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- Listening Length: 9 hours and 44 minutes
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- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: June 28, 2010
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- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B003VXGAES
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Archangel's Kiss: Guild Hunter, Book 2 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Raphael has taken her to the angel's Refuge, where she heals and trains to use her new body. She hasn't lost her hunter born abilities, so she hopes to eventually go back to her Guild Hunter duties. She keeps in touch with her best friend Sara, director of the Guild, and Deacon, Sara's weapons master hubby, who works on some new weapons to fit her new body with wings. Her training and snarky interactions with Raphael's Seven (his top lieutenants who help him to run his holdings) are humorous at times. With the exception of Illium, the blue winged angel we met in Angels Blood, the Seven do not approve of Elena. Although Raphael has ordered them to protect her, they view her as a weakness for their Master. It was also funny seeing Illium's flirtings with Elena, and Raphael's jealous "MINE" responses. I was intrigued to learn more about the Seven and hope to see more of them in future books. I'd love to see a books focused on Illium, Jason and Dmitri. They are my favs. Illium especially...I'd like him to find his HEA.
Elena as a character is very interesting. She's a strong woman who went through a traumatic experience as a child and who is estranged from her family as a result of that experience. No 'mary sue' character, she struggles as she grows in her new body and surroundings, and her struggles make her that much more interesting. She also is challenged with her relationship with Raphael, who is so much older and stronger. She will not become a pet, and seeks to find equal ground between them. One of the strongest beings on the planet and a member of the Cadre of Ten, Raphael is used to getting what he wants. He is not only powerful, he is cruel and vicious at times. With her human heart in an immortal body, Elena is adapting to being surrounded by predators. Elena makes Raphael more human in his love for her.
The plot primarily revolves around what's going on the Refuge--Elena's training as well as a series of kidnappings. The kidnapping and torture of the victims are suspected to be done by a powerful angel hoping to be able to join the Cadre of Ten. There are also suspicious actions that seem like someone is trying to turn Archangels against each other, and upset the inner workings of the Cadre. Elena is targeted as pawn in these actions, trying to pit Raphael against Michaela. Of course, Michaela can't stand Elena anyway and has already targeted her on her own. Elena is involved in the hunt for the perpetrators as they try to determine who is behind the attacks.
Meanwhile, the worries about Lijuan, the oldest and most powerful of the Archangels, continue. Jason, Raphael's spymaster, reports that she is growing her army of the reborn dead. When Lijuan invites Elena and Raphael, as well as the Cadre to her home for a ball, they must take the opportunity to face her even at the high risk to themselves. Lijuan has a nasty surprise for Elena, and the identity of the angel behind the attacks comes to light.
If you've read Singh's Psy Changeling books, her Guild Hunter series is darker...especially so with this book. If you like darker paranormal romance books like Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, you'll enjoy this series. Raphael is the ultimate alpha and the dark plotlines, intriguing characters, and disturbing enemies will pull you in. Only area for improvement for me was the battle scene at the end. Seems there should have been a bit more to it. But that's really a minor thing. All in all, I love this series--couldn't put it down. Definite keepers!
Other books in the series:
Angels' Blood - book one, full length novel
Must Love Hellhounds - anthology focused on characters from book one
Angels' Pawn: A Companion Novella to Angels? Blood - novella
If you are on the hunt for more books like this, check out my list of paranormal romance and urban fantasy favorites...
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I like Elena and although I find the way their romance went from 0 to 100 a tad unbelievable, it still sits okay with me. My biggest pet peeve in most books are a romance between a girl barely out of her teens and a creature that has lived 100s of years. I find it unbelievable that someone that old would find anything interesting or different in these young girls that most books insist on pairing them with. I don't know why but something in this connection is a little more believable then most. I don't know if it's because she's slightly older or if because she had a tragedy in her past but I believe at least a little that this 1000year old angel could love this women.
I liked this book better then the previous one. I liked the glimpses into the seven's psyche. I liked seeing the refuge. I was very interested in learning more about Raphael's past and Elena tragic past. I'm very excited to read the next one.
I finally took the plunge with Nalini Singh's urban fantasy series earlier this summer and was super excited to dive back into this fascinating angel-fueled world. The last time readers saw Elena, she had just been turned into an angel by her lover, Raphael, which has now made them a target. Archangel's Kiss continues Elena and Raphael's story while diving deeper into the mysteries surrounding the Cadre of Ten. While it was not as engrossing as its prequel, I really enjoyed this book and am anticipating the next one.
Elena continues to be an admirable heroine especially since this book forces her to readjust her entire being. Her journey in this particular story involves learning to be an angel as well as learning some of the finer points of angelic politics. I liked the training scenes since they allowed her spirit to shine through while also showing how she deals with adversity. Raphael is still a ruthless, overprotective, alpha, but he allowed Elena to learn some of his secrets including how vulnerable he is around her. I thought this book really helped make him a more sympathetic character though he is far from a cuddly, super-romantic.
Elena and Raphael's romance was an important aspect of Archangel's Kiss though it did feel like it got shoved to the background at times. They have things they need to work through in order to be a strong couple, but their interactions show that they are moving towards a happy ending. My favorite scenes between them were the ones where they just sat around the Refuge and talked. They are getting more comfortable with one another outside of the bedroom which is always a good sign.
I thought the biggest development in this book was the way that Nalini Singh amped up the world building. Readers already knew about the Cadre of Ten, but now Elena is interacting with them and seeing how they work as a governing body. Elijah and Hannah seem like they will be good allies while Michaela and Lijuan are just plain terrifying. I also loved getting to know more about Raphael's Seven especially Illium, Dimitri, Jason, and Venom. I can see a ton of great stories coming out of these characters and look forward to reading them.
Archangel's Kiss is an important installment in the Guild Hunter series though it does suffer from "middle book syndrome". The character development and world building continue to be impressive while the romance develops nicely. I do wish the love story hadn't gotten lost in the greater plot, but it was still entertaining and has me begging for more.