Book Critique – Archangel's War (Guild Hunter #12)

For review of all books in the Guild Hunter series: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5

Recommendation: Definitely a pick if you like fantasy fiction that is set in a world of vampires, archangels, angels, super humans and humans.

Archangel's War is the twelfth book in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh released in September of 2019. The story-line of the series continues with Raphael - Archangel ruling North America - and his consort, Elieanora "Elena" Parker Deveraux. The plot is set a year after the events in the previous book Archangel's Prophecy. 

The stories in this series are set in a world where it is ruled by Archangels with Vampires, Angels and Humans with extra-ordinary powers aka GuildHunters as their team serving them. One of the powerful Archangels is Archangel Raphael who rules North America from The Tower in Manhattan, New York along-side his consort – Elieanora "Elena" Deveraux and his Seven. There are nine other Archangels who rule the different regions of the world. They are immortals who have lived thousands and thousands of centuries and rule the world filled with Angels, Vampires, Guild Hunters and Humans. The plots in the series primarily revolve around Archangel Raphael, his consort Elena and his Seven.

Raphael and Elena go into a sleep at the end of the book, a sleep of archangels to fully grow; a sleep that needed a century of time; while both Raphael and Elena's Guards have been fighting off challenges thrown by other Archangels and Vampires alike to take over the region they ruled. However, something woke them both early, before either of them were fully formed. Now they are facing a world that the Cascade want to change, while the Cadre tries to keep the world in a semblance in absence of one of their own. And the prophecies of the sleeping ancient keep on coming while both Raphael and Elena try to figure out their new "selfs".

A war had been brewing from the very first book in this series, Angel's Blood, first published 11 years ago, between the Archangel of Death and the rest of the Cadre while the Cascade adding it's twists and turns. Finally Nalini brings the battle out in front and what a battle it ends up being. 

Yet in all it, Nalini gives partnership and romance for Raphael and Elena; new births for their friends; good consequences out of the Cascade; heartbreaks that were meant to happen; and above all strengthening the bonds between mortals and immortals further more. Of course, there is the negative side of the Cascade shown too; the casualties of the war; the broken relationships and betrayals.

All of the characters that Nalini Singh spins in her tales in her several series are lovable and unique. However there are a few that always get closer to the reader's heart than most, and sometimes those are not necessarily the lead characters too. Similarly, for me, in this series, apart from Ilium and Aodhan, Ashwini and Janvier take up special place. Even though we have seen two stories penned around this couple, I always love to read about them always just like how she incorporated them in here.

Considering she has 5 series going on, there is bound to have some of the names for her characters repeated. I only started observing it recently. I guess one can only create so many names. :)

Although we deal with immortals, Nalini shows them doing things that mortals enjoy and integrate them in the plot - a welcome party at the Guild Headquarters for Elena; a family gathering at Caliane's home in Amanat. Those celebrations or gatherings usually give happy tears to me whenever I read about them. However, she wrenched my heart out, when Nalini gave us the fate of one particular character. Oh boy, I wish she had a different ending there. But war has a way of having casualties and that is exactly what she has given us. 

Although this book was published a good 5 months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, the plot is so similar to what we are seeing in the real world. Lijuan, the protagonist, rules China as the Archangel and she is the one that starts with a virus and insects that spread disease to mortal and immortals alike. The infected people are sent cross-borders to all the countries and continents via various modes of transportation. She has help from someone closer than one can imagine in causing this total destruction, to poison the world to win a war. Does it remind anyone of anything we are seeing in news recently? It is so surreal and so scary that written words are coming true. **Shudders**

I should have realized before when The Legion first appeared in the 6th book Archangel's Legion published in 2013. The Legion are 777 of them, who are ancient beyond imagination. Seems to be that the number 777 is an angel number and usually brings message from your angels that you are on the right path. Nalini picking that number for The Legion says it all. 

The battle scenes are impressive and well executed by Nalini. Battles and Wars are always difficult. And Nalini packs a punch when she shows the casualties for both sides, proving once again that war does not benefit anyone.

Nalini has smartly weaved into scenes from the previous books and connecting them with this plot giving it a feel that one is living the lives of these character, like following each day of their lives. Connecting them that way added a smooth flow through and through the series.

With the war finally culminating in this book, the plot only further intensifies with Angels, Archangels, Vampires and Guild Hunters facing threats at every turn, unraveling prophecies and writing their own destinies. The book would have form a sort of closure to the series, if she hadnt left so many open-ended sub-plots. And of course we are still yet to see stories of Aodhan and Illium; also one need to see the consequences of such an epic battled addressed too. I do hope she has Ilium's story next. 

Another thrilling adventure in the world of Archangels, Angels, Vampires, Guild Hunters and Humans that keeps you gripping till the end. Can't wait to pick the next book soon. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot reveals:

a. Charisemnon, Archangel of North Africa aka Archangel of Disease betrays the Cadre and joins hands with Archangel Lijuan. Archangel Titus kills him in this battle.

b. Lijuan, former Archangel of China aka Archangel of Death finally gets a closure in this book. 

c. The Legion sacrifice themselves to give power to Raphael and Elena in the war. However at the end Nalini leaves a subtext that might mean that they are back. Will have to wait for the next book to know more.

d. Elijah, Caliane and Neha though gravely injured, go into anshara state to heal and recover. 

e. Astaad, Zanaya and Michaela suffered near-mortal injuries. Although they are in deep sleep, it is unknown if they will rise again. Cassandra takes Astaad and Michaela while Alexander takes Zanaya to find a safe place to Sleep.

f. Aegaeon takes over Michaela's region until she wakes; Qin takes over Astaad's region until he wakes; Suyin, Lijuan's niece ascends to Archangel at the end and becomes the Archangel of China.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Archangels that form the ruling Cadre (other than Raphael):

i. Lady Caliane - An Ancient; Raphael's mother and now Archangel of Amanat

ii. Alexander - an Ancient and now Archangel of Persia.

iii. Elijah - Archangel of South America; Mate of Hannah

iv. Michaela - Archangel of Budapest; Gives birth to a son, Gavriel, in this plot; yet not known who the father was although the name of the son is in his honor; leaves her son to Keir to be fostered while she heals from the battle.

v. Neha - Archangel of India

vi. Titus - Archangel of South Africa

vii. Astaad - Archangel of Pacific Isles; Mate of Mele

b. Raphael's Seven:

i. Dmitri - Raphael's second-in-command; Vampire; married to Honor St. Nicholas, GuildHunter turned Vampire, in Archangel's Blade.

ii. Galen - Angel; Weapons master and technician; mated to Jessamy, Scholar and Teacher, in Angels' Dance.

iii. Jason - Angel; Spymaster; mated Mahiya Geet, Neha's niece, in Archangel's Storm.

iv. Naasir - Chimera / Vampire; ability to shift shapes; mated to Andromeda, Scholar at The Refuge, in Archangel's Enigma.

v. Venom - Vampire; youngest of the Seven; mated to Holly Chang, not fully a Vampire nor a full Human, in Archangel's Viper.

vi. Illium - Angel; aka Bluebell; heart of the Seven and best friend of Aodhan; future archangel; loses his wings in the battle and is healing while new ones come.

vii. Aodhan - Angel; an artist; could become Illium's second-in-command if he becomes archangel; goes to China with Suyin as her temporary Second.

c. Elena’s Guard: We get the first glimpse of a major portion of Elena’s Guard in Archangel's Heart.

i. Izak “Izzy”, a young angel

ii. Janvier, a 245 year old free-vampire, and Ashwini Taj, Guild Hunter born turned Vampire; mated to each other in Archangel's Shadow.

iii. Vivek Kapur – paralyzed GuildHunter born turned Vampire by Aodhan giving mobility in his arms and shoulders; Computer genius.

iv. Sameon "Sam" - a very young angel.

d. Other Ancients, Archangels and Angels:

i. Healers of the angels - Keir; Nisia; Lucius; Laric; 

ii. Favashi - former Archangel of China goes back to Sleep to heal from injuries she endured in the two battles she was in in this book and the previous one.

iii. Others - Sharine "Hummingbird", Illium's mother; Tasha, Caliane's second; Suyin, niece of Lijuan, a legendary architect; Rhys, Neha's senior general, mated to Brigitte the cryptogapher; Andreas, senior angel with Raphael; Nivriti, twin of Neha and mother of Mahiya; Miuxu; Adreja; Jurgen; Imani; Andreja; Maeve, the architect; Tzadiq, Titu's second and Galen's father; Ahayl; 

iv. Ancients rising:

1) Cassandra - Awakens in this plot and aids in battle; can foresee future and gives prophecies; She goes back to Sleep at the end.

2) Aegaeon - wakes up in Astaad's territory; Ilium's father and mate to Hummingbird.

3) Antonicus - wakes up in Raphael's territory; he dies soon after trying to infiltrate Lijuan's black territory. Or is he? Will he rise back?

4) Zanaya - wakes up in Alexander's territory; were lovers before Zanaya went to sleep; gravely injured in the battle

5) Qin - one who give sea auroras; mate of Cassandra

e. GuildHunters that are prominent:

i. Sara Haziz - United States Guild Director; Best friend of Elena; married to Deacon, weapons maker in Angel's Judgment; have a child Zoe Elena.

ii. Ransom Winterwolf - hunter born; married to Nyree; they have a boy in this plot, Hudson Viktor Winterwolf.

iii. Others - Hilda; Rose, demolition expert; Kenji; Demarco

f. Vampires seen in the series:

i. Marcia Blue - Elena's business partner - and Jonas, another vampire – Elena’s financial manager - are lovers.

ii. Others - Suhani, receptionist at The Tower; Celesta, soldier for Caliane; Riva, head of the citadel in China; Riker, vampire in Michaela's court; Dougal "Mack" Mackenzie, pilot for Raphael and Elena; Xi, Lijuan's trusted general; Hiraz; Cristiano, vampire in Elijah's team; Trace; 

g. Elena & Raphael's extended families:

i. Elena's - Father Jeffrey Deveraux; Sister Elizabeth "Beth" Deveraux-Ling, married to Vampire turned Human Harrison Ling & have a daughter Marguerite “Maggie” Aribelle Deveraux-Ling; Amethyst "Amy" & Evelyn "Eve" Deveraux, step-siblings thru Jeffrey and Gwendolyn.

ii. Elena's Grandparents - Grandfather Jean-Baptiste Etienne, Vampire; Grandmother Madja, human turned Vampire.

h. Supporting characters who form the part of the plots:

i. Nimrah - Angel controlling the territory of Louisiana; mated to Noel, a Vampire, in Angel's Wolf.

ii. Montogomery, a Vampire and Raphael’s butler, is married to Sivya – Angel in charge of Raphael’s kitchen. 

iii. Primary - the Leader of The Legion, all 777 of them; part of an almost hive-mind; serves Raphael and Elena.

i. Story lines that could potential become full-fledged plots:

i. Both Illium and Aodhan have been increasing the mystery surrounding them making the readers craving their stories. Them being so closest of close friends, will Nalini spin them as brothers? Or make them something similar to Raphael and Dmitri? or make them a pair? Would be interesting, although I don’t want to read a Gay / Lesbian plot. (Please god! No!, Nalini!)

ii. Nalini left Mahiya's  story open-ended with regards to her powers and how they would enhance.

iii. In Archangel's Viper, Dmitri places Holly under Janvier and Ashwini's care to train her and make her a better “other” while powers are awakening in her.

iv. Evelyn is training to become a Guildhunter. 

v. Demarco has a girlfriend. 

vi. Andreja shows interest towards Laric, the disfigured angelic healer.


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