(Guild Hunter #4)
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...
“In my time,” he said, “they believed in witches. Are you a witch, Honor, that you make me say these things to you?”
Causing him to rip open wounds that had stayed safely scabbed over for so long that, most of the time, he managed to forget they existed.
Her hands, so very, very gentle, continued to hold his face as she tugged him down until their foreheads touched.
“I’m no witch, Dmitri. If I was, I’d know how to fix you.”
Singh manages to surpass the first three Guild Hunter books with her tale of redemption and healing.
I must admit, I was in the camp that wasn't all that excited that this book was going to be about Dmitri. I just didn't see how she was going to make readers swoon over him and how she was going to give him a heroine that would break him down. But...she did it! Archangel's Blade gives us insight into what has made Dmitri the way he is. We get to see, through multiple flashbacks, the horror he endured when he was human, what happened to his human family, and how he was Made into a vampire. All of this gives the reader more of a connection to Dmitri and an understanding of how he became such a harsh and vicious vampire.
The heroine in this one is a new character named Honor. She is a hunter with the guild who is still trying to recover from being kidnapped and tortured several months prior. She was taken by a mysterious vampire or angel who invited multiple others to abuse her physically, mentally, and sexually for two months. Even after being rescued and healed physically, Honor still can't sleep, avoids physical contact with men, and is haunted by nightmares. The one in charge of her capture was never caught.
Dmitri and Honor first meet when she is assigned a case that requires her expertise in ancient languages. A severed head with an unusual tattoo is discovered in the city and Dmitri and Honor must work together to solve the murder. Dmitri is first attracted to Honor because of her voluptuous beauty, but eventually his attraction is because she is a challenge. Honor wants nothing to do with Dmitri, as she is still recovering from being attacked by vampires repeatedly for two months and Dmitri doesn't exactly have a reputation for being sweet and gentle. Interestingly enough, however, she also finds herself inexplicably attracted to him, almost border lining obsession.
Dmitri and Honor's attraction and romance builds slowly and believably. Singh doesn't rush their relationship, which is something I had been afraid of happening. Honor knows she's attracted to him, but anytime she lets herself start to give in to it she practically has a panic attack and tries to kill him. Dmitri finds himself sucked in by Honor because she reminds him of someone from his past. There are several sexy and tense moments between the two before we finally get "the big finale". I found myself loving Dmitri's dark and sexy outward personality, which was so different from the memories and feelings he kept inside his head. I thought he was actually easier to connect with than Raphael from the first three books in the series. Honor was likable and believable as a tortured heroine trying to come to grips with life after her kidnapping. She wasn't wimpy and sullen, but rather a fierce hunter. The two work on hunting down Honor's captors as a side plot line that almost becomes more important than the main plot line's mystery.
A third plot line takes place throughout the story that I was actually just as interested in. Holly is a human who was kidnapped and tortured by the crazy archangel Uram in one of the first three Guild Hunter books. All of her friends were killed and she was the only survivor. She was tainted by Uram's blood and is slowly turning into a vampire, but different from the norm. Dmitri has taken it upon himself to watch over her and keep an eye on her while she makes the change in order to keep an eye on her progress and determine whether or not she is becoming crazy like Uram. Throughout the story, we see both Dmitri and Honor visiting her and interacting with her. This side plot was very intriguing to me and I'm really looking forward to where her story goes in future books. I'm hoping maybe she will be the love interest for one of the Seven in a future book...?
All in all, this was another awesome, dark, and sexy release by the talented Singh, whose beautiful writing style makes her paranormal romances stand out in the genre.
Recommended for lovers of paranormal romance, darker stories, Nalini Singh books, and tortured heroes.