Ah finally, my much overdue review for the second book in Nalini’s Guildhunter series, Archangel’s Kiss. My apologies, fellow bloggers, for I’ve been stupidly busy this week with either work or work-related trips and training sessions *yawns dramatically and slumps to the floor* Anyway, without much further ado, let’s get down to business.
The last thing Elena remembers is the face of her archangel, an immortal being of immense power who chose death over a life without her. When she awakes from a coma one year later, she finds herself changed. Raphael, the Archangel of New York, has given her the gift of immortality in the form of wings. For the first time in living immortal memory, an angel has been Made. Elena has much to learn but also much to fear. The immortal world is one of complex politics and protocols and it is a world in which Elena must choose whether to thrive and survive or die.
I want to use the analogy of the human body here. The first book, Angel’s Blood, is very much the skeleton upon which the rest of the series has been built. It introduces us to the world in which the novels are set and gives us a brief history of the archangels that rule it. However, Archangel’s Kiss is more. It fleshes everything out. We, the readers, gain a far better understanding of the characters we met in the first book. We gain insight into the trauma embedded within Elena’s past, but not only that we also get a sneak peak into the pasts of characters such as Michaela, a character who was previously painted in a negative light. Yeah, sure, she’s still ‘the Bitch Goddess’ (Elena’s pet name for her, not mine) but we learn of the child she lost and, much to Raphael’s dismay, it invokes a sense of sympathy within Elena (and me). I feel there’s a valuable lesson within this book; your past can either make you or break you. The choice is yours alone.
There’s also a lot of character development within Archangel’s Kiss, particularly in regards to Raphael. His relationship with Elena changes him, makes him more mortal as Lijuan ominously warned in Angel’s Blood but it’s in this book that he realizes this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I feel this understanding makes him a better person. At one point, after one of Elena’s nightmares, he fights the urge to wipe the memories of her traumatic past, knowing such an action would taint their relationship and break the trust that Elena has in him. Additionally, there’s a tender scene between them where Elena asks Raphael how much he knows about her past and her family. It’s a question layered with many other questions, though. She’s essentially asking him if he’s searched through the confines of her mind without her knowledge or consent. His answer (which will have you hyperventilating and swooning) is simply “I’m beginning to learn the value of that which is freely given.” He’s so different to the Raphael of Angel’s Blood and it’s great to see that even the wisest and most fearsome of immortal beings can still learn. It gives hope to us normal folk!
In terms of the actual plot, I found only one flaw. While at the Refuge,Elena vomits in a toilet. Okay, I hear you asking, so what? Well, as far as I’m aware immortal beings have no need of a toilet and since mortals are forbidden from entering the Refuge, would they really need any installed? Unless they installed it specifically for Sara when she visited? Like, I don’t know, ‘Sara’s Special Toilet’. Couldn’t they have just got a Portaloo? I don’t know, perhaps I made this fact up. Maybe Michaela does sit on the toilet, taking a dump while flicking through Vogue.
Hmm. I overthink things.
Rating: 5 out of 5 (pfft, would I give Nalini anything else?)
Song: Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up (I like to imagine Raphael singing this into a hairbrush in the shower)