In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot— should not—be walking the streets.
This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…
Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.
Ashwini is a hunter working for the Guild and in the aftermath of the recent battles forced to rest and recover from an almost fatal injury. She is asked to look into a gruesome death with a probable cause too unbearable to contemplate. Ashwini may be smart and tough but she has a gift (which she sees as a curse) that allows her to read people’s emotions, often with debilitating effects. Tormented by a secret she carries, she has struggled to remain detached but there's one man whose very essence calls out to her.
Janvier is a sexy Cajun vampire who since he first met the beguiling Ashwini has known there is no other woman for him. The very air between them sizzles with sexual tension and yet Ashwini always tries to keep him at a distance. Nearly losing her has sharpened all of Janvier's thoughts and now he is more than ready to claim the woman who is clearly “his hunter"! As Ashwini's hunt and Janvier’s new mission collide, it's clear that someone is torturing and cruelly abusing those who cannot protect themselves but there's a new drug on the streets that's about to take the vampire world by storm. Can the hunter and the vampire work together to catch the killer before the humans realise the danger stalking the streets or have they been outmaneuvered? It's fear that keeps the mortals alive in this world of predators. Ashwini belongs with Janvier but her secret will tear out his heart as she tries to convince him that together they have no future!
This passionate couple has been dancing around each other for quite some time now and we first really got to know them in the short story, Angel’s Pawn. In the past, Ashwini has been tasked with hunting Janvier but the wily Cajun is full of tricks and constantly ties her up in knots. I loved the passion and devotion displayed by Janvier but he's in it for the long hurl and happily bides his time as Ashwini strives to put distance between them. That in itself is almost impossibility as Janvier is one of the few people whose touch can bring her peace. A hot and almost combustible relationship, but nothing is rushed, and the relentless Cajun sure knows how to please his hunter!
I feel it's fair to say Archangel’s Shadows will be a disappointment to some readers as I know a lot are hoping for the much loved Bluebell to get his happy ending. I would say this book acts as a bridge and straddles both the romance between Ashwini and Janvier, whilst cleverly bringing readers up to date with other much loved characters in the tragic aftermath of the battle with the cruel Archangel Lejuan. Something powerful is happening and changes are on the wind. Those such as Illium are becoming a power and I foresee a lot more will happen before his story is fully told. The ancient Legion have awakened and now will stand beside Raphael and his seven but whilst they are used to working as a whole unit, it's important to remember that each is an individual but it's lovely to see their curiosity about this new world into which they have awakened. As for the future, it's still shrouded in mystery but Raphael's mother, Caliane, seems poised to step into the limelight as well as Aodhan (Sparkle) who is still a very mysterious and intriguing character; but I suspect the gentle Kier will surprise the most.
If you are a fan, then you will know Ms Singh has been teasing her readers for far too long with a certain vampire, Naasir, so rest assured there's an awful lot more from him in this book but no, still no definitive answers! I really enjoyed Archangel’s Shadows and if you have not started this series, then please, please do! Sometimes Ms Singh puts the archangel, Raphael, and his consort, Elena, in the driving seat and sometimes we get the romance of those who surround them but there is never a dull moment.
This is a remarkable series filled with passion and truly magical world building. Nalini Singh paints pictures with her words that bring the story to life and it's impossible to put her books down. Quite simply a fabulous addition to a truly awesome series.