If this year of reviewing everything I read has taught me anything, it’s that I read a lot of books in series (which I already knew), and that reviews this deep into a series, especially if you’re trying to be spoiler free, are almost entirely useless. That being said, I picked up a paper copy of this book to read now instead of waiting for a sale because I read a review saying it was the best in the series, so maybe this review isn’t pointless. Useless or not, here it comes!
I love this cover. Beautiful, accurate to the plot, interesting colour scheme, sensual but not so embarrassing you wouldn’t read it in public—very good
Wings of silver. Wings of blue. Mortal heart. Broken dreams. Shatter. Shatter. Shatter. A sundering. A grave. I see the end. I see. . .
The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed. . .far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.
At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only a bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon it becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough. . .
This war could end them all.
I’ll try to keep this review portion short (I feel like I say that a lot, and rarely follow through), this is book twelve in a series, I assume the target audience for this book (and review) are largely fans of the series/author. If for whatever reason you’re interested in starting this series and you’re considering jumping in at Archangel’s War, please reconsider. It’s a great series, but if you don’t know the characters, politics and premise of the world, you won’t appreciate the masterful conclusion of plot threads in this novel. Saying as much as I want to here would spoil the hell out of this book, but I’m honestly really happy with the way this series is headed.
Elena and Raphael’s relationship continues to delight, they have a genuinely respectful, loving relationship, and the discussion they have about children in this book shows this brilliantly. If you’ve read a few of my reviews, I’m sure you know I’m an absolute sucker for the found family trope, and Elena’s relationship with the hunters and Raphael’s seven, as well as Raphael’s relationship with his seven and staff is a great example of this in action.
The cause of the Cascade gets explored a little in this novel, and we get tantalising hints about the Ancients and the Legion as well. The world of the Guild Hunter novels is drawn in exquisite detail, and every major player in the world has been developed over the course of the twelve novels that have led to this point. Archangel’s War, as the title may suggest, brings wholescale war to the world that had been built, and the political and supernatural tensions that have been building over the course of the series culminate spectacularly in this novel.
As a long time fan of the Nalini Singh’s work, this feels very much like the ending of the original Psy-Changeling series, and the Psy-Changeling Trinity series I believe is an even stronger body of work. I don’t know if a similar rebranding of the Guild Hunter series is in the works, but I think the ‘feel’ of this series is likely to change in a similar way, which is extremely exciting to me.
The personal relationships in this series are outstanding. The emotional intensity of a drama, with a solid grounding in genuine human behaviour and reactions. I think the reason I enjoy fantasy and science fiction so much is in part due to where the fiction comes in. I think the more outrageous and fantastical the world is in novels, the more realistic and believable the character building becomes. This lets characters come to life and experience situations in realistic ways, with enough sparkles that it’s still fun to read. I’m getting sidetracked and I wanted this review to be short, but basically—Nalini Singh writes good. Her characters seem real, even if they grow wings and shoot fire out of their hands.
Archangel’s War didn’t just conclude storylines, it also introduced a bunch of reaaaaallly exciting ones. Illium’s book is probably going to be soon, but I’ve thought that for at least three books now, so who knows. Regardless, when it comes, I know it’s going to be fantastic. One thing I should say is that a re-read of book eleven (Archangel’s Prophecy) may be in order before you move on to Archangel’s War, because as the blurb suggests, this book follows on fairly directly from book eleven, and I was fuzzy on some of the details. Skimming or re-reading Archangel’s Prophecy should be enough to ensure you follow the storyline in Archangel’s War smoothly.
This book also introduces a bunch of ‘new’ archangels, the power and personality of which should be a great way to mic things up in future books. Aodhan and the Hummingbird get some more development in this book, as do Jeffrey’s second lot of children. I don’t know which direction this series is about to take, but I’m twelve books in and it’s stronger than ever.
If you’re a fan of Nalini Singh and this series, read this book if you haven’t already! If you haven’t read the series but are considering it, I’d recommend that you start at book one (for your sake), and consider reading if you enjoy Molly Harper’s flawed, funny, found families; the sprawling world, passionate romance and deadly power from NK Jemisin’s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms series, the action and politics of Jim Butcher’s Aeronaut’s Windlass or just urban fantasy that combines romance and fantasy tropes seamlessly into a modern, enchanting world with a badass heroine and her equally badass lover and friends.