Thursday, December 23, 2021

Review: Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Light
(Guild Hunter #14)
Nalini Singh
Release: October 26, 2021
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Nalini Singh returns to the world of the Guild Hunters for the most highly anticipated novel of the beloved series—a love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making…

Illium and Aodhan. Aodhan and Illium. For centuries they’ve been inseparable: the best of friends, closer than brothers, companions of the heart. But that was before—before darkness befell Aodhan and shattered him, body, mind, and soul. Now, at long last, Aodhan is healing, but his new-found strength and independence may come at a devastating cost—his relationship with Illium.

As they serve side by side in China, a territory yet marked by the evil of its former archangel, the secret it holds nightmarish beyond imagining, things come to an explosive decision point. Illium and Aodhan must either walk away from the relationship that has defined them—or step forward into a future that promises a bond infinitely precious in the life of an immortal…but that demands a terrifying vulnerability from two badly bruised hearts.

This may be the first review where it has taken me months and several rereads to write. It was hands down one of my top five most anticipated books of 2021. I have been waiting for this book from the moment Illium and Aodhan appeared on page together. I can't tell you how long I have been shipping them together but I do know that it has been a long time. When I first heard that this book was going to feature them, I may have squealed very loudly in excitement at work. Then we got this gorgeous cover art that I want to have a print of to hang on my wall next to my fave artwork of Charles and Anna Cornick. Once I was approved for the eARC, I read the whole book in one sitting the same day I was approved.

The thing is this book was not what I was expecting. That's not unusual because I can rarely guess what's going to happen in a Nalini Singh book. I'm not going to lie. I was a bit disappointed after my first read through. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad. This book introduced a plotline and a new character that I am intrigued to see what happens in future books. And I adored seeing the flashbacks of tiny Aodhan and Illium and the genesis of their friendship. But it wasn't the romance I was expecting and hoping it would be. After a lot of thought and a couple of rereads, I decided that that was an okay thing.

This book is a very slow burn romance so if you're looking for a hot and steamy m/m romance this book isn't it. But what it is is a very intimate look at a friendship that has spanned centuries and many trials and how they have always been together. After my reread, I came to love this story immensely as we got to see glimpses of Sparkle and Bluebell that I never knew I needed. We finally get the story behind Aodhan's aversion to touch and how he went missing until he was found by the Seven. And that story broke my heart. We even got the story of Illium's fall from Illium and Aodhan's POV and it was heartbreaking as well.

These two characters have a lot of baggage and we know from previous books that they are have hit a rough patch in their friendship. The more I think about the more this book the more perfect it becomes. I can now see Nalini's genius in writing this slow burn of a romance. And every time I reread it this year, I was left with the feeling that this is just the start of their story. Hopefully, we'll get at least another book featuring these two where we can see their romance really take flight and get some steamy bits. I'm really hoping that the next book in this series is about Aodhan and Illium again so I can get more of the romance. Or at least have them be a prominent part of the next book because I NEED to see how Elena, Raphael, and the rest of the Seven react to this romance.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  5 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:

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