Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter, #1) by Nalini Singh

Published March 3rd 2009 by Berkley, Mass Market Paperback, 339 pages, ISBN-13: 9780425226926

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: I had a very hard time putting down this book. Singh created an alternate world where vampires mix with humans and it’s just fact. But the twist is one I enjoyed very much. Angels rule over vampires, and archangels rule them all. The Quadre of Ten is made up of ten archangels, posted all over the world, and rule. Archangels are born, not made. Angels are one step up from vampires. Now, vampires aren’t ‘turned’. Humans petition archangels to be ‘Made’. Their lives are scrutinized, background checks, etc… to see if they qualify. If they are, then the process begins. Some make it through the transition, some die. Regardless, those humans who are accepted are made to sign a contract: they owe 100 years to their maker in complete subjugation. Should a vampire feel that they’ve served enough, they leave, effectively going ‘rogue’. And that’s where the Guild Hunters come in.

Hunters are hired by angels to go after the vampires that have taken off before their 100 years of servitude. Hunters find the vampires, bring them back to the angels and receive payment for services rendered.

Elena Deveraux is a hunter, and one of the best. Born ready, she can use their scent to track them down, making her one of the best hunters there are. She can tract wayward vamps anywhere. But being the best has its drawbacks; Archangel Raphael wants and needs the best, and has hired Elena through the Guild.

One of the Quadre of Ten has gone rogue; Uram has succumbed to his bloodlust, and if the world doesn’t want a repeat of the Dark Ages, Uram must be stopped – at all costs. Elena cannot scent archangels, but she can scent Uram – because he has gone rogue, he is emitting an acidic scent. But archangels and angels have an advantage: they have wings and can fly, making them harder to track.

Elena knows that failure is not an option, for failure means certain death. She may be scared to death of Raphael, of all archangels, but she cannot let a killing spree move forward.

But things become complicated, for Raphael finds Elena an enigma, and now he wants her for himself. And the more time they spend together, the harder it is to ignore what’s happening between them.

The author created a fabulous world that comes across completely believable, as if this is the way the world is now. Her writing fluid, you get swept up into the story and find it very hard to put down. The characters seem very real; the banter between Elena and Raphael is something I enjoyed the most in this book. The plot is great, with the subtle twists that get thrown in (like archangels having different powers; some being able to become completely invisible, etc…), watching all the characters interact make for very entertaining and sometimes intense scenes.

I did find a few things that got to be annoying, but it wasn’t overpowering enough to make me stop reading. Elena is a human-born tracker, and because she chose being a hunter as her profession, her father disowned her completely from the family, being told that she would have to crawl and beg to be able to return to the family. Elena refuses to back down or crawl for anyone, and constantly being reminded of it, including when she talks to Raphael about being no one’s toy, it got to be a little obnoxious. And no matter how you put it all together, you get glimpses of something that happened in the past, but not enough to really get the picture, to really understand her past, and it’s one that she refuses to talk about, no matter how many times Raphael asks. Those glimpses, without explanations, was getting rather annoying, and I hope we finally get the entire thing.

And still, even with the annoying parts, watching Elena and Raphael fall in love, the tracking of Uram, their final fight scene, what we believe to be Elena’s death – the book is fantastic! I balled my head off when I believed Elena to be dead.

An excellent first novel to a new series, and I absolutely recommend it.

Rating:

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