The Guildhunter series was my first dip into the ocean that’s paranormal romance and seeing as the latest book, Archangel’s Heart, is due out later this year, I decided it a fantastic idea to reread the series beforehand. I probably shouldn’t even be reviewing this incredible series. I’m ever so slightly biased when it comes to Nalini Singh and her beautifully written books (if you hadn’t already guessed).
You see, not only is Nalini a gifted writer, she’s also a wonderful person. I’m going to tell you a little story – a true story, actually – and the reasoning behind my admiration for her will become much clearer. As some of you may know, up until March I was living and working in Japan as an English teacher and this is a job Nalini once worked. It’s a well-known fact. It’s listed on her website and in the author bio of her books so, prior to my departure, I decided to drop her an email and ask for handy hints to help me survive my initial first few months out there.
Damn. Not only did she reply, she sent me the longest, most informative reply I’ve ever received back from anything! She was so warm and helpful, wishing me luck and giving me tons of advice that really helped. Her kindness made me feel so much better about upping roots and moving to the other side of the world. She assured me and I kept a print out of her email folded away safely in one of my notebooks, always looking to it when I felt nervous or uncertain in my new job role and home.
So yeah. Perhaps a teeny tiny bit biased.
Anyway. Moving on to…Elena Deveraux, Angels’ Blood’s leading lady. As a vampire hunter, Elena leads a challenging life, a life that is fraught with danger at every twist and turn. Or so she thought. When she is hired by the mysterious yet powerful Archangel of New York, Raphael, she soon realizes that the paranormal underbelly of the city is far, far darker than she could have ever imagined. Raphael gives her a clear cut mission: succeed. The stakes are high and failure is not an option. But this is like no other hunt Elena has ever undertaken. She’s not hunting a vampire. She’s hunting an archangel overcome with madness and fueled with bloodlust. She’s hunting Uram.
When I first picked up this book in the bookstore, I was initially a little apprehensive. The blurb sounded a bit cheesy but I decided to throw caution to the wind and buy a copy anyway. Up until that point, I hadn’t read a single paranormal romance novel so there was plenty of blushing when I reached a sentence that mentioned thrusting fingers somewhere. If I remember correctly, I was on my lunch break at work and hastily drew the book against my body lest anyone see the words I’d just read.
Blushing aside, I was soon enamored of this book. It’s filled with action, drama and sizzling passion and the world that Nalini has crafted, a world in which vampires prowl the streets and angels soar the skies, is believable. I found myself completely and utterly engulfed by this fictional New York and the people within it.
One thing I really, really love about this book (and the series in general) is the racial diversity within it. I’ve noticed in some series I’ve read, the protagonist is always described as having ‘pale’ or ‘creamy’ skin and it’s a recurrent theme that I find troubling. Everyone is represented in the Guildhunter world – we’ve got Elena with her ‘dark gold skin’, Sara with ‘skin the rich, melting color of cinnamon coffee ‘, Michaela (the gorgeous bitch) stunning men and woman alike throug the centuries with skin the color of ‘fine milk chocolate’…and this is only the first book. Later in the series we meet…stop, Jazz. Don’t ruin it. The point I’m making is that it accurately represents the world in which we live in today; diverse and multicultural. My brother and sister are both mixed race and I want them to grow up in a world where everyone is represented in the arts, regardless of race or skin color.
Speaking of characters, I adore Raphael and Elena. Raphael initially comes across as ruthless and cold but Elena, feisty, sarcastic and brutally scathing, breaks down the barriers he’s encased around his heart and it’s beautiful seeing how their relationship buds and blossoms. I think they’re perfect for each other and while Raphael is protective, bestowing her with Illium as an angelic guard, he doesn’t underestimate her. He trusts her to complete the task he has set her. He believes in her and he believes in her strength and skill.
I can’t recommend this book enough. Can you guess what rating I’m giving it?
Yup. 5 out of 5!
I’ve decided I’m also going to start giving fictional couples songs…I present you with Elena and Raphael’s song: 10cc’s I’m not in love. I feel it apt to describe their initial confusion over their feelings towards one another.
This book is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-reader format.