As a preliminary note, unless you want to be unbelievably confused, this book must be read in order with the rest in the series. Singh has created a complicated world of vampires and angels, and in order to understand both the setup and the pre-existing relationships, Angel’s Blood and Archangel’s Kiss should be read before this one.
Following the end of the last book in the series, Elena has been transformed into an Angel. The relationship between her and the archangel Raphael has remained unchanged. She has not lost her power to find vampires and continues to hunt those who have gone rogue by killing humans. Her power is needed more than ever as an ancient Archangel is rising from “sleep,” a self-imposed hibernation they are sometimes forced to take when their long existences becomes too much and they begin to lose their sanity. The awakening is creating havoc, with vampires committing senseless murders, and it is up to Raphael and Elena to stop the ancient from rising and destroying the world. The twist is that the ancient is Raphael’s mother who went into sleep thousands of years ago, and now seems intent on killing Elena.
The murders begin with an attack on a school in which two young girls are killed. Elena and Raphael are called to the scene to help track down not only the rogue vampire, but also the malevolent forces behind the act. This task turns out to be much more complicated then it first seems. While the existing ruling archangels continue to vie for power, the awakening archangel adds to the confusion, throwing the fragile equilibrium into chaos. Elena and Raphael continue to follow one step behind the murders in an attempt to stop the vampires and their masters before they destroy the world.
I started this book with trepidation. After reading the first two books, I found that the first was spectacular, and the second was good – the reason why I started this one with a little bit of worry. Series can be hard to maintain, especially when they involve the same main characters. The books of a series can often fall short on character development in the face of creating a plot for the next in the series. Characters tend to become cardboard cutouts merely traversing different and varying plot dilemmas.
I was disappointed to find that Archangel’s Consort falls into the latter category. The romantic relationship between Elena and Raphael was dynamic in the first two books, but falls flat here. Their relationship remains stagnant – it lacks both intimacy and the conflicts that create better, stronger ties. However, where the book fails in characterization, it excels in plot. The story is snappy and moves along quickly. As anyone who has read the first two books knows, there is a fair amount of fighting, killing, and gore. I like Elena and I think she’s a great heroine to follow. She’s quick witted and ballsy, and her interactions with other characters are most often fast-paced and entertaining. Paradoxically, however, her exchanges with Raphael are a yawn-fest.
Still, overall, I enjoyed the novel. I applaud Singh for taking on the task of creating a series around a recurring heroine and hero, and where she falls short on character she more than makes up in plot. I will say that there were some poignantly romantic moments between Elena and Raphael that helped to fill in some of the gaps I thought were missing in their relationship. I will probably read the next in the series, but I’m hoping for a bit better read than Archangel’s Consort.