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Each time I reread one of Nalini’s Guildhunter books I feel like I’m coming home. My immense love for this series knows no bounds and isn’t exactly a big secret. I adore this series and I don’t think it’s simply because it was my first tentative step into the world of paranormal romance. It’s more because it’s just hands down a fantastic series. I never come away feeling like a character should have been more developed, or that a certain event didn’t make any sense. I just find myself completely and utterly enveloped by this universe, each and every turning of a page acting as quick sand and pulling me further in.

So, Archangel’s Consort is book three in Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series and, if possible, it’s even more dramatic than its predecessors. Elena Deveraux has returned to New York following the Cadre’s showdown with Lijuan in Beijing. Her presence sparks a media frenzy and despite being home and surrounded by her friends, Elena must make the painful adjustment between mortal and an immortal newly Made.

Nothing is ever simple in a world of angels and vampires, though. Elena must simultaneously grow accustomed to her new life and stem the bloodlust running rampant through New York’s vampires. It soon becomes apparent that their behavior is not an isolated incident when reports of archangels acting upon violent impulses begin to surface. With the addition of strange weather being reported around the globe, it seems that something more sinister is at play. There are whispers of the Awakening of an Ancient and not just any Ancient. This Ancient is none other than Caliane, Raphael’s mother.

Being an archangel’s consort was never going to be simple.

It’s been a couple of years since I’d read this book and I forgot just how good it is. It’s fraught with drama and heartache and shows the reader that immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Elena doesn’t just simply become an angel and an archangel’s consort. She has to face the consequences arising from her new status on a daily basis. She battles with the anguish of knowing that those she loves – Sara, Deacon, Zoe, Ransom, her annoying yet beloved younger sister – will die long before she’s even fully grown into her immortality. She’s torn between two loyalties, that to Raphael and that to the Guild and those she has worked alongside for most of her adult life. Despite being an immortal, she deals with these emotions in a very human way and it makes for some heart-wrenching scenes. Seeing immortality from her perspective makes my heart bleed for her and I kinda just want to reach through the pages and give her a big ol’ hug.

Heartache isn’t just reserved for Elena, though. Raphael receives a super sized dosage of it too in the form of his mother, Caliane. Her apparent Awakening causes a surge in bittersweet memories. He fondly remembers the mother who used to sing to him in a voice so hauntingly beautiful that the entire Refuge would pause and listen, enraptured by its purity. He also remembers a mother bloated with madness and power, a mother who left him bloodied and broken in a field a millennia previous. His feelings regarding her Awakening are mixed. A small part of him clings to the hope that she’ll Awaken and be freed of the madness that had claimed her mind. He’s also painfully aware that if this hope doesn’t come to fruition, he will have no choice but to end her, a task nearing impossible when faced with an archangel more powerful than Lijuan (whose ‘evolution’ gets more disturbing with each book). Seeing Raphael like this, vulnerable and with his emotions laid stark and bare, is…nice. It shows us just how much he’s grown as a character. He’s come so far since the first book in which he threatened to make Elena crawl for him. His heart, touched by a mortal, has thawed out somewhat and we, the readers, now find ourselves faced with a man who isn’t just the almighty Archangel of New York. He’s a man who can feel compassion. He’s a man who can feel love and loyalty. He’s a man who feels the same emotions the rest of us do. Out of everyone in the series, it is Raphael who grows the most.

There’s plenty of comedic relief, though, particularly in the form of my precious Bluebell. The fact that Raphael – bad-ass-I-will-break-all-the-bones-in-your-body-and-shred-your-mind-if-you-defy-me Raphael – permits him to playfully flirt with Elena shows just what a sweetheart Illium is. Of course, he’s a badass in his own right as demonstrated in the previous book where he cut off a load of angels’ wings without a moment’s hesitation, but he’s just so freaking lovable and every page that he appears on seems doused in sunshine. Where is his book!?!?!?!?!?!

Anyway, judgment time.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Song: Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere

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