Published by Penguin Publishing Group on September 26th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, General, Science Fiction
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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.
You’ll have to pardon my fangirling for a moment, but with some books/authors it simply can’t be helped. I love Nalini Singh’s PNR books! It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of another book, when a new Guild Hunter or Psy-Changeling book comes out I immediately start reading it. PNR worlds can be tricky (especially first books) because so much of the story centers on the building or description of the world and I can find myself struggling to feel connected enough to the main characters of the story because I am so focused on the world. I am always amazed that given how detailed the worlds in both series are, I didn’t feel that frustration or disconnect from the story. Nalini’s world always seems to provide the detail needed to connect you to her characters rather than take away from the. She does such an outstanding job bringing details like color, texture, taste and emotion to life in her books that you can almost feel the backdrops she describes. Every description brings you further into the world of her characters and bonds you to them so that you feel every emotion along with them. Given that, it’s no wonder both series are a favorite re-read for so many readers.
Archangel’s Viper was such a wonderful installment to the Guild Hunter series. I have been looking forward to seeing Holly and Viper since Holly was introduced to us as Sorrow. Their back and forth banter made me hopeful that they would be paired up later in the series once Holly had time to heal, so I was thrilled when this book was announced.
I loved seeing how far Holly came since we last saw her. Her confidence, determination and attitude were delightful. The emphasis on her clothing and accessories gave us a glimpse not just into who Holly is today, but who she was prior to being thrust into the world of angels and vampires. The back and forth between Holly and Viper made me smile because they truly had a dynamic that was simply their own. When the everyone else was still treating Holly with kid gloves in some ways, Viper never shied away from treating her like his equal. Whether that meant telling Holly truths she may not want to see, or physically testing her limits, it showed us how much confidence Viper had in Holly’s ability to exist in their world.
My favorite elements of this story (without spoilers) were:
- Ashwini programming ringtones in Holly’s phone. I love seeing the playfulness between such powerful beings.
- All the nicknames Holly and Viper had for each other. To others these may have seemed like insults, but in the end it was a way for the two of them to establish a subtle intimacy before they even realized what was happening.
- Holly’s dislike for Viper’s sunglasses. I love that a feature that made Viper seem so alien was something that never deterred Holly. She was not only fascinated by his eyes and their behavior, but could read his eyes ina way that other’s seemed unable to do. While Viper didn’t believe his eyes reflected emotion in the same way that most eyes do, with Holly that wasn’t the case.
- The details of Viper’s home that called out to both he and Holly. Given that otherness of Viper I don’t think I realized how important it would be that whoever he ended up with would be drawn to some of the same comforts.
- Viper absolutely melted my heart when he cooked for Holly. Seriously, a vampire that doesn’t eat who goes out of his way to not just prepare food, but meals that were either centered around dishes that he knew Holly liked based on observing her or those that were a bridge to his own past. Each one was prepared with such care that it was one of the most romantic scenes I have ever read.
- The flavored blood that Ashwini sent with Venom. This to me is an example of such a subtle detail making a world of difference to the story. Listening to Venom describe the flavors and the memories associated with them (especially given his taste for flavored blood) humanized him in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.
- The glimpses into Holly’s relationship with Dimitri. Given his painful past, I love that he has become a father figure to Holly and Naasir.
- Holly and Viper playing in Central Park. That scene did such a good job showing us how alike Holly and Venom were, and it was the first time we got to see Holly let her abilities surface in a playful way.
- That Venom gave Holly his true name. To me it was symbolic of his final wall coming down between them. It was the moment where I knew that Holly had his heart for eternity no matter what came next.
Fans of the Guild Hunter series will not be disappointed with this latest installment, and I dare say may find Viper their favorite hero in the entire series (sorry Dimitri 🙂 ). To those that haven’t read any books in the series yet, I have only one thing to say… What Are You Waiting For?!