ARCHANGEL'S VIPER - Nalini Singh
Guild Hunters , Book 10
Manhattan, New York
Four years ago, Holly Chang was the only survivor of the madness that gripped the bloodborn archangel Uram. Not only was Holly forced to watch as Uram tore her friends apart and glutted himself on their blood, Uram also forced her to feed from him. Now, Holly is something that's not quite a vampire, but definitely not human either. It's been a struggle to get past the nightmare of what was done to her, and she still has flashbacks, but she's started to move forward with her life and is even working for the Tower. However, none of the healers, vampires, angels or even the archangel, Raphael, know what she's become, or if she's still a danger thanks to the madness of Uram.
Because of the toxicity of her blood, some of Holly's training has come from Venom – a vampire and one of Raphael's Seven. Made (turned vampire) by Neha, the Queen of Snakes, Venom is not just a vampire – he's something other , just like Holly. Though she's on good terms with most of the residents of the Tower, for some reason, Venom rubs her the wrong way. But then someone tries to kidnap Holly, and after she and Venom fight them off, she learns that there is a bounty out for her capture. They'll have to work together to find out who is after her, and in the process, Venom helps Holly to learn what she's truly capable of. Yet, during their investigation, they find a victim that leads them to the conclusion that Holly may not be done battling with Uram after all.
The tenth book in the Guild Hunter series, ARCHANGEL'S VIPER takes us back to the beginning in a way, as Uram's madness is what brought the hunter, Elena, to the attention of the archangel Raphael. Quite a lot has changed in the four years since Raphael defeated Uram, and all of the archangels are still learning to deal with the changes. Not long after that battle, the Cascade began – a rare event that has altered the powers of the archangels. Since Holly fed from Uram, they aren't sure if her abilities are due to the toxicity that caused Uram's madness, or if they are because of the Cascade. It's never far from her mind that if she's a threat, the Tower will kill her rather than risk another bloodbath like Uram caused. She's sparred with Venom for years, but when they start to work together, she unexpectedly finds herself drawn to the vampire. For his part, Venom is intrigued by Holly, but since their training took place from a distance, he still thinks of her as a baby vamp. Now that he's working with her, it's easier to see how she's matured and the other-ness of her calls to him, one unique individual to another.
The Manhattan ruled over by Raphael from his Tower is an intricate world, and it's probably best to have some familiarity with the series before reading this book. While the book focuses mostly on Holly and Venom, in some ways her story began in book one, and what she's going through now is directly connected to that. Fans of the series will be thrilled to finally have Venom's story, and he's met his perfect match in Holly. Along with the captivating, if unusual, romance between Venom and Holly, we also get a chance to catch up with several of the characters from previous stories, making ARCHANGEL'S VIPER a book you won't want to put down.