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Book Review: Angels' Blood

In a world where angels and vampires exist, the world has been divided up amongst several dominant archangels. They are served by vampires. Vampires which only angels have the ability to make. But when a vampire goes rogue they call in the guild hunters. Enter Elena Deveraux–Guild Hunter extraordinaire. A hunter who has been born, not made. A hunter who can scent vampires with an unerring degree. When the head archangel of Manhattan, Raphael, contracts her to a secret job she enters a world of angels and vampires such that she’s ever known. Together, they must work to find an archangel gone bad… before that archangel becomes too powerful and destroys the world.

It’s a race against time and passion.

Several of my friends have recommended Nalini Singh to me and so during the never ending lockdown, I decided to check out the e-book from my local library. I’ve long been a fan of urban fantasy, going back to the 1980s… yes, I’m old. And while I liked the book, I’m not really sure it’s the best urban fantasy I’ve ever read.

But it’s nowhere near the worst. I mean, it’s not bad. I can definitely see influences from others in urban fantasy. The book has a lot of the same beats as many other Urban Fantasy novels that have come before. And definitely a lot of the same character archetypes and tropes. This book would appeal to those who like the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, but got sick of the ever expanding harem of doom.

The writing is okay. There are some places where I felt things were under described and I felt lost. And there were several places where I had to go back and reread because serious plot relevant information was sort of shoehorned in amongst a lot of other stuff.

I did like the characters for the most part. Elena is very very very reminiscent of a lot of heroines in the urban fantasy genre. She’s headstrong, with a broken family history, without a traumatic childhood event that shapes her, and whose pride often gets in the way of her common sense. If she sounds familiar, then congrats… you’ve read a lot of urban fantasy that has the “strong female” as its lead.

I was not a fan of Raphaël. And that’s actually the reason I’m really knocking this down a star. He was an alpha-a-hole. A character who is so far removed from humanity that he’s cruel and hurtful. Like he straight up mind-rapes Elena early on and is not the least upset over this. While there is some character growth throughout the book, there were too many times where he overstepped the bounds, IMHO, and he didn’t grovel nearly enough.

I think my favorite characters were probably Sara and Ransom, and I hope to see more of them as the series progresses. The story is entertaining as is the overall hunt for their quarry. It’s a fairly solid hunter pursues the hunted with a lot of politicking overtones behind it. But there were things about this that I did not like. While I know this was written prior to the Me Too movement I am very not fond of the hero being completely dismissive towards the heroine especially in their wants and desires. There’s some dubious consent in here and while it is rightfully called out in several places it’s not called out enough.

I also didn’t love the random British slang but kept slipping through the editing process. You would think that the publisher would have a better handle on that. Look I get it, this is an alternate universe.. but this is also New York. Use the vernacular.

This was an okay start to the series, and I liked it enough to check out the next book in the series from the library, that means it gets:

Four stars

If this is your jam, you can get it here.

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