Angels of Darkness
#1 – Angel’s Wolf – Nalini Singh
Narrated by Justine Eyre
I’m not a fan of the Guild Hunter series or Justine Eyre’s narration. Although Angel’s Wolf is part of that series, it is a kinder, gentler story and I liked it much more than the two Guild Hunter books I listened to. Nimra is a very old angel whom Raphael has entrusted to rule over the New Orleans area. He sends the younger warrior Noel to her to complete his physical recovery after a brutal attack. Noel is content to work with Nimra as his alpha and I found that quite charming. And so does Nimra. Eyre gives Noel a feminine pronunciation (No-elle), an odd choice, and a bit distracting, but otherwise her actress-y style is the same she uses in the other Guild Hunter books. If you’re already a fan, you’ll like it. A word of warning: A beloved cat is murdered in this story, so please take that into account if you decide to listen.
#2 – Alphas: Origins – Ilona Andrews
Narrated by Renee Raudman
By far my favorite story in the anthology, the fantasy world here is totally removed from both the Andrews Magic and Edge series and I found it just as unique and enveloping. It’s more complicated than just a parallel earth, but for the sake of brevity I’ll call it that. In a true Twilight Zone moment, Karina finds herself along with the kids she’s carpooling thrust into an odd, hostile world after taking a highway exit only she can see. Shepherding her small charges to a shady motel, a skanky woman suddenly attacks Karina, downing her with a savage bite. Gravely injured, Karina is vaguely aware that several large men rescue her and her daughter. Karina wakes up in another world where the angels who protect humanity against ancient enemies dwell – and there’s no escape. Her rescuer Lucas informs her (and not in a warm and fuzzy way) that she belongs to him. He must feed on her and she on him or die from the woman’s lethal bite. And, to boot, their enemies have found them and an apocalyptic battle is eminent. Sounds grim – and it is – but I was riveted by the storytelling and the unlikely romance topped off with Renee Raudman’s exciting, pitch perfect narration. I’d love more stories from Andrews set in this world.
#3 – Nocturne – Sharon Shinn
Narrated by Coleen Marlo
Time and place are hard to pin down if you’re not familiar with Shinn’s Samaria series (I am not), but the fantasy setting worked for me in this story about an embittered, reclusive angel who meets his nemesis and his savior in one young woman. Moriah is a cook in a school for misfits who wanders the countryside in her off hours. She discovers Corban hiding out in an isolated manor house on the property where he is recuperating from a serious accident. He’s recovered from most of his injuries, but blindness lingers and he won’t consider trying to fly again. Moriah has some magic of her own and makes it her mission to get her hunky angel back up in the clouds where he belongs.
Colleen Marlo’s narration of Nocturne is very good. Moriah is smart-alecky, confident, and bossy and all that comes through in spades. Marlo’s voice for Corban is low-pitched and sexy and his transition from washed-up and depressed to alpha angel is a fun listen. I’m interested in reading/listening to more of the Samaria series.
Editor’s note: The print version of Angels of Darkness includes Ascension by Meljean Brook. It is not included in the audio version.