Title: Archangel’s Viper (Guild Hunter Series #10)
Author: Nalini Singh (Twitter)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Urban Fantasy, Angels and Demons, Vampires, Diverse Romance
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Note: I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in this review are my own.
Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn’t a vampire or an angel…or human…
Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman–it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.
Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…
Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself–because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…
No one is safe.
While it’s far from the end of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, Archangel’s Viper is almost too satisfying to be real.
Not only does Archangel’s Viper answer a bunch of the questions that the series has given readers since it began with 2009’s Angel’s Blood, but it also gives us a deeper look at characters that have been with us from the start of the series.
This book centers Venom (a snarky and serpentine vampire that is the youngest of Archangel Raphael’s Seven) and Holly (the seeming lone survivor of a horrifying attack by the Archangel Uram) as they try to find out who’s behind a massive bounty placed on Holly’s head and what any of that has to do with the changes that Holly undergoes throughout the novel.
In this book, set after the events of Archangel’s Heart (but while Elena and Raphael are still on the other side of the world), we get to see New York from the ground again. We’re not sky high with the angels and are able to see a bit more of Singh’s extensive worldbuilding in the vampires that haven’t managed to make it to the Tower where some of the most important vampires and angels live in the city.
In fact, this book feels a lot closer to Angel’s Blood in terms of giving readers an introduction to a society that is absolutely unexpected. We’re ten books in, but there are still things about the lives of vampires that we didn’t know and things we didn’t know about how some angels behaved. Following along with Venom and Holly as they travel through, at least while in New York, what is very clearly their territory, is one of the coolest things ever.
Venom and Holly go where no other characters we’ve seen so far have been able to go. It’s an entirely new world seen through their eyes.
Another thing that I loved about this book is that their heritage and families are important to them and to the story.
Archangel’s Viper makes Venom more than the snarky asshole that has bantered with Elena (who he initially saw as a weakness to Raphael). In this book, we get to see his depth. We get to see that while he’s absolutely the snarky asshole he comes across as with Elena, he’s got layers to him. Finding out about the family that he lost because of his transformation into a vampire – a loss that is unlike the other losses other vampires in the series have had – makes me care about him even more. He’s an Indian vampire and his human heritage is something that we see as integral to the vampire he is today. (See the scenes at the safehouse where he cooks for Holly!)
And Holly –
Okay so, I love that Holly’s family shows up in this book. She talks to her siblings (an older sister and two younger brothers) on the phone and her parents’ presence is seen throughout the novel. Her family is so important to her and even when she’s in danger halfway around the world, she’s thinking about them. She’s thinking about how to protect them. I love that this book shows such a loving familial relationship, one that’s connected to what fuels Holly’s quest for answers.
And while we’re at it: I didn’t expect to get as invested in the Holly-Venom romance as I did.
One of Nalini Singh’s biggest talents is making us fall in love with her couples as they fall in love. She did it with Elena and Raphael and believe me, that was one hell of a hard sell considering how complicated a character he still is. I knew this (because I read all of her fantasy/sci-fi and remain IN LOVE), but it was such a treat to not only “like” reading the romance but to wind up invested in it. Near the end of the book, my heart was pounding like a drum, I was so worried about whether or not they’d get not just a happy ending, but the happy ending that I wanted them to have.
Now I don’t want to get too spoilery, but one of the biggest questions that Archangel’s Viper answers is “what the heck is going on with the Archangel Michaela?”. I’ve been waiting for actual years to find out what she had going on in the wake of the Uram incident and finally, I got that answer. And it’s nothing that I actually expected.
I mean, it’s like… adjacent to the thing I expected, but like… not really.
And again, it’s so damn satisfying.
Archangel’s Viper isn’t one of those books that can be read by itself. It’s far from a standalone. But trust me, it’s worth it to power through the previous nine books because it’s just so satisfying in how characters like Venom and Holly are developed, how trauma is handled, and how it delivers the reveal for a question raised several books before.
Like I always say: if you enjoyed Angel Sanctuary, the angels and vampires of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series should be right up your alley. Get started on it and then come talk to me about it!