October 26, 2020

Guild Hunters Ball: Welcome + Series Review

Whenever the end of October rolls around, I get excited about the fact that Rachel & I will be getting to share our thoughts on a paranormal series that we read together. We've hosted a BDB Party with our friend Kelly, held a Vampire Academy Gala and, just last year, had a Fallen Angels FĂȘte.

This year, we chose to read the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. I honestly didn't know what to expect from the series, so it completely caught me off guard when I fell head over heels in love with it. It is, without a doubt, my favorite series that we've read together (and a personal favorite too)! I enjoyed all 12 books that are out so far, and have no doubt that I'm going to enjoy whatever comes next as well.

To kick off our Guild Hunters Ball, both Rachel & I will be sharing our thoughts on the series today.

The Guild Hunter series begins with readers being introduced to the talented & tough Elena Deveraux, a skilled Hunter who works for the Guild in tracking down rogue vampires. Elena is hired by Raphael, archangel of New York, in order to help track down an archangel gone bad. While the assignment seems impossible, Elena knows that she cannot refuse or fail, not when the safety of her city is at stake.

I already said this earlier, but it's worth repeating: I love this series.

It was the lore (and the world) that hooked me initially. I only really started developing an interest in fantasy with urban, modern settings in the last five years, and the way Nalini Singh just sets it up so the fantastical loremerge perfectly into existing physical places and into modern day society and technology is excellent. I'm obviously a little biased about the fact that a big chunk of the series happens in New York City, but I also love that Singh includes so many other locations in the books. And I'm really intrigued by the refreshing way she wove angelic and vampiric lore together in this story in a way that felt all her own. The lore just continues to be revealed in organic ways as the series goes on too, and that's no easy feat to accomplish.

The same holds true for Singh's story plots. In a series that has over ten books, the plots could have become tired or repetitive... but they never did, at least not to me. There's an overarching plot that has been building in momentum and scope since the very first book, and the way that it continues to unfurl (and details continue to be revealed) with each new novel is impressive. But each novel also has a self-contained plot that drives the story (and character growth) forward. The way Singh writes is perfectly paced, and always has me turning the pages of her books eagerly until I hit the very end.

But in the end, and as is the case for me with anything I read in any genre, it's the characters that really cemented my love for the series. Elena, of course, is the first one I immediately loved. She's passionate, capable and has a good heart; she's also one to put on a tough front yet be vulnerable too. I loved seeing her be the badass she is, but also learn to be more open... especially with Raphael, the dangerous immortal who eventually wins her heart. Their relationship is one of the backbones of the entire series, and it's just so satisfying to watch it grow and flourish no matter difficulties life seems intent on throwing their way. 

These two aren't the only characters that I fell in love with though. As the series goes on, we're introduced to Raphael's Seven (a band of warriors who have unquestionable loyalty), Elena's fellow Guild Hunters, friends & family, and more vampires & angels & archangels. Many of these character have important roles (and some even get their own books!), and it's fascinating to watch all these personalities be brought to life on page. Singh has a gift for making each personality distinct, which makes it easy to keep this rather large cast of characters straight in my mind. She also does an excellent job balancing the variety of relationships that grace the pages, whether it's family, friendship, coworkers, allies or enemies. 

Basically, when it comes right down to it, I just love everything about the Guild Hunter series. It's one heck of an impressive package, from the solid world-building and lore to the compelling plots to the lovable ensemble cast. It's been so fun to experience this series for the first time with Rachel, and to finally understand why so many folks I know have raved about Nalini Singh and her books. I'm definitely eager to get my hands on book 13 (out next month)!


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