Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter #1) by Nalini Singh: Review

Angels' Blood

Format: Mass Market Paperback, 339 pages Published: March 3, 2009 by Berkley (first published January 1, 2009) ISBN: 0425226921 (ISBN13: 9780425226926 Edition language: English Original title: Angels’ Blood URL: http://www.nalinisingh.com Series: Guild Hunter #1 Literary awards: Romantic Times (RT) Reviewers’ Choice Award for Urban Fantasy Protagonist (2009), P.E.A.R.L. Winner (2009)

Goodreads               Nalini Singh’s Goodreads Page

Synopsis from Goodreads: Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best- but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows 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 does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My ReviewAngels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series and man, oh man is it an excellent read.  In all honesty, this review is the result of a re-read for me and I am OK with admitting my absolute, total and complete addiction to this series.  For me, this book (and series) has it all: strong characters both major and minor, an interesting and far-reaching plot line, lots of action and intrigue and some excellent sexy scenes.  What else can a girl realistically ask for in a series?

Singh has created a world where humans with the right genetic make-up can choose to be Made, that is, become a vampire.  While immortality sure sounds good, it comes with a price and any human who chooses to be Made must also sign a 100-year contract serving  the angel who helped create them.  In Singh’s world, not all angels are nice and as many of the newly Made discover a century is a very long time to serve a cruel master.  For many, the only option is to run and when they do, the Guild and its hunters are called.  When the Guild is contacted, Elena Deveraux and her fellow Guild hunters are called to track and return the runners to their respective “owners”.  While hunting may sound like a fool’s errand, Elena is not just at the top of her game, she is a hunter-born.  Elena’s skills are a part of her very make-up, her DNA.  Elena’s tracking skills, speed, and strength is greater than human making her the ideal hunter.  Because of her skill and reputation, Elena is often tapped for the hardest most dangerous retrieval jobs.

Raphael is the archangel of New York as well as the leader of the Cadre of Ten, the ten archangels who rule the various parts of the world.  While “regular” angels may be powerful and able to control/rule their own small territories, the archangels rule the world and all the world knows the archangels are not to be tested, tried, or crossed.  Raphael has lived for more than a thousand years and in that time has earned a reputation as one of the most powerful and cruel among the world’s archangels.  Unlike many among the Cadre, Raphael is not capricious nor does he inflict pain, injury, and/or death because he derives pleasure from the acts.  Raphael judges and punishes fairly and without remorse which has allowed him to earn the complete trust and loyalty of his inner circle, the Seven.

Despite their immense power sometimes even the Cadre needs help: enter Elena.  Here’s the problem, one of the Cadre of Ten, Uram, has gone bat-crap crazy and the body count is starting to add up and draw a lot of unwanted attention.  The Cadre, and more specifically Raphael has contracted Elena to track Uram and then step aside as Raphael destroys him.  To say Elena is scared crapless doesn’t even come close but the atrocities being committed by Uram are more than enough to (somewhat) outweigh her fears.  The race to track and eliminate Uram brings Elena and Raphael into near-constant contact with one another.  Elena is hyper-aware of Raphael’s presence and his ability to squash her like a tiny little insignificant bug but that knowledge is apparently not enough to keep her hormones in check.

For Raphael’s part, Elena is an intriguing entity he isn’t entirely sure he wants to let go of once the mission is complete.  The interactions between Raphael and Elena are some of my favorite parts of this book.  The early encounters are generally disturbing with a hint of lust and their later interactions are lusty, hot, and sexy with a hint of danger.  Elena constantly has to remind Raphael she is not his puppet nor is she his pet but is an independent and strong woman who also happens to be drawn to him. While Raphael is often baffled by Elena’s struggle to remain who and what she is, he does respect her and wants to see her safe, by his side and in his bed.  Even Raphael is surprised by the lengths he will go to in order to ensure he gets what he wants.

The culmination of Angels’ Blood is as interesting and dramatic as the rest of the book!  Uram’s capture and eventual death is spectacular and witnessed by a large number of New York’s citizens – which is a tiny bit hard for the authorities to explain.  What is also witnessed by a great number of New Yorkers is Elena and Raphael’s dramatic fall from the sky.  You so know I am not telling you how this one ends 🙂

The bottom line: This review was written after re-reading the book!!  There is not a single character in this book who does not fascinate me, the short-term plot line is resolved in a spectacular manner and the fate of Elena and Raphael is left rather ambiguous.  While this type of ending would normally piss me off, it works for this story and this series.  Also, I discovered the series after the second book, Archangels’ Kiss, had already been released so I got to dig right in 🙂  This book does contain mature themes and situations so I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable recommending it to younger readers but will whole-heartedly recommend it to mature readers and lovers of the paranormal.

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3 thoughts on “Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter #1) by Nalini Singh: Review

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