Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Archangel's Consort

Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance
324 pages
Berkley Sensation/Penguin
Available January 25th
Received from publisher for review

Warning: Contains mild spoilers from previous books, but no spoilers from Archangel's Consort.

Elena's life has changed drastically from her life over a year ago. Then she was a hunter-born working for the Guild tracking vampires in breach of their contracts with their angel makers using her inherent gift to scent them. Now, she's an angel herself and consort to the most intimidatingly beautiful archangel she's ever seen, Raphael.

Finally returning to New York City after waking from her coma, recovering from her mortal to immortal transition, and battling another archangel who's evolved into something new entirely, Elena's ready to get back to work for the Guild despite her new angel status. Her introduction back into society isn't going to be a gradual one however.

New York City and the rest of the world are suddenly plagued by odd weather phenomenons, and the vampires normally petrified into obedience under Raphael's rule are breaking their contracts, attacking humans, and even harming themselves in inexplicable frenzies. These strange occurrences are not entirely unprecedented, but have been documented periodically as being precursors to the awakening of an ancient–an immortal so old and powerful they Sleep for millenia in an effort to maintain their sanity when such a long life usually results in madness. And this ancient is waking for one reason: she wants Raphael, her son, and she wants newly-Made Elena out of her way.

Ms. Singh's world is one of spectacular fantasy and toe-curling romance where the thoughts, feelings, and weaknesses that make us so very human are highlighted against the fascinating backdrop of the cool indifference that accompanies immortality. In this story we are given a pair of individuals separated by gender, age, and world view, but whose unexpected feelings for one another weave an unbreakable bond between them. The strength of their connection melts away their differences with a molten heat, welding their souls together as they struggle to be both teacher and student, learning from each other even when their pride would have them reject lessons from the other, and in doing so, win us over completely. The relationship between Raphael and Elena is one of the ultimate give and take between two people who are each unused to acquiescing, and watching as they take such tentative and hesitant, yet extremely passionate, steps into the unknown is a joyous experience that causes our skin to tingle as we smile at the intimacy to which we've so thankfully been granted access.

Elena is a magnificent heroine in possession of a mental and physical strength most of us will aspire to but will never attain. She has a past of darkness, bloodshed and insurmountable guilt, yet she maintains a flicker of hope that her entire family is not yet lost to her, and perhaps one day her father might not see her as an abomination but as the gift he once thought her to be. She pits the force of her personality against the icy chill of Raphael's intimidating persona with remarkable grace, standing her ground in the face of his imposing presence yet yielding when she senses his overwhelming alpha-male need to conquer has him in its iron grip. She indulges him his temporary bouts with the need to possess her, but she still manages to maintain the fierce warrior independence that attracted both Raphael and us to her initially. She is the perfect blend of formidable fighter and vulnerable woman, daughter and lover, making her a character with whom we look forward to journeying onward side by side.

Raphael is as dominant a male as they come, his centuries of life and his status as a member of the Cadre of Ten as well as the archangel of New York skyrocketing his expectation for utter obedience and subservience to unparalleled levels. He walks confidently along a lethal edge between cruelty and desire, and though we know with absolute certainty he would never physically harm Elena, his proclivity for rage against those under his rule and his demand for compliance from others always has the potential to tear their relationship apart should the darker side of his immortality overwhelm Elena's mortal heart. Though this is the third book and therefore our third exposure to the two of them, their connection still feels very new and fragile–a single gossamer thread between them vibrating dangerously with the power of their combined tempers and their mutual passion, but we have every confidence that while it may bend and stretch, it will never snap. A little of Elena's precious mortality constantly seeps into Raphael, and the fierce protectiveness and loyalty he inspires in others infects Elena as well, causing that single thread to grow into an indestructible web as we read on, one we find ourselves helpless to escape as we are immobilized by the terrifying beauty of these two immortals.

In addition to two unforgettable protagonists, Ms. Singh also as a spectacular ability to create secondary characters with scarred souls full of secrets and mysteries just waiting to be revealed, and we are ultimately as interested in their individual stories as we are Raphael and Elena's. From Illium's regal blue feathers and heartwarming friendship with Elena to Dmitri's unique ability to caress a body with intangible tendrils promising sexual decadence, we are held utterly transfixed by the brilliance of Ms. Singh's imaginings. My only wish for this story would be for a more cataclysmic reunion between Raphael and his unbelievably powerful mother, their face to face interaction lacking a little of the intensity of the buildup, but it's clear Caliane is a force to be reckoned with and we certainly have not seen the last of her–a fact that only adds to our anticipation of the next installment. For those who have yet to experience this world of archangels and mortals, drop what you're doing and find the nearest bookstore, Raphael is waiting for you.

Rating: 4.5/5


  1. I started reading the first book in this series, but I lost interest. It sounds like it gets better though, so I should really give it another try. Great review!

  2. I haven't read the first 2 parts .I have heard a lot about Nalini Singh's books. I want to read them myself.

  3. 'spectacular fantasy and toe-curling romance' Okay, why have I not read this series? Must fix that immediately :)

  4. Squee! You're review has me so excited, I can't wait for this bookmto come out! Do we learn any more about what happened to Elena when she was younger?

  5. I've heard a lot of good things about this series, and I have to admit it sounds lovely. Looks like I have another author to slip into that towering to-read pile. :)

  6. I have read lots about this book and I must say your review is going to make me pick this up. I'm always up for a good PNR book. Great review Jenny!

  7. Wow...both vampires and angels. I have to say that I'm more of a vampire person than an angel person. The idea of becoming an angel seems odd but I always like when authors are willing to think outside the box for paranormal creatures.

  8. This is another series on my TBR Shelf. I did recently get the first book so it has moved up. I have heard it is a great one to read!

  9. Glad you enjoyed it! I haven't started this series yet. There's just not enough time for all the books I want to read! Sigh.

  10. I've never even heard of this series, but I love the sound of it, and it always helps when you give it a positive review! I think the characters sound the most fascinating. I'm adding it to my list. Great review, Jenny :)

  11. I've never read an adult paranormal romance before. I would like to give it a try sometime though so I think I'll add this series to my TBR. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

  12. I enjoyed the first book, but loved the short story/intro to the world. Raphael doesn't really do much for me. He's just too arrogant for my taste. I do really like the other archangels though.

  13. Rachel - I love this series, but I'm guessing if you didn't like the first one, the other two might not appeal to you much either. It's not a series for everyone!

    Misha - I adore Nalini Singh, her worlds and characters are ones that stay with you:)

    Nic - If you like PNR, I think you'll like this series, it's fascinating.

    Jennifer - We get bits and pieces like we have in the other 2 books, we get a lot more interaction between her and her father though which was really nice.

    Sally - I love these books, I have a hard time putting them down:)

    Savy - I think you'll like it! Hope you give it a try:)

    Alison - It's a very interesting vampire/angel relationship she's created in this world. I think her angels are some of the best ones out there:)

    Felicia - It's fabulous, definitely move Angel's Blood up your TBR:)

    Mollie - Get on it woman!

    Melissa - It's a paranormal romance, so if you want to take a break from YA (which I like to do sometimes), this is a great series:)

    Aylee - This would be a good intro into paranormal romance, though Raphael is a bit overwhelming at times. Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series would be another great place to start.

    Rummanah - Raphael definitely isn't for everyone, but I always like the very alpha male types. If Elena was a weaker woman, Raphael would drive me crazy, but since she's so strong, I really enjoy his arrogance:)

  14. Uuuuuughhhahhahaa!?#!*!8$%!

    I haven't read this series yet. Being unread sucks. I hope Raphael is a patient man.

    P.S. sorry to be such a drama queen. :P

  15. I had a few minor complaints but overall I loved it and it was my favorite of the series. Lots of Elena & Raphael in this one!

  16. LOL- Ive heard Raphael is a hottie. My girls at the Blog with Bite swoon over this author...:D I stopped reading PNR last year but I have always wanted to give Singh a try.

  17. Missie - You crack me up:) Raphael is in point of fact not a patient man at all, but I'm sure he'll wait for you:)

    Karen - Mine too! I can't wait for Dimitri's book:)

    Tina - He certainly is:) If you get back on the PNR train, definitely try her out!

  18. Yes - Rapahel is quite the alpha, isn't he? But still so likable.

    LOVE this world! Bring on Dmitri (and Jason please!)

  19. Okay, I've been thinking about this series... and now I must read it. Damn, I need a time machine or something so I can squeeze this in now. Patience is for the weak. I need to read this now! See what your review has done to me? You have made me a bookaholic! Okay, you didn't make me one, but you are damaging to my addiction!!!! Thanks for the great review... I think. ;)

  20. argh! ok ok, I gotta start this series asap!! Awesome review Jenny!!! =D

  21. Mandi - Exactly! I would have thought him being as alpha as he is would have made me wary of him, but that's not the case at all:)

    Melissa - It's my goal in life to get others addicted to my book addictions. Thank you for making me feel like I'm achieving that goal;)

    Larissa - You do! It's fabulous:)

  22. Awesome news! I LOVE this series; it's definitely one of my favorites. I'm a tad obsessed with Raphael now (not so much in the first book but totally in the second). I just love how he slowly changes because of Elena's influence. He's so hot in the second book! :) Can't wait for more hotness!! And I'm glad she's moving on to Dmitri for the following book (and hopefully Jason, Illium, and Aodhan next - as those are my favorites of the Seven) because they are very intriguing characters & all need stories too! Just five more days for me!!

  23. Nice review, Jenny! I'm glad you enjoyed this one; never been into Singh but you make it sound very interesting :-)


  24. TL - I love this series as well, and Raphael makes me fall more and more in love with him with each book. I think you'll really like him in this one:)

    Darkeva - I adore her. I started this series first and then went back and read all her Psy/Changeling books as well:)

  25. I am waiting for the UPS man to bring this to me. I can't wait.

  26. I haven't read this series...think I might have to give it a try!

  27. OMG I completely forgot this was coming out next week! I really loved the first in the series and was a little disappointed in the second (but only because it was much more of a PNR compared the first book which was a strong UF and I wasn't prepared for the switch). I'm really looking forward to this and am now trying to figure out how I can squeeze it in next week...

  28. Yet another fantastically written review that makes me want to grab this series. I have one of Nalini's boooks, which is called Visions of Heat - haven't gotten around to reading it just yet, but after your high praise, I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to re-prioritise my reading list. It sounds like a heavenly read Jenny!

  29. If you've read Singh's Psy Changeling books, her Guild Hunter series is darker but just as well written. If you like Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward or the Demonica series by Larissa Ione, you'll enjoy this series. Raphael is the ultimate alpha and the dark plotlines, intriguing characters, and disturbing enemies will pull you in.