Review: Angels' Blood

Review: Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh

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


Lea said...

Sounds like my kind of book VFG. I love, love dark paranormal.

Excellent thorough review! This book is indeed getting rave reviews!

Your pup chewed your reading glasses? - yikes!

Happy Reading

VampFanGirl said...

Yeah, my puppy was apparently pissed that I left her at home to go to work. Needless to say my coffee table is bare and all my books are stashed in the armoire. Yikes, I think I'd have a coronary if she tore up one of my books!

Oh yes, 'Angels' Blood' is deliciously dark. *sigh* Raphael is sooooooooooo yummy. You absolutely must check it out, Lea.

Best wishes,

Barbara said...

WOW! Nice. I'm hoping to win this book at Renee's blog! If not I will definitely be getting it!!

Great review :)

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Barbara and Good Luck!!

Barbara said...

What is that book you are reading now???? YOWZA!!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

I bought this book on Sunday but can't read it yet for weeks! ACK!!! The only thing I'm surprised about is that the next book is going to have the h/h in it, so this one isn't necessarily one of those HEA???? I confess I didn't flip through. I totally got a thing for fallen angels, and once I discovered the series had angels, I just picked it up.
So, do you think it might take away some of reader satisfaction from us die hard romancey hea type readers?

VampFanGirl said...

LOL Barbara, It's 'The Vampire Queen's Servant' by Joey W. Hill. It's catagorized as a paranormal erotic romance.

I love Joey W. Hill. She's the same author that wrote 'A Mermaid's Kiss'. We'll see how I like TVQS.


VampFanGirl said...

Hey Charlotte!

I definitely classify myself as a diehard romance fan and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, that 'Angels' Blood' satisfies what we romance fans crave.

I'd call the ending an HEA in progress. Raphael and Elena have come a long way from their early hostilities but there are still some unresolved issues and some MAJOR changes that have occured or still need to occur before their HEA can be set in stone. One example is that we still don't know if Raphael ultimately plans to kill Elena. This sounds macabre but really there was no statement saying yes or no. Yet I for one am ecstatic that Singh is returning to Raphael and Elena for 'Angel's Kiss'. I love their relationship and I'm treally anxious to see how things are resolved.

Plus I'm totally in love with this parallel world she's developed. Oh and the pacing of this novel, WOW! Wait till you read it and you'll know what I mean.

I also consider Nalini Singh an author that I can completely trust. I think that the way she's written 'Angels' Blood' and the subsequent set up for 'Angel's Kiss' is all part of her overall plan; a plan that I trust implicitly to deliver reader satisfaction.

Aw man, are you serious? You can't read this book for weeks?!? That sucks!


Charlotte Featherstone said...

Truth is, I cannot read it until after I turn in Velvet Haven at the end of May! I have a fallen angel in that series, and can't risk reading Singh's book. Bummer. but I will, and I'll go into it with an open mind. I trust you, and if you trust her to deliver, that's good enough for me!
I've never read her before, but have heard really good things!

VampFanGirl said...

OMG Charlotte! You've never read Singh?!? Oh jeez woman, you need to go out and buy Singh's entire back list the moment you get some down time! :) No, seriously though, she's amazing and I absolutely LOVE her Psy/Changeling series. Her novels always have the requisite alpha male and they are UBER alpha.

Yeah, I have a feeling that if I was a writer, I'd encounter the same dilema. No way could I read something that resembled what I was working on.

Oh, oh and now I'm completely jealous that you get start with Singh from the very beginning and I'm already twitching for 'Branded by Fire' which is months away! Ugg... You have no idea how lucky you are. :)

Oh, and lastly, did I mention how much I'm lovin' the man candy on your Sohpie Renwick site?? Hot damn!


Charlotte Featherstone said...

Ooh, I had fun searching for that man candy! Who's you're fav????

Charlotte Featherstone said...

When I'm writing my historicals, I read paranormals,and when I'm writing contemps I read historicals.

you never know what could sneak in there and osmose from a story! Eeek. That'd be bad. Very, very baaaad!!

VampFanGirl said...

My favorite would be...Rhys MacDonald and my second would be Drostan because, damn...

VampFanGirl said...

LOL, that would be bad! Now that you've put it that way I can really see why reading something similar is a big no-no.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Ooh, good taste!
I'm partial to them all. But Drostan and that body!!! MMMMM

Barbara said...

I have A Mermaid's Kiss. I don't know me, I'm picky. The cover is stunning, but I'm just weirded out with her being like a Tinkerbell and he's normal size while fooling around. Hmmm...I can't really picture it. I'll get to it eventually. Hopefully.

Oh and did I tell you I got Scandal!!! OMG, I have to read it!! But it's not one I'll finish in one sitting I take it? I'll save it for a weekend.

Oh and do you want that Lisa Marie Rice book???

Barbara said...

PS Charlotte,

I haven't read Singh don't feel bad. I feel so left out of the loop.

VampFanGirl said...

LOL, oh gosh I forgot about the pixie moment with the, well you know. :) LOL...sorry the way you wrote your fear, Barbara, was just funny.

Okay so yeah when you strip it to the bare bones, it sounds goofy. And maybe even after you read it, it'll still seem goofy to you. But honestly, it didn't bother me. It's not because I'm desensitized because things still have the capability to shock me. But rather it's the way Hill writes. That particular erotic scene just felt very natural and true to the story. Kinda like Featherstone's opium hazed love scene. Now that was controversial but we can both agree that it was natural and true to the novel, right?

Think of it in that light and definitely with an open mind and I believe you're going to like 'A Mermaid's Kiss'. It was seriously a beautiful novel from beginning to end.


VampFanGirl said...

Yippie!! Oh Barbara, I know you're going to really like 'Scandal'. Being the historical romance fan you are, I know you'll appreciate this beautiful and emotionally instense love story.

OMG, you too! You haven't read Singh?!? Well paranormals aren't your usual but I'm telling you Barbara, Singh writes some incredible tortured alpha males and I KNOW you love that. :) Damn, I wish I just discovered Singh. *sigh* Lucky...


Barbara said...

LMAO! You said the same thing on Goodreads, lol!!

I said,"Man, I never read Singh."

You said, "YOU NEVER READ SINGH?!?!?!?! OMG, I wish I just discovered Singh. You're soooo lucky, Barbara."

LMAO, you're are just too cute for words.

Oh and about AMK. Well, we shall see. I'll give it a shot because you gave Addicted a shot for me.

VampFanGirl said...

Did I?? Oh gosh, well at least you know my sentiments were true. LOL!

You know I'm a ditz right?? Well if you didn't, you do now. :)

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