Reviewed by: Candace
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
“I would fly our child wherever she needed to go…I have no need to build empires and dynasties. I only want to build a home with you.”
Nalini Singh became the second writer to make me cry with an anthology in Angels’ Flight. (The first was Jeaniene Frost’s “One for the Money” in Death’s Excellent Vacation.)
I went into this collection a little bit on the apprehensive side. Three hundred forty-five pages, four stories? I was sure it was not going to be enough. And it wasn’t. That was my only problem with this book. Nalini plays the page like a it’s a Stradivarius and she has a golden bow. But there was not enough. I wanted more time with these characters.
Nalini starts us off with Guild-Hunter Ashwini and vampire Janvier in “Angels’ Pawn.” This situation could be messed up all sorts of ways. One of the primary reasons the Guild-Hunters have jobs is to keep wayward vampires behaving. Janvier is a bad-boy vampire, at least on the surface. He’s served out his obligatory 100-year contract to the angel that made him and Ashwini has been charged with bringing him in on several occasions. He always gets a last-minute reprieve and that has tried her last nerve. So when the Cajun vampire and his sexy southern drawl accompanies Ash on a retrieval mission, fireworks explode. You also get a big, scary as hell angel in the form of Nazarach, who makes the vampires cower in their designer shoes. He also scares a certain Guild-Hunter, who is packing some pretty ferocious secrets of her own.
Next up is “Angels’ Judgment,” the story of how Sara became Guild Director, Deacon became the love of her life and a look at Elena, pre-Raphael. One of the greatest parts of this story was this:
“This Sara is your best hunter?” Astaad asked.
Simon shook his head. “The best will never make a good director. She is hunter-born.”
Raphael made a note to find out her name.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do it. Make your readers glad they bought the anthology because they get details relevant to the characters they love.
Caring about Deacon and Sara was easy and I found myself anticipating their next movements even though I know they are going to end up together. Sara isn’t the diplomatic figure head of the Guild. This woman has been out in the trenches with the best of them – literally – and has come under the protection of Raphael, even before Elena was in his life. These two come through the story fine, and it sets up the future stories nicely.
“Angel’s Wolf” is the story of Nimra and Noel. Nimra is the angel Raphael has assigned to rule over his territory of Louisiana. Noel is the recently-broken vampire and who had hoped to receive assignment in the tower, only to be told of his transfer to Louisiana. He thinks his disfigurement has something to do with it and keeps people/angels/other vampires at a distance. Nimra has come under attack and Noel is there to get to the bottom of the situation. But how can a broken vampire who didn’t fully heal uncover the plot to kill an angel?
Which is why she said, “Would you give me anything I asked?” in a tone laced with power.
White lines bracketed his lips. “I’ll be no one’s slave.”
More importantly, how can the vampire and the angel overcome their preexisting hang ups to find a future with one another?
The jewel in the crown of this collection is “Angels’ Dance.” The story takes place 400 years in the past and begins with Dmitri battling with Galen.
Galen has just transferred from Titus’ territory and catches the eye of Jessamy, teacher of the angelic children and records keeper for the angels. Jessamy was born with a malformed wing and has never been able to fly, despite the best efforts of their healer. Galen has zero skills when it comes to relating to others and seems to be best honed to do one thing, fight. Little did the warrior realize, his biggest fight would be with a rail-thing angel with a broken wing.
At the beginning of the book, I felt like Ashwini and Janvier could have carried their own story. But at the end, I realized that distinction belonged to Galen and Jessamy and if anyone at Berkley has an inkling of what sells, call Nalini and offer her that opportunity today. That short needs to be expanded on. Pronto.
Sexual content: Sex scenes