“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… “
Ying: So Has, what do you think of Archangel’s Kiss? I think it’s the best Nalini’s book I have read so far.
Has: I agree – I thought this was definitely better than the first book. I think the main strength was that the book focused on Elena and Raphael’s relationship, and we really got to know more the angels’ world, which I loved – especially the political intrigue that surrounds them; such as the power plays with Archangels. The details that Nalini describes also enriches the world-building. I found that the opening scenes with Raphael and Elena’s relationship brought things forward, although in many ways, a step back.
Ying: Yes. Ellie is not in an equal footing with Raphael yet, and I don’t know if she will ever be. I think it’s something she will have to fight hard for. I like Raphael’s attitude more and more. He is learning. He even tried to get an insight from Elijah and Hannah’s relationship.
Has: I agree. Elena is unsure of herself — more so now she’s an angel — and Raphael doesn’t want to rush into things. I really liked him in this book. In the first, I found he was too standoffish, and not as fully fleshed out. I think in AK, Elena was his weak spot and brings out his human side. It was an interesting development.
Ying: But Ellie is a baby angel who is having a relationship with an archangel. The balance of power is tipped to his end; not only is he much older and has more life experience than her, he’s an archangel with serious power. But they definitely showed commitment to each other in this book.
Has: Yes! And I loved that, but also the sexual tension was fantastic. This scene sums this up perfectly:
“Your mouth,” she whispered, her voice husky. ” I need your mouth.”
She shivered at the implacability of that comment. The dark sexual tone of it. Raphael was not only out of control, he wasn’t going to allow her any either. She could have fought. But she’d hungered for him since the instant she woke from the coma. The archangel could have her any and every way he wanted.
I loved how Raphael held back for so long because he was afraid of hurting her, and it just built up the tension between them. That was hawt *fans self*. I could have cut the tension with a knife. It also allowed them to bond, and really get to know to each other as well. I think their romance blazed more hotter in this book than the previous book in every way.
Ying: Yes, now that she is becoming immortal, he is going the opposite way by becoming more human.
Has: Yep – makes me think how her metamorphosis is going to affect her in some ways. Although she’s definitely human, I think there were signs that she was becoming more ‘angel-like’ – especially with that fight scene with Venom.
Ying: *nods* It is going to be a fascinating journey for Ellie to learn her new power.
Has: And One minute she can be totally insane and the next you are rooting for her! I loved that scene where she went postal in the refuge – although the outcome was a surprise. I hope we get more of her past story – I think there is more surprises to come with her.
Ying: Talking about past stories, we learn more of Ellie’s past in this book and some of Raphael’s. I do think we will learn a little more with each book to come.
Has: Its like layers of onions; we are getting bits and pieces with each book.
Ying: LOL. I hope it’s a large onion! I don’t want this series to end.
Has: I love the parallels with both of their parents; both set of parents having a tragic past.
Ying: That’s why they connected so well IMO. They understand each other’s pain. I think at one point Ellie was thinking that time is relative when it comes to the pain of the heart (or something like that).
Has: And it will definitely be something that will crop up in future books too, IMO. Not all the mysteries about their pasts have been answered.
Ying: Agree. Another interesting thing about this book is the balance of power between archangels.
Has: It’s definitely going to get more heated. Tensions are starting to mount up among the Cadre, and with lesser angels too. They are not as perfect as they appear to be, and I think it’s going to get violent and bloody.
Ying: I also want to see more of Hannah and Elijah.
Has: I think Elijah and Hannah is the only other positive Angel pairing in the book. The other angel couples we have seen don’t seem to have the the warmth and affection that can ground them. They seem to have lost it.
Ying: Yes, but then again, I wouldn’t trust any of the archangels because I’m sure Elijah wouldn’t have survived as long as he has by being nice.
Has: I agree – and I think their relationship parallels what Elena and Raphael will become. Although Elena is more upfront and assertive. Though angels, especially archangels, need to have some vulnerability to maintain their sanity to remain somewhat human so they can empathise. Its like withIllium – his love for humans grounds him, which is why he’s so more lighter and more humanized. I hope we get a book for him and that he finds someone too.
Ying: I love Illium, my bluebell! He is certainly the most likable angel of them all. However, he hides his serious side which he rarely shows. Maybe knowing pain is what keeps him sane and grounded.
Has: I agree, although knowing pain might twist an angel too. It’s about choices as well. What I’ve realised is that those angels who have succumbed to madness and rage, really took the easy way out. Those who haven’t gone down into the insane path can still be grounded and retain some humanity. I think the events concerning Michaela is going to be interesting and she will go either way.
Ying: Yes! I would like to see the next book set in NY to see Ellie in her hometown.
Has: I think it will deal with Elena facing what humans – as well as the wider world – know about her new change.
Ying: I wonder how her family will react? I think what Sara said to her is correct, that immortality can be seen as a gift. And Ellie will be able to look after Zoe when she becomes older, and then Zoe’s future children which I think is beautiful. However, I don’t think her dad, Jeffrey, and her sister Beth will take it so well. Not with their already strained relationship, and I can see Beth becoming jealous of Ellie’s immortality.
Has: I think it will be hard, and I’m not sure it will be clear cut with her family. I also think they will resent Elena anyway due to their past. And there seems to be more to that scenario that we know. Jefferydidn’t want Elena to become a hunter, and I think he knows something that we don’t know yet.
Ying: If I really have to nit pick and criticize this book (which is very hard to do because I love it so much), it would have to be the murder mystery. I don’t think I got the chance to really work out whodunit. We know how they work out/narrow down the suspects, but it was told to the reader rather than letting the reader work it out.
Has: I thought it was done well, although I wished we saw more of the suspects – especially the perpetrator and their reasoning. But I think it would have deviated from Raphael and Elena’s development, and there was lots of plots to deal with in the book. In Angel’s Blood, I thought it was more about about the mystery, and the romance was secondary. Though in a way, perhaps that was needed to establish the setting and characters. But this book needed to cement Raphael and Elena’s relationship, and to develop it. I think AK was quieter in pace, but I liked that it had more political intrigue than action packed. I think with this series,Nalini has created a fantastic set of alpha heroes – especially when most of them are anti-heroes too. It sure makes things interesting.
Ying: Oh Definitely! There is lots of variety for every type of reader.
Has: I suspect it will be a top read for me this year, and its definitely even better than Angel’s Blood.
Ying: It’s definitely one of the best books I have read lately, and I can’t wait to read the next one. IMO, Nalini has outdone herself this time. Her world-building is just superb, every character that features in the book has depth.
Has: It’s one of the best tension filled romances I’ve read, with a delicious anti-hero and a strong capable heroine. The world-building is rich, multi-layered and features political intrigue that has more twists and turns than a ball of yarn. This series is fast becoming a favourite of mine.
Ying: Ditto! I also think it has one of the best covers I have seen lately (US version).
We give Archangel’s Kiss 5 out of 5.