Book Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Posted June 3, 2022 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Alternative History
Published by Berkley on February 2, 2010
Pages: 341
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel’s Enigma, Shards of Hope, “Fairy Balloons”, "An Unexpected Guest”, Allegiance of Honor, "The Song of the Wolf", Silver Silence, Archangel’s Heart, Archangel’s Viper, Ocean Light, "Elena's School of Horror", Cherish Hard, "Ain’t No Party Like A Bear Party", Archangel's Prophecy, "One Night At The Refuge", "Secret Things", Rebel Hard, Rock Hard, Wolf Rain, "Clean and Dirty", "Wolf School", "Naya’s Most Important Visitors", "Grocery Shopping", "A Gift for Kit", "Movie Night", "Kaleb and Sahara’s Meeting with Sascha and Lucas", "Housewarming at the Orchard", "Christmas in the Kitchen", "Stalking Hawke", "Romancing Drew", "Sunday Morning", "Rowan", "Baubles & Ben", Wild Embrace, Love Hard, Rock Addiction, "Music Awards", Rock Courtship , "Rock Courtship Memo"s, Rock Redemption, "Sunshine", Rock Wedding, "With This Memo", A Madness of Sunshine, "Beary Tiny Ghosts", Alpha Night, "A Wedding Breakfast", "Poker Night", "Knives and Sheaths", "Seedlings", "Star Kissed", "A Walk on the Cliffs", "Wild Cat Blues", Slave to Sensation, Caressed by Ice, Visions of Heat, Kiss Hard, Angels' Blood, Archangel's War

Second in the Guild Hunter alternative history, paranormal romance series and revolving around Elena Deveraux, a hunter born. It’s been a year since Angels’ Blood, 1.

In 2011, Archangel’s Kiss won the All About Romance (AAR) Annual Reader Poll for Most Kickass Heroine and the DABWAHA Romance Tournament for Best Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy.

My Take

You’ll never look at angels the same way again. Makes me think of Faith Hunter’s Thorn St. Croix, a.k.a. Rogue Mage — the angels are similar. Tension, awe, fear, horror, sex. There’s more sex in Guild Hunter though.

The Seven HATE Elena. While they are interesting individuals with unique backgrounds and their own character arcs, they each see her as a weakness, making their archangel a little bit mortal. They’d willingly see her dead.

Meanwhile, Elena is much too tough to knuckle under to anyone. Although it’s a bit humiliating to have to go to classes with angel children. She has such nightmares and a father who hates her so much. It’s quite the character arc as Elena remembers more of those dark times . . . along with the good.

Raphael has his own nightmares, particularly his father’s and mother’s madness. The madness that left a young angel broken in a field. Nor are Raphael’s parents that only ones to suffer madness, just ask Jason about his horrors. I think Aodhan has the most intense character arc, so far. Naasir has his own unique horrors, and I do love him. He has such a straightforward view of the world, lol.

Children are considered a gift, sacrosanct, and yet viciousness amongst the archangels is acceptable. Part of that meanness comes from boredom, and I think Raphael has the best approach to preventing boredom — Elena is his salvation.

Okay, no. Just no. Elena blames herself for the attack on her family. But she warned her father several times, and he refused to listen. Despite what we later learn from Jeffrey. Jerk!!

Kidnappings, betrayals, attacks, training, determination, demands that Elena be killed, Michaela’s attempts to slap Elena down, reliving Elena’s nightmare, and then there’s Lijuan’s “evolution”. Enough to make you puke!

Singh primarily uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view from the perspectives of Elena and Raphael with plenty of action that is part character-driven and part character types.

It’s an easy read and quite compelling in its storyline.

The Story

Raphael’s new interest is waking from her year-long coma to find herself changed. Physically weak, Elena Devereaux is as stubborn as ever, for she has never done well with authority, no matter how powerful.

It’s a whole new world for Elena, of perspectives and politics. She must be ready for the horrors in Beijing when that invitation comes from Zhou Lijuan, an Ancient without conscience, with a power over the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…

The Characters

Elena “Ellie” Deveraux, a former mortal, is now an angel made (Angels’ Blood, 1). Marguerite, Mirabelle, and Ariel had been greatly loved by Ellie; now they’re her (second) greatest nightmare. Beth is the sister who survived.

The Tower is . . .
. . . Raphael‘s, the Archangel of New York, command center in New York City. The Seven are Raphael’s most trusted team and include Dmitri, a vampire who is Raphael’s best friend and second-in-command; the cheerful, blue-winged Illium, a.k.a. Bluebell, with a minor yet useful talent; the black-winged Jason, who is Raphael’s spymaster and a beautiful singer; the unique Naasir; based in the Refuge, Galen is his weaponsmaster (and married to Jessamy); the glittering, artistic Aodhan; and, the viperish Venom, who is a vampire. The angels Raphael has placed in command of various areas of North America include the vicious Nazarach, who rules Atlanta.

Keir is the healer of angels. Noel had been one of Raphael’s vampires. Archangel Nadiel, an Ancient, had been Raphael’s father who went insane. Caliane, Raphael’s mother and an archangel, also went nuts and then into Sleep.

Holly Chang (Angels’ Blood) is neither vampire nor mortal.

The Refuge is . . .
. . . the home base for all angels, where their children are raised. The crippled Jessamy teaches the children, who include Sameon “Sam“. Jessamy is also the depository of angelic knowledge. The Hummingbird is Illium’s damaged mother. Aloysius had been four hundred-and-ten.

The Cadre of Ten are . . .
. . . all the archangels in the world, each commanding a part of our world. The gorgeous but vicious Michaela. Riker, a vicious vampire, is Michaela’s favorite guard. Elijah, the Archangel of South America, appears to be ethical; his Consort, Hannah, is an artist. Charisemnon, the Archangel of North Africa, is a pedophile.

Zhou Lijuan, the Archangel of China, is the oldest of them all. And creating the reborn. Phillip, a.k.a. the Shade, is Lijuan’s favored vampire. Lijuan can share power with her people, including General Xi. Adrian was the best of Lijuan’s reborn.

Astaad, the Archangel of the Pacific Isles, has a harem. The cruel Dahariel is Astaad’s second-in-command. Maya, one of Jason’s spies, has worked her way into Dahariel’s household.

Neha is the Archangel of India as well as the Queen of Vipers, Poisons, Snakes. Eris is Neha’s imprisoned consort. Anoushka is their daughter. Thomas.

The Hunters Guild is . . .
. . . led in the US by Sara Haiz, Elena’s best friend. Sara is married to Deacon, a former Slayer and now a renowned weaponsmaster. Zoe is their baby girl. Slayer is their huge dog. The hunters include the prescient Ashwini.

Erotique is an exclusive Manhattan club for vampires. Geraldine had been Jeffrey’s secretary. Slater Patalis, a serial-killer vampire, is Elena’s greatest nightmare. Germaine is the vampire who betrayed Raphael and was the example in Times Square. Uram had been an archangel gone mad, bloodborn (Angels’ Blood). Bill James was a hunter who went mad. The Made are humans who have become vampires; they must serve out their Contract for 100 years. Antonicus is one of the archangels who Sleep.

The Cover and Title

The cover is split down the middle between blacks and yellows. On the left, the white-haired Elena is crouched on the top of a building, wearing black leather pants, a black tank top, and her forearm sheathes, her dark wings uplifted behind her. On the right is a cloudy sky of deep gray-yellows to brilliant yellow over a mountainous landscape below which is a Beijing skyline. At the very top is an info blurb in white with the author’s name immediately below it. Below Elena’s thigh is the series info in white with the title in an ornate red with gray shadowing.

The title refers back to Angel’s Blood when that Archangel’s Kiss made this story possible.

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