The Archangels and their brethren have lived for so long, that they have become inhuman, shedding their humanity millennia ago. The story revolves around The Cadre of Ten, Archangels that rule territories, and they are very different from each other, some so far removed from the world that they have become something else entirely. Elena Devereaux hunts rogue vampires; servants created by the angels who then try and cheat on their hundred years of service. The Guild Elena works for hunts them down and returns them to their owners.
I found the story a bit hard to get into at first. I liked the female protagonist Elena Devereaux well enough, and could easily empathise with her. Nalini made it easy to admire Elena, despite the horror in her past she didn’t give in to her father’s ultimatum to be a good girl and toe the line. I liked that Elena’s talents are natural and it costs her a great deal personally to use them in her Guild Hunter role, that personal sacrifice really added something to her character. I love that she was written as a snarky, sarcastic but likeable character with flaws that made her seem much more human.
The main problem I had at the start, was with Raphael, the Archangel of North America. He was detached, demanding, even a little cruel and he just didn’t gel with me.
Then I realised that was the point to his character, and was hooked. I credit Nalini Singh’s ability to create a character that isn’t instantly likeable but starts to sneak in to your heart anyway. But, it is risky, because had I not persevered, it could have put me off entirely. His interactions with Elena were often funny and very well written, her snark against his implacable logic and the heat that builds between them was seriously sexy.
The writing is crisp, clean and very easy to read and one facet that I really liked was that Singh didn’t try to explain why there were angels in the world. They have always been there, some very much in the public eye, so in her version of our world, it is a natural, if still wondrous thing.
I liked the plot a lot; seemingly simple but with several layers. One of the ruling Archangels with the Cadre of Ten has gone rogue, and they need Elena’s unique talents as a Guild Hunter to be able to track him. Of course it’s never that simple and Nalini Singh takes us through some pretty gritty and macabre scenes along with fierce action, and some truly heartrending moments.
By the end I was firmly in love with Singh’s world and her characters, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I wholeheartedly pass on the recommendation that this is an author to love!