Review: Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh

Reviewed by Jen

I am such a fan of Nalini Singh and so many books in her Guild Hunter series really hit it out of the park for me. Though I didn’t feel like I “knew” Venom very well from the previous stories, I was really excited for his book; he’s so deliciously “other,” I just knew Singh would suck me in as this aloof enigma found love.

Eh. Yes and no. Or maybe it would be better to say… eventually.

You may remember Holly from the earlier books as a surviving victim of the Archangel Uram. He did things to her that changed her on a physical and psychological level. She is sort of vampire, but not entirely. The girl was so messed up by the experience, she started calling herself Sorrow. Thankfully, she has left that moniker behind in this book. It’s been years since her rescue and now she is working for the Tower. Venom has been on assignment as she trained and he returns just in time for a bounty to be put on her head. He is assigned as her bodyguard until they can ferret out the source of the danger. At the same time, the wrongness inside Holly is intensifying and she must face the evil Uram left inside her head-on before it turns her into something else entirely.

The book was good. Don’t get me wrong. I was interested in what was happening from the very beginning. My problem with it, however, was twofold. One: this did not feel like Venom’s book. It was very much Holly’s book. But Jen, you may say, this is a romance. It’s supposed to be about both of them. Again, yes and no. I want the heroine to have a voice, for sure, but Holly’s perspective and her struggle were the core of this book. At times, Venom almost felt like an afterthought, or at the very least, a sidekick.

That brings me to my second issue: the romance, or the overwhelming lack thereof for about 70% of the book. For the first two thirds, this read like a good urban fantasy… NOT a paranormal romance. I am not exaggerating. I remember clearly looking at the 63% mark in the Kindle book and wondering if the romance was ever going to happen. Obviously it did, but there’s slow burn and there’s s-l-o-w-b-u-r-n. Really, there wasn’t any burning at all in the first half–slow or any other speed. Holly and Venom were frenemies. Nothing else.

When the romance finally does happen, it’s lovely. I positively swooned when Venom offered his real name. But there wasn’t enough to sustain my Singh-level expectations. It gave me sadz.

We do get to spend a little time with Dimitri, who was never one of my favorite characters, but I liked him here, especially his relationship with Holly. We also get some more Ilium and more little nuggets that suggest a book for him and Aodhan may be coming soon.

Like I said, overall, a pretty good book… just not the strongest romance.

Hard to rate, but I’ll go with a B.

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Archangel’s Viper
by Nalini Singh
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Berkley

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