Angels’ Blood is the first novel in the Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh (my review of Angels’ Pawn, an additional novella, is here). It’s a paranormal romance.
Elena is the star vampire hunter of the Guild, the organisation which tries to keep a balance between Angels and Vampires. One day, she gets hired by Raphael, the Archangel of New York. [The Archangels are more powerful than regular angels.] But instead of a regular vampire hunting, she’s supposed to look for an Archangel. That Elena is very attracted to Raphael makes everything only more dangerous – he is not human after all.
I enjoyed Angels’ Blood. Though I didn’t devour it as the Psy-Changeling series, I liked the characters and especially the world. Plus, I didn’t see the ending coming as it was, although it was really perfect.
Although this cover is better than the Psy-Changeling covers, I was wondering about it. It is mentioned quite a few times that Elena has almost white hair but dark skin – why is there a white model on this cover? Was that really necessary? There are so few people of colour in novels anyway, now you finally have one and the cover is whitewashed?
[SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS]
As usual, I can only praise Nalini Singh’s world building. It’s consistent, makes sense and is very intriguing. She doesn’t give all away, leaving the field wide open for discussion and further exploration, but she’s never withholding too much information, so you don’t get frustrated.
The idea of the angels as cold, ruthless and power-hungry is not new, but I do find it very interesting.
I liked the characters – especially the secondary ones. It will be interesting to see on who the next book focusses.
And now, to finish things off a little rant about a detail:
The only thing that seriously irked me about it was this: the Angels can get into people’s minds and do so frequently. Raphael doesn’t have a problem with going into Elena’s head, but she does [Surprise!]. In any case, he stops when she asks him to, but a couple of chapters later, he makes her kiss him, without realising that he is in her head. Elena notices that it’s not her thoughts she’s thinking, is seriously pissed and says that it was like he raped her.
I completely subscribe to the notion that forcefully entering somebody’s mind is akin to rape (and I am very happy that stuff like this doesn’t happen in the real world). That’s not where my problem lies. My problem is this: Rape is horrible, it’s violent, it’s a show of power, it’s a breach of trust – all of which applies in this case. And yet, that Raphael “didn’t do it on purpose” makes the whole thing go away. And that is not okay.
Rape in any form is a trauma and should be dealt with as such. If a guy rapes me without noticing that he does, I’m still being raped. I still have to deal with the trauma and the fact that I was raped. My reaction most certainly won’t be “oh, but he didn’t mean to do it, so that’s alright”.
Singh draws this parallel to rape and then leaves the whole issue unresolved, giving Raphael and Elena their happy ending and never mentions the whole thing again. And that is not okay.
Although I have to admit that it probably would and does happen like this in real life, too, when a supression mechanism kicks in which is fuelled by the cultural notions we have about rape and what rape is. So, I’m not very angry at Singh herself, but I wanted to point that out.