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Guild Hunter #9

Archangel's Heart

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New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a dangerous and exhilarating world where a deadly, beautiful archangel and his once-mortal consort are caught in a fury of twisted darkness…

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

381 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published November 1, 2016

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About the author

Nalini Singh

269 books24.8k followers
I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,254 reviews
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29k followers
December 10, 2016
3.5 Stars

Before I get started, I want to say that I love Nalini Singh. She is one of my all-time favorite authors and the Guild Hunter series is one of my all-time favorite series.

Raphael is my ultimate Hero.

Seriously, there is no one more magnetic, no one more fascinating, and no one more alpha than Archangel Raphael.

I could read about him and Elena in perpetuity.


That said, I will say that this installment - despite being centered around Raphael and Elena - was surprisingly a lot more slow moving that I expected.


This book had a "side story" feel to it, meaning that it had nothing to do with the over-arching Cascade story line and there was virtually no forward movement in the lives of any of the characters.

Instead, this story takes place in "Lumia," a place supposedly free from Cadre control, and it centers around some mysteries occurring there, as well as some of the mysteries of Elena's past.

Two years have passed between this book and the last book and I feel like this book's purpose was to show us how Elena has grown in strength, how Illium has dealt with the previous power surges, and how the Cadre is interacting now that Uram has been gone awhile and Lijuan has seemingly disappeared.

In essence, this book felt like springboard filler that is meant to get us ready for some serious Cascade movement in the next book.

I hope.


Regardless, despite this being a little more...tame then I thought it was going to be, I still enjoyed it; because, as I said, I ADORE Raphael and Elena and reading anything with them as the main focus is going to be enjoyable to me.

There was also some drama between Illium and Aodhan. And if you have read any of my previous reviews on this series, you already know that I would KILL for those two to get together, despite Singh never having done M/M before.

All that said, if you love this series and characters as much as I do - and as long as you don't go into this expecting major Cascade events or lots of action - I think you will enjoy this book.

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That moment when someone from Berkley publishing contacts you and says it was an ERROR that you got denied a Netgalley ARC.

And then sends you one.


The amount of happy I am experiencing right now is indescribable.


When you get denied the ARC you've been pining for with all your heart.




Was kind of hoping this would be Bluebell and Sparkle's book...


But then I remembered I don't care.

I'll take more Elena and Raphael any day.
Profile Image for Jo ★The Book Sloth★.
485 reviews427 followers
February 6, 2017
4 My precious Archangel Stars

Things have been quiet for two years both on the Cascade and the Lijuan front amd waiting for something to change has everyone on edge. When it does though, it isn't in the form Elena expects.

The Cadre has been summoned by the Luminata to visit their compound in Morocco and apparently the invitation isn't optional. Accompanying Raphael to the land of her ancestors seems luke a good way to take her mind off things, even if it means interracting with the snakes of the cadre. But when they arrive there, it isn't to the group of wise and pure "monklike" librarians Elena has been expecting but to an air or violence and darkness. Nothing is what it seems.

I will not go into a second rant about expectations this week but I will say that NS only marginally managed to deliver on mine this time, and they weren't even that high!

This book was a filler through and through! We get no progress on both the overarching plotlines of the series(Cascade and Lijuan). Instead we get some character development and the foundation to build some new stories on. That would have been just fine if the book was a little shorter. I found it a bit too long when in reality it had little to offer to the series plot.

That being said, this book had its moments! Watching the politics might not be my favourite thing but watching the bonds between Elena and Raphael grow is always a plus. And I loved seeing Aodhan grow stronger and forming relationships. And of course learning about Elena's family history was a huge bonus. I can see NS is building up to something, just don't know what yet.

And Raphael... I love this guy. He is my ultimate book boyfriend. I even named my dog after him.♥♥♥

I need the Aodhan-Ilium book to happen! I neeeeeeeed it!

Profile Image for XxTainaxX Curvy and Nerdy.
1,473 reviews451 followers
November 12, 2016
While this story added value to the overall series, I was expecting something that would move the Cascade plot forward a little more than this did. Particularly considering the length of the title. I love reading about Raphael and Elena because I've followed their progression and evolution as a couple. This book offers us insight into Elena's past and her connections to Morocco. It also offered us the chance to learn more about the mysterious Aodhan (Sparkle), his past, and his friendship with Illium (Bluebell). I know a lot of folks want those two to get together and it would be quite interesting for it to come to fruition. However, there's nothing in this story that indicated that was the direction it's headed. For now, I classify it as a strong bromance. The plot was interesting, though predictable to some degree, after the initial elements were introduced. It added some new players into the mix. I am definitely curious to see the role these additions will play in the ongoing Cascade. I felt a distinct lack of progression when concerning Lijuan and am eager to know what happened to her. I am SO ready for the next installment! Safety: No others for either of our MCs despite the fact that others are openly interested in them. Yes to rape and abuse (not of our heroine/hero).

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

This was me pre-release:

Is it November yet? I may or may not be this excited to read more Elena and Rafe:

Profile Image for Aisling Zena.
635 reviews462 followers
July 16, 2020
16/7/20, 13/10/18 Re-read

4 stars

Contains spoilers from the previous books.

I know some of you were looking forward to a new couple but I didn't mind that this was a Raphael and Elena book. I was actually excited to go back to their story and catching up a bit more with them. There's something about their story and how they are together that will always fascinate me. That said I was a bit disappointed with this one.

To be honest I could be quite brutal with this review but I find myself unwilling because even if I found about 80% of the book to be filler(in terms of plot from the previous books) I still read it and quite avidly too. So now I'm in a conundrum about how to review it. If I take this book as a standalone, in a way, within the series it's a fascinating read with new additions in a spectacular setting. But if I see this book in terms of plot continuation and a conclusion regarding Lijuan then I'm disappointed and frustrated.

The plot is central to Elena and the Luminata. The Luminata is a mysterious sect within the angel society which we had no idea about until this book. They have the duty of calling the Cadre to meet in extreme circumstances. Such as the vampires in Lijuan's territory going crazy and succumbing to bloodlust in her absence. This book picks up two years after the last book. Lijuan is still missing either dead or mostly likely gone to Sleep. The Cadre must decide what is to be done to her territory as the threat of bloodlust will spill over their borders quick if they don't do anything about it. The Luminata call all of the Archangels to meet in their city Lumia, in Morocco to resolve the issue.


Think of the Luminata as monks in a mountain monastery. And like human monasteries they have a wealth of books and art with the self imposed task of preserving it. The writing and descriptions of Morocco, Lumia and the art were superb and entrancing. But at times it felt that all of the setting was filler. Just filling up the book with information. Some interesting information but information nevertheless. There wasn't really any action throughout most of the book. And that means sexual too. We only got to read about Raphael and Elena doing the rumpy pumpy once in the book. Once!

So my perverted side wanted more, my action-craving side wanted more and my pragmatic side saw the twist at the end coming. Don't get me wrong, it was a joy to read it simply because of the writing but it was also somewhat disappointing. I guess I was expecting more. And I wont even get into how little we saw of my beloved Bluebell.


**ARC kindly provided by Orion Publishing Group via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for ȷαεlα.
672 reviews
November 14, 2016
It was dark....BUT I LIKED IT!

This was unlike any other book in this series. Much happened, a lot of action and Elena & Raphael growing strong together. There wasn't much development in everything in particular, but there were important things from past that were reveled, and they were really Shocking.

I liked Aodhan in this and I just can't wait for his own book.


After all the hints and newsletters about Illium and Aodhan, I just REFUSE to accept a mate for Bluebell other than Sparkle!!


We begged Nalini for Aodhan's or Illum's book, but NOOO!! She's like:

At least now we have a title and hero's and heroine's name (R&E. Again!). It's not that I don't like them, on the contrary, I love them and I will read everything written from NS, but I would like to read about Sparkle or Bluebell, or even Venom... :/ Guess I have to wait and wait and wait....

September 2015
No title yet, no info whose book this is, nothing!

I feel like this rn:

But if this happens:

it would make my waiting bearable! :D
This series needs some m/m romance, pleaseeeee Nalini, pleaaaseee

*fingers crossed*
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,706 followers
April 4, 2018
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

My knee jerk reaction to ARCHANGEL'S HEART is to say it was a roller coaster.

But that's not right. I wasn't up and down and sideways on repeat from start to finish.

It was more that I was way, way down, struggling up that first incline until somewhere between 25 - 30%, then I hit cruise straight through the next 50 - 60%, then that last 15% was so spectacular . . . It almost made me forget how long it took to settle in.


That extra 10% that kicked the MEH into a full quarter of book, though . . . Unfortunately, forgetting wasn't in the cards.

But first things first. I'm sure a lot of you are concerned about the POV switch back to Elena and Raphael. It's hard to muster up the same excitement we had for Janvier and Naasir in the last two installments for our returning alpha couple, am I right? Especially, when what we really want is Illium and Aohdan's book.

The good news is, it's a' comin'. At least it has every appearance of coming, based on my decidedly biased opinion. Regardless of whether it's the next book or three after that, the majority of the groundwork laid for future HEAs, was in reference to Aodhan. We still don't know what happened to him, but it's clear he's healing, if not healed, and the mysterious mystery was brought up half a dozen times at least.

The neutral news is, there's no getting to it without more Elena and Raphael.

So suck it up, and let let Singh do what she needs to do. *orbit gum smile* Trust me, by the time you finish GH #9, you'll be glad you did.

But I repeat, first things first, and in order to get to the super fantastic revelations at the end of this book, you have to wade through the swamp:

1. There's no mystery surrounding who the Bad Guy is.

Like none.

“By dint of their spiritual quest, the Luminata have no earthly ties and no loyalties beyond that to their quest for luminescence. They take no lovers, participate in no wars, and when they become Luminata, they sever all blood ties.”
“A perfect neutral body.”

"Perfect," Elena says.

*scoffs* BEWARE anything described as being "perfect." That's just common sense.


2. Our common sense isn't enough to clue us in.

The slight redundancy that can be characteristic of Singh is more than slight in ARCHANGEL'S HEART. We are reminded constantly that something's not quite right:

“There’s something off about this place,” she muttered. “Gian’s spookiness aside, the sense of peace I expected is missing.”

And on the very next page:

The shallow bow from an escort who had not earned that right, the fact Gian had taken the names of the Cadre without adding “Archangel” to the front, the Luminata who’d watched them from the shadows, their faces hidden under the hoods of their robes, none of it was as it should be.

This pattern continued, but once the plot picked up the pace, it was easier to ignore (per usual).

3. On a similar, yet different note, basic rituals are given point-by-point explanations:

There was no shower, but someone had already partially filled the large stone bath with cold water, minerals swirled into the clear liquid. It was a normal angelic courtesy to ensure guests didn’t have to wait too long for their bath to fill.
Finding the handle—old but functional—that made the hot water start to gush out from a spout in the wall, Raphael turned it on.
By the time it filled to the top, it would be the correct temperature.


These kinds of things made getting started an uphill climb.


I want to be clear that I very much enjoyed this book.

I can't tell you what made it so wonderful and lovely and ALL the good things, b/c huge, enormous spoilers, so instead I'm being painfully honest about the less than stellar start. That way, if you have a similar experience, hopefully, you'll be encouraged to push through.

It's so very worth it. I promise. Highly recommended.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Lila.
843 reviews9 followers
October 6, 2016


This book reminds me very much of book #2, Archangel's Kiss. You know, Rapahel on official Cadre business and Elena, his Consort with weapons.
Let me give you bare bones: Luminata, an angelic order with authority to summon Cadre of Ten, deemed it was a time for a meeting since Lijuan is missing which leaves her territory ungoverned. Meeting takes Raphael and Elena to Marroco, a home country of Elena's late mother, so Elena decides to use this opportunity to look for more information on her ancestors while Cadre is in session.

- Confession time: I wasn't particularly thrilled we are getting another book focused on Raphael and Elena. Not because I don't like them, but, rather, because I danced this dance with Singh before when it comes to her other series. I get one book focused on couple/event I really want to read about and then three I am not that interested in. Illium, Aodhan, Venom, Sorrow... I admit I would be more excited about any of these books more than another Elena/Raphael. But, considering I was always a fan of bigger arc Nalini is pushing through series (which at this point seems to be leading toward Cascade), I hoped this book would at least move forward happenings in that department, like it did with Archangel's Legion or Naasir's book that threw a significant curveball in Cadre war. Unfortunately, this didn't happen with book #9. To be honest, introducing another ruling body in angelic world could have been interesting move on Singh's part- Luminata is a religious order, their official goal and reason for existing transcends basic territorial motives and desires of archangels since they are only devoted to ascending to higher planes of existing. But the most interesting about them is the fact that Luminata order is established out of angelic hierarchy which is an anomaly in everything we know about them. So far we got to see that ascending for angels means more power (predisposed angels ascend to archangels or Liujan's ascendency to goddess,) so when power is decisive trait that leads to the top of the food chain, it was intriguing to see why relinquishing the power for spiritual purposes can give Luminata that kind of position. But that intriguing potential of concept of Luminata was never realized. Spiritual ascendancy means fuckall because it's still the game of who has bigger stick to wield around. To make the matter worse, resolution to whole Luminata plot was such a huge let down for me because Nalini went with the lazy, most common and seen so many times reason for why villains do bad things and with this she shut down any kind relevance of this order in Cadre war or any kind of future event. In overall arc we have not moved from place we ended up in previous book: Lijuan is still awol, alliances are not changed, Charisemnon is still being the asshole of the bunch, Cascade is still coming...slowly.

-which leads to another problem. What did happen in this book? Well, in a series of fortunate coincidences, Elena got to find out more about her mother's side of the family. Which was fun and nice addition to her story. But with the war, Illium, Aodhan, two Ancients being up...is this really what I hoped to read in book #9? I admit it's a no and I say that as a fan of NS. Again, by finding out this about Elena we have not moved in overall arc from the place we ended up on in previous book. To be fair, this series is called Guild Hunter, so technically it is Elena's story, but I think we left that train several books ago. And I think I can be a little disappointed that in book which is not focused on characters I am invested in over so many years and really want to read about, nothing major happens. :\

- Now, good stuff: Aodhan fans, your boy gets more page time then ever. He goes with Elena and Raphael to Marroco and I feel like it's the first time we are actually getting some insight into his personality. Much of Aodhan's character readers got to see so far relied on his trauma and his close friendship with Illium, but here we see some things that are telling us what kind of man(angel?) Aodhan is, like tidbits about his artistic side or his family. Of course this doesn't mean that both trauma and his relationship with Illium weren't further explored. I won't elaborate on trauma part because it's spoilery, but I have a lot to say about Illium. Here is the thing: you may be for or against same sex relationships in this series and I am perfectly fine with either of opinions, but after this book, I find it impossible to deny that Illium and Aodham have an amazing chemistry. I know people speculated the same about Aden and Vasic in Psy/Changeling series and while I personally didn't see it and I agree with Nalini's take on this, I swear, in this book everything between Illium and Aodhan is so emotionally charged and tantalizing that at some point, you just have to acknowledge that readers (a big chunk of them) are not making this shit up, that they are not seeing what's not there. So here is where I am at right now: I just hope it ends up being a good book. If Nalini choose to write same sex relationship*, I hope she does her research and write it to best of her abilities. If she decides to do this the way she is experienced and familiar with, then all I have to say is that she needs to give them female counterparts that are so awesome and great and right for them because only in that case they may have chance to eclipse either Aodhan or Illium. Right now, I don't see anyone more fitting for Bluebell than Sparkle and vice versa. Just my 2c.

- Romance between Rapahel and Elena is still strong and steady. I have so much respect for Nalini for not writing any kind of drama in that department.

- Certain territorial dispute was settled in civil manner and its consequences may shift the power a bit. I hope this blows up in some way in future books.

- Ok, here is another confession: we know that Michaela is official Bitch** of angelic world. But, I love when Nalini adds some complexity to her character and writes some traits that give her depth. You know what? I love that Cadre has an Archangel whose reputation is so vile and yet she is well known to not tolerate violence against children or sexual violence against women on her territory. All hail, Michaela, a walking (flying?) paradox!

-every time I think Nalini exhausted her imagination when it comes to introducing another beautiful pair of wings...she comes with another one.

So, all in all, another good addition to GH series I am sure Raphael/Elena fans will enjoy more than I did. I am just more curious about things to come. ;)

*I know she said in some Q&A she will not, but considering the recent trend in genre (Ward, Kresley Cole) I would not be surprised by news.
**Actually, I think that true Bitch of angelic world is Favashi, but she is more slick about it.
Profile Image for Maya.
858 reviews428 followers
July 21, 2017

Raphael and Elena are BACK!!! Yes!!! So happy to have finally another story about them as main characters. I really missed them and all the secrets and action that always accomplanies them. Before I started reading this story I thought it was maybe going to be about the crazy archangel from China but nope, not as much as it would be to be honest. It was really more about the Luminata and, man, those folks just suck! Just another reminder why I don't like the super religious people that much, there always seems something fishy about them. And I'm always right with my instincts. Yes, before you butcher me, there might be some good folks but I haven't seen them yet, so that's why I don't really like them. That's all! Anyway, back to the story. I have one huge minus for Nalini, what the heck happened to Sparkle and Bluebell!!! We didn't get the final answer!!! So therefore the next book HAS to be about them! Just saying. 'Cause otherwise, what's the point in all that drama and not get closure, huh?! O_o

Aside from that, there is one huuuuge plot twist about Elena's past or should I say her heritage. I definitely didn't see that one coming. I mean, after all this time to finally get a piece of her history back is amazing and I was so happy for her. And Raphael, where to start, he's just amazing and I want my own real Raphael. I only wished we'd got to see more of him and Elena alone and how their relationship is growing. But I guess Nalini can always write more books about these two *wink wink*

My only regret is that I've read it so fast and now I have to wait for the next one... But I can always read the Psy-Changeling stories...
357 reviews138 followers
November 23, 2016
"He'd survived losing her.
He didn't know if he could survive losing Never before had he seen that truth so clearly and it shook him.

I love you Nalini Singh, but I'll be devastated if you don't give me this mm book after all this teasing!!!

*** UPDATE ***

So, it's another E & R book? Well, you won't hear any objections from me, as long as I get my mm book in the future. :))


Review is posted on Way Too Hot Books.

I don't know what's up with me this year since I've rated quite a few of the newest and most expected installments of most of my favorite series with 3 stars. Blasphemy, I know!

Never thought that the day will come I'll rate Singh's Guild Hunter series lower than 4 stars, but that day has come people and I can not lie. Unfortunately, I'll have to agree with other readers who said that this book was more of a "filler" and while I did like it, it didn't blow my mind like the rest of the books in the series. I did crave this installment to be Bluebell's & Sparkle's story and was a bit disappointed we've got Elena & Raphael again instead, but the main reason for my rating is:
~ the slow pacing/dragging of the story at the beginning and towards the end which made me want to skip pages. IMO, the author resolved the main mystery in an antclimatic way and I've found the behaviour of some important characters considering their past unrealistic. And there was too little Bluebell/Illium, damn it!:(

I won't say anything else about that, because there would be spoilers. The things I loved on the other hand are our lovely and fierce consort Elena & her archangel Raphael who are still in the honeymoon phase, of course not to forget our beautiful Sparkle/ Aodhan who had an important role in this installment (yessss!) and the new creepy characters known as the Luminata (w.t.f. O.O)

No matter my rating, this series still remains one of my top urban fantasy series out there and I highly recommend it to every uf reader out there. The next book is again included in my most expected reads of 2017 list. Will I finally get my Bluebell's & Sparkle's story? It remains to be seen.*fingers crossed*

Profile Image for Lyndi W..
2,042 reviews193 followers
September 30, 2019
Nov. 2016: I just finished reading and I'm already desperate for the next book. This was such a good installment - ramping up the suspense for another encounter with Lijuan, delving a bit deeper into Elena's ancestry, showing a bit more of Aodhan's personality... I have only the most minor of complaints:
a) I wish we'd gotten to see Illium and Aodhan reunite.
b) I really want more of the Legion, who were completely absent in this book.
c) This book was a bit more 'mystery solving' than the usual 'monster fighting' and I'd have liked a little more action.

I hate waiting so long for the next book, but as always - it was WORTH IT.

Y'all try not to be assholes between now and the publication of the next book, ya hear?


Mar. 2016: Everyone bitching that this is another Raphael and Elena book - you're awful garbage people. You want different characters so badly, write your own pervy fanfiction. Keep saying "Oh no, I'm so upset! I'm so disappointed! How could Nalini do this to us!?" and see how long she keeps writing for obviously unappreciative fans. Assholes.


Oct. 2015: It seems everyone is hoping for an Illium and Aodhan book, which I totally get. That would be spectacularly hot. However, if Illium and Aodhan hook up with other people, that means two stories instead of one. And I'm all for that. Sorry, guys... I'm too greedy to be Team Illidhan or Aolium, whatever.
Profile Image for Angela.
3,198 reviews368 followers
December 14, 2021
****Excerpt available at The Book Eaters***

We've had two non-Elena/Raphael books since the game-changing battle that happened in Archangel's Legion. And they've been some awesome, sweet, romantic, and heart-wrenching novels. Now we're back to Elena and Raphael, and digging into her history more than I ever thought we would really get the chance to.

When we start Archangel's Heart  things have been relatively quiet, both on the Cascade front, and the Lijuan front, for nearly 2 years. Elena's been waiting for the other shoe to drop this entire time. When it does, it comes in the form of a summons to the Cadre.

I started this book shocked, who dared to think they had the right to  summon the most powerful beings in the world? Apparently the archangel's arrogance is rubbing off on me. The further I delved into the Luminata life and compound the more intrigued I became. This is clearly a sect with a long history, and the search for luminescense - when pure - is a worthy intention. But there are also veins of darkness flowing beneath and within this group. Even before it becomes clear that Elena is somehow connected to the center of what's going on, she makes it her mission to find out why fear permeates the ancient walls of this compound and the nearby city.

I loved this book for a few reasons, the politics of the Cadre meeting is fascinating to me. I find the politics and manuerving more and more interesting in recent years, and I focus on it in a lot of my reading now. The personalities of each of the ten (or eleven?) archangels, and how they interact with each other, is absolutely captivating. I like learning, and being reminded, that no archangel, indeed no immortal, is likely to have a single facet. They are complex beings with the capacity for both great good and incredible evil. Even when I want to hate them, I find that there's something more to them that I actually respect ... except for those vague few that have crossed a few too many lines for my tastes.

The other thing that I really loved was delving into Elena's search for more information about her history. With little to go on, she hopes that a trip to a respository of knowledge - as the Luminata is known to keep - will shed some light on who the vampire in her history may be. Or, since they're going to be in Morocco, perhaps some small thread on who her mother's mother was. Elena's familial relationships are all complicated, both with those left living, and the ones that have already left her. It's no surprise to me that she wants to get a better grip on the history of her life in order to try and balance out the known pain and upheaval.

This is a book that quietly moves the story along, while giving us more depth and understanding of the characters that we already know and love (or hate). There were times when my eyes were wide at the absolute power that the Cadre (or some singular archangels) possesses, the enormity of what they keep in check still shocks me. I really enjoyed so many of the interactions of these powerful beings, and seeing how they interact with others as well. And then there are my favorites.

loved every single moment with Aodhan. I have to call this particular one out - though it's far from the only character that I adored in this book. Seeing his progression was a balm to my soul. The way that he's creating bonds and friendships, and becoming more comfortable in them, makes me happy in a way I can't explain. Plus there's so much more going on that I can't wait to see come to fruition - in whatever way Nalini Singh decides to take it.

Archangel's Heart isn't as wildly game-changing as some of the previous books in the series, where huge happenings are occurring almost on top of one another, but it's life-changing in a different way. Quietly, though no less drastically. There's a moment to take a breath, before the storms. But I have no doubt the storms are coming. Now, as always, I'm left waiting for the next book in the series. Dare I hope it's a certain someone's?

Review also available at The Book Eaters

Review to come - I couldn't stop once I started!!

24 June 2016: This COVER!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3

Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
November 15, 2016
Ya know when you hear that the next book in the series is about the original couple again and you are kinda bummed out because you've been waiting for one of the side character's story forever? Well, this one is so freaking good that you won't care. We thought we knew all about the Guild Hunter world. We were wrong. (yes, I'm speaking in the third person again. Very queenly of me.)

In this book, we are introduced to a group of angels that are kind of like monks. They live in a secret location, wear the cloaks, give up their worldly possessions, take a vow of chastity, and seek enlightenment. The only thing missing is the freaky haircuts.

Well, it does kind of work for him..

And, they do have the wings, so they hide them under their robes, making them look like a bunch of hunchbacks.

They are called the Luminata, and they are a great freaky addition to this world. Are they good or evil? That's the question to try and figure out. My money's on evil. Just a hunch - get it? Hunch?
..um. Yeah.

So, anyway, Rafael & Elena have to travel to the "monastery" for angel business. (It's like regular business with a lot more fluff. (sorry, I'm punny today). And, Aodhan travels with them. Which brings me to all of the Aodhan/Illium shippers, myself included: I have good news and bad news.

The good news: we learn a lot more about the mysterious Aodhan. Yay!
The bad news: this ship ain't sailing, baby.

I think Nalini Singh is aware of what we want and is giving us hints that we aren't getting it. She mentions how Aodhan and Illium are best friends so many times that I was eye-rolling. She really really wants us to remember that. She also makes sure to mention Illium's previous FEMALE lover and tells us about Aodhan's first kiss with a GIRL.

So, there's no Santa and Christmas is cancelled, kids. Plus, she got us a present and it's an orange. Not even a ripe orange. An unripe, sour orange with lots of seeds.

Thanks alot for killing our dreams, Singh!
Still, the book was amazing.
December 4, 2016
3.5 - 4 ★'s

Raphael and Elena are one of my all time favorite paranormal couples so I was thrilled to find out they were getting another book! They are the heart of this series and I'm always left wanting to know more about them and seeing how their relationship has grown.

And they are fine and dandy...unfortunately, I didn't feel like we got enough of just the two of them. Yes, they're together but there were too many other things going on.

I also hate to say that I almost DNF'd this as well. I'm really not sure why but the information overload was killing me. I'm all for a bit of refreshing especially when series get long...but, if you're still reading a series when the ninth book comes out, well, you should have a good idea who everyone is.

And another thing that bothered me was the constant clothing and physical descriptions...geez, we get it! I don't think I ever rolled my eyes as much...ugh. The good news was that this all goes away somewhere after the forty percent mark...thank goodness.


So what's the story about? Well, The Cadre is called together by the Luminatas, a type of angel monks who are supposed to be looking out for angel welfare. Right from the get-go things are a bit fishy but it's pretty easy to get a basic idea of what's going to happen.

I did love having all the archangels together and their escorts or security. I found that really interesting. Also, Raphael brings Aodhan and we get to know a little more about him.

The Lumia just happens to be located where Elena's mother's family is from so she does a bit of searching. She was not prepared for what she finds that's for sure.

All hell breaks loose and Raphael takes matters into his own hands but I loved, LOVED, loved how Caliane handled the rest. She's so badass!

The reason the Cadre was called was to find out what's going on with Lijuan so we do get some more about her but at this point it feels like beating a dead dog. Be gone already! ;)

I like how everything wrapped up but I felt gypped in regards to Raphael and Elena and again, left with wanting more! (Where were the steamy scenes? I'd take even ONE!) :(

So...who's next? Hard to tell at this point. You would think Aodhan since he was featured so much in this book and that would be awesome! Maybe a m/m with a certain blue angel? or hell, I'd even take a threesome! ;)

(Prior to review...)

wooohooo....more Elena and Raphael!!!!
Profile Image for Lady Heather .
1,292 reviews692 followers
April 18, 2022
I'd like to start off by saying they Nalini Singh is one of my favourite authors!

I LOVE the Guild Hunter Series and have re-read it many times (this was my 5th read).
I liked this book more and more every time I read it.
What I do like about this story are the little snippets of information we are given about Aodhan, and his relationship with Illium.
I love getting to know more about Elena's family's history.
The plot and the characters are interesting.
This is a good addition to the Guild Hunter series.
Profile Image for Maya .
97 reviews82 followers
August 28, 2018
Aaaaaand the waiting starts once again:


Please only read on if you have read the last book ;)

Soooo, after reading Archangels Enigma there are a loooot more questions that need to be answered:


First of all Who's book will it be???

Hmmm.. I think it might be one of Elena and Raphaels again.

What happend to the Bitch Queen Michaela?

I have the feeling that it she is "pregnant" like that chick in the movie Prometheus. Yeah, that was a yummy scene. Back to the topic: Uriel placed something into her body (some part of his tainted power?) or did something to her that started to change her. Hmmm.. so let's see what will happen ;)


Aodhan and Suyin?

Two kindred spirits finding to each other? <- OK, that came out cheesy but you get what I mean.


Raphaels Power boost courtesy to Bluebell

Alexander <3

What is or what will become of Sorrow?

The same power that changes Michaela is at work here but don't think it's working in the same way but there still have to be simularities (like their eyes).

Sorrow and Venom

And I really want to know more about her and Venom. I really really want them to happen *.*


Btw, I missed them in the last books. I just want to know more about them.

Raphael and Titus markings?

They have to meam something, right. Maybe they appear because they are on the same side (against Lijuan)



I'm too lazy to add more things so I will update it later ;)
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,570 reviews191 followers
October 7, 2016
Four and a half from me
I confess this is my favourite series from this author and I'm always desperate to read the next instalment. However I've noticed that there's a lot of chatter about Bluebell and Sparkle and I have to point out this book is an Elena/Raphael story but fear not there's an awful lot of Aodhan aka Sparkle here with growth that made my heart sing but alas I'm getting ahead of myself .
Having survived the momentous battle with the Archangel of China, Elena and Raphael are on tenterhooks waiting to find out her next move as the Cascade rattles on changing Angelic kind once more. The Cadre are summoned by the Luminata to discuss who will rule over China in the absence of its Archangel Liujan but right from the start it's clear the Luminata (who should be impartial ) are keeping secrets. Just what they are hiding and how far the rot goes is something Elena is keen to discover but whilst her beloved Raphael is busy playing politics she has an agenda of her own, find out if there's a connection to her family or if the odd looks she keeps getting are just coincidence!
Oh boy this author sure does like keeping her readers guessing although I will admit I did kind of guess where this storyline might go. Also I was a little perplexed by the seemingly missing Archangel and just what her plans might be. No spoilers but this book went in a direction I hadn't initially expected. Am I disappointed? Well there's less action than I'd hoped for and I missed catching up with a certain group who have awakened . What this is though is a continuation of the rock solid relationship between Elena and Raphael, although it's distinctly lacking in salacious content here but their emotional bond truly felt soul deep. Prepare to be surprised by certain Archangels and watch our favourite hunter do what she does best!
This is a voluntary review for an arc copy from Netgalley and is my honest opinion
Profile Image for Choko.
1,200 reviews2,584 followers
November 18, 2016
*** 4.65 ***

Another UF Wednesday on the hunt with my Guild Hunters @ BB&B!!!

Book seven was really good, book eight was adorable, but book nine, this book, was freaking awesome!!!

I know, I know, I am of the contingency who prefer the books with Raphael and Elena as the main players, and every time I end up thinking that there couldn't possibly be much more we can learn about them, since they are happily hooked up and satisfied, but every time Nalini proves me wrong. And I am very happy to be proven wrong, because Ms. Singh has created one of the best long term relationships, developing Infront of our eyes, with all of the difficulties, hopes, insecurities, and the deep end lasting love, by the strength of which they overcome every obstical and emerge even stronger and more in love on the other side...

The way Nalini burrows into our hearts is by her extraordinary ability to see the small details and to present them to us in such a way that not only are they not annoying and bothersome, but become building blocks of the richly colorful world, making the purely fantastical characters into real, multidimensional beings, which deal with impossible situations in a very human, everyday way.

I can't overlook how a small thing like Elena and her learning and long term progress of how to fly, have made her becoming an Angel into something magical, but at the same time very relatable. I mean, who learns to drive a car in the moment they acquire an automobile? Just because you get to have wings, does not make you an expert in flying with them. I just read a popular YA book where the main character wished to get the ability to fly and then started ruling the skies, no effort or thinking involved.... It was so awesome, but also so absurd, that it lost its magical punch... We didn't get to really appreciate it, because it was too easy, too coincidental and too much of a prop for circumventing a transport issue for the character. She didn't have to fight for it, learn it, pay for it in sweat, blood and tears, and thus we didn't respect her more for it, but thought, yea, just another Fantasy trope... However, we are already about 4 years since Elena became an Angel and she is still learning how to fly, getting her wings and body in shape, realizing that it will take her years more to even get close to the flying abilities of her lover and friends.

This is just a small example of how much thought and planning Nalini puts in her world building, how she makes those unearthly creatures so relatable and beloved by us, the devoted readers of her series.

Another book, another facet of the Angelic community is presented to us. These are a group of monastic Angels, a boys only club, who are independent of The Cadre and are not regulated by the Archangels. They seek enlightenment and are responsible for providing a neutral ground for the Cadre to meet in cases of an Archangel missing or going to sleep. These dudes gave me the creeps straight up and it was interesting to discover what their deal was, thanks to Elena and Raphael, of course:-)

You guys have to check this book and this series out.!!!! It is a mostly PNR, but the world and its inhabitants make a pretty good case for UF as well. I would strongly recommend it to the fans of either genre - you will not be disappointed!!!

I wish you all Happy Reading and may you only pick up good books and fun reads!!!
Profile Image for Tanja ~ KT Book Reviews .
1,394 reviews184 followers
October 27, 2016
This is one of the most loving looks into Raphael and Elena’s relationship the series has had in a while. Don’t get me wrong; the mystery, ongoing intrigue, and “political maneuvering” is still strong in the world of Archangels, but the foundation of these two is stronger, sexier, and steadier than it ever has been. It’s a mature coupling that continues to grow and thrive among the crazy narcissistic group that makes up the Cadre.

Having been called to the Luminate compound, Elan will uncover an unthinkable reality hidden away by sheer arrogance. No one would suspect that they would dare to be undermined, but alas, the phrase “pride goeth before fall” comes to mind. I was shocked and saddened to see what something that’s supposed to be an enlightened and spiritual place is capable of. It’s a very real read in the fantasy world that, in all honesty, could be ripped from a modern times headline.

Having said that, it is also a fantastic example of never giving up hope and finding peace. Honestly, it’s been one of my favorite reads of the series.

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Profile Image for Blacky *Romance Addict*.
465 reviews6,258 followers
November 2, 2016

This book is a whole lot of talking and conversations and more talking about stuff that aren't even important in the grand scheme of the series. It was interesting, don't get me wrong but absolutely unimportant. The end of the last chapter made me want to give it one star. I just KNEW it would finish like that and it pissed me off.
Raphael and Elena have had a lot of books already, so really, if there is going to be another one, it better have something IMPORTANT in it. If not, then please, I'd rather read about the other characters who have been waiting for their books for like forever!

Profile Image for Treece.
521 reviews139 followers
October 6, 2018
Rating: 5 1/2 stars

Though at times this novel had some filler-ish moments, it did NOT disappoint Amazing plot twists, creative characterization, and exquisite research. I cannot wait until the next book featuring Elena and Raphael. This kicked butt.

I'm sorry it ended.

Another astonishing and superb novel by one of my all-time favorite authors.
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews201 followers
November 17, 2016

16/11/2016 Buddy read with fantastic Wednesday UF group over at BB&B. I can’t believe how quick this series’ buddy read has gone, and what a wonderful ride it has been.

“Secrets have a way of rotting foundations when those foundations are meant to be built on truth and honor.”

I was very surprised when I started reading to see that two years had passed in the time between this book and the previous one. It seems things have been very quiet with Lijuan having disappeared, no one knowing whether she’s dead or had just gone to Sleep, and even the cascade has been quiet.

But when Elena, Raphael and Aodhan has to go to the Luminata, an ancient and mysterious order in Morroco, with the rest of the Cadre to decide the fate of Lijuan’s territory which has fallen into chaos because of vampire bloodlust, things get very interesting.

He was hers. She was his.
And together, they were something far better than either one of them was alone.

Elena is still the kick-ass Guild Hunter I fell in love with in the first book, still as feisty, loyal and mortal-hearted as she was in the beginning. And even though she has gained some strength, she is still a baby compared to the other angels, which means she is still training and learning whenever she can. It’s wonderful seeing how much she has grown in her Consort duties, how diplomatic she can be, but she always stays true to her warrior side.

“No one will take my Elena from me. I’ll destroy the world before I allow that to happen.”

Raphael was fantastic as always. He’s still the arrogant and ruthless archangel that I adore, but I love how much his love for Elena has changed him. It was wonderful to see how much he smiles, laughs and teases now, and how playful he is with Elena. And he’s just as possessive and protective over her as always ;-)

“The idea of eternity without you is my personal vision of hell.”
“Raphael.” Eyes silver in the night, Elena touched her fingers to his jaw. “This is my heaven. You are my heaven.”
And she was his.

The romance was just as amazing as I’ve come to expect from this series and from this author. I love that their passion for each other it still so intense, and it’s wonderful to see how strong their relationship has grown, how secure they are in their love for each other. Their love truly is a beautiful thing, so romantic and swoon-worthy.

There was definitely a change of pace between this book and the previous three, and in my opinion, a much needed one. I had so many questions about Elena’s ancestry on her mother’s side, and finally we got the answers. I can’t go into much detail without giving anything away, but I was so happy with how things ended up for Elena in this book.

“I will not lose my way, sire.” Pausing for a heartbeat, he added, “I want to live in a way I did not live for two hundred years. I kept myself in a cage and that is a truth I must accept and get over.”

I loved that Aodhan had such a prominent part in this book. Sparkle has been a favorite of mine, and it was wonderful to see how much he has started to heal, how Elena and Raphael could touch him without him flinching away like in the past. And we got some insight into just how broken he was after being missing for two years. I can’t wait to find out more, to learn who was responsible for his torture.

It was fantastic spending so much time with the other archangels, and I loved seeing Elijah and Hannah together, they are adorable, and Alexander and Titus are definitely favorites of mine. I really hope that eventually they will get their own books too. And we finally got to meet Alexander’s grandson, Xander, who is so cute!! Also some new characters were introduced, Laric and Ibrahim, both very interesting and wonderful, and I hope to see a lot more of them. And Caliane was awesome in this book, so damn powerful and scary! I love that she and Elena get along so much better. I also loved all the little updates we got along the way about all the other couples, how happy they all are.

This series just continues in strength and awesomeness. Nalini Singh is a master at writing captivating world-building and I loved all the intrigue and mystery in this book. And of course I loved spending time with all my favorite characters. I can’t believe I have to wait another year for the next book!! The anticipation might just kill me . Please write very fast, Ms. Singh… pretty please. This series is a definite must read for all fans of this series, and for all UF and PNR lovers.

Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,607 reviews1,481 followers
November 28, 2016
Buddy read with my UF crew at Buddies Books & Baubles

I was a little disappointed when I learned that this book would again center on Raphael and Elena. Those have actually been my least favorite books in the series. But half way through this one I didn’t care it was centered on Raphael and Elena. There are a few reasons for this.

1 – There was a secret society of morally ambiguous monks. Are the good…are they bad…I wasn’t sure. Well until I was.


2 – Elena and Raphael finally seemed more like a unit. They didn’t have power struggles and silly misunderstandings because Raphael is like super old (really anything over 1000 is just ancient to me) and Elena is around thirtyish. Finally they seem to have found a better equilibrium in their relationship and it shows.
“I accepted being a damn damsel in distress for you. You can be the hunky archangel in distress for once.”
3 – Some backstory on Elena’s mortal family. Specifically her Grandmother and where some of that Vampire DNA she has might have come from. I like details like this and even though the backstory got pretty emotional I did like how it worked out.

4 – We get some solid time with Adolin. I like him and it is clear that eventually he will get his own book with a love interest. NS seems to be leaning towards Illium as that possible candidate which is an idea I know a lot of people love. I’m on board another ship currently But no matter what I’m sure NS will tell that story well.
“When he is not broken, Raphael said, he is a shooting star caught midfall.”

5 – The Cardre. No matter what they are actually kind of interesting. So many people so in charge of their own territories is supremely different ways and so when they come together to decide anything it is complicated with a bunch of posturing. Sometimes it is a little much but overall it is entertaining. Plus I NEED to know what is up with Michaela and if she did have a kid or what is really happening with her.

Overall most of the story was engaging and entertaining. There isn’t a ton of movement on the Cascade front other than Raphael and maybe even Elena are showing some interesting manifestation of their power. But since her creepiness has been MIA for about two years now there hasn’t been another really big power surge. It did stall a little for me as I waited for something to happen once they got to the monastery but overall it is a quick read.

I do hope the next story follows another couple around. Possibly Venom and Sorrow as I really want to see what that looks like. Or maybe even someone in The Legion since that would throw a little wrench in their hive mind. But we shall see what the next book brings.
Profile Image for Douglas Meeks.
863 reviews232 followers
October 25, 2016
I read a lot of fantasy/paranormal romance, much of what is classified as urban fantasy really is romance in many cases but I can count on my fingers(with a couple left over) the number of writers that can really pull off a true emotional, gut-felt and truly believable “I can’t live without you” romance. Nalini Singh is one of those very few and this book pulls you right into that “love to last the ages” feeling while trying to figure out a sinister plot that has you guessing a good bit.

We start with a summons to a meeting by a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata who call the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of Lijuan’s territory since it appears she is no longer in charge of her lands (her actual status is saved until the last page).

It soon becomes apparent that this is a dual plot since the above plot gets shunted aside until later in the book because of some very sinister things going on at the fortress of the Luminata.

This is a great set of plots and the romance is worked into the story beautifully as well as finally some answers to a few questions that have been hanging around this series for a long time plus it looks like we may add a few secondary characters to the series.

This book does reveal something that has not been shown a lot in this series, which is that none of the Cadre are really 1 dimensional characters, we get a bit of time with all of them in this book.

Bottom Line: 5 Stars, maybe I am just addicted to the writing of Nalini Singh because there is really nothing to even mention that was negative, The story was riveting, the emotion was heartfelt, the only thing I can ever complain about is this book could have been 200 pages longer and I still would have wanted more, there is so much fertile ground for future stories. 5 Stars for one of the paranormal genre’s premier writers once again giving us an exceptional story that you will remember long after the last page.
Profile Image for Annie .
2,438 reviews812 followers
November 1, 2016

Nalini Singh has returned to Raphael and Elena in the ninth book of the Guild Hunter series. In this Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance hybrid, readers are once again submerged into a world where war is brewing. It seems like the archangels are gearing up for something big and doom seems like it’s only a few days away.

A lot of this book is about Elena and her past. We get a whole lot of backstory, especially concerning her mother. I liked this insight into Elena’s character as I think it further develops her. But there’s also quite a bit of time spent deepening the romance between her and Raphael. Quite a lot of the pages, especially in the beginning, is just Elena and Raphael telling/showing each other how much they love each other. That’s nice. I mean, I’m all for the romance but I was also hoping for more. While I love Elena and Raphael, I was looking forward to really progressing more into the politics of the world and maybe even learning more about some of the other characters.

I felt like we were stalled a lot in this book. Pages and pages were filled about the past whereas I was ready to move on. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book quite a lot. I am just ready to have other characters get their stories told, namely an angel who I’ve been obsessed with since the beginning. I don’t know if I would be happy with another Raphael and Elena book if Singh were to do one. Especially after this book, I feel like we’ve covered everything there is to cover about them. I want new characters and new stories instead of filler to extend the series.

Nevertheless, some interesting advancements were made in this book. I just hope we have new narrators who will be able to continue the story.
Profile Image for layla is a picky reader.
289 reviews152 followers
November 1, 2016
Rating: 4/5 ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (simply because of Illium/Aodhan +

LOTS OF SPOILERS AHEAD + snarky comments!

Overall reaction


It was a good book, very political. Felt sort of filler-like since the main action happened at the Luminata compound, where Elena & co. were determined to find the source of creepiness. The Cadre was in attendance - which meant lots of mind games and snappy replies - and it was fun to see how everyone was reacting to the Cascade and Lijuan's Plan of Doom. Their arrival there puts in motion a chain of events that unearths a terrible secret, one very important to Elena's history.

Now, let's talk about some very important things like


Illium's voice broke. "Aodhan was worried about me. He was shattered, his body and soul wounded to the breaking point, and he was worried about me. That's what brought him back to us, his worry about me. [...]"

They are killing me, truly. And have been ever since Archangel's Legion . I cannot say enough how much I love their relationship and development. I am firmly convinced that our Sparkle and Bluebell are soulmates , basically meant-to-be. I am in awe every time they are on page and I read how heartbreakingly careful is Illium with Aodhan or how much Aodhan tries to get better for Illium. They are everything to each other and every other bond they have with someone else/could have with someone else simply pales in comparison to what they have between them.


Sure, they have been best friends for over 500 years and one could argue that it is simply a bond of brotherhood and not one of romance but! I think it was Aodhan's kidnapping that triggered the change in their relationship. In Illium's own words from Archangel's Enigma

"The twenty-three months Aodhan had been missing had been the most horrific period of Illium's life...worse than when he'd lost his mortal lover. He'd survived losing her. He didn't know if he could survive losing Aodhan. Never before had he seen that truth so clearly and it shook him."

it is obvious that there has been a fundamental change in the status of their relationship. Adding this to the fact that Aodhan came back from the brink of madness for Illium and that only Illium has skin privileges with Aodhan ( "Only Illium had the freedom to touch Aodhan as he wished..." & "[...] he could break through his trauma to make contact. Only with Illium was that barrier nonexistent." ) I'd say it is pretty much l-u-d-i-c-r-o-u-s to even entertain the idea that a random irrelevant female character could substitute or even come close to what they are to each other, just to satisfy heteronormative standards.


♦♦♦ Also, a few fun facts

✔ I would like to point out the fact that if either one of them were a woman with their dynamic unchanged, they would've been together a long, loong, looong time ago and people would have been demanding their babies. Ya know it, don't lie ;)

✔ Quality over quantity, always. Why have two books featuring equally bland Singh heroines? Nowadays, the lack of diversity in her female characters is staggering. One right book could make miracles, though.

✔ At this point, not following through with Illium/Aodhan's potential love story will just be seen as queer baiting. Which is ... classless. And wrong.

✔ Yes, I am well aware that Nalini said she wouldn't write an m/m romance in a m/f series. But, ya know, she also said Kaleb wasn't The Ghost (repeatedly) and look how that turned up ;)



"The idea of eternity without you is my personal version of hell."
"Raphael." Eyes silver in the night, Elena touched her fingers to his jaw. "This is my heaven. You are my heaven." And she was his.

*insert happy sigh*

Our favourite pair is still going strong. Their love for one another is growing with each passing book and Elena is settling even more in her role of Consort. She was just as badass as before and I loved her snarky moments. She finds out more about her ancestry and she has a wonderful surprise when she uncovers Lumia's most horrible secret. Her scenes with her grandparents, Majda and Jean Baptiste, were so emotional and heart melting, I loved them all <3


I am very curious as to what happens next with our beloved characters and what will happen to Lijuan --> her story is very much not over
Profile Image for Tori.
2,814 reviews477 followers
October 31, 2016
4.5 Stars

Originally posted at Heroes and Heartbreakers-http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com...

Two years after the events in Archangel’s Enigma (book eight), Nalini Singh takes us back to Manhattan and the main protagonists of this tempestuous world-the archangel Raphael and his now angelic consort Elena. Singh has always hinted that we have only scratched the surface of Elena’s complicated family. In here, Singh exhumes Elena’s past, giving readers an intimate look into her mother’s history and fleshes out the secrets that have always linked Elena to the angels and eventually leads her to her powerful and deliciously dominant mate-Raphael.

“No one will take my Elena from me. I’ll destroy the world before I allow that to happen”

Raphael has those under his command and protection on a soft lockdown as the Cascade and Zhou Lijuin both remain unpredictable. The Cascade seems to be set on pause and no one has seen or even heard from Lijuin since the last epic battle. The assumption is she is not dead but has slipped into the deep sleep that often claims those archangels of immense age and immortality. Standing on the edge of the abyss, waiting for the other shoe to drop has everyone on edge. Especially Elena. When a missive comes from a secretive group calling for a meeting of the Cadre, Raphael sees it as a chance to introduce Elena to a rarely seen part of his world. The meeting is to take place in Morocco, the birthplace of Elena’s mother. Elena decides to use this time to gather more information about her ancestry while Raphael deals with the group.

“This group that has the power to force the Cadre to meet, what's it called?”

“The members call themselves the Luminata.”

The Luminata is a cloistered order of male angels who have chosen to withdraw from all the temptations of the world in order to seek and further their enlightenment. Self-governed, the Luminata severs all ties to the world, choosing to be a nonbiased entity in the world. Because of their neutrality, the Luminata is tasked with calling the Cadre when an archangel has not seen for a certain number of years. This helps to stop the vacuum that occurs when a territory is left unattended. Though it’s only been two years since Lijuin went missing, a drop in time in an immortal’s life span, her territory is now being overrun by vampires caught in the bloodlust. Something that affects Elena on the deepest of levels.

“I see memories in your eyes, Elena.”

“They’re a part of me.”

Once again Singh rips open her world and creates her own cascade in such an easy, offhand manner that only reiterates her skill as a true and talented storyteller. From the very beginning, Singh has created an exceptional fantasy that screamed, ‘this is only the beginning.’ She ushered us into a world filled with dangerously complicated supernaturals whose violent-tinged actions are a result of their nature with no apologies offered. The smooth steady pacing, richly developed plot lines, and sublime narrative continues to offer readers a never ending adventure. Alternating the novels between various couples helps to keep the arc fresh and invigorating. We don't grow bored or complacent because Singh doesn’t allow us to. Each novel brings something new to the table.

Expanding on the complex and dictatorial world of her angels, Singh brings various matters to the forefront for our consideration. From the wisdom of immortal rulers to the obvious lack of accountability; the main question being asked in does absolute power corrupt absolutely? And when it does, who will step forward and demand justice?

Allies and enemies are plentiful as Raphael and Elena are drawn deeper into the darkness that surrounds the Lumia; a darkness that has Elena in it’s sights. Though some may be concerned to find the main focus is firmly on Elena and her journey, rather than on the arc, many will find the side path Singh takes informative as she uses it to address past characters and storylines. Aodhan holds a larger more centralized role, giving insight into his past and his future.

“When he is not broken, he is a shooting star caught in mid fall.”

Singh effortlessly blends the romance with the main storyline, using it to give Elena a tether of support in Raphael. While the love between Raphael and Elena remains as passionate and animated as always, there is a sense of peace surrounding them that wasn’t in existence before. The strength of their bond only continues to grow since they first fell together. Deliciously besotted with one another, the chemistry they share scorches the pages. Though we don't get many physical scenes, their dialogue is rich in emotion and intent, with bits of humor inserted to further solidify this couple has reached a state of complete unity.

“Remember when I was terrified of you?”

“You were never terrified of me.”

“Hah! Are you kidding? I was scared out of my skin-but I still thought you were hot. I’m obviously a little deranged.”

Tense action wrapped in a cloak of intrigue and suspense takes us in hand and leads us towards the finale; wrapping up the main conflict in a firestorm of vengeance and justice while giving us a brief update on the arc. Elena is gifted with the knowledge she has been searching for while Aodhan gains some much needed peace. Bits of the arc threads are picked up towards the end, giving readers hints towards the future.

Archangel’s Heart is an entertaining and engrossing story that takes us back into the past and shows us what a warrior angel is capable of when the ones she loves are threatened. I look forward to my our next visit with these dynamic characters and the fascinating world they live in.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
421 reviews466 followers
November 17, 2016
4.5 Stars

Archangel’s Heart takes us back to Elena & Raphael as a meeting of the Cadre is called by the only group with the power to do so – the Luminata. They are concerned that Lijuan has disappeared and that China is now left unprotected. Bloodlust incidents are on the rise as the vampires sense the lack of oversight and if a new archangel does not take over the reins soon a full-scale pandemic may break out resulting in a huge loss of life. The meeting is to take place at the Luminata residence in Morocco, a stone throw away from where Elena’s ancestors might have lived and so she is looking forward to see if she can uncover any information on her family ties in the region. The happy and peaceful town she was expecting is not what she finds though. The fear she encounters is palpable. There clearly is something very wrong with the perfect serenity of the Luminata and the place they call home. Elena starts to investigate and finds that there are many hidden secrets and horrible truths that await in this place of self-discovery if she only digs a little, but there are those who will do anything to hide these secrets. Including the secret of her family.

At this stage of the series I have come to expect every Guildhunter book to be very good or great. Nalini Singh seems to have hit her stride in these latter stages and Archangel’s Heart follows the trend. This book is a slightly different beast to the last few though, in that it focuses on Elena & Raphael, with more of Elena’s hidden ties revealed to her by the close. There is of course the overarching plot of the Cascade and Lijuan that has its page time and also more on Aodhan & Illium, but the meat is Elena’s familial history mystery and the evolution of her & Raphael’s relationship. They have come a long way since book one and while I was not a fan of Raphael early on, I really like the guy now. Elena has transformed him and Nalini is doing an excellent job of showcasing the changes as the series progresses.

Don’t let the focus of the story fool you though – the author pulls off exciting and engaging plot lines in her sleep and makes everything work together seamlessly. I enjoyed the story immensely, the mystery compelling and making for an easy read. Sadly, this is the last published book in this series for now, but hopefully not for long. I am looking forward to and will definitely read the next one when it arrives.
Profile Image for Lana *Lifeinwordsandlyricscom*.
557 reviews123 followers
June 5, 2017

She did it again! Oh yes, she did. Nalini Singh is a freak of nature with how good she is. Seriously. I can't even...

This time around it's about a secret society of angels, who call themselves Illuminati Luminata. They wear robes, live outside of anyone's jurisdiction, and seek "luminescence" by hording world's most precious art and doing silent reflection and stuff. Hmmm, they're a good secret society, right? Is there such a thing? Anyway these guys requested a Cadre meeting at their place because Lijuan is missing and with bloodlust taking roots, archangels need to decide what to do about her territory and stuff.

Conviniently, Luminata is located in Morocco so Elena could dig around about her possible family connections and figure out where she came from. All interesting stuff, and of course there is Cascade in full progress, and with all of the Cadre in one place it's meant to be quite a trip.

But enough about the awesomness that is this book. Let's talk about the Cascade for a minute. I have some thoughts, so bear with me. According to the archives and Caliane's recollection of past Cascades, it's supposed to be this massive event that influences archangel power and is so unpredictable that it could bring the world down. Right? Now what we've seen so far, if you really think about it, is a power surge in the Cadre to give them more power in ways that is unique to their character and personality. It also seems Cascade has at least some kind of awereness, emerging at the times of great change. First, it started happening right about the time Lijuan has grown into her power, terrifying as that is. It sort of balanced out the scales in a sense that it boosted other's powers and gave Raphael the ability to counter her powers. Second, there was the thing with Illium's power going haywire in the previous book. We then find out the same happened in the previous Cascade to an angel who had a blood vow with his sire. Meaning that this power overload was meant to be transfered to the archangel tied to overloaded angel. Rigth? Again, seems like Cascade was consiously trying to give some kind of tool to intended archangel. This time it was Raphael, cause he's a great and amazing archangel and we all love him. This time around, Cascade effectively locked the Cadre inside the Luminata until they sorted out the problem that infected it. Of course there are other things involving Cascade that seem to be working with this theory that it is really some kind of benevolent force. All destruction it brought is just because all the power it contains. Something big is definitely coming and Cascade is just preparing us for it in my opinion. Phew. Let me know what you thought about my crazy ramblings.

Over and out
34 reviews3 followers
February 18, 2016
Yay! Super excited that we are back to Raphael and Elena! I realllllllly am dreading the Bluebell and Sparkle book that is surely coming... I'm all for equal rights and don't consider myself a homophobe but it still isn't a book that I want to read... Its just not my kink. So I am going to be unbelievably sad when two characters whose books I was really looking forward to is ruined for me. :(
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