Synopsis from Goodreads: The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.
Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.
As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Review: Bloody Hell! Nalini Singh’s Archangel series just keeps getting better and better with each addition. Archangel’s Blade is the fourth full-length novel in this series and is the first that doesn’t focus almost exclusively on Elena and Raphael. Archangel’s Blade is the story of Dmitri, and man is it a good one.
I feel pretty safe in saying that most readers have, to this point, likely found Dmitri to be totally creepy, seriously lethal, absolutely intriguing, and disturbingly sexy. None of these qualities change in this novel but we are given a glimpse into Dmitri’s world and particularly his past that helps the reader better understand his personality. Dmitri’s past spans a bit more than a thousand years and to say that that past is bloody is putting it mildly. We learn that Dmitri honed his skills as a warrior as a result of his abuse at the hands of Isis; he carries a torch for his long-dead wife, Ingrede; and his loyalty to Raphael runs deeper than anyone ever suspected.
And then there is Honor St. Nicholas, the totally damaged Guild Hunter whose first mission following her abduction and abuse at the hands of a gang of demented vampires is with Dmitri. Man, did she draw the short straw, or what? The problem however is much more complicated than simply dealing with Dmitri’s vampirism. The larger issues are: 1) Honor is still flashing back to her time in captivity which makes her a bit twitchy and somewhat lethal; 2) she and Dmitri are trying to track down a sadistic killer who is taunting Dmitri with memories from his past and; 3) that both Dmitri and Honor are ridiculously attracted to one another.
Here’s what I liked about this book: freakin’ everything!! Once again, the plot not only unfolds but deepens leaving the reader with a ton of questions about what’s going to come next. And we know there is going to be a next. The characters, all of them not just Dmitri and Honor, evolve as the story goes on but remain true to their basic natures – an absolute strength for this series. As for the secondary characters, well, Singh once again manages to dangle just enough information to make the reader crave more. For example, there’s Venom who is still remarkably creepy but evidently has a soft spot for Sorrow (nee Holly), Illium is still dangerously far too interested in humans, and Ashwini has become a more prominent player. With all this being said, Singh doesn’t ignore the older more established characters like Elena and Raphael; they are still very much a part of this series even when they are not center stage. Singh’s willingness to move established and beloved characters like Elena and Raphael to a secondary position is a risk but one that she makes work each and every time. As a dedicated reader of this series I find the risk to be worth it as it allows more time and pages for the development of other characters.
Bottom line: Singh changed my mind about Dmitri; I always thought he was a dangerously sexy but didn’t really care for his attitude. After this book, I’m good with Dmitri and looking forward to seeing how his character will further evolve in future novels. As for Honor, she has nowhere to go but up and with Dmitri at her side, they may be damn near unstoppable as a team. The long-term plot line has far-reaching possibilities and has yet to become even remotely close to stale. I have yet to feel frustrated or cranky over an Archangel novel’s ending because I know, without doubt, that Singh is going to trot out something equally as good within the next year.