Received from the publisher
From the BLURB:
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…
A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer, vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders. The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.
An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…
The world is on edge. Vampires are turning feral and wild storms are brewing. Earthquakes, rising tides and blood-lust vampires are wreaking havoc on cities with no logical explanation . . . except one: an Ancient is awakening.
When an Archangel wearies of humanity and immortality, they go into a deep sleep for years on end. Occasionally they awaken to gauge their surroundings and the changing times, but their slumbers are often millennia long. Until now. One Ancient is awakening, and it just so happens to be Raphael’s mother.
Caliane went to slumber after she lost her mind, and her mate, to madness. So diseased and weary was Caliane’s immortal mind that she almost killed her son, Raphael, before going to ground and into deep sleep.
Now Caliane is awakening, and she is not happy with Raphael’s choice of consort, Elena Deveraux. Elena may be an anomaly as the first made angel in recent memory, but Caliane expected better for her impossibly powerful Archangel son. And when mother isn’t happy, the world knows about it.
This third book reaches a spectacular zenith in Nalini Singh’s ‘Guild Hunter’ series. Raphael and Elena’s past haunts and childhood nightmares are given form and flesh to have a huge impact on their new-found relationship. Raphael was almost killed by his disturbed Archangel mother, only to have her reawaken just when Raphael has discovered new peace with Elena.
Likewise, Elena has been estranged from her family since she was a teenager, but in ‘Consort’ she is unwittingly thrown back into the family circle when some disturbing news surfaces.
Raphael and Elena have already overcome so much – including death and grandiose Archangel’s. In ‘Consort’ they face their biggest threat – their family.
Caliane is the ‘bad guy’ in this book, and the fact that she is also Raphael’s mother is pure genius on Nalini Singh’s part. Caliane is especially frightening because, for a lot of the book, she is in hiding. While she sleeps she wreaks havoc on the world’s equilibrium and incites vampires to blood-lust . . . yet she is a formless villain, tucked away somewhere and slowly coming to wakefulness. She is a true enigma, made all the more terrifying for her unpredictability.
“There is a legend,” Raphael murmured, his wings flaring out as he tugged her into the curve of his body – as if he would protect her. “That mountains will shake and rivers overflow, while ice creeps across the world and fields drown in rain.” He looked down at her, his eyes that impossible, inhuman chrome blue. “All this will come to pass. . . when an Ancient awakens.”The chill in his tone raised every hair on her body.
A big focus of this book is on Raphael and Elena’s ghosts. Those memories and pent-up emotions that have been haunting them since childhood are suddenly unleashed – with the appearance of Caliane for Raphael, and a family secret for Elena. ‘Consort’ definitely feels like a book of change for these two – as they shake off the shackles of their nightmares and confront their fears. This is also a book in which their relationship reaches new heights. Elena and Raphael trust each other implicitly, and love unconditionally . . . and because of that, they are not alone in battling their demons.
A shudder passed through him, his hands flexing on her hips as he tugged her to his body. “You hold me to the earth, Elena.”Able to feel the heated strength of him against her abdomen, she nipped at his lower lip with her teeth, relief a whisper of rain against her senses. “Don’t you forget it.” Moving her hand down to play over the amber he wore on the ring finger of his left hand, she used those same teeth on his jaw. “You belong to me, Archangel. And I look after what’s mine.”
Yes, there’s still a lot of sex and sensuality between Raphael and his true love, Elena. But the real intimacy is in how far these two have come since ‘Angels Blood’ – now they are at a place in their relationship where they can reveal their innermost fears.
As Raphael and Elena reach a new pinnacle in their relationship, Nalini Singh seems to be refocusing on new stories in the ‘Guild Hunter’ series. A big focus in ‘Consort’ is on Raphael’s ‘Seven’. These are seven angels and vampires who form Raphael’s most intimate and trusted circle. These cast of secondary characters have appeared in previous books, but in ‘Consort’ it feels as though Singh is getting ready to tell their stories.
There’s the blue angel, Illium, who loved and lost a human woman many hundreds of years ago. Raphael’s spymaster, Jason, who lives only to serve and has a past of unparalleled horror. Venom, the vampire with snake eyes and a penchant for violence. The brutish Galen, who loves an angel who cannot fly. Aodhan who has a history of brutal violence that still haunts him. And Dmitri – Raphael’s right-hand-man, an old vampire who was turned against his will and betrayed by a female angel.
And it comes as no surprise when a quick blog search reveals the fourth book in Singh’s series will be a departure from Elena and Raphael. ‘Archangels’ Blade’ will have a September 2011 release, and will be Dmitri’s book. As much as I love them, I'm not overly concerned that ‘Blade’ may only feature Elena and Raphael as secondary characters. Dmitri (and all of Raphael’s Seven) is interesting enough, and Singh has peppered ‘Consort’ with enough back-story intrigue, that I am quite excited to read their stories.
Nalini Singh’s ‘Guild Hunter’ series is a sensual delight. The romance between a centuries-old Archangel and his once human (now angel) consort is one of lush romance and exhilarating action. Singh’s series has gone from strength to strength, and in ‘Consort’ it feels like her main couple have reached enough of a satisfying romantic pinnacle that the series can now turn a focus towards the equally fascinating characters who have lurked on the sidelines. . . I say, bring it on!