I borrowed audio copies of book one and two of Nalini Singh‘s Guild Hunter series (Angel’s Blood and Archangel’s Kiss) through Hoopla and my local library.
Description through Goodreads:
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.
The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.
This is a hard book to rate because though it was OK, it’s basically 10 years old and we readers demand a lot more out of our PNR now than we did 10 years ago, especially from the hero. And some of my biggest complaints about this book are things that I think authors do better about now (the publishing industry allows them to do better about). It’s a little impolite to judge a book written a decade ago by the standards of today, but my enjoyment was definitely effected by them. Hmmm….
So, the good. I liked Elena. She was a professional, good at what she did and strong without being a consistently rude (so many times authors try and write a strong woman an just write and angry bitch). I think the lore of the angels and vampires was an interesting one. All in all, I like the idea of the book and the narrator, Justine Eyre, did a fine job.
The bad. There isn’t any romance. I saw lust between these two characters and I understood it, no problem. But they didn’t even seem to like each other, let alone love. And the power divide between the two was too gaping to be crossed, IMO. I couldn’t see that Elena could or would ever be an equal in the relationship. What’s more, the sex was the sort that’s hot, but reads as if female bodies are made of steel and have to be jackhammered into. I cringed.
The really bad. I cannot even count how many times I have written reviews in which I point out that the single other significant female in the book, other than the main character, is the jealous woman who uses her sexuality as a weapon and tries to steal a man. This plot device is so common that (though I couldn’t have articulated it) I mimicked it in writing in my very first attempt to write a story at age 10. Of course, I didn’t understand sexuality then, but the character I wrote had all the trademarks of the angry, jealous, vixen that can’t be trusted. Can we maybe stop feeding women the idea that other women can’t be trusted? I’m SO sick of seeing this in books.
I’ll try book two. But if it’s not an improvement on this first book, I won’t read more. I imagine by 2009 standards it was a fine book, but by those of 2019 not so much.
Description from Goodreads:
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel, Raphael, is used to being in control—especially when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority.
They’ve barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel, Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena.
Oh look, the requisite book where the hero takes the heroine and buys her a pretty dress. The cliches just keep coming. The book also continues the evil woman trend. There are three significant females, other than the heroine and her best friend—who are of course perfect (and I wouldn’t consider the friend significant)—and they are all evil. Every one.
The plot was pretty obvious, both what would happen and who the villain(s) would be. It was tedious. I also just plain got tired of every man Elena spoke to hitting on her, even as they told her they’d happily kill her. Between all the innuendo with the other angels and vampires and the sex with Raphael I bored quickly.
It’s a shame. I like the idea of this series, but I’m not interested in reading anymore of it. I basically couldn’t get done with this one fast enough, so I could walk away.