Pros: Stunning, original, beautiful, intriguing, and mesmerizing
Cons: None at all for me
Rating: 5 out of 5
I’ll have to lead off with a quote from my review of Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Blood, the first book in her Guild Hunter series:
In the world of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter novels, angels and archangels rule the earth, each one holding sway over a certain territory. Between angels and mortals reside the vampires—humans altered by angels to serve them. When vampires go rogue, it’s the job of the Hunters’ Guild to track them down and bring them back to the angels they serve.
Elena Deveraux is a natural-born Hunter, able to detect and track the scents of individual vampires, and she’s one of the best Hunters the Guild has ever had. Unfortunately, this has brought her to the attention of archangel Raphael, who rules over New York and who has a very special, very dangerous job for her. This job will land her smack-dab in the middle of archangel politics, vicious killers the likes of which she’s never seen, and a highly dangerous attraction to the utterly lethal Raphael.
If you haven’t read Angel’s Blood yet, go do it. Now. I’ll wait here.
Done yet? Okay, good. Because that was one of the best damn books I read this year—and I read a lot of very good ones. It’s a stunning blend of paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery, action, romance, and erotica that grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. The world is heart-breakingly original and meticulously detailed: a modern setting that’s ruled over by territorial, utterly inhuman, and highly lethal angels and archangels served by vampires.
Avoiding as many spoilers as possible, I’ll just say that by the end of the last book, Elena had changed, becoming mired in the world of angels in ways she never could have imagined or predicted. In Archangel’s Kiss, she must help Raphael determine the identity of a killer among the angels, someone who would cross the last few lines and taboos that angels have left. Unfortunately, she must do it even as she learns how to survive the deadly new world she inhabits. She’s a highly skilled and lethal hunter, but compared to an archangel she’s devastatingly mortal. Unfortunately, by catching Raphael’s eye she’s intrigued the other archangels—something that tends to shorten a person’s lifespan drastically! Particularly when the oldest and most inhuman of the archangels, Lijuan, who’s been using her powers in dark and terrible ways of late, takes a very special interest in her.
The characters in the Guild Hunter novels are mesmerizing: Nalini has a true talent for depicting the inhumanity of the angels, and yet making them relatable at the same time. She also has a fantastic ability to pit two strong characters together (Elena and Raphael) without compromising the integrity of either one of them. Her side characters are intriguing, no matter how brief their stay on stage. The relationship between Elena and Raphael is still sizzling hot, easily holding up through a second book. And the density of events, plots, and goings-on is perfect, keeping things moving at a breakneck pace without glossing over or skipping anything.
But really, the best thing I can say about Archangel’s Kiss is this: I got halfway through it before bedtime the other night. I picked it up to read “just one more page,” and stayed up four hours late to finish it. It might as well have been glued to my hands for all the ability I had to put it down!