Serena’s Review: “Angels’ Blood”

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Book: “Angels’ Blood” by Nalini Singh

Publishing Info: Berkley Sensation, March 2009

Where Did I Get this Book: from the library!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she’s the best—but she doesn’t know if she’s good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option…even if the task is impossible.

Because 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…

Review: A new book, a new chance to find a decent urban fantasy series to follow, as many of my previous go-to’s have ended. Also per the usual, what a terrible, terrible cover. I don’t get it. Do the publishers want to produce books that have the sorts of covers that make readers embarrassed to be seen reading the book in public? Honestly, it just seems like a losing strategy all around. If it’s a money thing, I can’t imagine that a simple, plain cover with a basic decal (say angel wings, for a book like this) would cost much more. And voila! A book that you can read in the airport without getting side-eyed (not that I approve of judging of others’ books, but in all honesty, we know it happens). Anyways, on with the review.

Elena has created for herself a straight-forward life. While tragedy and horror lie in her past, she’s determined that her future should be one where her skills as a vampire hunter are put to good use and she can return to the quiet, comfortable, solitary apartment that is her home. But when her most recent job comes down from one of the most powerful beings in the city, perhaps even the world, the archangel Raphael, she sees only disorder and danger ahead. Now, she’s not only working for an archangel, but she’s been put on the path of tracking down another rogue archangel, one so powerful that he could level entire cities.

First off, I want to warn any potential readers who may pick up this book after reading this review, this is definitely one of those urban fantasies that falls solidly within the “paranormal romance” genre as well. This may be right up some readers’ alleys, but for others who are looking for a strict urban fantasy, this one definitely contains some pretty graphic romantic scenes and such. So, if that’s your thing, great! But if you want a more traditional urban fantasy, this might not be it.

That said, as an urban fantasy story, I do think it’s pretty good! One of the things I always look for in urban fantasy is a unique take on the paranormal elements. Often these types of book include similar fantasy elements and beings. You see a lot of vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, angels (more recently), witches, etc. That being the case, it can be a challenge for an author to make their take on these classic creatures stand out. And I think Singh really excels at this. Here, she’s created a very interesting mythos that ties the angels and vampires together in a unique way. Not only does this differentiate these two paranormal species from others of the same sort seen on the page, but it creates a unique dynamic and internal society between the two.

Likewise, Elena’s hunter abilities are unique from other characters like her. She’s both very powerful in certain ways, but very human and limited in others. Of course, the make it or break it element of books like this often comes down to the main character, and I really liked what Elena had to offer. She was determined and brave, but she was also realistic about the impossible situations she often found herself in. Her bravery was not foolish, but more of the sort where she understands that putting on a tough face will likely not change the outcome, but it’s the only thing to be done to maintain her sense of self and self-respect. It was a very interesting internal dynamic, and an important one in the face of a romantic interest who was a very slow learner when it came to respecting his partner’s abilities.

Like many paranormal romances, I do think the romance faltered at times. I understand the supposed appeal of the supremely powerful, alpha hero. But Raphael did have scenes where I felt like this aspect of his character went too far and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. We do see him express regret for some of these choices later, so I was able to finish the book without entirely writing him off. But, again, this is an important thing to note for readers who are picking up this book and may have different levels of tolerance for some of this “dominance” stuff.

Overall, I think the world-building was incredibly interesting, and Elena was a very sympathetic leading lady. The author also chose an interesting path where she hinted at a lot of events that occurred in Elena and Raphael’s pasts, but didn’t reveal that much in this first book. All of that together, and I thin I’ll continue reading the series. My interest has definitely been piqued!

Rating 8: A solid urban fantasy/paranormal romance with a unique take on angels and vampires.

Reader’s Advisory:

“Angels’ Blood” can be found on these Goodreads lists: Best ADULT Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance and Kick Ass Female Heroines in Paranormal Genre.

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