Friday, February 20, 2009

Review: Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh


I've been a fan of Nalini Singh since her first paranormal romance, Slave to Sensation. Since then, I have enjoyed her Psy/Changeling series, especially the world building. When I found out that Ms. Singh was coming out with a new series, an Urban Fantasy centered around angel's, Angels' Blood became one highly anticipated release for me. I went into reading this book with little knowledge of what it would be about and ended up being absolutely delighted with the story as it progressed.

Elena Deveraux is a vampire hunter. She works as a hunter for the Guild, a company that goes after rouge vampires, hunts them down, and sends them back to their sire's--the immortal Angel's. Elena's hunter skills are good. She uses her heightened senses to track vampires and is highly effective at her job, so effective that her aptitude puts her under The Archangel of New York's radar. The beautifully cruel archangel, Raphael, needs Elena's talent as a hunter to track down a rouge. He enlists her (more like commands her) to find a very dangerous rouge that is terrorizing Raphael's New York territory.

Elena thinks the job will be a piece of cake. She has tracked down many vampire rouges before with little problem. She soon finds out that the mad-man that she's after is terrifyingly different from any other before him. And he has the power to destroy the world. Elena, with the help of the extremely seductive Raphael, sets out to find the rouge and stop him before his madness brings the world to destruction. Along the way, secrets that change life as Elena knows it are revealed and a bond, frowned upon by Elena herself, is forged between she and Raphael.

Unlike most recent Urban Fantasy, Angels' Blood is not told from the first person female perspective. It is told in third person and the point of view, while mainly Elena's, also extends to Raphael, and there are short passages where the reader gets a glimpse into the rouge's mind. The world that Angels' Blood takes place in is something like an alternate earth. Everything is as we know it, the difference being that angel's rule the world and they have the ability to make vampires. So there are three species of people: angel's, vampires and humans. Like Ms. Singh's Psy/Changeling series, this one is filled with fully realized, multicultural characters. Also like her paranormal romance series, this one is great on the world building, which is always a plus when reading Urban Fantasy.

Angels' Blood is equally plot and character driven. Neither point is overshadowed by the other. I will admit that it took me a few chapters in before I began to warm to Elena. For me, her character was a little off putting in the beginning, but when I finally began to understand Elena, I grew to connect with the character. Raphael, on the other hand, I liked from the jump. Angel's are known to be cruel and harsh to a fault, and Raphael fit that mold. But there was more to him than that, as was shown through his relationship with Elena. The supporting characters were fleshed out and I'm not sure if there are plans to feature any of them in the future, but I'm sure that a few of them would make really great leads in their own books.

The story does not skimp on the gore and is not for the squeamish. It delves into the gritty, displaying the killer's work in grotesque detail. I'm not a fan of gore for the sake of gore, and luckily, there is none of that here. The descriptions serve to show just how far gone the killer's mind is. It also ups the creepy factor and the stakes for Elena and Raphael. On the flip side of that is the romance. For those who like their UF to have a little romance, this one fits the bill. Elena and Raphael have chemistry for days and their relationship has a slow, tantalizing build with a payoff that makes it worth the wait. The romance plays a great counterpoint to the darker side of the story, balancing out the good with the bad.

Angels' Blood is full of surprises and twists and turns. Truth's are slowly revealed through the story, successfully fleshing out the world and the characters. The ending, while unexpected, was very pleasing. There is resolution enough that the reader won't be left unfulfilled, at the same time there are a few open threads that should carry nicely into the next installment. Angel's Blood was an excellent first entry in the Guild Hunter series. All around satisfying. I'm eagerly anticipating Angel's Kiss. Grade A-.


Review based on advance review copy. Visit Nalini Singh's site. Read an excerpt here.

14 comments:

  1. Wow what a great review! Thank you for telling me all the great aspects of the book without telling ABOUT the book. I can't wait to read this one. I love Nalini's work.

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  2. Hi Tracy, I'm glad you liked the review. :-) I wanted to share as little as possible so that those who want to read the book are as surprised with it as I was. I would have hated to be spoiled on any part of it. I really hope that you like it as much as I did.

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  3. Brie, I'm about--no EXACTLY-- 133 pages in Angel's Blood and I am loving this book! Wow. I have a feeling I'm going to finish it fast, which is sad... because then it will be over. LOL

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  4. Loved the review Brie! So want this book now. I keep thinking I shouldn't start a new series but then something like this comes along. And it's Nalini so I know it's going to be great.

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  5. Oooh, great review! This one sounds so exciting and I love that it's equal plot and character. I can't wait.

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  6. Great review, Brie! I'm glad you liked it; it's definitely staying in my top 10 of best books for 2009.

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  7. I'm really looking forward to getting this book! It's exciting seeing all the wonderful reviews popping up.

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  8. I haven't had a chance to read anything by Nalini Singh but this is on my TBR list. It sounds so good!

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  9. Lovely review Brie! We're definitely in agreement on this one. I can't wait for the next one already.

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  10. Thanks everyone. Angels' Blood is such a good book! Newcomers to Nalini Singh and those who are already fans should all enjoy it.

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  11. I skip your review, but I'm soooo happy that you enjoyed this one. So far, I've been able to avoid reading reviews/spoilers... keeping it a surprise :) but seems like Nalini Singh has another winner :)

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  12. I'm a newcomer to Nalini Singh, and after reading your review (along with some others), I decided to buy it. I couldn't put it down! I read the entire book in one day! :) I can't wait for 2010 now, so I can read the next installment.

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  13. So Nath, how did you like the book? I've been MIA lately so I'll have to check your archives to see if you reviewed it yet.

    Newcomer to Nalini, I'm glad that you loved Angels' Blood! I'm looking forward to the next one as well. :)

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  14. I read this book in 2 days! I could not put it down.

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