Thursday, October 21, 2021

ARC Review: Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Light

Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter (Book 14)
Publication: Berkley (October 26, 2021)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: This is Illium and Aodhan's story. Through flashbacks we see key events in their 500 year long friendship from the time they met as baby angels to the current day in a Lijuan-ravaged China. We finally get the story of what happened to Aodhan when he was captured and imprisoned for twenty-three months of torture and then took 200 years of seclusion to come to terms with it and rebuild himself. We learn more about the hidden fractures in Illium too.

Aodhan and Illium have been at odds for the past year since the final defeat of Lijuan. Illium's need to protect is coming into direct conflict with Aodhan's need to be independent and strong on his own. Aodhan being seconded to Suyin - China's newly ascended archangel - threatens to make their quarrel and separation a permanent thing. 

But Raphael isn't going to give up one of his Seven to Suyin without a fight. He knows she wants to offer Aodhan the permanent position as her second since she asked him for permission to approach him. Raphael's secret weapon is Illium who he sends to China to provide more help for Suyin. He ceratinly hopes that will cause Illium and Aodhan to mend their differences and also bring them back to New York as parts of his Seven.

Flashbacks show how the relationship between the two of them grew over their lives and forced proximity in the current time forces them to finally talk to each other but what each of them needs in a relationship. 

While all of the Guild Hunter books have a central core of romance, this is the first in the series when the romance is between characters who have literally known each other all their lives. It is a wonderful exploration of how love changes with time. It was a lovely story.

Favorite Quote:
"Cubs grow," he'd said with a shrug when Illium asked him once. "Life moves. Only the old and the stupid don't move with it. The old have earned their rest, and the stupid will be eaten by predators."

Sometimes, Illium thought Naasir was the wisest person he knew.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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