Bookpushers Joint Review – Archangel’s Shadows (Guild Hunter #7) by Nalini Singh

Archangel's ShadowsPublisher: Berkley
Publish Date: 28 Oct
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot—should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.

Where blurb came from

1. Thoughts on the Hero

E: Ohh Janvier, the strong, subtle, not quite as outwardly bossy as Raphael’s Seven but covering his drive with his lazy Cajun demeanor of a vampire. I thought his game of cat and mouse with Ash certainly kept her interest as well as mine. And yet he was also extremely deadly and skilled in vampire and angel interactions of power. I loved how he decided to align himself openly with Raphael after deciding Ash was the one he had been looking for and moving his home-base to the vicinity of The Tower. It was very enjoyable to watch him push Ash and yet also be her safe haven while opening himself up and trusting her. I loved seeing how well they continued to work together and his determination that he would end his existence when she did. But oh his determination to never give up and the almost incandescent joy when things worked out were lovely to see. Janvier certainly lived up to his promise from early in this series.

Has: I have been looking forward to Janvier and Ash’s book for a long while. The previous novella and stories has built up their romance for a long while and I was curious to see how they will finally consummate that unresolved sexual tension. I also loves me some hot smexy Cajun heroes, and Janvier definitely sums up that kind of hero. I loved Janvier’s sense of humour and irreverence, but at the same time, his determination to protect those he loves and to protect the innocent from predators. He also provided a good balance to the darkness that Ash faced and I really loved how he became her touch-stone which became a solid foundation to their relationship. I also loved how Janvier continued to challenge Ash, despite her being stubborn about her feelings and with this book, we got to see more of a vulnerable aspect to their characters, and I loved seeing this playing out.

MinnChica: I couldn’t wait to read more about Janvier. In the previous books in the series, Janvier and Ash already have a history, and that history is long and filled with sexual tension. I couldn’t wait to find out how they were going to finally jump those hurdles that they put up around their relationship and just be together. I think the biggest thing that drew me to Janvier was that he was utterly and completely devoted to Ash. He wanted nothing more than to be with her and her only, for as long as he could have her. He refused to accept anything less. He was willing to give up everything and anything for her, and that single-minded devotion he had toward her made me melt.

2. Thoughts on the Heroine

E: I have enjoyed Ash from the very beginning. The glimpses of her in different stories and some extended scenes not to mention her novella only added to my enjoyment. As her page time increased so did my questions because she was so gifted and yet so haunted at the same time. I really wanted to know what was behind her shadows and what it would take for her to open up and start to really live again. I loved getting to know her. How prickly she could be and yet her absolute caring and dedication to keeping others safe without much concern for her own safety. Everytime she opened a bit more to Janvier and the bond she formed with the other members of the Seven and a few select Hunters became evident my heart melted even more. And when I found out why she was so haunted my heart broke for her but at the same time she was so very strong. Seeing her interact with others from her past who she kept hidden from everyone else was extremely moving. And yet I never pitied her but loved the fierceness she brought and the tenderness hidden beneath.

Has: It was interesting to see a different side of Ash’s character with this entry, and I found her past with her family and abilities very poignant and sad. It also made me understand why she was so wary and reluctant to embark on a relationship with Janvier (because who wouldn’t fall for his charms!). I also definitely agree with E about Ash’s resolve melting and it was great to see her opening up to Janvier especially when she confides to him about her fears and feelings. It really strengthened their relationship and a layer to their romance. I really enjoyed their scenes together which really sparkles with tension and I wished there was more intimate scenes that focused on them in the book, because they were a highlight of the story!

MinnChica: I really liked Ash, but was so curious about what was constantly seeming to hold her back. I was so glad to finally get the real story behind her nervousness to commit to Janvier completely. Her family situation was an absolute killer, and I don’t blame her for the way she was so concerned about her future. The way she gradually came to trust Janvier more and more was so wonderful to read. It was like her character was a flower, blossoming more and more each time she allowed herself to trust Janvier a little bit more.

3. Favorite Scene

E: I enjoyed so many different scenes in this story. The interactions between the Shadow Team formed during the fight for NYC and Raphael’s territory in the previous installment, watching Elena settle more into her place as Consort, the continued dance between Ash and Janvier and so many more. But I think the one I am going to pick is a small scene that really cemented how Janvier felt about Ash for the longest time in my opinion. The scene when it was revealed Janvier had handled the culprits of a certain situation without fanfare and announcement since they made the mistake of messing with his Ashblade **melts**. This was indicative of his overall impression of Ash and how much of a patient tactician he was capable of being when it came to having all of her not just a piece.

Has: Ahh that scene was delicious and I agree it was one of my favourites too! I also have several standout scenes which concentrates on Janvier and Ash, especially when they finally consummate their relationship which was just fabulous! I also loved the scene when everyone was chortling over the fact that Naasir was going to give Elena a dinner gift, and I loved her reaction when she received it! It made me curious even more about his character because he became a firm favourite for me in this entry and second to Illium!

MinnChica: While I enjoyed all the scenes Has and E mentioned above, I really liked getting to see Elena interact with the different fighters of the Legion. I loved the way she interacted with them, the way she found subtle ways point out their individuality, and the way she used her passion for plants to really form a deeper connection with them. I’m so intrigued with how the Legion is going to add to the series overall, and I love the way they are really bonding not only to Raphael, but Elena even more so.

4. Dislike about book

E: Absolutely nothing **grin**

Has: I did not have any major dislikes in this book, but I wished there was more scenes focusing on the romance between Janvier and Ash, because they really stood out on the page. Although I loved the glimpses of the other characters and I liked the tantalizing hints that Nalini sets up in this book which makes things very intriguing in the next installment.

MinnChica: There was so much to like about this book, it didn’t seem to captivate me the way the previous books in the series did. I’m not sure if it was because there was a lot of time spent moving the plot and not the romance, or what. However, while I connected with the characters and the overall movement of the story arc, I wanted more. I wanted to feel like I was being immersed completely in the book, and it never got to that point for me. 🙁

5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade

E: So I have been waiting for this story ever since I first saw them interact in  Angel’s Pawn back in 2009. Every subsequent mention of Ash and Janvier made me want their story even more. I am so very glad that not only did this story live up to my highest hopes but Singh included so much more. I can see myself re-reading this often when I need an Ash/Janvier fix right after I read their novella. I also loved finding out more regarding certain members of the Seven, an unexpected visit, and a hilarious dinner party. The way Singh moves the overall story arc along with character growth for all, plus intense romance is absolutely perfect. Once more she demonstrated why I wait impatiently for each new release.
I give Archangel’s Shadows an A+

Has: This was a great followup to their novella, and I was left very satisfied with the way their romance developed. The glimpses we got from other supporting characters and the ongoing arc with the Legion and Elena and Raphael was also great to see. I especially loved Naasir who really comes to his own in this book, and I hope we get his story and the search for his mate which promises to be delightful! But overall, I really enjoyed how Janvier finally got his girl and even though she made him work for it, their romance was fun and sexy and full of depth and it was well worth the wait!

I give Archangel’s Shadows a B

MinnChica: All in all, I did really enjoy seeing the way Janvier and Ash finally came together and were able to commit to one another. Janvier made this story so amazing, given his prowess as a hero. Getting to see more of Raphael’s seven was also such fun, and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. While I still find myself loving the Psy-Changeling books more, this series continues to get better and better with each installment.
I give Archangel’s Shadows a B-

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