Saturday, November 16, 2013

Review: Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh

Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.

Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same . . . 

Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series is on my insta-buy list. You know, that list of books you buy no matter what the cover art and synopsis look like? So I had pretty high expectations for this book, especially since this would be the first book dealing with the central couple, Elena and Raphael, in a while (the last two books dealt with a couple of Raphael’s lieutenants with cameos by our central couple). I was really looking forward to this book, and for the most part I was satisfied.

For the most part.

Archangel's Legion, the sixth installment of the series, opens on a war brewing in New York, the heart of Raphael’s domain. In the Guild Hunter world, archangels rule huge swaths of territory, with angels as a whole acting as sort of a ruling class. Next in the food chain are the vampires, which are created by the angels from a toxin that occurs in their blood. And at the bottom of the pile are the humans, who really only exist because the angels let them.
Needless to say, the heroine Elena is a human (or at least starts out that way) and her human tendencies are about eighty percent of the tension in the book: how she relates to angels and to the vampires that she used to hunt as a sort of angelic bounty hunter (because the vampires are indentured servants of a sort for their first hundred years). It’s a fantastic set up, and one that I really dig.

But this installment was lacking compared to the other books in the series. Which, by the way, should be read in order. This isn’t an episodic series where reader can pick up in the middle. A lot of plot development happens in the first three books (not so much in the fourth and fifth), and readers coming in on Archangel’s Legion would be totally lost. So if angels and vampire shenanigans sound like your thing, go back to Angel’s Blood, the first book, and start from there.

As for Archangel’s Legion, while I enjoyed the book (I have a lot of love for the central couple, so how could I not?) I felt like the balance between the super hot sex scenes and the action was a little skewed. Raphael and Elena spend about a third of the book making smoldering glances at each other and then doing it. Not that this is a problem, but when a war is brewing and immortal beings are getting killed by a mysterious plague, I need fewer sexytimes and more getting $#!% done.

You should be saving the world, folks! Get to it.

Three quarters of the book later, the action scenes finally happen…and then the book is over. The end. The reader gets a bit of a bombshell, and then is left waiting for the next book. That is why I didn’t love this book as much I did the others. This book felt like a build-up to book seven instead of a full-fledged story in its own right. The writing was good, the sexy scenes were sexy, the action was whoa, but the plot felt half-finished, as though the author was saving a few big events for the next book instead of putting everything out on the table.

Archangel’s Legion will appeal to die-hard fans of the series, especially those patient enough to wait for the big payoff. But those looking for the high-stakes momentum of the first three books may be a bit disappointed.

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