Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she's the best—but she doesn't know if she's good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option...even if the task is impossible.
Because this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.
The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other…and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn't destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break…
Wow. That's all I could say for about thirty minutes after completing 'Angels' Blood'. Just wow...
I seriously never would have imagined that Nalini Singh could get any better than she already was but WOW! Ms. Singh rests firmly now in my top five authors of paranormal romance and she's currently battling it out for the number one spot with J.R. Ward and Meljean Brook.
To put it simply, 'Angels' Blood' sang to my reader heart, touching upon every one of my favorite themes with bold and confident words that leaped off the pages. It grabbed me from page one and I must say that it's an example of perfect pacing. At the close of every chapter, I was jumping straight on to the next with nary a pause for breath. I had to know what was going to happen next no matter that my eyes were burning cause my dog chewed my up reading glasses the night before. Dinner was a nuisance and I would gladly starve to appease my desire to read more of 'Angel's Blood'. Then there is the horrible knowledge that only thirty pages remain and no matter how long I wanted to drag out my exquisite reading pleasure, I had to know how it all would end. And the ending, WOW!
'Angles' Blood' takes place in what I've come to think of as a parallel modern world. No dates are given but I get the distinct feeling that the New York City represented in the novel is not futuristic. Given that the technology seems to mirror today's like cell phones and modern day vehicles, there are some new contraptions that are certainly unfamiliar but essential to this parallel world which is teaming not only with humans but angles and vampires as well.
Elena Deveraux is hunterborn, meaning that while human she possesses strength and extra-sensory gifts that supersede the norm. With scent capabilities ten times that of normal human, Elena becomes one of the best trackers of the Hunters Guild - An organization that tracks and bags rogue vampires and returns them to their makers, angles. It's this very notoriety that garners her the attention of the Archangel of Manhattan, New York.
The angles of Singh's world are not biblical. In fact, there is no claim to God or heaven and hell. They are simply an immortal species that rule the world with a circle of power known as the Cadre of Ten(very similar to the Psy Council in Singh's Psy/Changeling series except for the angel ruling body extends over all species.).
Raphael, Archangel of Manhattan and member of the Cadre of Ten, has hired Elena to track not a rogue vampire but to her surprise, he demands that she track a rogue archangel and once member of the Cadre of Ten, Uram, who has fallen off the grid. Elena's reward if she accomplishes her mission are riches beyond her imaginings, but if she fails she will be punished which translates to slow torture followed by death.
Elena is not unlike another favorite heroine of mine - Mercedes Thompson. Both are not reluctant heroines, but rather they simply know that for the job to be done their skills are needed and for this reason, there is no backing down or turning away for them. Plus, they both are natural protectors of innocents and embody a unyielding desire to bring down that which is trying so desperately to destroy that innocence. They also both have smart mouths that even despite their terror of the moment, they still can not resist putting a man in his place. Which, come on ladies, who can't love that trait in a heroine?
On the other hand, Raphael is more anti-hero than hero but it's this very trait that not only ignites Elena's desire for one the most powerful archangels in the world, but it plays havoc on my hormones as well. The man is simply sex incarnate with his gold tipped wings that shed glittering dust that tastes like ambrosia, food for the gods. He possesses eyes so blue that there is nothing comparable or even represented anywhere else on earth. In addition, Raphael is not human and is a being of little to no remorse. Being an archangel alone demands more of his soul than being a mere angel. His archangel gifts strip him of his humanity each year of his existence which has already been long. This lack of humanity reminds not only me but Elena as well that Raphael will most likely kill her at the end of her hired mission based mostly on the fact that she simply knows too much. More than any other mortal. For if an angel reveals their secrets to humans it's punishable by the taking away of his/her wings leaving said angel earthbound for eternity. A steep price to say the least.
There are many traits embodied by Elena that spark Raphael's interest. For an immortal, it takes a lot for a human to be more than mundane. Perhaps it's her fearlessness in the face of death for she pushes him time and again right up to the killing edge. Or is it her shear will to never be cowed, to never fall to her knees before another.? Maybe it's the fact that immortality is the last thing that Elena would ever ask for much less desire. She covets immortality like an angel would covet being human. Suffice it to say that even Raphael doesn't understand his desire for her but what he does know is that he loathes ever having to one day break her warrior spirit.
The sexual tension is absolutely fierce between Raphael and Elena. Couple that with the constant threat of death for Elena by the hand of Raphael and you're on shaky but sexually charged ground. It was in these instances that Raphael's humanity within his soul began to shine. Never, in his ancient existence, has he ever taken a woman by force. His seductive power alone would make taking a woman so easy but he it's his own personal vow that she come to him and when Elena does, whew! Their coupling is beyond explosive for by that time the tension had reached it's ultimate peak.
The death and blood portrayed in 'Angels' Blood' is not for the faint of heart. Ms. Singh leaves little to the imagination and what Uram does to his victims is beyond insanity. His macabre art forces Elena to loose the contents of her stomach many times over. Although, this blood red gore is important for it reinforces the readers awareness that these angels, while sublimely beautiful, are far from being human. Raphael himself is subject to and fully capable of becoming like Uram for with each passing year, his archangel abilities strip pieces of his soul. But what I believe causes the reader to fall in love with him, although there are many things, but rather what humanizes him is his fear of becoming Uram. Perhaps Elena and his steady fascination of her will help him retain what little humanity he does possess.
'Angels' Blood' is an absolute must read for anyone who loves paranormal romance. I know many fans have reservations with Nalini Singh publishing this new series but she is an author to trust. The only aspect of 'Angels' Blood' that left me twitching is that Ms. Singh ends the novel with a sizable cliff hanger, not only with Elena's fate but the fate of possibly the world with the emergence of another rogue archangel. Aw man, I can't wait to get my hands on the next series installment, 'Angel's Kiss' releasing 2010, which thankfully returns to the adventures of Raphael and Elena. Their relationship is on precarious ground to say the least.
Interested in 'Angels' Blood'? Visit Nalini Singh for more details.
Coming July 2009
Book Six of the Psy/Changeling Series
Visit Nalini Singh for an excerpt