Review: Archangel’s Consort, by Nalini Singh

Title: Archangel’s Consort (Guild Hunter #3)
Author: Nalini Singh
Published by Gollancz, 2011

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How I discovered this book: This book is one of my public library reads. It’s the 3rd installment of the Guild Hunter series (book #1 and #2) that I found during one of my visits to the library.

ALERT: Possible spoilers laying ahead. Proceed with caution.

Review: This review will probably show my frustration, but it is what it is. I’m getting tired of this series. There are times when I love it. Times when I love the characters, the mystery and action, the world construction, the plot and the mythology. On the other hand, there are times when I get so bored and annoyed that I just can’t stand it. Raphael and Elena’s love story gets tiresome, there’s lots of plot holes, undeveloped action scenes, loose ends, villains without purpose, too many clichés, too many things going around at the same time, pointless kills and torture… the list goes on and on. Has it ever happened to you? To get so tired and frustrated with a series you love, that you just don’t know what to do about it?

Archangel’s Consort continues, yet again, the never ending love story of Raphael and Elena. I liked them in the first book – they were getting to know each other, falling in love, saving the world. It was nice getting to know these two, despite Raphael’s “I’m the best, bow down and kiss the floor I walk, peasants!” mentality, (he starts to change his perspective of things). Then, there’s Elena: though, independent, hunter, kick-ass heroine all the way. I liked the second book better than the first! Amazing world construction, great plot, much better and intriguing villain, really interesting mythology, less sex and more character development. I was happy! But then I come to Archangel’s Consort and the plus points that won me over with Archangel’s Kiss are turned into dust.

Elena gets back to New York with Raphael a few months after last book’s occurrences. She is now fulfilling her first year as an immortal and is still utterly helpless against angel kind enemies (who can throw fire balls and other super fancy powers, while she can only barely manage with her cool knives and some super weapons her friends invent for her). After some fights between our main couple, over whether or not a new born immortal should start hunting vampires and getting involved in life threatening situations, we start having earthquakes and natural catastrophes all over the world. Guess who’s coming to town, people! The one and only Caliane, Raphael’s mom (it’s in the synopsis, so no spoilers here). Let’s say mother and son had a tricky relationship for many centuries and she decided to Sleep (literally, just sleep over a few centuries to cure craziness and boredom). Now that the crazy old angel is starting to awake, everybody panics. She seems to entice the most strange and violent behavior on people during her awakening process. Of course, she also seems to dislike Elena and have some sort of all seeing eye.

Anyway…I think that by now you can see this book didn’t grow on me. The villain from the previous book is also present and she’s a very important part in the predictable twist near the end (yes, it is very predictable). I don’t quite understand how it is possible for Lijuan to be around and talking only after a few months of her physical destruction, but wait, I forget, she has evolved to some unknown darkest level.

It’s just all so pointless. We spend a whole book building up to a climax, when Caliane finally awakes and hell on earth is released, and what we get is just, well, a really odd loving mom. So, ok… Torture, dead, blood lust, murder, nightmares, natural catastrophes, for what exactly? I don’t see the point. So, it’s frustrating and I kind of felt deceived. Plus, Elena and Raphael got back to the annoying discussions about who is in charge of what and whom, this is my space and that is yours. It annoys me so much when they start calling themselves “Guild Hunter” and “Archangel”!

Positive things? The mythology is still compelling, so that is something that keeps. It is still entertaining at some parts. And the Seven, Raphael’s squad if you want. Every time one of the Seven is in the scene, he brightens the place. Not that they are joyful entertaining characters, quite the opposite. They are all very dark and layered and mysterious, hence the interest in them.

I believe Singh wasted Raphael and Elena as characters. There isn’t much more she can do with them, considering the depth she gave to these two characters. She should have moved on to one of the Seven as a MC in the third book of the series (Dmitri, Aohdan, Illium!!, or even Jason). If she was going for a mommy/daddy issues book, she should have explored the relationship between Raphael and Caliane / Elena and Jeffrey way better (we still don’t know what’s going on between these last two). What I got wasn’t enough.

Overall: This book disappointed me, a lot. I felt frustrated, annoyed and bored during half of it. I see it as a poor attempt to tackle Raphael’s and Elena’s childhood traumas. Still, I loved the Seven and the mythology NS created. When I think of them, I kind of want to give the series another chance. If you love paranormal romance, I’m sure you’ll like it a lot more than I did. Despite liking PR myself, I guess I’m a little over the romantic based plot so common in the genre. I was craving a really good urban-fantasy, and NS created a very interesting world for it. She just wasted the characters in this one. It’s time to move on, which I think she has realised since the next book is about Dmitri. So, read the series, it’s entertaining enough, but it has some ups and downs along the way.

2,5-5-stars

Quotes worth mentioning: 

“Our memories make us… even the darkest of them all.” 

“It was a white-collar crime.”
Illium gave her an odd look. “In the human world, such crimes are lightly punished, though they harm hundreds, leading some to choose death out of despair, while the man who beats a single person is considered the worse criminal.”

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