There are going to be a couple of major themes in my reading this year: a) angels, b) demons, c) fairy tales and d) all the rest. Why? I’m taking part in reading challenges. One of which is the Horns and Halos Reading Challenge hosted by Aimee of my fluttering heart. I got the challenge started off with Archangel by Sharon Shinn. It was a great start and a great read – and it got me excited for what else is in store. Now I’m on to my next H&H challenge read (before even cracking a fairy tale…sad!).
Nalini Singh began her new Guild Hunter series with an e-release novella, Angels’ Pawn. She followed that up with the novel Angels’ Blood. That book rocked hardcore. Just…amazing. It was back before my blogging days, or I would have reviewed it for sure. Still might, one of these ‘My Favorite Reads’ Thursdays. Great world-building, amazing and scary creatures, and a terrific lead character in Elena. The Guild Hunter stories brought me ‘round to the idea of angels. I’ll admit I was a skeptic. Now I’ll gobble up a story with an angel in it…like peach pancakes.
And now the second in the series, Archangel’s Kiss, has arrived. So let’s set this up: the world is ruled by angels, and then on the next level by their servants, vampires. On the lowest rung of the power hierarchy are ordinary humans. So you can bet that leads to some interesting situations. The Guild Hunters are humans who have special abilities – they can track vampires, and they help keep the status quo by working for angels. The whole system is supposed to weed out abuse. But at the very top of the top? Archangels – uber-powerful, scary and old angels who’ve played the political game and really rule the planet. So what happens when Guild Hunter Elena gets together with Archangel Raphael?
Crazy adventures, that’s what. I don’t want to spoil what happens in Angels’ Blood, because I love it so much. But let’s suffice it to say that Archangel’s Kiss takes Elena and Raphael’s story farther and through more peril than ever. It doesn’t have quite the same intensity and violence as Angels’ Blood, but this second installment isn’t lacking in plot or action. Far from it. There’s horror and bone-cracking to spare. It’s simply a more character-driven story. You really get to know who these ‘people’ are. And you see facets of each that repel and charm and draw you in.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is a paranormal ROMANCE. Yes, in all capital letters. It’s very steamy, as was its predecessor. But in this series, it totally works. There’s violence to offset the sex...or perhaps complement it. However, if you can’t read a love scene to save your life, then this is not the book for you. The scenes are skip-able if you’re just not that into romance, but if you have an avid aversion, I’d say don’t bother.
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is back after a year – to find that her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, likes having her under his control. But almost immediately, Raphael must ready Elena for a flight to Beijing, to attend a ball thrown by the archangel Lijuan. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan's power lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena...
Ms. Singh writes first-class action and relationship stories, which just happen to have a fantastical edge to them. The Guild Hunter stories pull an insanely good plot, a hot romance, fantastic world-building, great writing and unexpected twists and turns into one compact, superb package. These books are not to be missed!
Recommended for: romance fans, paranormal and mild horror junkies, those curious about the angel trend in popular literature, and anyone with a taste for fantasy with a great character-driven storyline.