Joint Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/02/27/review-angels-flight-by-nalini-singh/
Has: The first story in the anthology really sets up the tone and feel – it expands the wider world of the Guild Hunter universe by focussing on the supporting and secondary characters that appeared in the series. In Angel’s Pawn, Ashwini, the guild huntress is on a mission to locate a missing vampire before an epic feud blows between opposing angel and vampire factions. She teams up reluctantly with the sexy and roguish cajun vampire Janvier who has offered to help her despite the fact she has hunted him in the past. This adds sexual frission between Ashwini and Janvier because there is a past history filled with friendly antagonism and unwelcome attraction which becomes full blown over the course of the story. I really loved how this played out, along with the twisty plot with the mystery which isn’t as clear cut as it seems. Although I wished there was more to the romance and even the story, because this felt more like a prequel short which hints of a full story in the future. But this was fun, sexy and sassy! I give it a B-
MinnChica: I have to say that this was my least favorite of the stories, and probably because with Singh, I am so used to there being more romance in the story. For me, this was more of foreplay – while it’s lots of fun to start, I like to get to the main event as well. There was a lot of cat and mouse being played between Ashwini and Janvier, and even though the sexual tension was off the charts, I wanted and expected to have a HEA, and that just wasn’t the case here. I have to say though Singh set up the series and world-building with this short novella with a bang! I give Angel’s Pawn a C
E: I really enjoyed the interaction between Ashwini and Janvier. Even though this novella focuses on the two of them it also serves to highlight just how cutthroat vampire and angelic politics are. This showed once again the differences between shorter lived humans and the extended lifetimes of the angels and the vampires they have created. Getting back to Ash and Janvier I loved how this novella continued their game of cat and mouse that we have caught glimpses of throughout the series. While this one does leave you with the idea that eventually the two of them will have a relationship it ends while they are still getting to know each other. I liked the slower pace and I can’t wait to find out what the two of them get into next. By no stretch of the imagination do I think that Janvier will stop doing things to make Ash’s life difficult but it is with the understanding that this is part of the courtship and keeping their “romance” alive. I give Angel’s Pawn a B+
Has: I think this was my second favourite story in the anthology. I loved how Sara and Deacon got together. The moment when they met, with Deacon in bad ass mode and seeing Sara on the hunt really showed different sides to their characters that I was accustomed to in the previous Guild Hunter books I read. The mystery plot-line was also tense and it left me guessing, but I think the romance albeit brief really helped to make this sparkle! I loved the ending and I hope we get more glimpses like this in the future because I do think Sara and Deacon are a great couple. I give Angel’s Judgement a B
MinnChica: This was also my second favorite story in the anthology. Ever since this was first released in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology, this has been one of my favorite stories in the entire Guild Hunters series. I absolutely LOVE and adored Sara and Deacon together. They kicked ass and took names and had super sexy times together. It was great to see Sara in a hunter role, especially since she’s normally seen as the Guild Director. I also liked seeing Deacon as the stole-cold killer he used to be. I thought their romance was absolutely incredible, and loved that he gave up something that he had been doing for years, so she could continue on the career path she wanted. The two of them melted my heart and continue to be one of my favorite couples in this world. I give Angels Judgement an A
E: Ooh Deacon and Sara….They are certainly a force to be reckoned with separately and together I felt sorry for anyone who came up against them. I loved how he was known as the person whose weapons all the Hunters wanted. Reading this I could understand why all the North American Hunters gave their loyalty to Sara. Watching her transform from one of the many hunters into the Guildmaster was very impressive. I loved how she decided to wear one of Deacon’s spinning saw-blades as her necklace pendant. Talk about sending a message. Deacon was also pretty impressive as he took care of what he needed to so that he could go to Sara knowing that he wasn’t leaving anything hanging that would make her job harder then necessary. I also loved how such a strong man willingly supported his love in her spotlight.
I give Angel’s Judgement an A-
Has: In Angel’s Wolf, this was a more slower paced story with a more subtle tone, with a really sweet romance with its core. Noel is sent to the Angel’s court of New Orleans which is held by the angel Nimra. It was really refreshing to see an angel who felt more human although she was scary in her own way and Noel, who is very observant but recovering from a brutal attack that left him scarred deep down trying to find his place, connecting emotionally. The romance between them is very subtle and their attraction grows slowly but it was fitting especially on how their tragic pasts affected their characterisation. I did find the mystery plot wasn’t that tense or tense, but the real draw was the love story which was very sweet and tender. Although this wasn’t my overall favourite story in the anthology, I did enjoy the romance and the characters and wider ongoing subplots and how that tied in the series. I give Angel’s Wolf a C+
MinnChica: This was a slower paced novella and one that, like Has said, had a sweet romance to it. I loved the change of pace in this novella, how Singh was able to focus more on the romance, and the suspense portion of the plot. They were both done exceptionally well in my opinion, and I really enjoyed the interaction of these two. I liked the way that these two played off each other. Noel was able to come more to grips with his attack and torture with Nimra’s help and constant companionship. On the other hand, Nimra was able to cement her position in her court with him at her side, standing there to support her in any and every way possible. I liked having a look into other angel’s courts, and hope that we can see more of these characters in future books. I give Angel’s Wolf a B.
E: While sweeter and more innocent in some ways then Ms Singh’s other stories in this world Angel’s Wolf still packed quite a punch. I was really glad to see Noel who had been grievously tortured in Angel’s Blood regain his own. It was also refreshing to see Nimra, an angel, who held her court not through seduction, pain, fear but more through love and care yet she had the strength and will to hold and protect her court. The slow growth of trust on Noel’s part not just of Nimra but also of himself as a worthwhile man combined with Nimra’s realization that Raphael had sent her exactly who and what she needed in more ways then one was great to see. I think the ending of this novella was absolutely perfect.
I give Angel’s Wolf an A.
Has: I think for me this was my favourite story in the anthology. I really loved this prequel story of Galen who is one of Raphael’s Cadre and Jessamy, the earthbound angel who is the historian and teacher of the angels. The romance between them certainly sizzled and I love how possessive and determined Galen was towards Jessamy which helped to crack the emotional walls around her. The romance was sweet, passionate and full of real depth.
MinnChica: I absolutely LOVED this story, it was by far my favorite of the anthology. The romance between Galen and Jessamy was smoking hot, full of wonderful tension and a beautiful romance to top it off. I thought Galen’s possessive ways and constant pushing at Jessamy to be better, not just accept life laying down and fighting for what she wanted was so endearing. While he came across as an alphahole to Jessamy, I thought it was all very sweet in Galen’s own way. absolutely LOVED it.
E: This was such a contrast in opposites! The much older, unable to fly, sweet, trusted, innocent Jessamy and the young, brutal, unknown, militant Galen were wonderful to watch together. Jessamy’s initial view of Galen in all his martial skill and Galen noticing her despite his focus on Dimitri was just WOW. The two of them did not have an easy meeting of the minds so to speak. Galen offended without meaning to because he never learned how to soften his words and so addressed things others left unsaid. Jessamy insulted without meaning to because she did not understand how ferociously Galen regarded his words and his actions. Galen refused to let Jessamy continue to go through life without living and Jessamy was able to give Galen all the softness he never experienced while growing up yet as a friend/lover not as a mother/teacher.
Has: I loved that aspect too! I think with angels especially, some vulnerability helps to ground them and we definitely got that with Jessamy and Galen whose strengths and weaknesses helped to balance each other out. I also loved the hints of backstory about Illium and his human lover and how he got his nickname and Raphael’s cementing his power base as an Archangel and Michaela’s rise to Archangel status. Despite this being a novella, it really felt like a full book, because so much happened but the romance was at the centre. I think my favourite is the ending when Jessamy and Galen who are separated, correspond to each other and their feelings become even stronger with the realisation that they truly want to be together. Angel’s Dance is a passionate love story filled with nuanced moments of tenderness and heart-felt emotions. How Galen outmanuvered Jessamy’s emotional resolve and how he realised he found his own place in Raphael’s new court was a true delight! I felt that I got caught up in an angel’s flight along with them! I give Angel’s Dance a B+
MinnChica: I agree that so many things happened, and it felt like a full length novel. I thought the backstory with Illium was wonderful as well, and loved getting a better glimpse into the history of Raphael’s Seven. I can’t wait until we get the stories from Illium, Jason and the others. The history from each man was wonderful to see, and I am anxiously awaiting more! I have a feeling that the story between Galen and Jessamy will be one that I will go back and read time and time again when I need a great story to act as a pick-me-up. I give Angel’s Dance an A.
E: I did love their long distance courtship and how Jessamy and Galen exchanged letters while Galen consolidated the role he would play in Raphael’s fledgeling court. I also enjoyed the glimpses of some of Raphael’s Seven and Raphael himself when they were younger and in some ways still retained some of their innocence. Even if it was only evident when they were around Jessamy and her memories of them as young children. I think Galen changed from the cold brute introduced in Angel’s Blood to yet another character I adored when not only did he take Jessamy flying but he made it possible for her to leave the Refuge for the first time ever! I continue to be in awe of Ms Singh’s knack at taking characters I initially disliked and fleshing them out into one that I can’t wait to see again. I think this novella contained everything I love about Ms Singh’s romances.
I give Angel’s Dance an A
Has: If you didn’t get the chance to read the previous stories, this is a fantastic collection of stories which help to expand the focus of the Guild Hunter universe. I really enjoyed the variety of different toned romances which packed an emotional punch!
MinnChica: Even if you have read the three previous stories as separate novellas, this book is worth it for Angel’s Dance alone. I loved that the stories in this book were all so diverse, and there was a little something for everyone. Singh continues to create a dynamite world and stories within the Guild Hunter Universe.
E: There are times when I need a fix, not a long fix but a short intense fix from a particular author who has the ability to take me into such a completely different world that when I come back to mine I am back feeling refreshed. Ms Singh is one of those authors and the fact that I can not read her Guild Hunter novellas in a single collection is wonderful. I enjoyed re-reading the first three and loved the inclusion of Angel’s Dance. Like both Has and MinnChica said all four have a different tone to them so you can read them back to back and not feel like you are going back over worn territory. I can’t wait to see what comes next!