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Angel's Blood: Guild Hunter, Book 1
Nalini Singh
Gollancz, 339 pages

Angel's Blood
Nalini Singh
Nalini Singh was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. She spent three years living and working in Japan. She is back in New Zealand now, but always plotting new trips. So far, she has worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but she calls it grist for the writer's mill.

Nalini Singh Website
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A review by John Enzinas

Imagine a world like our own, except that instead of governments and corporations controlling our lives, there is a council of Angels who have divided up the world into their own little fiefdoms where they rule with an iron fist. These angels are very powerful winged humanoids but there is no explicit connection with the divine. This is probably for the best as these angels have the ability to transform humans into immortal servants who are vampires. This transformation is usually done in exchange for 100 years of servitude.

As it turns out, some vampires chafe at being bound for so long and make a run for it. Enter our heroine, Elena Deveraux, Vampire Hunter extraordinaire. She is acknowledged as the best there is and enjoys all of the perks that come with being at the top of her profession. She is also a deeply broken human being. Her mother and sister were torn apart in front of her when she was a child and, if that weren't enough, her father (an old money business man) has disowned her for taking up a very inappropriate job for someone of her breeding. She barely maintains the relationships with her close friends and how they managed to get close is something of a mystery, given how she treats the people she meets.

Then along comes the job she couldn't refuse. The angel king of North America contacts the vampire hunters and requests her specifically. He needs her to track down a rogue angel. He can't stand her lack of subservience and she can't stand his attitude or his attempts at mind control. Clearly it's a match made in heaven.

The story progresses through them fighting and falling in lust and then love while she tracks down a psychotic angel. As they progress, we learn more about the world that Nalini Singh has created. As urban fantasies go, this one is quite unique. Even though the angel/vampire thing sounds cheesy, it works well and probably gives this book a bit more traction in the post-Twilight market then it might otherwise have. The power struggles between the angels are fascinating and the foreshadowing is done with a nicely sinister feel. You just need to make sure you don't think too closely about how things are almost the same even though the angels have always been around. The ending is inevitable, but not too badly telegraphed and perfectly written.

Angel's Blood is a fun summer read, good for poolside or while traveling. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Copyright © 2010 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.

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