Thursday, March 08, 2012

Review: Angel's Flight by Nalini Singh

Ouf, between work, reading and curling, my blogging is taking a hit ^_^; Work has been so busy as we're planning a rather important experiment next week. I have to prepare the samples and that's what failed earlier this week. Now, it's finally working! I don't know what was wrong with it, but my guess would be one of the reagents. Unfortunately, I changed too many of them to know which one was the faulty one. My reading has finally picked up! Yay!!! :) All I needed was new precious LOL. I went to the bookstore again today to take advantage of the "Buy 3, get the 4th free" promotion. Hopefully, it'll last me till the beginning of April when a lot of interesting new releases come out :) And curling... Sigh. I don't know. Perhaps I hyped it too much in my mind? Well it doesn't help the team I was rooting for is basically out :( Also, while there are a lot of close games, it seems to me a lot of teams are struggling and it's based rather on mistakes than on good shots :( Like the really important shots are missed rather than made. Still, it occupies me so that's a good thing :)

Since I don't usually have any reviews prepared, I'm taking a shortcut once again by reviewing Angel's Flight by Nalini Singh, LOL. Enjoy!


Angel's Flight by Nalini Singh
published by Berkley in February 2012

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.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Guild Hunter series, Books #0.5, #1.5, #4.5 and #4.75

Angel's Flight is a compilation of 4 novellas in the Guild Hunter series by Ms Singh. I have already read and reviewed Angel's Judgement and Angel's Wolf. Follow the links for the reviews :)

However, it was my first time reading Angel's Pawn, the prequel e-novella that Ms Singh had published to introduce the series :)

The Story: In Angel's Pawn, a newly-made vampire from an old vampire family has been kidnapped by  a kiss - a group of vampires banding together for a common purpose. The regional angel, Nazarach, could easily intercede and put an end to the feud; however, he has decided to teach his people a lesson and has therefore retain the service of the Guild. Thus, the task falls onto Ashwini. Knowing the situation is much more delicate than it seems, Ashwini reaches out to Janvier, a 200+ years old vampire that she's hunted twice before. Having been part of Nazarach's court, he is aware of the regional politics and could be a great ally to have on her side...

My Opinion: I've read all the Guild Hunter books and have been curious about Ashwini and Janvier's relationship and therefore was looking forward to finally read Angel's Pawn. The title really fit the story very well, as Ashwini was essentially a pawn in Nazarach's game. Overall, I really enjoyed this novella. My favorite part was the characters. Ashwini and Janvier were both interesting and rather unique. Of course, what stood out was their flirty relationship, their chemistry and the sexual tension :) Still, you could gleam their competence through their actions. These two know what they're doing... and it makes them even more interesting. I would have liked to know more about Ash's powers, but I guess it's something we'll find out in their book. I'm looking forward to it and hope we won't have to wait too long :P

For such a short story, I think Ms Singh had a good storyline. It was a bit simple, but still interesting and more importantly, well paced with some nice twists thrown into it :) I especially enjoyed the politics :) Everyone is after power and is playing games to obtain it. It also really fit the series. However, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much have I read it as the prequel it is supposed to be. I think have I read it without any knowledge of the Guild Hunter series, I would have been disappointed with the world building and lack of information.

All in all, a very nice and solid short story. Unfortunately, I had one issue with Angel's Pawn and it's actually one of my biggest pet peeve... the French!! I know most people who are reading this won't be picking up the errors. But if it's going to be in print, might as well be sure it's correct! And seriously, I'm sure if Ms Singh or anyone at Berkley asked someone to check it out, that person would be flattered and embarrassing situations could be avoided! Let's start with the easy one... the 'cher.' Janvier is talking to Ashwini and calling her 'cher.' Well there's only a little problem: Ashwini is obviously a woman. So it's not cher, but chère. And notice the accent on first e!! I can't tell you how many time I've seen both these mistakes! It's easy, cher for men and chère for women.

Now, the second mistake and more embarrassing one ^_^;
"[...] along with a proposal that I should consider marrying his daughter Jean." Pronounced in the French way, the name sounded sensual and electric.
One of the reasons French is such a difficult language is because words have genders - feminine and masculine and you have to consider what they refer to. Hence the cher and chère. Well, some first names have feminine and masculine versions too... And unfortunately, in this case, Jean is the masculine version ^_^; Basically, it's John... and pronounced the French way, when referring to a woman, it does not sound sensual nor electric ^_^; It should have been spelled Jeanne and pronounced the French way, it actually sounds a lot like Jane... perhaps just a little softer. Luckily, those mistakes happened early in the story and so, didn't impact my reading too much.

My Grade: B+. Despite the French mistakes, I still enjoyed Angel's Pawn very much :)


And the new novella written by Ms Singh for Angel's Flight was Angel's Dance.

The Story:  Angel's Dance takes place 400 years before Angel's Blood and features Galen - one of Raphael's Seven, Jessamy and their romance. Back then, Raphael had just become an archangel and Galen had decided to postulate for the position of weapon-master. There was no room for Galen in Titus' court, in which he grew. Had he stayed on, he would eventually had to fight his mentor. However, it seems that Galen would have to prove himself much sooner than he expected, as the archangel Alexander seems unhappy with Raphael's quick ascent into the Cadre and ready to declare war. As Galen prepares himself, he must know the politics that might inform tactics and is thus referred to Jessamy, the Teacher, but also historian. Jessamy is  a very old angel, but she's also different. Born with a birth defect in one of her wing, Jessamy cannot fly and therefore has been bound to Earth... until a barbarian angel came and freed her.

My Opinion: I'm really happy that Angel's Dance was Galen and Jessamy's story as I was curious about them :) I thought the story was very sweet, but draggy at times.

My favorite element in Angel's Dance was the characterization. I thought Ms Singh did a great job :) I love how different Galen and Jessamy's personalities were. Galen is a warrior - big and physical, but also smart. He's definitively more than brawn :) I love the part where it was revealed he had a temper LOL. As for Jessamy, I thought Ms Singh nailed it. Her characterization was very real. Jessamy is more than 2,500 years old... so very, very old. Because she could not fly,  Jessamy isolated herself when she was younger... and thus, growing up, she seemed to be out of reach. Add in the fact that she's the Teacher, the angel who's been teaching all the babes... and it was almost as if she was asexual. In their mind, she wasn't a woman... She was the Teacher, an angel that commanded respect, an angel that they loved... but always above, always untouchable. Raphael and Illium saw her that way, even Dmitri... So it took an angel from outside like Galen to see the woman that was there. I also liked that Galen hadn't been her student, because it lessened the icky factor. LOL. Or the part where Jessamy has never left the Refuge. Raphael had never realized that it was because Jessamy couldn't, not didn't want to. So I think Ms Singh really did a great job with the characterizations and I liked both our H/H.

I also realized why I enjoyed Archangel's Kiss so much. I knew it was because it took place in the Refuge, but I couldn't pinpoint it... but reading Angel's Dance, I realized why. It's because when they are at the Refuge, the angels behave more normally. They are among themselves, so they don't need to act or put up a front... They are themselves and most of the time, it means they appear less psycho LOL. Oh and I loved seeing the baby angels!! They were just so cute and so innocent! I guess immortality will warp your mind ^_^;

As for the romance and the story, I think they were okay. I thought the romance between Galen and Jessamy was sweet. For someone to finally see the woman in Jessamy... However, it definitively dragged :( Especially after Jessamy was taken to New York. I don't understand why Galen let let her go. It was just plain stupid to me. As for the overall storyline, I enjoyed seeing some of the characters' background and how Raphael's troop came together. However, the whole war with the archangel Alexander, that was weak. Especially the reason Jessamy was attacked? Just a bit far-fetched to me. The whole storyline just wasn't as solid as what I'm used to with Ms Singh's writing.

My Grade: B-. Really glad I read it, that we found out more about Galen and Jessamy. However, it wasn't stellar and not one of Ms Singh's best novella.

12 comments:

  1. I need to give this series another try. I absolutely love the Psy/Changling series. It is among my favorites. I just couldn't seem to connect with this one. Would you suggest reading the prequel novel first?

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  2. Wooo, your review definitely makes me want to read this book. Sady to say, this series has not been up there in my reading pile. I can't seem to get into the main cast all the much...or even Dimitri, but you're write. Ms. Nalini's writing is good and her storyline's solid. Doesn't hurt to read some more. :D

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  3. I hope Angel's Dance is released as a novella e-book. Otherwise, this will be a library read.

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  4. Good to hear you got your experiments working. Phew.

    I haven't read any of the novellas even though I have both anthologies in which two of these four novellas appear. So I'll still buy this one to read all of them and have for my Nalini keeper shelf. I love her stuff. I'm looking forward to these stories!

    The French errors would bug me, too. I'm surprised that wasn't caught and corrected by editing!

    Leslie, I thought I read somewhere that Angels' Dance was going to be included in the next full length Guild Hunter book, but I'm not certain.

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  5. Leslie, I can't find it anywhere on Nalini's site, so I'm probably mistaken. :/

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  6. Shannon - I know what you mean Shannon. I love, love, love the Psy-Changelings series as well. The Guild Hunter series in my opinion is okay. It's good because the writing and the plots are solid... but it's a different feel.

    Personally, I wouldn't read the prequel first. I don't think you'll get a good feel for the world. I thought if I had read Angel's Pawn first, I would have been really confused and unsatisfied about the world building.

    Little Alys - Hi there! LOL, it's definitively better than some other books out there, even if it isn't the best :)

    I don't know who to root for. Like I said in my review of Archangel's Blade, I feel Ms Singh is trying so hard to be dark... Everyone in Raphael's Seven is so tortured... I don't really know who to root for ^_^;

    Leslie - I don't know if It'll be released as an e-book individually. Hmmmm. I'll have to check that out.

    Christine - I know! But I'm totally beat!

    LOL, that's exactly why I bought Angel's Flight. To have it because it's NS :)

    I'm not totally surprised the French error wasn't caught... but this one was kind of bad ^_^;

    Hmmm, I doubt the new novella will be included in the next Guild Hunter book. Actually, I hope not, Christine! Otherwise, it makes buying Angel's Dance not very worth it ^_^;

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  7. Good luck with the experiments, I don’t know anything about experiments (are you a biologist?) but I know how it is to do research and lab work and how frustrating it is when things don’t add up. Here, this will probably make you smile and I think it’s appropriate to your circumstances: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1476

    I get your language pet peeve. It reeks of laziness if you ask me. Take the time to at least Google it to make sure you’re doing it right. I understand making mistakes but not such obvious ones and with such easy things to check, it’s just a name after all.

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  8. Thank you for reviewing this, it is on my tab list and i was curious about it :)

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  9. i meant tbb list (gotta love autocorrect)

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  10. Brie - What do you do Brie? I know Marie is doing her Masters, but I don't know in what... I'm curious LOL. I did biochemistry as my major... What I do now would be more biology I guess. I do research on prostate cancer.

    My experiment finally worked. Yay! We changed every reagents, so not sure exactly what was wrong LOL. But ah well. But that was a small experiment part of a big experiment. Knocking on wood for the big experiment to have worked LOL. Will find out tomorrow!

    and LOL, I love PhDcomics! :) Sometimes, they are sooo accurate LOL.

    Well I guess the "cher" and "chère" has become a common mistake nowadays... and as Hilcia pointed out, it might be the Cajun French. As for Jeanne... well Jean is a woman's name in English, so perhaps that's why. Who knows if it was laziness or forgetfulness or whatever... But yeah, it'd be nice if they could check it... You can never be too safe.

    Kris - No problem Kris!! How are you? :P and LOL, at least, it didn't auto-correct it into something embarrassing LOL.

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  11. I minored in anthropology and majored in archaeology. I’ve been involved with archaeological research almost since I started college, that’s why I decided to go with archaeology instead of sticking to anthropology. Marie’s Masters was in archaeology.

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  12. Brie - Oh that is so cool Brie! And yes, you must know what research is! :)

    So did you and Marie meet in school?

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