My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
The city of New York is struggling to recover in the aftermath of the horrific battle against Lijuan’s forces. The Archangel Raphael, his consort Elena together with the members of the Seven and the Guild are all working to keep the peace, but when the desiccated body of a young woman is found the fragile calm is in danger of imploding. Given the task of investigating the insidious crime, Guild Hunter Ashwini Taj is partnered once again with the sexy Cajun vampire, Janvier, who drives her to distraction both personally and professionally. As the two get closer to capturing a merciless killer, Ash will have to confront her deepest fears and darkest secrets or risk losing the only man she has ever loved.
While the mystery and the interactions between the familiar characters make this an enjoyable read, it is the weakest story in terms of the romance between Ash and Janvier.
Unlike the previous books in the series, which focus on the machinations of the different archangels, the focus in this installment is on the darker and seedier side of New York inhabited by those immortals with more perverse proclivities and the humans who are drawn to them due to the promise of wealth, lust and pleasure. This particular setting is quite fascinating as it provides interesting insights into the dynamics between mortals and immortals within the Guild Hunter world, and the investigation into the mummified corpse of a young woman is intense and gripping. It is impossible not to identify and sympathize with the innocent victim lured into a life of humiliation, degradation and torture.
Unfortunately, Ash and Janvier’s romance falls flat, which is disappointing as their previous interactions have been very promising. The witty banter and flirtatious skirmishes that characterized their earlier relationship are sorely missing and there is far too much melodramatic angst surrounding Ash’s family and the supposedly devastating secret that she is keeping from Janvier.
The real highlight of the story are the updates in the lives of the other members of Raphael’s Seven including Dmitri, Illium and Aodahn as well as the mysterious and enigmatic Naasir who is definitely one of the strangest characters in the series thus far. Moreover, Elena’s ongoing struggles with her transition from hunter to angel are very compelling as she must cope with the diplomatic intricacies of being Raphael’s Consort as well as a visit from her exceedingly powerful and frightening mother-in-law.
In sum, a good addition to the series for the developments in the world building and characterization, but not so much for the romance.