"Angels’ Flight," Nalini Singh

Pros: Some of Ms. Singh’s best work yet, and that’s saying a lot
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Flight is a collection of four novellas set in her unusual and fantastic Guild Hunter universe, in which the world has been ruled since time immemorial by inhuman, lethal angels and archangels, served by vampires and humans alike.


 

Angels’ Pawn: This piece is a rather light-hearted and even playful introduction to the book—at least by the standards of danger and darkness present in the Guild Hunters universe. It serves the part of reminding the reader of (or introducing her to) the setting, should that be necessary. It’s also an enjoyable tale of a particular Hunter and the vampire that she often hunts, and sometimes flirts with (with those two, there isn’t really a difference!). The two find themselves working together for once: Ashwini’s been given a job to do in an area Janvier is quite familiar with, and she convinces him to come along and lend her a hand. Not that this is difficult, considering his interest in her. However, the job isn’t nearly as straightforward as a normal hunt. Ash is being used as a pawn in a local power play, caught between several powerful rival vampires and an incredibly dangerous angel. She and Janvier are not at all willing to sit idly back and be used—which makes for a delightful and explosive story.

Angels’ Judgment: Sara has a lot of problems on her hands right now. She’s been asked to become the next Hunters’ Guild Director. She’s in the middle of a Hunt in which she turns up evidence that someone is killing vampires. She’s assigned a partner and the job of figuring out who’s doing it, whether it’s a Hunter gone bad, and dealing with the problem—and that partner is both lethal and lethally sexy. He’s also there to watch out for her, since the archangels will undoubtedly attempt to test her before agreeing to her appointment, and their tests tend to turn deadly. From there it’s a wild ride through hellhounds, spurned lovers, vicious vampire attacks, and some fantastic sex. After seeing Sara and Deacon in the Guild Hunter novels, I’ve longed for a glimpse into this portion of Sara’s story, and it’s wonderful to finally get it. It’s also everything I hoped it would be and more.

Angel’s Wolf: Noel is a broken man—or rather, vampire. After his vicious torture and equally torturous healing process, Raphael sends him to the court of the angel of Louisiana, Nimra. He’s convinced it’s a dismissal, but rather, it turns out to be a measure of trust. Nimra needs someone trustworthy to help her figure out who has tried to assassinate her, and Raphael believes that Noel can do that. As it happens, both Nimra and Noel are broken in certain ways, and they find themselves drawn to each other in ways that are highly unusual for two people in their positions. It’s lovely to see an angel who’s a bit different from the others, and yet who still rules her territory firmly. It’s also fantastic to see the relationship between these two develop, and to watch them gradually heal each other.

Angels’ Dance: Jessamy is an angel beloved by all—she’s the teacher who educates the all-too-rare, and highly-valued, children of the angels. She lives within the Refuge and keeps the angels’ histories. She’s also earth-bound: she was born with a deformed wing, and no amount of healing has been able to fix it. She came to terms with this limitation a couple thousand years ago, or at least she thought she had. Now a new angel has come to the Refuge. Galen was raised in the outside world, and he wishes to be Raphael’s weapons-master. He has no preconceptions regarding Jessamy’s status as a loner—all he sees is a beautiful, fascinating woman he wishes to court. Both of them, however, have some fairly significant issues to get past before they can take any step toward permanence, and the attack on Jessamy’s life, while it does give Galen an excuse to stay by her side, must be understood before she can be safe. Jessamy and Galen seem like two such opposite characters, yet their relationship is beautiful, believable, and oh-so-precious. Even Jessamy’s students and old cynics like Dmitri can’t help hoping things work out between them—which means I was a goner from the start.

 

I read the entirety of Angels’ Flight in one day (something that seems to happen with all of the Guild Hunter books—I just can’t put them down!), and I must be honest: many tears were shed. Nalini Singh spins a captivating story while presenting vibrant relationships that catch the heart and the imagination. Her characters matter, as do the bonds they form. And if that isn’t enough for you, the world-building and storytelling are creative and spellbinding. At a time when so many writers’ worlds bear an unfortunate similarity to each other, Singh’s creation yet feels unique. Angels’ Flight is a wonderful look at some of the characters that have primarily occupied the sidelines, and it’s a must-read for anyone familiar with the series.

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