For What It's Worth

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter)
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…
A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer, vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders. The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.
An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…. (Adult, PNR)

 Warning: There are minor spoilers from the previous two books in the series. You really to need to read them both before starting Archangel’s Consort

This is the third book in the Guild Hunter series, and last to feature Elena & Raphael. Much has changed since their first meeting. Elena is now a made angel – the first and only of her kind. Raphael, Archangel of NY and partner to Elena struggles with his desire to protect and control her, yet not cage in her free spirit.
This book is a bit of a departure from the first two. Elena and Raphael’s relationship and power struggles take center stage. I like how their relationship was written. Singh never breaks either’s spirit but we’re not bound by endless whining from either side. They fight, they compromise and they love each other. It’s a give and take. It’s never easy with these two and that’s ok.
The “big bad” comes in the form of a rising ancient, possibly Raphael’s mother Caliane and she doesn’t find Elena worthy of her son. That puts Elena in a great deal of danger and Raphael in the unenviable position of choosing between his consort and a child’s love for his mother, despite her cruelty to him.
There were a lot of layers in Archangel’s Consort. Raphael is tempted by the darkness and madness that consumed both his parents. Both he and Elena have to confront their families and their violent pasts. Elena struggles to fit in as an angel and remain a hunter. For me it didn’t always work. Raphael’s descent into madness and the threat from his mother never really felt fully realized to me. I’m not sure I ever really worried about either.  I mostly felt like a fly on the wall for Elena & Raphael's most intimate discussions and actions throughout the book. The real action doesn't take place until the last third of the book. Archangel's Consort is more of a relationship book and if you love the couple - you'll love the book.
The next book in the Guild Hunter series will be focused on Dmitri so there was a bit of setup for the future characters. In so many of these series the development of future books takes over the current storyline. That didn’t happen here. Through Elena’s interactions with Raphael’s seven, we get glimpses of their tortured pasts just enough to peak our interest but not enough to disrupt the flow of the existing story. I know Illium and Dmitri are fan faves, however I was most intrigued by Jason but I’ll be reading them all.
I have one peeve with Singh’s writing of Elena & Raphael. The use of the term “Archangel” and “the Archangel of NY”. I get it; it makes sense why Elena calls him that versus Raphael and it shows her vulnerability to this powerful man but it is so overused. I had a friend that stopped reading the series because it drove her so crazy. At least Raphael alternates between “hunter/ my hunter” and Elena. It’s almost too worshipy (new word) even though I know the context in which she’s using it. Either way, Elena uses the word/phrase almost constantly and it is just said way too many times for me.

Rating: I’m doing a weird rating for this one. 4 out of 4 for the Raphael and Elena relationship. It’s beautiful and sweet and fully developed – a nice conclusion if you’ve followed their story from the beginning. However…a 2.5 out of 4 for overall plot. The danger didn’t really worry me in any way, I would have liked to have seen more of a threat to our daring duo and to Raphael’s sanity.

Author's website:
Source: Borrowed from Supernatural Snark (Thanks Jenny!!)
Buy the book! Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter)


  1. I've noticed that about Singh's books lately. Her last 2-3 Psi/changeling novels I've read had pretty low stakes and virtually now threat.

    I'm waiting for my copy of Consort to arrive, but I fear Ms. Singh may be losing her touch. :( I've already written off the psi/changeling series. Hopefully she starts being mean to her characters again.

  2. yeah, I'm with you there. The relationship parts were awesome, and I thought the suspense building through the first half (or more maybe) of the book was pretty good...then comes the final showdown, which basically amounted to nothing.

  3. haven't read this series at all. But great review

  4. Nice rating, it does say a lot :) I am unsure about this series, I mean I am not wohoo over her psy books

  5. Ilium and Dmitri are fan favorites for a reason. 'Tis all I'll say.