Desert Isle Keeper
First things first. If you haven’t read Angels’ Blood, the first book in this series, then stop reading this review. Go out and get it. Read it. Then come back. Because seriously, you don’t want to miss a single word of this series, which I think is even cooler than her Psy-Changelings.
Nalini Singh’s angel series takes place in a re-imagined earth where angels, vampires, hunters, and humans co-exist in a fine and delicate balance of power. Humans are at the bottom, vampires and angels one step up, and the ruling archangels at the top. The Guild Hunters hunt down any rogue vampires and return them to their angelic masters, and Elena Deveraux used to be one of the best. But fate – and some pretty life-changing events in the last book – has thrown her several curveballs.
First, she’s gained a soul mate who happens to be Raphael, the archangel of New York and the effective ruler of North America. Second, Elena just woke up from a year-long coma with a totally new body that she has to get used to – and it’s not easy. Third, the oldest archangel in the world is getting bored and has learned to raise the dead, amassing an army of reborn with the potential to cause mass genocide. Fourth, someone is wreaking havoc in the angel Refuge, murdering vampires and abducting children. And finally – ‘cause clearly that’s not enough on her plate – Elena’s awakening into a new corporal form has resurrected long-suppressed memories of her family’s tragedies at the hands of a serial killer almost twenty years earlier.
This second entry takes the series to a whole new level. I raced through the book in one sitting, barely stopping for a meal, and I can only wish that I could go back and read it with fresh eyes. The plotting is complicated but well balanced, descending into minor confusion only at the very end. I can’t wait to see where Ms. Singh goes next.
But really, the book is about Elena and Raphael. I found the previous book captivating but problematic, particularly in Elena and Raphael’s love story, although the ending was killingly, achingly romantic. But here the two lead characters have an opportunity to actually be with each other, rather than kill each other all the time and, even though both have to make major adjustments, they do so creditably. We also find out more about their pasts and it is a marvel that both, especially Raphael, have stayed as humane as they are. And man oh man, their attraction is off the charts.
When it comes to a series like this, you have to be generous with character growth and stingy with revelations, pacing their deliveries. As much as I might criticize Ms. Singh for some of her Psy-Changeling characters, I’ve never complained about the reach of her vision, and here she provides fascinating characters to boot. Archangel’s Kiss is the second book in a series that may not be conceptually bold, but it is passionate, imaginative, compelling, and enthralling. I cannot wait for the rest of the series.