Review: Archangel’s Viper

September 16, 2017

Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #10
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

When I first finished Archangel’s Heart, I was sure – or maybe overly hopeful – about which book was going to be next. About whose book would be next. I was wrong. But I’m not mad about it. Archangel’s Viper was a surprise of the best kind.

It takes place, mostly, during the same time period as Archangel’s Heart. That still leaves lots of room for the next book to be about that couple that I hope for. I expected to spend a good majority of this book looking for those other characters. What I didn’t expect, despite the fact that I’ve long rooted for Venom and Holly/Sorrow, is to fall completely into their story. It was – as they are for each other – perfect.

Venom has spent the last several years, since Holly was rescued from Uram’s bloodlust, training her, keeping an eye on her. In other words, basically being an annoyance – at least in Holly’s eyes. He, in turn, looked on her as young, untried, and always in a professional way. So, I think it’s a bit of surprise to both of them when he comes back from his time away – in a place we, of course, know, but Holly can’t – to find out that she’s changed. Grown, matured, and isn’t quite as off-limits as he might have once expected. Holly begins to realizes that Venom might be the only one that will ever truly understand her. She also starts to feel the attraction that she was in no place to experience before.

Because of the nature of their previous relationship, and learning each other anew, their relationship builds slowly. With trust and friendship/respect at the front of it. I loved this. Every moment they spent testing and getting to know one another added to the foundation of what I knew would be a life-long journey. It drew me into their story in a way I wasn’t expecting.

It was the plot that kept me rapt with attention though. From that first, baffling, introduction chapter to the very end, I was scouring the pages, desperate to know what was happening to Holly. I needed to know that she was going to be alright. I think, by now, we all know that Nalini Singh tends to put her characters through a bit of a trial-by-fire. Holly would survive, I knew, but it wouldn’t be easy. And it wasn’t.

This story ties up a few lingering, dangling threads from the past several books. And ties everything back to Holly’s beginning – the time she first encountered a blood-born archangel in Angels’ Blood. It was incredibly intriguing, fraught with peril, and just enough humor between Venom and Holly to keep me smiling.

The happenings here aren’t as world-changing as perhaps some of the other books, but that doesn’t make them any less critical. Each of these characters has become ones I care about, and so even their smallest struggles as something that I root for them to conquer. As I traveled through this book with Venom and Holly, I learned more about each of them. I treasured each little moment I was able to experience beside them. Even the painful ones, because it allowed me to know them even more intimately, and savor their happiness exponentially more.

Like most of Nalini Singh’s books, I adored this one. And as always, I finished simply wanting more.