Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Three things you probably know about me by now: 1) I am incapable of keeping things to myself when I'm excited. 2) I am an avid Nalini Singh fangirl. 3) I have PTSD.
Something you may not know, I prefer Nalini's Psy/Changeling series. It's Rafael, man. All the Archangels. They are scary-ass beings and I don't want to be in their vicinity, let alone in their heads. The idea of living in a world where the planet's well-being is in the hands of these Archangels is terrifying. If these books weren't written by Nalini, there is no way I'd still be reading the Guild Hunter books.
Up until this point, my favorite story in this series was Jessamy's and Galen's. Probably because Galen wasn't about to go out and slaughter anyone by tearing their wings off, and Jessamy was a born nurturer. However, Jason just shot to the top of my favorite Nalini Singh characters list.
The best analogy I can come up for PTSD is that it's like your soul is a bone and the traumatic event shatters that bone. Sometimes it shatters into so many pieces, it never heals right. Sometimes your soul just fractures and given enough time, it mends. However, like a healed broken tibia in a skeleton, years later, the bone continues to show evidence of the break. That's what PTSD does to your soul. You can learn how to manage the fear, to break free from the darkness, quiet the screams, get yourself to a place where you can live again, but your soul still bears the scars.
"Yet she also knew that the man in front of her was not that boy, had not been that boy for hundreds of years. She couldn't wipe away his pain and tell him that everything would be all right.
"Jason had learned too well that sometimes, nothing could fix what was broken."
I had to stop reading for a bit after that last sentence. I stared up at the ceiling for a while before I began again.
Jason isn't 'fixed' in this book. There's no miraculous cure, no 'love conquers all.' However, just because a person is traumatized doesn't mean all emotions are shut off. Being broken does not necessarily equate being unable to love, it just means it takes an extraordinary person willing to accept the kind of love you have to give.
Mahiya, his heroine, knows what it's like to be caged, to be a prisoner. She understands that while he may be flying free through the skies, the fractures in his soul means the cage flies with him. She has faith, though, in Jason and she understands him so well, she hears what he cannot say.
Nalini has written other wounded heroes before (Judd and Dorian spring to mind), but her skill is such that she makes them damaged in different ways and therefore, their healing processes happens differently as well. Judd finds his center, Dorian finds acceptance, and Jason, well, you'll find out.
This world is still scary as hell, with violence and gore, and there's a truly creepy moment involving Lijuan. Nalini ratchets up the tension and increases the likelihood of incredibly bad things happening. Truth be told, I'm not really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, but I'm going to read it anyway. Like Emily Dickson wrote,
"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,"
That's what Jason now represents to me and even if he ends up relegated to glimpses in the background, I'll wade through the blood to see him.