From the BLURB:
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past...but Dmitri's need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.
Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel's right hand and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality...the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.
As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more...
Dmitri is nearly a thousand years old. In that time he has lived a life of sublime love, irrepressible heartache and vicious rage. Now, he is a vampire warrior. Working for the powerful Archangel Raphael, it is Dmitri’s job to keep his fellow vampires in line, and sometimes even the angels . . .
Honor is a guild hunter and broken woman. A few months ago she was captured and tortured by vampires as a part of an ‘invitation only’ game. When the Guild needs her on a new case, Honor has to decide if she wants to start rebuilding her life, or keep to the shadows. It doesn’t help that her contact on the case is the vampire Dmitri, the most cold-blooded and famous of all Raphael’s vampiric minions.
But there is something about Dmitri. A darkness in him that Honor is both drawn to, and saddened by. . .
‘Archangel’s Blade’ is the fourth book in Nalini Singh’s ‘Guild Hunter’ series. The first three books concentrated on the romance between guild hunter, Elena, and her Archangel lover, Raphael. But with ‘Blade’ we read the first departure from the usual characters. ‘Blade’ is the first, but not the last, book that will concentrate on some of the secondary characters from the series.
Dmitri was an intriguing character from the get-go. He had a few run-ins with Elena in the first three books, and definitely read as a dangerous man, not to be messed with. Well, in ‘Blade’ Dmitri loses none of his edge. He is still terrifying with undercurrents of crazy . . . he has a reputation for enjoying pain and pleasure with his (many) women, and amongst his own kind he has an even more lethal reputation for being Raphael’s unrepentant warrior. I was quite happy to read Dmitri’s vicious streak has been kept intact in this book – rather than watered down for purposes of romance.
And, make no mistake, Dmitri is mean. Although in ‘Blade’ he is being drawn and mesmerized by the broken but beautiful Honor, he is still an awful man with a deadly reputation he is scarily proud of. As much as he wants Honor in his bed, and although he likes pain with his pleasure, he doesn’t want her scared with him. So he pushes her. He pushes her to get over her fear and find her anger – by promising to hunt down all the vampires who violated her, and make them suffer . . . slowly.
Honor was a fantastic heroine. She is most certainly damaged. It’s in every aspect of her character – from her skittishness in vamp clubs to her quick draw with a knife when Dmitri gets too close. But we slowly read her rebuilding – a catharsis through violence. However disturbing it may be, reading Honor and Dmitri hunt down her abusers and bond over their torture, it is definitely interesting to track her slow progress back to the strong woman she obviously once was.
As frightening as Dmitri is in this book (and he is frightening – to the point where I thought he was lovely and sexy, but a little too intensely dark and violent for my tastes) – his story is also a slow unraveling of his past. Dmitri has a story about how he became a vampire, and it’s a sad one. He lost everything when his mortality was ripped away and immortality thrust upon him. Throughout the book we read bits and glimpses of Dmitri’s memories of the woman he loved . . .
“Have you never had a woman create such a chink in your armor?” One of Illium’s feathers fell toward the ground but was whipped away and over the water before it could touch the unforgiving concrete. “In all the years I’ve known you, never have you had a lover on whom you placed a true claim.”
“I will watch the roads for you, Dmitri.”
Illium was just over five hundred years old to Dmitri’s near thousand. He didn’t know anything of what had gone on before—Raphael alone knew. “No,” Dmitri said and it was a lie he told with centuries of expertise. “Weakness gets a man killed.”
I adore Nalini Singh’s ‘Guild Hunter’ series. Her twisting and tantalizing of Angel mythology is interesting in itself – but it’s characters like Dmitri and Honor who make the series truly addictive. These characters with deadly pasts who do dastardly deeds for their Archangel overlords. I love it! ‘Archangel’s Blade’ is another darkly seductive installment in this wonderful series, and although the hero was a little too bitter for my liking, I still enjoyed the story of a woman recapturing her bravery at the tip of a blade. Wonderful.