“Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find that she has become an angel-and 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…” [Summary from B&N]
This review may contain spoilers for those who have not read Angels’ Blood.
In the first Guild Hunter novel, Nalini Singh created a world in which the sky gave way to angels’ flight, and vampries were kept in check by forbidding archangels who were not known to be kind or merciful. It was, in fact, that very cruelty that set the book apart. Raphael, Elena’s love interest, is dangerous; he backs up his threats with finely honed violence. Singh didn’t tell us that, hey, you don’t want to mess with this pretty boy with wings. No, she showed us just how lethal and unforgiving he could be. And I appreciated that. Add to that a solid cast of secondary characters, an honest to goodness plot, and I was hooked.
Going into the second installment in the series I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, Angels’ Blood ended on a rather spectacular note, but how had the events in that novel affected the characters? I can only say in very interesting ways.
Lijuan’s threat permeates the story arc of Archangel’s Kiss, but there is also an angel who has set their sights on achieving archangel status by any means necessary. No one is safe, least of all Elena. Having only recently awoken from a coma, Elena has to regain her strength, adjust to her wings, and learn how to deal with a man who, she fears, sees her as little more than a possession. While her character doesn’t undergo any (other) major changes, her backstory is developed more in this novel, and we begin to see what fuels her nightmares. And, poor girl, it’s not pretty.
I’m not going to go into what’s going on with Raphael. That’s best discovered by reading the book. But. I will say this: I love Illium. It’s ridiculous, really. And I found myself intrigued by just about every member of Raphael’s seven. I can’t wait to learn more about each of them.
And now a few quibbles: There were too many repetitive statements/ideas/use of the word “mine.” Let’s just say the repetition is noticeable. And I also thought that several events wrapped up too quickly, including the ultimate conflict/confrontation.
Still, Archangel’s Kiss was thoroughly enjoyable; I couldn’t – didn’t want to – stop reading, and I went back and reread a few scenes shortly after finishing it. Bring on the third book!