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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Review: Archangel’s Kiss, Nalini Singh

Title: Archangel’s Kiss
Author: Nalini Singh
Published by Gollancz, 2010

How I discovered this book: Second installment of the Guild Hunter series I began to read last month. Review of the first book here.

ReviewDespite not being completely happy with my experience with Archangel’s Blood (book #1), I decided to give this series a second chance because I truly loved the world construction and the mythology created by the author. I’m glad I did so because I quite liked Archangel’s Kiss and most of the little things that annoyed me in the first installment have been improved by the author.

In Archangel’s Kiss we continue to follow Elena and Raphael’s story. After Elena’s transformation the series begins to follow a new path and we are now seeing what was hidden behind the veil between the human world and the angel’s world. This is very interesting in terms of world mythology development, which is what keeps me hooked to this series. We see the Refuge (the angel’s secret and sacred city) through Elena’s eyes, who is now experiencing her new life as an angel (with wings, of course) and coming to understand and see the world in a whole new perspective.

Also, this book is more interesting regarding our main couple’s relationship, too. The author dedicates more time to the development of their relationship, allowing them to get to know each other and establish some boundaries. Which is extremely important, since Raphael was becoming an insufferable character who is extremely overprotective and intrusive, while Elena was losing all the rational and independent traits of her personality to become a sex driven woman. Sex scenes, when well written, are always a pleasure to read. But, come on… That’s not all we want to read, is it? There most be some relationship development and I’m so glad that Nalini Singh established a balance in this novel. Otherwise, I would be constantly rolling my eyes and get really annoyed with the book.

We continue to have new murder sprees to investigate and I really liked the crime set of this installment, as well as the power games inside the Cadre of Ten (kind of the royal court of the angel’s). Lijuan has proven to be quite the morbid villain and I’m curious to what is going to become of her. We also meet great new secondary characters in the Angel’s World that made me really curious and wishing they could have a book of their own. That’s always a plus point for me. I particularly like Aodhan, Galen and Jessamy. Illium continues to be a special favourite  of mine (my yummy Bluebell…) and I’m constantly hoping that he’ll get his own book.

OverallAn entertaining paranormal romance with great balance, much better plot and character development and amazing secondary characters. I’m very happy to give the series a chance and I’m definitely continue to read it. I recommend it to adult paranormal romance lovers who are into the angel/vampire/hunter mythology, kick-ass heroines and, of course, good steamy/hot romance.

3,5-5-stars

Quotes worth mentioning: 

“Emotion without reason lets people walk all over you; reason without emotion is a mask for cruelty.”

Angel’s Blood, by Nalini Singh

Title: Angel’s Blood
Author: Nalini Singh
Published by Gollancz, 2009

How I discovered this book: A random pick from my local library. The cover caught my eye and the synopsis seemed interesting.

Review: This review may have some SPOILERS. You have been warned. 😉

Once in a while I get myself entangled in a paranormal romance/urban-fantasy series (my little guilty pleasures). I have read about vampires and werewolves and all the common breeds of supernatural (always incredibly handsome and hot) creatures. But never about angels. Also, I have developed a great interest in angels after becoming a fan of Supernatural (the TVseries), so, the Guild Hunter series looked like something interesting, sexy and fun. And, indeed, Angel’s Blood is all that.

Let me tell you about what I liked in this book: the fantasy world. Nalini Singh created a world, much like ours, were angels are not divine or religious creatures. Instead, they are just another species living in earth. Just like humans, but with different characteristics. They have wings, they possess fantastical powers, they get stronger with age and because of that they can be (almost) immortal and they have been ruling the earth in secret since the beginning of times, passing for humans or simply hiding in the shadows. Humans ‘recently’ discovered their existence and while some still see them as holy and godly creatures, others see them with fear and suspicious. On particular occasions (you need to read the book to understand why), angels turn humans into immortals, which is what we call ‘vampire’ in this world. They are half human/half angels, (almost) immortal bloodsuckers who serve as minions to the big boss angels.

However, sometimes this vampires go rogue and start killing people. To prevent that, the Guild was created with the purpose of hunting down the supernatural criminals and bring them back to the angels they belong to and face justice. I see it like some sort of a supernatural police force that keeps the line between angel matters and human’s.

The angels have hierarchies of power. There is always ten powerful archangels who rule the angels (and the world) according to regions or continents – The Cadre of Ten. Angel’s Blood is about one angel gone bad and one Guild Hunter (Elena Devereux) that had to chase them to bring him to the justice of the Archangel of New York, the big boss of North America (Raphael).

Sadly, there isn’t a lot more to the book. All this amazing world construction, full with treacherous and surreptitious games of power, really amazing secondary characters, just about the right dose of mystery and insane crime scene morbidity going all to waste. Because nothing else happens apart from the hunt and the love story. Yes, we have incredible hot steamy delicious scenes, a kick-ass heroine that I really liked and an annoying, yet damn hot, overprotective hero, both with dark pasts that kept me curious until the end to know what happened. But that’s just the thing! We never know exactly what happened to Elena and Raphael when they were kids. We know that they have daddy and mommy issues, we see them fall madly in love with each other, but all the personal juicy dark secrets, the underground political treason…we get nothing but a short glimpse of what could happen!

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Elena and Raphael . They have some sweet moments, a lot of hot moments and also some moments that are really annoying and honestly boring, but I liked them. Still, I wanted more than the ‘fall in love while getting the bad guy’ cliche, specially when the author put so much effort in building an urban-fantasy world with great potential. I wanted their romance to grow slowly! Truth is, if I weren’t so overexcited about what was going on apart from the main couple I would have liked this book very much.

Overall: I liked the book to the point I want to read the next installments of the series and I definitely recommend it to all paranormal romance (PR) lovers. Nevertheless, to me Angel’s Blood is an entertaining book with an original urban-fantasy world that lost some of it’s appeal because of the somewhat rushed steamy romance that we always get in PR genre. And that’s what ruined it just a tiny little bit for me. Even though I really enjoyed the book, I must confess that I was hoping for a little more plot development and less romance.

3-5-stars

Quotes worth mentioning: None.

 P.S. The next installments are about Elena and Raphael and not new romantic couples. There may be hope for the development I so badly want!