Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh
(Guild Hunter #1)
Orion / Gollancz (2011)
Audiobook, 10 hrs & 29 mins
Carolyn’s Original Review: Feb 2011
Original Rating: 4.5/5
Carolyn’s Take: This is an amazing book – I loved the characters, the story, the writing – basically everything. I’m so glad it’s part of a series, and I already have books two and three in my possession – Yay! If you haven’t started this series yet, don’t wait as long as I did, go read it now!
I picked up Angels’ Blood as I knew Nalini Singh was one of Carolyn’s favourites books and had read her fab review of the book. I listened to it as an audiobook, and sometimes with an audiobook I don’t know if it’s the book I have issues with, or if it’s the narrator’s delivery of the story.
Singh has developed a really vivid and fascinating world ruled by beautiful and terrifying archangels. We have two great leads Elena the vampire hunter who can track vampires by smell and Raphael the Archangel of New York. Both of them strong, dark, and tough characters.
The backdrop to the story is the hunt for a mad and depraved supernatural killer. With her special tracking skills, Elena is recruited into help track the culprit down. The hunt is a gory, bloody one with plenty of tension and violence. There was no real mystery per-say, we’re well aware of who the murderer is from the onset, just a growing sense of foreboding as he grows in power and his acts become more depraved.
All good so far… My problem was that the book seemed to sink in the middle. The plot seemed to slow to a pace that I found myself getting bored and distracted. I felt like the investigation Elena was helping with didn’t pick up any real pace until the second half of the novel and because of this it fell slightly flat.
Then just when I wondered what all the fuss was about (I’ve seen so many reviews raving about this book), the climax began to build. Singh most definitely knows how to write a grand finale. The ending is thrilling, sad, romantic, violent and includes a great twist.
It took me a while to get into the potential relationship between Elena and Raphael, I thought they were both great characters in their own right, but it took me a while to buy into the chemistry. I didn’t like Raphael’s mind control abilities, and felt that this detracted from the relationship between them, making me irritated by him rather than finding him sexy at first. But, on the plus side, I thought his wings were fabulous and would so love to see them in real life, if only it wasn’t fiction!
I keep wondering if my frustration with the pace of the book was to do with the audiobook’s narrator, sometimes I do struggle with very American accents for example until I get used to their cadence. But if I think back to my review of Slave to Sensation, the first in Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, I had some of the same issues. Not really getting into the novel until the latter part of the story. So perhaps I struggle with Singh’s scene setting and writing style and it takes me until the second half of the story to really get used to it.
A mixed book for me, there were times when I struggled with the writing style and pace and the chemistry between the two main characters. But this was balanced by some great world building, strong rich characters and a really super finale. I have conflicting thoughts on Singh as an author, as I take a while to get into her writing. I do think I will pick up another of hers to try again, but I think this will be from her Psy-Changeling series which I preferred, although those sexy angel wings are tempting me!
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