tori’s Favorite Quote: “I would break my vow for you.”
Sheena: Nalini has struck gold with me in Guild Hunter #8. I am in utter awe of her reign in this genre. She brings it every.single.time and my only question is, what could she possibly think of next?! Archangel’s Enigma is a feast fit for even the most ravenous! Series newcomers can follow along and will undoubtedly become enraptured. Series fans…join me…let us unite in our collective SQUEEEEEE OHMIGAWSHTHISWASSOGOOD!
Sheena’s RATING: A
Sheena’s Favorite Quote: “I’m not ready,” he said again, his voice shaken. “I’m not ready to leave…” “I’m not ready for you to go.”