Monday, March 9, 2009

Review: Angels' Blood

Title: Angels' Blood
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Series: Guild Hunter/Book 1
Published: March 2009

There are angels among us. Though these are not the heavenly beings that usually come to mind. These are archangels who rule their territories with awe, fear and respect. They entice humans to sign away 100 years of their lives to become immortal... and vampires. But sometimes those vampires choose not to honor their contract. Sometimes they think they can get away. That's when the Guild Hunters go to work. They hunt the vampires and return them to their masters, the archangels. Elena Deveraux is one of the elite hunters. She was born a hunter and she is one of the very best. And only the best will do for archangel Raphael.

There's been a lot of buzz about Nalini Singh's new series. Many fans of her Psy/Changeling series have been eagerly anticipating the release of Angels' Blood (myself included). The Psy/Changeling series is Paranormal Romance, with a different hero and heroine in each book. Notice the genre above ~ that's what is on the spine of the book. I found it interesting that this is not simply marketed as Urban Fantasy but the "romance" is added. Could this be a marketing tool to get the fans who read PNR but don't want to read UF because of the lack of the HEA? Since there seems to be so much online talk of what is PNR as opposed to UF this might be the happy medium many have been craving. I think Singh's fan base is such that it doesn't matter what is on the spine as long as Singh's name is on the cover. And Angels' Blood does have a designated hero and heroine but do they get a HEA? Maybe...

Elena Deveraux is a total and completely kick-ass heroine. She's hard working and takes her job very seriously. She has a close, select group of friends that she knows she can always count on. Her home is her haven. The way she feels about her apartment tells a lot about her. It's more than just a place to crash, it's a place where she can take comfort from her surroundings after long days and nights on the job. When Elena finds out that Raphael wants her to hunt down another archangel she's not at all thrilled. Hunting down an archangel who's bent on destruction isn't exactly in her scope of experience. But she has no choice. She could refuse and try to hideout from Raphael but that's just not her style. Nor does she wish to put her friends in jeopardy. So she sucks it up and uses her talents to find the sick bastard. I love the fact that she does get disgusted and upset over the horrors that she sees and isn't afraid to show it. She even throws up a few times but shakes it off and gets right back to work tracking the rogue archangel.

Raphael is the archangel over all of New York. He's acquired a reputation for ruling with strength, respect and fear. He's not the easiest hero to get into. He's very reserved and projects a very cold, almost sterile, personality. It's as if he's seen and done everything and is now simply bored by it all. As he and Elena work together he begins to thaw. Singh shows the reader through Raphael's actions and thought how he is thawing. How his humanity is showing. Elena practically forces reactions from him. I loved it when he would get pissed off and Elena would basically tell him to deal with it or remind him that he needs her.

The story was a bit slow for me to get into-not in a bad way but more of an ease into the world instead of a jump. The jump happened for me when Elena shot Raphael(page136). Then it became difficult to put down. It's possible it happened at that point because Raphael became more real, more mortal with all the emotions that go along with possible mortality. Elena showed concern for Raphael, not only because if he dies she does too at the hands Dmitri but also because of what was a developing attraction on more than a physical level - no matter how much Elena denied it.

The world building was done in and around New York City as we know it today. The difference is that archangels, angels and vampires exist in the world Singh has created. Otherwise it felt like present day earth with cell phones, cars, elevators and references to the Titanic and the Soviet Union. The world is certainly darker with the powerful archangels and vampires inhabiting it. Angels' Blood undoubtedly makes use of it's UF stamp and has far more blood and gore than the Psy/Changeling series.

Elena's work takes her to a much darker world than what most of the human population in Angels' Blood is exposed to. She has such a strong heart to bear seeing so much pain and ugliness. Her good friends and Guild Hunter co-workers are there for her as much as they can be. There is no doubt they would stand beside her even if it means dying. In this we also see how Raphael learns to care for Elena and offer comfort. Something I'm not sure he thought he was capable of.

Singh's secondary characters are, as always, well developed and give this reader hope for many more books in this series. One character in particularly grab and held my attention. He's not a member of the Guild Hunters but a vampire. I absolutely without a doubt loved Dmitri. Why? I shouldn't like him. He threats Elena numerous times, not only with the biting and drinking from her but killing her. And I have no doubt that he would have killed her if he thought it necessary. Yet I liked him. Whenever he was in a scene I couldn't wait to see what he would say or do. When he wasn't in a scene I would be wondering where he is and when he'd be back. I think I got a little obsessed over him. *grin* He's the leader of Raphael's elite guard. He's nearly a thousand years old so he's more than served his 100 years yet he stays with Raphael. I liked that loyalty in him. He also mentioned a few little tidbits about his past that left me curious to know more and to believe there's more to him that the bad-ass imagine he projects.

Singh uses her magic to weave a fascinating world in the first installment of the Guild Hunter series. There's a whole bunch of cool characters and happenings that I didn't include in the review simply because you really should read the book for yourself and find out. I will definitely read the next book in the series, Angels' Judgement in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. Next year the second full length book, Angels' Kiss is due out. No set date yet. For more info on both the Guild Hunter and Psy/Changeling series check out Nalini's website.

Rating: A-


  1. Hah! I'm not the only one that became a Dmitri fan, I see, lol! Lovely review. I totally agree with you on the UF/Romance part of your assessment. I'm certainly not a big fan of UF, but this was a good combination for me. Of course, the fact that I love Singh's writing in her Psy/Changling series had lots to do with my giving it a chance in the first place.

  2. Hils ~ we can start a fan club. lol I was totally into the story but there was this part of me that was always on the look out for Dmitri. Yeah, obsessed. :)

    And the UFR ~ I think Nalini hit it with just the right combination. Plus Raphael and Elena are suppose to be back in Angels' Kiss. Which is good since their story isn't complete IMO.

  3. Glad you enjoyed the book so much :) I read it last week and my review is to come... but let just say I didn't enjoy it as much as you ^_^;

    I agree, Raphael and Elena's story is not complete.

  4. Nath ~ can't wait to read your review. Hmmmm... I wonder what you didn't like. I can probably guess. :)