Move over Bluebell, Sparkle has arrived!

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Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh (Guildhunter #9)

Superb! Nalini Singh does it again, she couldn’t write a bad book if you paid her.

I adore this cover.  Yet, today I’m staring at it rather bleary eyed.  Normally I’m dreaming by 10pm.  Instead last night I was still reading at 2am. I was so swept up in this wonderful story, I couldn’t even consider putting it down.

So, this book revisits Raphael and Elena and in particular focuses on Elena’s past.  I’ll admit at first I was disappointed that Bluebell wasn’t meeting his match, in fact it’s Aodhan who plays a huge part in this story.  And little by little I fell in love with Aodhan.  His steely strength, soft humour and love of art coupled with a depth of character that is slowly coming to the surface meant I was a goner. Illium who?

Nalini Singh’s writing style is so gentle, it’s like a friend whispering in your ear.  Slowly she sucks you in, and it’s not until the end you realise you’ve been subsumed. Hence at 2am I’m reading ‘just one more chapter’.  When I finish a Nalini Singh book there’s a sadness, I’ve lost that friend’s voice in my ear.

Nalini’s beautifully gentle style contrasts sharply with the Machiavellian angel politics and the evil surrounding the Cadre as they try to solve the riddle of Lijuan.

Aside from Aodhan, the other star of the show is Morocco. The descriptions of the buildings and town market were so perfectly evocative, that I imagine the Moroccan tourist board has been on the phone!

And so back to my wonderful Bluebell. Yep, I’m kinda sorry but Aodhan has replaced him in my affections. Oh well, something tells me that the blue winged one will cope.

Let’s hope that Aodhan is next! Would saying please help?

 

Thank you you to netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review. However at midnight my preordered book I arrived and I happily finished reading that! 

 

Stealing the Show

Archangel’s Enigma Nalini Singh

So, we finally know what Naasir is!   I’ll keep the secret a bit longer…

But it was certainly worth waiting for.  As usual with Nalini she has tee’d up the couple perfectly.  Andi is just what Naasir wants and needs.  The dialogue is another absolute winner.  With Naasir’s childlike nature and Andi’s naivety Archangel’s Enigma is funnier and more heart warming.  Nalini doesn’t write dialogue she simply and brilliantly records what is said to her.  Never more so than when Naasir is given his task by Raphael.

He kicks it off brilliantly with the complaint: “I can’t be dragging around a historian.  They break.”  Its especially inconvenient whilst he searches for his mate and his response to Andromeda’s vow is a classic!  But my favourites were about his diet from different restaurants to telling Andi he’d eat a person if he hated them and was “really hungry”.  It makes a change from most man whores who like variety in their bed partners – Naasir is all about his diet!  And yet, her responses to being food were so matter of fact I just laughed.

Apologies to Naasir even with the prospect of him eating someone, he was outshone.  Illium and Aodhan stole the show.

This bromance between two very different characters who have been life long friends simply killed it.  There’s a scene where Illium is injured and Aodhan who can’t bare to be touched, grasps Elena’s hand – it stole my breath and my heart.

And visually – these two are dynamite!  Bluebell with his gorgeous distinctive blue wings coveted by everyone but especially Lijuan and Aodhan with wings that seem to be of fractured glass and ice.  Can you imagine getting out of a yellow cab in NYC and looking up?  When you picture something like that you know that Nalini’s not a writer but an artist.  Phenomenal.

As you’d expect the social media chat is all around are they the next guildhunter couple.  I guess they could be.  And wherever Nalini takes her characters I will simply follow, I’m fine with it.  But I think their story is one of relationships and connections.  Until Elena had Raphael her closest relationship was Sara.  She understands friendship and Raphael who has spent almost his entire life without Caliane does too.  To me, it’s not just about fixing Aodhan’s issues but confirming for Ellie that its the family you choose that sustains you – true for all of us but especially true for an immortal with mortal friends and family.

naasir

 

 

The Immortal Bogeyman

Angel’s Blood & Archangel’s Kiss  Nalini Singh (books 1 & 2 Guild Hunter series)

So, I’m on a re-read of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series before the arrival of the mysterious Naasir’s book on September 3rd.

Two things struck me with these first two books that didn’t quite resonate first time round.  Of course, these are stories about Elena & Raphael’s romance and the world of angels and vampires that Nalini has created, but beyond that there are two powerful themes in play here – The Bogeyman and the Immortality Choice.

At some stage everyone has a Bogeyman.  For the humans and vamps of the GH world Raphael’s Archangel is the bogeyman, that is no doubt the purpose of the broken vampire left in the centre of his New York.  Elena’s connection with Raphael allows us to see his own bogeyman – Ms Singh’s imagery of him with broken wings in a field is vivid and heart felt.

“Drip, Drip, Drip” Lijuan goes to extraordinary lengths to taunt Elena with her fears.  Whilst her nightmares increase equally Raphael’s determination to vanquish them grows, allowing her to start to understand the grip this horror has on her.  Again, the imagery of the blood, tiles, shoe, etc is vivid and painful.

Interesting to see how Michaela and Lijuan both fear not being the centre of attraction or being forgotten.  Lijuan in particular fears being inconsequential.  Their hatred of Elena is multi faceted but driven by the fact that her existence threatens their roles as the most compelling (Michaela) or extraordinary (Lijuan).  How the world has space for both of them is amazing!

Michaela and Lijuan also bring clarity around the choice to be immortal.  Knowing the potential downsides – insanity, infertility, boredom, watching those you love die – would you choose immortality?  Is living forever enough of a gift to live on knowing you’ve seen it all hundreds of times before?  And that the resulting detachment from humanity may make you evil?

Yet, so many willingly make the choice, even Elena’s own family aren’t immune.  What’s powerful though is that neither Dimitri or Elena willingly chose their immortal status.  Dimitri has at this point thrown himself into the advantages and for the time being abandoned his mortal heart, whilst Elena fights not so much to hold onto her heart but to bring her mortal heart to others.

What a fascinating and multi dimensional series this is and I haven’t even mentioned Bluebell or Aodhan!  Nalini Singh is the mistress of world creation, powerful imagery and gripping romance.  It’s not for the faint hearted!

Oh and my bogeyman is Jaws – white pointers terrify me.