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85E2F65A-EDE9-4765-B3BF-031C1E2E30F7I love Nailini Singh’s writing; I’m just not sure I love this series. I waited a long time to start it. I really enjoyed her rockstar series, but that had dark edges to it. In this guild hunter series, the dark edges are front and center.

Elena Devereaux is a guild hunter. She hunts rogue vampires for the angels. The angels are the ones who make vampires. Once made they owe years of service to their creator. When they run away, Elena tracks them down.

Angels also rule the world. They rule humans and vampires. The angels in this book are also phenomenally cruel and swift to punish. Vampires are their servants or underlings. Humans almost seem to be a joke or an afterthought.

Elena is human. She is also hunter born. Raphael is an archangel, thousands of years old. He’s also part of the cadre, a ruling body of ten immensely powerful and cruel archangels. Although Elena can scent and hunt vampires, he hires her to track and catch an archangel, one of the cadre, who has gone bloodborn.

What I disliked about this story is that it seems to start in the middle. There is no backstory and no explanation. Apparently Elena’s mother and two older sisters were murdered by a vicious killer (a vampire?) when she was a child and she was abused and forced to taste their blood. However, that graphic horror is only alluded to in her nightmares and flashbacks. The entire backstory is never told. She won’t discuss it or think about it.

Her friends, the other hunters, were also a mystery to me. There was no explanation. The guild director, her best friend, Sarah is married and every scene with her and her husband Deacon and their baby Zoe seemed to hint at an HEA that I missed in some previous book. I kept looking to see where that story began. There seemed to be a lot more to her friend, Ransom, too, than was explained.

Elena’s first meetings with Raphael were confusing, too. He was ancient and immensely powerful. He was supposed to be immortal and full of power. Yet she gets all pissy and scared when he reads her mind so she shoots him with a special hunter gun that shreds his wings. And he almost dies. Seriously? I hated that. Why did she do it? She supposedly made him a little bit mortal. That made no sense. It made him seem weak.

Meanwhile the vampires and angels that make up his personal guard, the Seven, are also extremely powerful. For most of the beginning of the book, I found Dmitri, the thousand year old vampire more interesting and stronger. He was stronger than Rafael in many ways or maybe he just showed his power more. Elena slit Dmitri’s throat at one point and he laughed.

This was an odd read. I stuck with it because I wanted to see where Nailini would go with it. I have yet to read a story about angels that I actually like or enjoy.

At the end of this one, Elena and Raphael are dying, but true love allows him to make her immortal, and the series continues. I hope future books don’t continue to make him more human and weaker in the process. I like an alpha male hero, and he showed promise. Strong heroines are nice, but Elena is over the top and shades towards mean. She needs to be toned down or explained better.