Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh: Review

Format: ebook, 368 pagesPublished: February 28, 2012 by Berkley Sensation Edition language: EnglishOriginal title: Angels' Flight Series: Guild Hunter 0.5, 1.5, 4.5, 4.75
Format: ebook, 368 pages
Published: February 28, 2012 by Berkley Sensation
Edition language: English
Original title: Angels’ Flight
Series: Guild Hunter 0.5, 1.5, 4.5, 4.75

Goodreads          Nalini Singh’s Goodreads page

Synopsis from Goodreads: In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.
In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…
In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…
In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review: As much as I love the Guild Hunter series one would think I would have known about this collection of novellas.  Alas, I (thankfully!) stumbled upon it and devoured all four stories almost instantly!  Included in this collection are the titles Angels’ Pawn, Angels’ Judgment, Angel’s Wolf, and Angels’ Dance and for lovers of the series, these short stories are excellent companions to the series.  Each novella gives the reader an incredible amount of background information and a fully developed story about characters who will likely never be big enough in the Guild Hunter world to warrant their own full-length novel.

Angels’ Pawn features Ashwini, the semi-nuts Guild Hunter and Janvier, the three-hundred year old vampire Ashwini has hunted three times.  Sounds like she’s not very good at her job, huh?  While Ashwini is used to working alone and considered one of the best among the Hunter community, even she knows her limits.  Ashwini (and the Guild) have been contracted to “rescue” a kidnapped vampire.  The mission will take the Guild Hunter into the heart of the South where vampire and angel politics are as tricky and unpredictable as quicksand.  Ashwini knows she must tread lightly if she wants to come out alive so enlisting Janvier’s help seems the most logical choice given the nature of the contract.

Janvier and Ashwini have a bizarre relationship that involves a lot of chasing, tracking, and hunting though never actually catching.  As we discover in Angels’ Pawn the hunting, chasing, and tracking are more sport and entertainment than business for the two.  Because of their past associations with one another there is respect and definite attraction toward one another which leads Janvier to immediately agreeing to help Ashwini.  Though the two know they will be successful in their attempt to “rescue” the “kidnapped” vampire they also fully appreciate the inherent danger involved.  Though all the plotting, scheming, and killing we get to see Ashwini shine and Janvier play a far more serious role than we are used to from him.  We learn more about each character’s background, their motivations and desires as well as their intentions toward one another.  Janvier can be serious and deadly but he is also charming, playful, and sensual.  Ashwini is lethal, focused, and driven but also beautiful and sexy.  Her troubled background adds an edge of wariness that Janvier is committed to overcoming though he knows this will take time.  I very much enjoyed the deeper look into these two characters: Janvier is a delightful rogue and Ashwini is serious beauty with a dark past she is working hard to overcome.  While I don’t think these two will ever warrant their own book I do think we have not seen the last of them in the Guild Hunter world.

Angels’ Judgment: novella number two is, for all intents and purposes a prequel to the Guild Hunter series.  If you’re a fan of Guild Director Sara, then this short story is absolutely for you!  Angels’ Judgment details one of Sara’s last hunts before becoming the Guild’s Director; this is also the time she meets her future husband, Deacon.  The meeting of Sara and Deacon is anything but pleasant – there is a psychopath on the loose knocking off vampires.  The real problem?  The psychopath is likely a Hunter or a crazy bastard imitating a Hunter which is why Deacon has been called.  Known among the Hunter community as the Slayer, Deacon is a man of legend, the one called in to hunt and stop rogue Guild Hunters. Few have ever met the Slayer and being in his presence does little to calm Sara’s feelings about this case; the potential for taking out one of their own is high and something no member of Hunter community wants to be involved in.  Sara is, however a professional and with Deacon’s help she will do what must be done to bring the killer to justice.  Because of the length of this read, the action is fast, furious and seriously intense.  It is a wild ride from start to finish and even has some naughty bits thrown in to spice things up 🙂

I loved this particular novella!  I have always been fond of Sara in the regular series as she is practical, level-headed, loyal, and absolutely perfect as Guild Director.  Quite simply, Sara doesn’t take crap off anyone!  But, we have always only been given a limited amount of information about her; Sara has been a part of the plot as she relates to Elena and Raphael more than anything else.  Angels’ Judgment highlights not only Sara’s talents as a Guild Hunter but Deacon’s talents as both a Hunter and the Slayer.  The background story for both Sara and Deacon (especially Deacon!) is very interesting and kept me turning pages at a lightning pace.  Honestly, I didn’t want this particular story to end because Deacon is not only a sweet man but dead sexy and deadly with his weapons.  Oh, and he is the mastermind behind all the amazing weapons the Guild Hunters use – seriously, can this man get any hotter? 🙂  Deacon is instrumental in helping Sara take down the psychopath and vice versa.  You see immediately how good the two Hunters are together and how they perfectly balance and complement one another.  For fans of Sara and Deacon, this one is a must-read.

Novella number three is Angel’s Wolf and is the story of Noel and Nimra.  Fans of the series may recall (from book #2) Noel is the poor bastard who was beaten to within an inch of his vampiric life and left for dead within the confines of the Refuge.  Noel has been with Raphael for more than 200 years choosing to serve the archangel following the expiration of his 100 year Contract.  Noel’s rise within Raphael’s ranks of trusted companions was nothing short of meteoric right up to the moment he was left for dead.  Though fully healed and back in service, Noel feels he is being punished when Raphael sends him to the court of Nimra in the deep South.  Despite his intelligence and intuition, even Noel is unprepared for what he finds in Nimra’s court.

Nimara is a 500+ year old angel who controls a section of the deep South on Raphael’s behalf.  Though beautiful beyond belief and surprisingly human (she loves cats!!) given her age, Nimra has a nasty, nasty, nasty reputation and very few, even among the very old, have ever dared go up against her.   By far, Nimara has one of the coolest powers found among any of the angels and/or archangels in the Guild Hunter world.  And no, I will not tell you what that power is 🙂 Though generally absolutely capable of defending her court and her territory Nimra has discovered one thing she cannot defend against, an unknown assassin hell-bent on taking her out.  Disguised as Nimra’s new bedroom toy, Noel is given free rein to wander the court in an effort to determine who the would-be assassin is.  Loose lips, gossip and being thought of as nothing more than a harmless and temporary sex toy allows Noel to quickly determine who the perpetrator is.  Unfortunately the identity of the traitor is devastating for Nimra.  The intensity of the situation draws Noel and Nimra together and they quickly discover they can take comfort and strength from one another without sacrificing who they are as individuals.  In fact, the two understand almost immediately what a good and strong pair they are; they balance and complement one another.  Nimra’s strength and über-powerful abilities are tempered by her humanity making her one of the most endearing of all of Singh’s characters.  Though I am fairly certain Nimra and Noel’s story is complete, I must say it is sad to see them tucked away in the deep South and not making more appearances in the Guild Hunter series.

The fourth and final novella in Angels’ Flight is Angels’ Dance, the story of Jessamy and Galen.  Jessamy is more than 2,500 years as well as beloved and thoroughly well-respected throughout the angelic community.  Jessamy serves the angelic community as both teacher to the young and historian – there is nothing she doesn’t know about angelic history making her the perfect teacher for the breed’s young.  Jessamy is patient, kind, wise, and trusted absolutely by most of the Cadre of Ten.  On the outside Jessamy is calm, cool, and collected but for most of her 2,500 years she has held herself apart from everyone because of her deformity – Jessamy is an angel who cannot fly.  For Jessamy her inability to fly is a life-sentence: she cannot leave the safety of Refuge; she cannot have children for fear of passing on her deformity and; she certainly cannot fall in love as her deformity would be both a hindrance and embarrassment to her mate.  Galen is an oddity in the angelic world for he has chosen to transfer out of Titus’s court in order to become both weapon’s master and member of Raphael’s Seven.  Though new to the Refuge, Galen is not new to weapons work and training and quickly earns respect among other members of the Seven.  When Jessamy’s life is threatened Raphael is wicked pissed and Galen is called into action to protect Raphael’s former teacher.  What takes both Galen and Jessamy by surprise is their response to one another.  Though attracted to Galen, Jessamy is certain, based on his brutish nature and lack of manners that the man was raised by wolves.  Galen is insta-attracted to Jessamy and can’t seem to rein himself in around her.  During the course of their investigations the two learn to respect one another and reevaluate their personal positions concerning attachments and entanglements.  While there is a mutual respect and the two can work together, being together is a cat of a different color.  Both Galen and Jessamy are outrageously stubborn and this trait keeps them apart far longer than it should but when they do finally let down their respective barriers, the meeting is explosive!  Like Sara’s story, Jessamy’s story is a personal favorite and I was exceedingly glad to find it among the collection that makes up Angels’ Flight.

The Bottom Line: Angels’ Flight can absolutely be read as a stand-alone but I would highly, highly, highly  recommend reading it in addition to the “regular” Guild Hunter series.  This collection of novellas is a wonderful enhancement of a series I am already slutty in love with.  This book got me so fired up about the Guild Hunter series that after finishing Angels’ Flight I immediately went back and re-read the first two books in the series!  I can’t think of a reason not to recommend this fantastic paranormal series to mature young adults, new adults, and adult readers.  I’m not sure why you’re still here – you should be buying this book and the series, NOW!!

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