Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh

A love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making. Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh.

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.

Don’t miss our reviews of other books in the Guild Hunter series!
For book ten, Archangel's Viper, click HERE.
For book eleven, Archangel's Prophecy, click HERE.
For book twelve, Archangel's War, click HERE.
For book thirteen, Archangel's Sun, click HERE.


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Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh

Book 14
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)
Berkley (PRH)



Aodhan is the deep, boundless ocean to your tempestuous storm. He anchors you and you take him flying.



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Archangel's Light is the 14th installment in the Guild Hunter series. Since each book is a continuation of the previous, with threads connecting them all, I would highly suggest against reading as a standalone or skipping installments. Not only would the reader be confused, but the emotional connection built over the arc of the novels would be lessened.

Let's face it, either you were anticipating Bluebell and Aodhan's book or you were dreading it. There is a contingent that didn't feel it proper to have two male protagonists fall in love with one another, either out of squeamishness (to put it nicely) or wrongly felt as if Illium and Aodhan were brothers, even though that wasn't what was put on the angsty pages for 14 installments.

Obviously, I was in the anticipatory camp, giddily waiting to see how Nalini Singh would write this epic friends-to-lovers story.

Told in two time frames, the past and the present, Singh manages to pack an eon of relationship building into the novel, giving readers a good understanding of the foundation, the connection, and the angst that has kept Aodhan and Illium apart.

Most important info for both camps, anti or pro Bluebell and Aodhan:

Nalini Singh plays it safe to appease both camps. Very wise decision. Slow-burn. Chaste romance. Intimate touches, just the brush of wing or the side of the hand, while both angels angst inside their own heads. This should show those who were anti how Love is Love, how it bridges all gaps, how it stands the test of time. How friendship can turn to a romantic connection with a spark. How these angels are not human, their lives timeless over millennium, with no gender or orientation, as it is that spark of connection that fuses two beings of light.

With the romance an undercurrent, the angst the men feel a nonstop buzz that sometimes jolts the reader, the bulk majority of the novel is based in the devastation and destruction wrought across China as they rebuild, along with the transition from an evil Archangel to the benevolent acting Archangel.

Aodhan has been invited to join as the new Archangel's second, which would tear him from Raphael's Seven. Not only were Aodhan and Illium bonded as friends since they were littles, they joined Raphael in the tightest of bonds. It's a major consideration for Aodhan, not only a feeling of honor to be chosen but a sense of loss should he chose to join her, as he would have to cut his loyalties to Raphael and his fellow Seven.

Our Bluebell is beside himself, assuming Aodhan will take the second position and leave him forever, angsting nonstop. While Aodhan angsts nonstop. It's cute and delicious at first, but it gets old fast, like shake the sense into them old. Until their miscommunication and angsting makes them feel like middle schoolers, not centuries' old angels who have known each other for their entire lives, connected in a way that is unbreakable.

To be honest, I felt their relationship a let down, all the anticipation, the buildup over 14 novels, only to receive a similar voice built on the foundation of miscommunication, which I believe is a cop-out to real drama, and unnecessary angst that left both of them sounding immature. There was so much there between them, the miscommunication unnecessary, where a hurt-comfort friends-to-lovers slow-burn would have been best. Thankfully, it does seem to be headed in that direction.

I was delighted with the across time snapshots of their lives, the foundation building of their friendship and bond, along with the snippets from others to create a full picture of what both Illium and Aodhan had gone though over their lives, how they both suffered from the absence of one another. That was beautifully and flawlessly written, bittersweet and heartbreaking with an air of hope.

Aside from the immaturity and pining, there was a major issue I had with the novel, one that I found jarring, tugging me from the story time and time again. I will call this phenomenon "Hearsay" writing.

Singh adopted a new writing style that I do not remember from past installments. I can forgive the random info-dumps at the worst time possible, knowing this is her style of writing over the countless books of hers I've read. Where there will be paragraphs out of nowhere, running down things that were already shown or told within this book, after reading them in real time in the installments before. I forgive this "pace killer" as I'm used to skimming it. But this "Hearsay" writing style was jarring, especially combined with the back and forth of the present and the past from numerable major characters.

Hearsay: in the middle of a scene, suddenly, with no modifier to distinguish it from the scene itself, ALL the narrators would suddenly be thinking of a past conversation with someone/anyone, with actual quotes, most of the time having absolutely NOTHING to do with the scene we were currently reading. No lead-in. No transition. I would have to backtrack, try to remember what was occurring, to not be confused once I was dumped back into the scene itself. There was never a time I wasn't confused when this occurred.

No matter the format, the continuity hit a brick wall. Not an enjoyable experience for the reader to suddenly SLAM into a wall of confusion.

Perhaps this was to skirt around the "Show not Tell" writing rule all writers are hit with from their editors. It's something nearly impossible to avoid. To avoid info-dumps of past conversations with anyone/everyone, where the narrator muses via inner monologue, suddenly the conversation is written out in quotes as a full flashback, not italicized from the main scene to denote the transition, no lead-in as if the conversation was sparked from something happening in the now.

This was a major issue, as in the past, the flashback was italicized. A flashback within a flashback within a flashback. A flashback within the present with more flashbacks within the present. Confused? Me too.

What made it the most challenging is ALL the narrators did it, making them sound similar in diction. I could understand one of the narrators, like a signature voice, but ALL, and I don't just mean Illium and Aodhan.

They would be flying, in the middle of a battle, conversing with someone, musing over another event entirely, and suddenly there would be a sentence or two or a page or two of some conversation between characters not in the scene about things that had nothing to do with the scene happening on the page. Like wait, where did Ellie come from and why did some cutesy convo between her and her Bluebell seem important during a battle? I found this hearsay writing style not only distracting and confusing but grounds to DNF. If I wasn't so invested in the characters and plot after 14 novels, I would have abandoned ship, as it was HUNDREDS of these odd conversations out of nowhere. PLEASE, Ms. Singh, DO NOT do this again. At least put these conversations in scenes where it makes sense.

Aside from the hearsay and the miscommunication immaturity, I did enjoy the major plot of China, which truly was the focal point of the entirety of the novel. The aftermath in China, where they scramble to pick up the pieces and make things right. The connections wrought between all the characters. The insight to the past and how it bonded the Seven. The slow-burn romance between our Bluebell and his Illium. I truly hope to see this as a continuing arc, where it moves on to more, as the series progresses, as we have seen Raphael and Elena evolve.

I'll be waiting with bated breath for more, anticipating the foreshadowing of an angel transitioning to an archangel before his time. More from the Seven. More from Raphael and Elena. Most assuredly more from Illium and Aodhan.

Highly recommend Nalini Singh to fantasy readers, especially urban fantasy (Guild Hunter) and paranormal romance (Psy-Changeling). Pet-peeves or not, Archangel's Light has found a spot at the top of my reread list.

Spanning nearly 500 years, the intimate bond that ties Illium to his Adi and Aodhan to his Bluebell is both powerful and beautiful. Inseparable since childhood, deep cracks in their relationship are exposed when Aodhan leaves Illium and the rest of Raphael’s Seven to help Suyin rebuild China.

For me, this story was both wonderful and frustrating. The sexual tension between Aodhan and Illium has been a slow burn since the start of the series. The book alternates between telling the lifelong story of their relationship with their present day work in China. As always with Nalini Singh’s books, there are exquisite descriptive passages and beautifully charged moments in both the past and present. While much of Illium’s story has been told in other books, this is the first time Singh gives us Aodhan’s story – and it is definitely worth the wait.

What I found frustrating about this book is Singh’s reluctance to fully commit to the story as a gay romance. Unlike every other couple in all of the books I’ve read by Singh, the author doesn’t give Aodhan and Illium a single sex scene. We get heated moments and charged scenes but everything stays very PG13. It feels wrong to not allow these two the sexual intimacy they deserve after 500 years of buildup.

I finished the book still waiting for Illium and Aodhan’s happily ever after. The book ends suddenly without the sense of closure I expect from paranormal romance. This series has always straddled the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance – but the couples in this series always get a satisfying happily ever after. It could be that this is building to a second book for Illium and Aodhan. I hope this is the case because I feel like they’ve been slightly short changed. It feels unfair for an author to make me love a couple this hard, only to leave their story so abruptly.



Author Bio

New York Times bestselling author NALINI SINGH is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the Highlands of Scotland, and the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer. Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand. You can contact her directly through her website. While visiting the site, Nalini invites you to join her newsletter for up-to-date news about both the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series, as well as fun exclusive extras, including free short stories set in her worlds.

Connect with Nalini

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Illium flowed into a graceful bow, going down on one knee while flaring his wings out behind him. A powerful, dangerous butterfly in the snow.


Berkley Romance.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Archangel's Light (Guild Hunter #14) by Nalini Singh to read and review.

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