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Angel's Blood: The Guild Hunters    by Nalini Singh Amazon.com order for
Angel's Blood
by Nalini Singh
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2009 (2009)
Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Elena Devereux has always been at the top of her game when it comes to tracking errant vampires and returning them to their angel masters. They are after all the ones who granted them immortality, and should a Made vampire choose to ignore or try to escape the confines of their hundred years of servitude to their Makers, there are very harsh consequences. When she's summoned to the imposing residence of the powerful archangel Rafael, however, Elena imagines the worst.

Of all the human Hunters at his disposal, Rafael concludes that Elena's singular skill at scent tracking is his last recourse in locating one of his contemporaries who has gone quite mad and is lost in the grip of a bloody killing spree. That the intriguing and oddly attractive Hunter will not survive her encounter with Uram is a given. But as Raphael spends more time with his newest servant, he realises that the human fascinates him, an emotion he hasn't experienced in a very long time. He also finds her dogged independence and refusal to acknowledge his omnipotence refreshing and incredibly alluring. Elena too, finds the powerful archangel annoyingly seductive and fights hard to keep their relationship strictly business related. She has no intention of becoming another of his playthings, only to be tossed aside when he tires of her. But under his dark and powerful fašade, she discovers a spark of humanity that could ultimately be her undoing.

Singh has already proven that she's in her element creating paranormal romance as evidenced by her articulate writing, meticulous and unique world building and the fascinating characterizations in her popular Psy-Changling series. The same can be said of Angel's Blood, the first instalment in her new Guild Hunter series. Her portrayal of Raphael in particular, is intriguing, a lead who's very dark and arrogant, and at times, completely merciless, an antithesis of her previous heroes.

The story is a bit slow and chatty to start as Singh draws readers into another complicated and fascinating mythology. There's also bit too much posturing between Elena and Rafael's vampire bodyguards as they establish their boundaries and repeatedly make known their dislike of human Hunters. But once Elena begins her search for Uram and understandings and alliances are sorted out, the second half of the book picks up considerable steam and rockets to a satisfying conclusion as well as offering a fine lead in for the next instalment. Angel's Blood is a must read for paranormal fans who are looking for a new twist to the traditional angel and vampire lore.

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