Joint Review – Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Storm Cover Image
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.
This blurb came from the author’s website here.

1. Thoughts on the Hero

MinnChica: Oh Jason… you have been so sneaky and in the dark in this series, so getting to see you in all your spy glory is AWESOME! Despite the fact that Jason is the spymaster, and a little ruthless, I also loved getting to see the softer side of him. With Mahiya, he could see the way she was forced to live and he respected her for her ability to survive and still be a sweet and passionate and caring woman. There were so many different dimensions to Jason and for that I fell head over heels for the guy!

E: Oh man, like MinnChica said getting to know Jason in this book was well worth the wait. He so lived up to the saying that, “still waters run deep,” because there was so much to Jason. He demonstrated angelic arrogance without the need to strike at others just because he could. If anything Jason was so extremely careful in his dealing with others that he was almost the antithesis of the angels Singh has shown so far. Watching his inner-self come out as he spent time around Mahiya was a real treat. He needed a heroine just as self-contained and he certainly got one.

Has: I was definitely looking forward to Jason’s book, although I feel like the odd one out because I had trouble really getting a grasp of his character. I did enjoy love how he hides behind shadows and secrecy because it was SO HIM. But I felt it was hard to get to know him although I suspect that was the intentions by Nalini Singh because he is such a shadowy character. But I did enjoy the glimpses of his true self especially when he interacted with Mahiya which helped to slowly reveal his character, although I wished I could connect a bit more to him.

2. Thoughts on the Heroine

MinnChica: I felt so awful for Mahiya. The poor woman had a horrible life in Neha’s court and life was never once easy for her. She had to deal with so much scorn and hatred from her aunt, disgust from her father, and had no one she could turn to for comfort of support. I just wanted to give her a hug from the moment we first met her to the very end. At time same time, like Jason, I really respected her ability to come out of her situation with as much love and sweetness as she did. She was a genuine heroine, one that I was immediately drawn to. I admired her strength and hope we get to see more of her in Raphael’s court, especially if she continues to grow and thrive.

E: Mahiya was another mystery. The glimpses of her background as the story unfolded were heartbreaking. It takes an immense strength of will to not give up on life with that amount of consistent mistreatment. I really saw the importance of the Refuge in the Angelic structure because it provides all of them with a chance at a good foundation. No it doesn’t dictate what the individuals do with that foundation but it gives them all a chance. In some ways I think I enjoyed the view into her thoughts almost more then some of Singh’s other heroines because it was such a contrast to her outer-self along with the unrelenting calculations on how to achieve her goals without sacrificing her personal morals. I really want to see more of her as this series continues because I think she is a great foil for the more flamboyant personalities of the other heroines. Yet she can also relate to them because she has also been tested by life.

Has: I also enjoyed Mahiya’s character much more, the inner steadfastness and cool will of steel, and how she wouldn’t let the court politics get to her despite the scandal of her birth. She may have not been as kick ass or warrior like but I loved how she challenged and changed Jason’s initial opinion of her because he felt she was weak. She really conveyed that she was much stronger than a lot of people who would have turned bitter or twisted in her position. And in a lot of a ways she was also stronger than Jason whose own past affected and changed him which is why he is such a secretive character and I loved that she helped him to come out of his shell and show glimpses of his old self. And I agree I felt she was perfect partner for Jason because she compliments him and vise versa – and even though she was a quieter and subtle character, she was just as every bit as interesting for me.

3. Favorite Scene

MinnChica: I think my favorite scene might have to be the first time Venom arrives at Neha’s court. It was obvious that although he had history with Neha, he was there for Jason, he wanted to support Jason and was willing to provide insider knowledge. For me, it was the first time that Jason really seemed to stake his claim on Mahiya as well, making sure that Venom knew she was his. And despite Jason’s warning, Venom was as charming towards her. But when Mahiya turns back to Jason, saying she only allowed him to touch her because of their obvious friendship… That one scene just stuck with me throughout the rest of the book.

E: So many wonderful scenes. I agree with both MinnChica and Has with the scenes they chose. I think that I am going to have to go with one right before Neha has a formal dinner. Mahiya sets up an early dinner for Jason and when he asks why she tells him that he won’t be able to eat during the dinner. The way she explained it along with her thoughts showed both her sense of humor and the fact that she cared about Jason as more then a man she was forced to bond with and spy on. This was just another glimpse into the character of the only person who could touch Jason deep inside.

Has: My favourite scene is when they really open up about their feelings towards each other and Mahiya realises despite Jason’s hesitation and fears that he may not be enough he has strong feelings for them. I thought this scene was incredibly sweet and moving especially in the context of each knowing their past.

“I can’t give you what you want,” he repeated, some unknown thing tearing and ripping inside him at the thought of having to sever his connection to her, when it was the first
time in his life he’d trusted even a part of himself to a lover.
A soft smile. “Did I make any demands, hmm?” Lifting her free hand, she ran her fingers along his jaw. “I have so much love inside me, Jason. So much. And I have never been allowed to shower it on anyone—no one has wanted it. Let me stretch the wings of my heart with you.

4. Dislike about book

MinnChica: Eek, this is a tough one for me, because the book itself was so wonderfully done. The romance between these two seemed really subtle to me, and I loved that. Yet at the same time, the world of Neha’s court was so violent, so cruel, and really worked so hard at putting Mahiya in this ugly place that I had a hard time getting past my anger at Neha and feeling sorry for her predicament. Part of me wanted Jason to fly away with Mahiya and have Raphael launch at nuke at Neha’s palace and just be done with her once and for all!

E: I also did not have any particular scene that I disliked but I did have characters that I initially sympathized with and then moved towards dislike. Before I got to know Neha I felt for her based on what happened to her daughter as well as her Consort’s betrayal. But then her utter inhuman cruelty to those around her was shown and while I regretted her emotional distress I no longer saw her as a victim of any sort. The other character that earned my dislike plays a huge part in the overall mystery of the story so I won’t name names… I will just say that again their actions turned me against the individual.

Has: I have to admit this wasn’t my favourite Guild book, whilst I loved the romance despite having difficulties getting into Jason’s character, I wasn’t a huge fan of the subplot with Neha and the political intrigue and murders. It felt predictable for me and while I liked the ending which made up for the main plot. I didn’t feel it was that exciting and the pace was a bit plodding but I am glad that time was spent on developing the relationship with Jason and Mahiya because if it was a high action plot it would have definitely overpowered their romance.

5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade

MinnChica: All in all I really enjoyed this book. I’ve always said that the angels series doesn’t compare to the Psy-Changeling books (FOR ME), but with the last few books showcasing different couples and more of the Guild Hunter world, I’ve really become more invested in this series. I loved everything about Jason and Mahiya, and these two might be one of my favorite couples in the series so far. Their romance was sweet and endearing and I loved seeing a softer side of Jason. While I’m excited to see more from Raphael and Elena, I hope we get to see a lot of Jason and Mahiya in the next book as well!
I give Archangel’s Storm a B

E: I think this was another great installment in the Guild-Hunter world. Each book shows more about the world and exposes more about the characters, even those that we have spent quality time with in the past. The slow gradual romance reminded me of Galen and Jessamy’s romance which I also loved. The ending well I had to reach for tissues each time I re-read it because it spoke volumes about their feelings for each other. Singh again provided a complete story while not stinting on the outer world changes. Things are looking very very interesting as events start shaping. I did miss seeing the actual Hunters but I really enjoyed spending time mainly with the angels. I also liked the glimpses into Dmitri and Honor’s relationship as they solidified their commitment to each other. I felt those snippets added to the overall story without detracting from my fascination with Jason and Mahiya.
I give Archangel’s Storm an A.

Has: I totally agree about each installment adding more nuance and layers to ongoing story arc and world-building. Whilst this wasn’t my favourite installment, I really enjoyed the romance between Jason and Mahiya and how it evolved throughout the book. I adored the themes of music and secrecy and how it related to their characters and even though it was a subtle and understated romance, I really felt that they were both soul-mates and sometimes you don’t need to say or commit big acts to express love. There is a scene that involved a song at the end that really sums up the book and their love story for me – iand because things may be hidden or subtle it is no less powerful.
Archangel’s Storm is filled with nuanced characterisation, and a subtle and sweet romance that is beautifully drawn out over the course of the book.
I give Archangel’s Storm a B-


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