Review: Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Blade
I’ve tried to figure out how to write my review honestly without giving spoilers, but I just can’t. My major dislike involved a plot point that I would consider to be a spoiler, so be wary and don’t read it unless you really want to know. The spoiler is hidden so you have to click if you want to see it.

Dmitri, I’m happy to say, is still the same guy we first saw in Angels’ Blood. He’s wicked and naughty, and still has that disturbing vein of cruelty. He was, I have to admit, one of the members of the Seven that I was least interested in, but I really got to know him here and grew to love him. He’s dark and dangerous, but what really swayed me were his memories. That guy, the one his memories, was the one that really made me fall for him. If we wouldn’t have seen him as he was then, I’m not sure how much I would have cared for him in the present. As I said, he had a vein of hard anger and cruelty in him that had me shying away. Raphael could be cruel and cold to Elena and others, but he didn’t seem to relish it the way Dmitri did, and that seemed to make all the difference for me.

I tried not to compare their relationship to Elena and Raphael, I really did. And I succeeded for the most part. It was weird seeing them from the sidelines and only having a few scenes with them, but the author was smart not to let any of the other characters accidentally dominate Dmitri’s book. We got to see Jason and Illium and Venom, but the scenes with them seemed few and far between. What we did see of Illium continued to hint toward a worrying fixation on Elena, though. Just like in the last book, I’m not sure what I think of the continued mention of this subject. It’s making it into a bigger thing than I want it to be and I keep hoping it will be dropped.

Honor and Dmitri both have had to learn to cope with the horrific abuse they’re suffered. Dmitri is, of course, further along in the game than her, but he has had way more time to adjust. Honor is still jumpy and can’t control her occasional involuntary fight or flight reaction around him. Although Honor would seem to be the more wounded of the two, being that her experience was more recent, Dmitri really stole the show. His constant flashbacks exposed us to a pain and a yearning that has never healed in him. It has been so many years and he’s still not over his wife. He longs for the happiness and the love he felt when he was with her, and he just about broke my heart. That’s really what leads into why the relationship between Honor and Dmitri left me dissatisfied.

Dmitri was clearly not over his wife, and honestly, I don’t blame him. The flashbacks we were shown were incredibly compelling and it broke my heart to know that he didn’t have that anymore. Although he started to make a connection with Honor, there was so much time devoted to memories of his prior life and Honor’s similarities to his dead wife that I felt that the present relationship was shortchanged. I mean, we even had flashbacks during the scenes where Honor and Dmitri were getting frisky! I ended up being more interested in the past relationship than the present one and wished I could have read that romance, because they had something beautiful.

Spoiler below:

Show Spoiler »

I know why Dmitri was constantly reminded of his wife when he was with Honor, but it really made me doubt that Honor was actually what kept him interested. The author built up the past connection and Dmitri’s continued devotion so well that the current relationship didn’t quite fit. It seemed like the only reason why it developed into more than his typical catch and release attitude was because he became unwillingly intrigued by the similarities.

I was very shocked and unhappy to find that…This is where the SPOILERS come in, people…Honor was cast as Dmitri’s dead wife, reincarnated. I know that some people find that situation very romantic, but I’m not one of them. To me, there’s a very clear definition between this person and that person. Just because both people have the same soul does not mean that they are both guaranteed to be loved by the same person. Every action and inaction and event that you experience defines who you are. It’s that person that someone will fall in love with. And I don’t feel that those things are interchangeable. Change one event about your past and you could change your whole personality and outlook on life. You might not have grown and learned enough to become the person you are today.

So to have Dmitri’s dreams come true by tying up his pain in a big red bow and giving him his wife back makes me very unhappy. What about Honor? She seemed to exist only as a vehicle to ease his torment. I am not convinced that he would have ever been completely fulfilled by just her. He was too hung up on his wife. But because she is his wife it’s okay. Now he’ll love her with everything he has. But is he really loving Honor? Or is he just loving his wife any way he can get her? I don’t like to close a Romance with these nagging worries, so I’m not exactly stoked about how this all turned out.

Other than that, I also felt that the story was a little slow and that the plot wasn’t really important. It almost seemed like it existed only to give Honor and Dmitri an excuse to be around each other and to give Dmitri a compelling reason to reveal pieces of his past.

Although I wasn’t thrilled with this book, I still enjoyed it. The Guild Hunter world is an awesome place to be and I enjoyed getting to see more of Ashwini and getting to see the storyline for Holly (Uram’s victim) developed further.

Favorite Quote:

“Like to push, don’t you?”

“If I don’t,” he purred, leaning down to kiss her while he plumped and shaped her breast with a proprietary hand, “how will I ever get you to a point where you’ll let me tie you up and use a whip on you?”

Rating: B-
Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh
September 6th 2011 by Berkley Sensation
Paranormal Romance
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  1. Ren says

    Great review Catherine! I’m so impatiently to read Blade, despite the fact the hero is Dmitri , my least favorite character. But well, I have faith in Nalini Singh, I know I can get the best from her..

    And the spoiler section, its very tempting. I open it, just read some first sentence, and .. bam! No more read spoiler again :P.

    • says

      lol. Gotta watch out for those spoilers. 😉 I’m interested in hearing what you think when you read it, since you’re another person that wasn’t exactly gung ho for Dmitri.

  2. says

    I appreciate your honesty! If any author can handle the plot element you described in the spoiler it’s Nalini Singh, but I admit that that one is not one of my favorites so I’ll be interested to read the book for myself and see how I feel.

  3. says

    I had trouble with that plot point as well. The book is so violent and gritty, that seemed too much like rainbows. If that makes sense.

    But – otherwise the way she makes Dmitri go from sleazy vampire in previous books to OMG HAVE SEX WITH ME – I mean Honor!!! is pretty awesome. She writes the best sexual tension EVAH.

    • says

      Yes, she does great tension. I totally get your point about the rainbows seeming off compared to the grittiness of the rest of the book. It felt like taking the easy (and lame) way out to me, but I know some really loved it. *shrug*

  4. says

    Nice review, thanks. While I too was a bit unsatisfied with the conclusion, I felt that Nalini did a good job of keeping the two people separate. I could say more, but don’t want to give spoilers!

    • says

      Yeah, it’s hard to talk about your reaction to that one thing without spoiling other people. I had a harder time with it, but I enjoyed it overall.