REVIEW: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Monday, February 1, 2010 1:00
Posted in category Review

Book Cover Gwen’s review of Archangel’s Kiss (Guild Hunters, Book 2) by Nalini Singh
Paranormal/fantasy romance released by Berkley 2 Feb 10

This is the second book in the Guild Hunters saga and the third story.  (Singh released a standalone novella in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology.) This entry deals with Elena’s new condition, her relationship with the archangel, Raphael, and the politics of his (now her) world.  It’s a ripsnorting story that is passionate and action-packed, and a helluva good tale.

There are spoilers in this review, so if you haven’t read the first book and care about that sort of thing, you don’t want to read further.

If you read the first book, you know that to save Elena’s life Raphael Made her an angel near the end.  In Kiss, Elena begins learning what that means – how to fly, what can still kill her, how to fit into her new society, and what her role is as Raphael’s mate.  This is all pretty fascinating stuff and, like Singh’s Psy-Changeling novels, is an incredibly well thought out world.  You are actually living it with the characters.  Singh is second to none in her complex and believable world building.

Kiss has a very nice pace to it.  You’re never left yawning, wondering when something was going to happen.  We’re given a mystery, some romance and passion, friendships, and loads of very cool action.  We’re carried along the story like a kayaker down a Class 5 rapids.

I just adore Singh’s characters.  Her heroines are terrific – strong, smart, and vulnerable.  I never have an eye-rolling “OMG she’s too stupid to live” moment.   Elena is all woman and all warrior.  She’s still a Guild Hunter at heart and it shows – I love the descriptions of the clothes and weapons she wears in Beijing.

Singh’s heroes are in a class of their own – masculine, alpha, and tender to their loved ones.  they’re always men I sigh over.  In this book, Raphael is enough “other” to be a fascinating character.  I think the first book showcased his personality better than this entry, but we get excellent insight into Elena in Kiss.

The villains in Kiss are suitably villain-like.  There is also some ambiguity in some of the evil.  In Singh’s world, as an angel ages, they develop more powers and the abilities they have become stronger.  Since some of the angel’s are thousands of years old, this leads to interesting ethical questions – how much power is too much, what can be done with power without morality, and how do you control amoral beings so powerful they can destroy whole cities or even planets?  All of this comes up in this book and we’re led to the conclusion that relationships like what is between Elena and Raphael are one of the very few things that can help such powerful beings retain some of their humanity – which is normally a good thing.

If you’re a fan of Singh, or simply of “angel books” you do not want to miss this one.   If you’re not sure about whether you’ll like this series, don’t start with this one.  The first book, Angel’s Blood, will take you by surprise and bring you to love the series as much as I do.  This book just takes the story to the next level.

I can’t wait for the next entry.

Gwens IconGrade: A

Read other reviews and information on this series here.

Summary:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, is used to being in control—even when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority…

They’ve barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…

Read an excerpt here.

Other books in this series:

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