Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter Series)- Nalini Singh
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Warning: Potential Spoilers Ahead!
Rating(out of 5):
Synopsis: 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.
Taking place at the same time as Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Viper follows the members of Raphael's Seven who stayed in New York to hold down the fort while Raphael and Elena are away. Specifically, it follows everyone's favorite venomous vampire as Venom, rather accidentally, finds true love. Long time readers of the Guild Hunters series may remember Holly Chang, once known as Sorrow, as the girl Elena and Raphael rescued from the insane Archangel Uram in Angel's Blood. Holly is beginning to accept her new life as a not-quite vampire but no-longer human. She works with Janvier, Dimitri and others to keep New York safe. She has reconnected with her family, and the nightmares of her torture by Uram aren't quite 24/7 anymore. But, like Vemon and Nassir (Archangel's Enigma) Holly is unique. And in this world of immortals and angels, unique is not always a safe thing.
Because of her fast reflexes and poisonous bite, Holly is assigned to Venom for training. Where others treat her gently, Venom treats her the same as any other new recruit. He pushes her, annoys her, and makes her test her limits. When a botched kidnapping attempt alerts them to a bounty on Holly's head, Venom is the natural partner to help her figure out who's behind it. But things become complicated and past becomes present as Uram's shadow continues to haunt Holly and it turns out that the past may not be quite as behind them as everyone thought.
As enjoyable as Elena is, the Guild Hunter books who follow the 'secondary' characters are just as good, if not better. Each of Raphael's elite Seven is unique in some way and we've been able to get to know the men behind the warriors in these books. Venom may be one of the ones we know the least about, so it's no surprise how eagerly anticipated Archangel's Viper is by fans! I think everyone will agree this story was worth their wait. Holly has grown into a strong woman who may still be working on her confidence, but is learning in leaps and bounds and carving a place for herself in the Tower. She and Venom have a nicely antagonistic relationship from the beginning that shows a great chemistry- even though neither believes it at first. Venom thinks she's too young for him, Holly thinks he's a jerk. But in the best Nalini Singh tradition, the more they work together, the more they discover about each other- and themselves. Emotions like love sneak up on both of them, which really worked here. Neither was looking for a relationship with anyone, especially each other, so it felt like a genuine journey of discovery on both sides. I also liked how, even though Venom thought Holly was too young for him as a woman, he treated her as an equal partner in their investigation from the beginning. She didn't have to prove herself to him, if anything he proved to her what she was capable of.
Much of the conflict in Viper comes from Holly's past trauma and what Uram did to her, but I don't think readers who haven't already read Angels' Blood will be lost. There's enough background given and Holly does enough flashbacks, that new readers will catch up quickly. Holly's story is one that she herself is still discovering, and the questions readers (new and old alike) have are questions Holly is looking for answers to: what did Uram do to her? What is she now? Why does she have the abilities she has, and what is the darkness inside of her? The answers we get by the end are both a surprise and not a surprise. Holly has to learn what Nassir and Venom, and plenty other Nalini Singh characters, have learned: you are unique, an individual, and it is your choices that make you what you are, not what others try to label you.
A great addition to a great series- Nalini Singh fans and paranormal romance fans will love Archangel's Viper!
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review