Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Redonk Nutshell: Hunter-turned-angel Elena struggles to find her footing with her new status amid the threat of her consort’s covetous fellow Archangels

Book two in the Guardian Hunter series wins the award for “less cheesiest cover.”  In fact, I think this cover is kind of badass.  I can’t say that about any of the others, unfortunately.

Archangel’s Kiss picks up more or less right off where book one left us, plot-wise.  Elena wakes after a year-long coma to find that she’s not a) dead (yay!) and b) a vampire.  Instead, she’s sporting a pair of kickin hot wings.  Turns out her dear Raphael managed to turn her into an angel, a rare, if not unheard of, concept.  Which makes Elena one hot commodity.  And a huge target to Raphael’s enemies.

The main conflict in this book is the rising distortion of power of the Archangel of China, who has been reanimating the dead.  Lujian, the aforementioned villan, isn’t necessarily your average evildoer.  In fact, she’s not always bad.  She’s just a bit…off, a common side effect of having lived thousands of years.

Lujian invites Raphael & his consort to her Bejing home, a cunning dare disguised as a ball.  Elena works her butt off to re-train her newly formed body.  What we get is a lovely treat of some familiar faces, recurring supporting characters that demand our individual attention.  There’s Illium, the stunning blue winged angel with a charming sense of humor. Venom, the vicious and poisonous vampire with snake like eyes and movements. Galen, the grey winged angel that re-trains Elena with her blades. Jason, the dark and mysterious tattooed angel who serves as Raphael’s spymaster. Aodhan, the quiet and diamond like angel that doesn’t like to be touched.  And of course, Dmitri, Raphael’s right hand and confidante, a vampire several hundred years old that is constantly tormenting Elena.

The main points of book two are 1) Elena’s recuperation and 2) Lujian’s confrontation by the Cadre of Ten.  For some people, the focus of Elena’s orientation into immortality may drag or seem boring. I saw it as time well spent among Raphael’s infamous Seven. We get glimpses into their lives and their pasts, as well as delving into the horrific event that shaped Elena into who she is today.  Generally, the dark and morose tone continues on from book one, but this time Elena is an immortal.

And of course, there’s Raphael.  The pompous, gorgeous, and utterly terrifying Archangel that is slowly but surely evolving into something altogether different with his love for Elena.  It’s lovely to watch.  Hilarious, even, at times.

I enjoyed book two.  In fact, it deepened my affection for the series as a whole.   Jammed packed with action, humor, and some super smutty angel-time, Archangel’s Kiss makes a great sophomore book to the Guild Hunter series.

Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh, 323 pgs, 2/2/10

Rating: B

Romance: 3/5      Raunch: 3.5/5

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