Novel Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

I was lucky enough to win Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh in a giveaway hosted by JoJo’s Book Corner. Now I’m a big fan of Nalini Singh but have been putting off this book for quite some time. I had a bit of trouble connecting with the characters in Blaze of Memory (review here), which made me a little leery of this book, and typically read series which have different couples each novel. The combination was a bit offsetting. After passing the novel over one too many times, I finally settled down for a read. So the teaser from Ms. Singh’s website:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, is used to being in control—even when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority…

They’ve barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…

Well, it turns out, my misgivings were unfounded. 🙂 I enjoyed this book. Oops, I guess I shouldn’t have saved that declaration until the end. Too late now.

First up, Raphael. I started off disliking the prick. I wanted to plant my fist in his mouth so many times in the beginning. Things he said to Elena like “You’re no more my equal now than you were before I Made you immortal” and “You can call me ‘Master'” had me spitting mad. It’s one thing for others to treat her like she’s nothing more than a pet to Raphael, another for the bean head to support that belief. GRRR! I’m not sure when, why, or how, but somewhere along the lines his personality tempered. Instead of treating Elena like a child, he encouraged her to be strong and mask her weaknesses. Though Raphael presented a strong front to all, even in his mind, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. The idea of never being able to show weakness less those around you attack seemed like such a horrible existence. Everyone needs peace from time to time. I hope in the next novel he gets an opportunity to experience and truly relax.

Elena, on the other hand, was forever strong and determined. She refused to let others tear her down, not even Raphael with his snide comments. Despite being tormented by her past, she knew who she was–the hunter-born, brave even when deathly afraid. I loved her strength and willingness to confront her fears. For Elena, the book was also about revelations. It gave insight to her past–a past she’d repressed because it was too painful to bear. As Elena said, “Some secrets hurt too much.” <sigh>

As to the story line, there were some areas I liked and some I liked not so much. The mystery I really enjoyed. So much speculation, I was never quite sure whodunit until the villain stepped up to the plate and said, Idunit! The archangel politics also had me intrigued. Ms. Singh presents the angels as inhuman creatures, it makes me wonder where they came from. Elena and Raphael had a lot of sexual chemistry. Ms. Singh really made it shine. However, it brings up a matter I didn’t understand and didn’t like. Raphael constant denied Elena sexually because apparently her body was too weak for the event. That was just odd. How can a body be too feeble for sex but strong enough for combat training? I didn’t get it. When they finally got around to doing the deed it left me with the thought “What’s the big deal?” Anyway, I just felt like it was false sexual tension and unnecessary.

This is more of a nitpick thing, but I wondered why the color of Raphael’s eyes were constantly mentioned. It got to the point I mentally screamed, okay already! I know he has blue eyes. I get it!

Now for an episode of cool lines I liked in the novel:

  • Raphael: You can’t have my cock, Elena. (Now that’s direct!)
  • Inside Elena’s head: And his face–square jaw, sensual lips, the kind of mouth that made women think hot, sweat, distinctly unangelic thoughts. (yep, I’ve had those kinds of thoughts)
  • Elena’s actions: She tried to hold him to her, but his hair slid out of her hands like black water, silky and cool across her flesh. (almost poetic)
  • Raphael: Blades and sheaths go together. And your sheath will only ever hold my blade. (now if that’s not naughty, I don’t know what is)

Reading this book has rekindled my passion for Ms. Singh’s novels. I’m looking forward to her newest release which came out a couple of days ago.

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