Nalini Singh creates a paranormal world like few others can. She makes the reader really believe her angels and vampires are definitely not human and humans are right to be leery. The series has held onto all that made it good even though we are now seven books and several novellas in. The focus has shifted a bit from Elena and Raphael to a few other regular series characters getting the spotlight, but that doesn’t alter how much I enjoyed the story.
I don’t plan to offer up any spoilers, but for those who haven’t started the series or at least gotten to book six, it’s possible I’ll make a comment or put something in my summary that gives up the goods on something so read ahead at your own risk. And yessiree Bob that means that this is a ‘must read in order’ series. Sorry all you series hoppers (like me).
The last book in the Guild Hunter series was a boomer when it came to intense emotions and actions along with game changer reveals. War had come to New York. In the aftermath, several things have changed and new elements have become part of the norm. I wasn’t sure what to expect about the story that would follow up on the huge battle and big-bang ending. It would take a deft touch to top or at least equal that baby. I trust this author to pull off such a story and I was curious to see where things are headed so I grabbed this latest up with strong anticipation. Oh and the fact that it is Ash and Janvier’s story? Icing + cake= yum! I’ve adored these two since they were introduced early on in their novella and have been playing cat and mouse ever since.
The story opens not long after the war between the archangels and their allies that took place over and in NYC along with the manifestations of the mysterious event known as The Cascade. NYC is shakily recovering and going through a rebirth. Angels that went through The Falling are healing and getting back into fighting trim, the Legion are adjusting to their new home, Rafael is coming to terms with his new power, human and vampire residents also warily start the recovery though something evil still remains among them.
Ashwini Taj, the hunter, was seriously injured doing her part in the war and almost lost her life, but it is not that which shakes her very foundations. It is discovering through it all the depth of Janvier’s feelings for her as he tenderly cares for her during the critical part of her recovery. She could have handled it if he had remained his playful, flirting self, but to hold her and even feed her when she was too weak? That feels too good and makes her want what she can’t have. Ash has a dark secret that will not allow her to dream of a future and she can’t let Janvier get attached either so she pushes him away. He reluctantly goes.
But then they are brought back together when Ash is called in to investigate a seemingly easy case since she is still recovering and not ready to return to full duty. A dead dog is found in a mummified state with all the blood sucked out of him and the Guild is called in because it looks like a crime done by an immortal. This is odd and disconcerting, but then it gets real when a human body is found in the same condition. The case just became priority even as Rafael’s people are looking into a new drug on the streets that’s causing blood lust amongst the vampires and keeping an eye on the smoldering powder keg in the vampire quarter of the city.
Janvier faithfully assists Ash in her investigation trying to be patient enough so that trust can be built. He wants her to feel like she can share with him what secret hides behind the wall she puts up between them and why she is so set against being Made so they can share a future together longer than the human lifespan. She feels its a big enough thing that she can’t have a relationship and he should move on, but Janvier’s heart has been hers since the moment she threatened to shoot him with a crossbow years before. Ash is his and he doesn’t want to go on living without her. He has to think of a way to change her mind about becoming like him even as their investigation puts them in danger as they stalk a predator that bares uncanny resemblance to someone who should be dead.
The story wasn’t as riveting as the last book- which I didn’t expect it to be all things considered, but it still kept me pretty engaged. I loved the scenes with all the regulars. Elena and Rafael just never get old particularly when they are flying together. And time with any of the Seven is pretty awesome. I was dying to know what Ash’s secret was. Janvier was a gorgeous hunk of Cajun heat and his devotion to Ash made him even more so.
The murder mystery was like one of those slow build cozy mysteries as Ash and Janvier pursued clue after clue. Actually, much of the plot was that way. It had ripples of excitement, but it was a slow build that was definitely a change of pace from the last book. I guess that’s probably the biggest thing to remember is that the reader has to give this one time as it isn’t full of the explosive scenes, but the tension is less obvious, below the surface. It’s like the lull between huge storms because there is plenty of foreshadowing for trouble on the horizon. It will be a tight race whether Rafael’s people can recover in time for the next big thing.
Speaking of Rafael’s people, I have no idea which of the Seven will get his story next, but I seriously don’t have a preference. All those guys intrigue me. Now I have to patiently wait until next year to see who it is and what his story will be.
To wrap it up, this one was good though not intense with action, but more of a suspense type read. The romance is a bit more backseat, but it does get hot once they cut loose. This is a paranormal romance series, but it has an Urban Fantasy tone so might appeal to either or both camps of readers particularly if they like their angels and vampires more along the scary lethal type.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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