by Nalini Singh
Released: February 28, 2012
3 stars (out of 5)
In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.
In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…
Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT
In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…
And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED
In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court. (Goodreads)
Angel’s Flight is an anthology of novellas from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. Each story focuses on angels, vampires or mortals that we have been introduced to throughout the series. Both Angel’s Wolf and Angels’ Judgement were released in previous print anthologies (Angels of Darkness and Must Love Hellhounds, respectively), but Angels’ Pawn was strictly available as an e-book until this particular anthology was released. Angel’s Dance, however, is completely new and the highlight of this book.
Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series takes place in a slightly altered reality – all of Earth’s cities, countries and continents are the same, but human beings are just a part of the world. Archangels rule vast territories – for example, Raphael is the Archangel of North America – and have angels assisting them. The next rung on the ladder holds vampires; these are mortals who have been Made by angels (a simple bite to the neck by another vampire doesn’t cut it in Singh’s universe) and as part of the contract serve the angels for 100 years before regaining their freedom. Both angels and vampires are immortal – or at least grow into immortality, as it is something that settles into them as they age. Vampires sometimes try to run out on their contracts, or may be overcome by blood lust, and this is where the Guild Hunters come in. The hunters are generally mortals who are trained in retrieval of vampires. They are basically bounty-hunters. They work with local law enforcement and any crimes that appear to have been caused by vampires is usually assigned to them (angels police their own).
This adult romance series is based in the Archangel Raphael’s territory. Raphael is supported by his Seven – three vampires and four angels – who help protect and govern his territory. Raphael has fallen in love with a hunter and through their interactions we are introduced to her co-workers and his Seven. This is relevant, because each of these novellas plays into Singh’s full-length novels by giving us additional background on characters we see in the main novels. Angels’ Judgement and Angels’ Pawn are more focused on the Guild Hunter side of the equation, while Angel’s Wolf and Angels’ Dance are geared more towards the angel/vampire side of things.
Angels’ Pawn is a story involving hunter Ashwini and vampire Janvier, who is eternally courting her by getting in trouble with angels (so that she can hunt him down). It is a bit of a running joke in the main novels whenever Ashwini appears because she has always just finished a hunt involving Janvier, or is about to embark on another. In this novel we get to see them working together to hunt for a vampire who has apparently been kidnapped. The hunt takes them into the territory of an extremely dangerous angel, Nazarach, one of Raphael’s subordinates. This little story gives us an up-close-and-personal look at the relationship between Ashwini and Janvier, but their story is definitely not resolved. They will be running into each other many times more through the series.
In Angels’ Judgement we meet Sara Haziz, who has been asked to take over as Guild Director. She is not sure she wants to leave fieldwork and sit behind a desk, but she is the best person for the job. While Sara is trying to decide, she is about to be put to the test by others; it is standard procedure to try and kill the director nominee to see if they are strong enough to hold the position. We get to see Sara actually on the hunt in this story and we learn how she and her husband, Deacon, met. This is a novella I had actually read, but never had a copy of my own, so I was glad to finally add this to my library. I like both these characters and it is great seeing how they used to work in the field; I just felt the romance was a bit abrupt. However, the story really moves and we have an explosive ending with a blitz of vampires laying siege to Sara and Deacon in a junkyard. The hunter that Raphael has fallen in love with, Ellie, makes a brief appearance at the end as she comes to rescue her best friend (Sara) from the vampires.
It was a surprise to see Angel’s Wolf in this anthology, since it was just released a few months ago, but I really like this story so it is not a hardship to have another copy. This story concerns vampire Noel who has been assigned to the court of another angel in Raphael’s territory, Nimra. Noel has recently recovered after an incredibly brutal attack and this is his first assignment since his return. Believing he has actually been demoted with this assignment, Noel is surprised to find there is more to this move to Nimra’s court than meets the eye. He has actually been sent to determine who recently tried to poison Nimra. During his investigation, he discovers Nimra has faced a tragedy of her own. They find in each other the one person who can help them heal.
And lastly, we have my absolute favorite story – Angels’ Dance. It takes place 400 years before the other three stories and tells of the love that develops between Jessamy and Galen. Jessamy is the only angel to have ever been born with a deformed wing and is unable to fly. Instead she has become the teacher to angelic children and the keeper of angelic histories. Galen is looking to become weapons-master to Raphael’s troops and comes to the Refuge (a neutral territory for all angels that is secret from mortals) to show his skills. When an attempt is made to assassinate Jessamy for knowledge she is unaware she has, Galen insists on taking charge of her protection. And so their courtship begins. I was thrilled to see this story written; the romance between Jessamy and Galen (who is now one of Raphael’s Seven) was hinted at in Singh’s Archangel’s Kiss so it was wonderful to see it developed. The novella is the perfect platform for this particular story – there is not enough here for a full novel, but there is enough to it to make it a great short story.
I obviously love this series and enjoy these particular stories, so why three stars? Mainly because there is only one original story. The other three have already been released – one of them extremely recently. However, since I only had two of them in my actual collection it was worth it to me to purchase the book for the other two. Your mileage may vary. If you have the other three, is it worth it to purchase this book for Angels’ Dance? Maybe – it depends how interested you are in Jessamy and Galen. It is nice, however, to have all these short stories in one place. If you have not read any of the Guild Hunter series, this would be a good place to get your feet wet since it introduces characters you will meet again in the full-length novels. All in all, Angel’s Flight is a solid entry in the series.