Audiobook Review: Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh, Narrated by Justine Eyre

“The bastard kissed her. She was so mad, she bit him hard enough to draw blood.
Raphael pulled back, lip already beginning to swell.
“We are no longer even, Elena. You’re now in debt.”
“You can deduct it from my slow and painful death.”  

angel's bloodAngels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Narrator: Justine Eyre

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural

Series: Guild Hunter #1

Publisher: Tantor Media (May 2010)

Author Info: nalinisingh.com

Wendy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Much like Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Elena Deveraux hunts vampires and is, of course, the best at what she does thanks to her preternatural skill and her own confidence and training. Now she’s up against her greatest challenge yet, and at the request of the super sexy and deadly Archangel of New York, who doesn’t take no for an answer (unless Elena wants to find herself tossed off of a roof).

Cocky, wise-cracking leading lady with dark past [CHECK] who gets caught involved in a deadly mission [CHECK] that has more going on beneath the surface [CHECK] and who must wrestle with her desires [CHECK] for a man who just might kill her [CHECK].

Ah yes. There’s a reason why I tend to avoid urban fantasy. But that probably has more to do with binging Anita Blake one summer and watching stories that I initially enjoyed devolve into mad sex romps. Look. If I want porn, I’ll watch or read porn. But if you promised me interesting characters and story, then at least make the attempt. I’ve tried a few other urban fantasy series since LKH soured me to the genre, but at long last, I’ve found one I actually want to sink my teeth into again.

Angel’s Blood still has the typical troublesome sexy relationship, but at the very least, I appreciate that Elena does not accept it until it’s on her terms. She has no qualms about calling out Raphael’s mental manipulation for what it is: rape. And, in turn, he actually takes the time to consider this and seeks to do better. I also appreciate that the hot sex relationship isn’t the only relationship upon which Elena’s life circles. She doesn’t function in a loner bubble, only calling upon others who exist to provide advice and gadget support. Her friends and guild mates do serve that purpose, but there is actual depth to their friendships and working relationships that I want to see more of.

We mostly get Elena’s perspective throughout the adventure, but there are frequent interludes through Raphael’s eyes that not only deal with his inevitable interest with Elena, but also provide insight into archangel politics and sow seeds for future stories. Where Elena and Raphael end up at the end seems overly dramatic, but I suspect that Singh is shaping a story that extends beyond the monster of the week to something more intriguing. Or it could just be an excuse for lots more hot angel/vampire sex. Which is okay, as long as we don’t go overboard okay?

Oh and did I mention that Elena is a woman of colour? Though other book covers will try to dissuade you from realizing that, Singh has created a world where PoCs aren’t just exotic background material.

Urban fantasy isn’t my usual stomping ground, but I’m happy to find a series that I will make room for on my shelves. Added bonus: the audiobook is narrated by Justine Eyre, whom I have loved to pieces since first hearing her storm through Patrick Weekes’ The Paladin Caper.

4-stars

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15 Comments on “Audiobook Review: Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh, Narrated by Justine Eyre

  1. I found this one difficult to get through, I struggled to the end and didn’t bother with the sequels. The later books in the series (#4, #5, #7 & #8) are stand-alones in the same world featuring new characters/pairings – I read and enjoyed #4 and #7 much more. 🙂

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    • Ah interesting. I liked the second book well enough to continue. Light reading 🙂 I like that the focus switches to other characters though. Many of the ones that have appeared are quite interesting.

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  2. I completely agree! Sex is fine with me as long as it doesn’t take over the story. There still needs to BE a story. I’ve been on the fence about reading this one because the male love interest sounds like a jerk and your mentioning him trying control her worries me, because yeah that is rape. I do want to read it more now that you liked it though. ☺

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    • I appreciate that she called him on it and that he recognized that it was wrong. It wasn’t just excused and forgotten about. He has to earn her love and respect. Yes, there are still the questionable romance elements of her ultimately falling for the bad boy, but I appreciate that this is where things started and she holds her own. I’ve read the second book now and am pleased with where the relation goes, maintaining this understanding.

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  3. When a genre becomes successful it tends to generate far too many clones that deal with surface details and never bother to reach for some depth – as it happens with too much YA literature… This seems to have happened with UF as well, so it’s quite refreshing to learn that some authors have the imagination and the guts to turn certain tropes on their proverbial head and work from there 🙂
    This is the first time I hear about this series, but I will certainly take a look: some fresh approach is always welcome… Thanks for sharing!

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    • Success these days invariably leads to cloning thanks to higher ups who don’t understand that the success initially happened because it was something new and interesting. This is a clone for sure, but at least it twists a few little things here and there. I enjoyed it.

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    • I’m two books in now and am okay with the series as a light, enjoyable read. I’ll probably keep going for now. Hopefully I won’t hit a book that actively turns me off of the series as a whole. Another commenter noted that the series later features other characters, which is a good way to keep it fresh.

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  4. Just gonna slide on in here to say: if you want an urban fantasy series that features a badass woman of colour (I believe she’s Cherokee) and shockingly little romance – although it is there if you squint – then you should check out the Jane Yellowrock books! They’re everything good about UF without all the horrible cliches; I feel like you’d really enjoy them. They’re great on audio, too.

    I love Justine Eyre, I think she’s a great narrator! Her voices for The Palace Job were spot on.

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  5. I *think* I read this years ago before I was reviewing and determined to try an make better use of my library (whose selection kinda sucks). But sadly, so many of these books seem so similar to me, I don’t even know for sure.

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  6. Glad to see you enjoyed this one. I really like this series by Singh, even though a few of the later books dip away from being UF and more a straight-up PNR.

    I’m with you on the Anita Blake series as well. I loved the first few books of that series until it turned into focusing primarily on Anita’s sex life.

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    • I actually read Obsidian Butterfly first in the Anita series. I picked it up on a whim because I liked the cover and I did really like that story and then went back to read the whole series that came before it. It was really disappointing how it degraded, but I kept holding out hope because I knew that book 10 wasn’t all about that. But alas…

      There are definitely PNR elements lurking in these early books, so I’m not surprised by the switch. I’m glad to hear that you like the series as a whole.

      Liked by 1 person

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