Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh

**Warning** There are going to be spoilers for the first two books, Angels' Blood and Archangel's Kiss, which can't be avoided.

First of all, this cover is absolutely stunning. I found myself staring at it for several minutes. I think it captures Elena beautifully and think that this series continues to have some of the best covers out there.

Title: Archangel’s Consort
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunters, Book 3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 25, 2011

After the devastating events in Beijing, Guild Hunter Elena and her Archangel, Raphael, have returned home to New York. Elena doesn’t expect her return to be easy, after all she is the first angel-Made in the even not-so-recent history of angels. She’s determined to reclaim her place in her city, but knows that there will be a period of adjustment.

What she doesn’t expect is for the world to be under onslaught of terrible natural disasters, where the ground shakes, the waters crash and the winds blow cutting ice. Then shortly after their return vampires begin descending into bloodlust that’s too intelligent to not be calculated. When Raphael shows signs of a foreign rage, the signs are only too clear.

An Ancient rises from Sleep, and the madness gripping the city, and the world, begins to carry the hint of a scent – whispering the name Caliane. Raphael fears his mother will rise as insane as he last saw her, but even more worrying is the knowledge that only one being stands in the way of Caliane reclaiming the son she used to sing lullabies for—Elena.

Elena definitely doesn’t receive an easy acceptance by Raphael’s Seven, even after all she’s been through with her Archangel and his most trusted. She’s still struggling to find her place, and earn their respect. I really enjoyed seeing her continue to work at this. She fights for the right to be by Raphael’s side, and even if some of the Seven are reluctant in giving her their respect, she’s definitely earned mine.

Raphael continues to fascinate me. He’s absolute, powerful, beautiful, utterly immortal with a new vein of mortal consciousness from Elena. Even while his love for her is so wonderfully apparent, he is still autocratic – expecting to be obeyed. But this doesn’t stand in the way of Elena calling him on it, and him examining his own decisions – and her feelings on them. He’s willing to make compromise for the one who holds his heart, and, from Raphael, that is incredibly sexy.

Their relationship continues to grow, to bloom, with them both fighting – sometimes with each other – to give themselves the strong foundation that they need to thrive with each other. I loved seeing each little development, each bit of trust given and accepted. Elena and Raphael are both so strong, unused to relying on others, that to witness them beginning to not only acknowledge, but count on each other, was striking.

I’ve spoken a lot about Elena, Raphael and their relationship. The reason is that I feel this book, even more so than the last two, focuses on them. Yes, there are external things happening in the world, and that aspect of the story definitely doesn’t suffer, but each one of them serves to also further develop these two that I’ve come to love so much.

The events that take place strive to break open old wounds in both Elena and Raphael. They must face even more of their past, breaking themselves open to each other in order to stand stronger together. Elena has to face the difficulties of coming back to her city so changed that she’s stared at, an anomaly, an oddity. Then her family, her father, are suddenly entering back into her life for reasons that hit entirely too close to home. Raphael struggles with the conflicting memories of his mother, struggling against the knowledge that if she has returned still mad he will most likely have to be the one to carry out the execution. As the deaths, and rages, continue to mount, both of them must prepare to face things they never expected.

The last thing that I want to mention is the simple grace that Nalini Singh writes with. With a few words she can convey the beauty of angels flying, the darkness of storms that threaten to overtake the world, and the heart-wrenching reality of facing histories long thought buried.

And, fear not, there’s plenty of Dmitri, Illium, Aodhan and even some Venom. I can’t wait to read more about them, and am greatly looking forward to Dmitri’s book, Archangel’s Blade (isn’t that a sexy title?) due to come out in September 2011.

Archangel’s Consort just added another layer to the love I have for this series. It’s a wonderfully deep addition to Elena and Raphael’s story that is absolutely not to be missed. Nalini Singh continues to enchant and exceed expectations. If you haven’t yet started this series, I urge you to go pick up all three books and dive in.

Grade: A

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | nook | kobo | Borders eBook | Sony | Book Depository | Berkley Sensation

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