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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter Book 2) by Nalini Singh

I've been looking forward to Archange's Kiss, and as always, Nalina Singh did not let me down.

We watch Elena as she regains her strength, as she learns to fight as an angel, as she learns to deal with having wings. Apparently, there is a lot more to this wing thing than I'd thought about. First, there are all of these brand new muscles she has to learn to control, and she has to build those muscles up, too. Then, she has to learn to draw a knife without cutting herself. She has to learn to roll on the ground (to get away from, say, a knife thrown at her, or a bolt shot out of a crossbow) without hurting her wings. We also get to watch her learn to fly.

And we get to watch her and Raphael figure out their relationship. Raphael is used to always getting his way, Elena isn't about to roll over and let him be her master. But Raphael is used to being "Master" or "Sire" over everyone under him. Elena's response? "I'd rather die as Elena than live as a Shadow".

There are several plots running through this novel, and most of them get tied up neatly by the end of the book. Of course, there are a few loose ends, if there weren't then we wouldn't look forward to what happens next. But for the most part, I like that Ms. Singh neatly ends her books, with no major cliffhangers.

We also meet more of Raphael's trusted people, some of them like Elena but many of them think Raphael would be safer if she were dead. She is a weakness to an Archangel who previously had no weaknesses. They can't kill her because of their loyalty to Raphael, but some of them are charged with teaching her to fight immortals, and those sparring matches were pretty interesting with the added irony. It would have been simpler (and would have kept Raphael safer) to kill her, or to let her be killed. But they had to teach her to fight, and they had to act as bodyguards at times, because Raphael very much wanted her alive. So, while their loyalty to him made them want her dead, their loyalty to Raphael also made them have to teach her to fight, and to help keep her alive when danger was present. I think she won a few of them over during the course of the book... but probably not all of them.

I loved the descriptions of The Forbidden City in Beijing. I've been there, as a tourist, but the idea... no, the fantasy... of attending a ball there, of having your own quarters and staying there a few days... that was a nice fantasy. (Or it would be if there weren't so many people wanting you dead.) I had actually hoped we'd see just a bit more of Beijing, but that's okay, the story line didn't really need for them to wander around the city. I'm not thrilled that Beijing was destroyed, "just a memory". I have friends there. But, this is fiction, so we'll all survive. (Select the spoiler text to view it. It's just a minor spoiler, not a major one, but still.)

I rated Angel's Kiss a 10 of 10, and I gave the short story, Angel's Judgment (in Must Love Hellhounds) a 10 of 10. I've wavered back and forth between a 9 and a 10 for Archangel's Kiss, and in the end I think it gets a 10 of 10, in part for the lighthearted moments we are gifted with. And in part because so many of the characters are so multidimensional. We are given such glimpses into even some of the minor characters, that they become more real to us. Nalina Singh is such a gifted author and storyteller. I can't wait for the next installment of the Guild Hunter series. Unfortunately, we do not know when that will be. The author's website does say there will be a #3 and a #4, but they are apparently unnamed at this point, with no scheduled release date.

So, we'll have to make due with the next Psy/Changelings book, Bonds of Justice, due in July.

I have a feeling that at some point each of Raphael's Seven will probably each get their own book. I hope that we continue to get Elena and Raphael stories, but as intrigued as I am with the secondary characters we've met, I wouldn't mind seeing more of their stories, either. But, I'm really interested in seeing how Elena continues to grow and change as she gains Angelic powers. I want to see her hold onto her humanity as she becomes more of an Angel. I want to see how she and Raphael grow and change together.

Book Rating: Archangel's Kiss: 10 of 10
Series Rating: Guild Hunter: 10 of 1o

1. Angels' Blood
*. Must Love Hellhounds (short story: Angels' Judgment) (Sept 09)
2. Archangel's Kiss (Feb 2010)

1 comment:

  1. Thank for your review. I'll need to pick up this series, because I've read nothing but good things about it.