Now this is what I wanted Angel’s Blood to be. Relationship development and worldbuilding, yes please. This is the book where Elena demands that Raphael treat her as an equal and trust her, and he does.
There’s a lot of discussion along the way, too – Elena doesn’t want Raphael in her head unless she invites him, he has to absorb that and come to terms with how he loves her as she is, an independent hunter – and it’s just good stuff. Actual character development as Raphael adjusts to loving her, and as Elena adjusts to suddenly having wings.
Oh right: hey, if you haven’t read Angel’s Blood, go read it! It’s a bit late to claim spoilers thanks to the cover giving it away, but yeah! Elena becomes an angel at the climax of book 1, and almost the entirety of book 2 is her learning how to deal with having wings, being immortal, and other problems. 90% of the action in this book takes place in the Angel’s Refuge, a hidden sanctuary and place of neutrality. All of the Archangels can come here and chill, their children are raised here, and it’s a cool little city where these weirdos hang out and politic with each other.
Oh yes, I said children. There are scenes where Elena gets to meet angel children and they’re adorable, far cries from the emotionless cruel masters that most angels are.
“But wait,” I hear you cry. “There has to be a plot, right? It’s not just slice-of-life with angels and relationship development?”
Yep, there are murders. At the same time Elena’s learning to fly and stuff, someone is murdering people in the Refuge, which has every Archangel up in arms because this place is neutral and this is unacceptable.
Also there’s an invitation by Lijuan to come to her special ball, which is the finale of the book, to no one’s surprise. 90% of the book is slice of life and relationship development as Elena prepares for the ball, and the other 10% are the murders and Lijuan. It’s a solid mix, just enough spice to keep things from getting boring.
Oh and one other important thing: thanks to becoming an angel, Elena gets more and more flashbacks to when her mother and sisters were murdered. Apparently she’d repressed memories from the incident and now they come to light – and it helps that she’s got Raphael on hand. Since he’s become someone who respects Elena, he’s actually great as a partner – he cares, he’s kind, he’s hot as hell.
Essentially this book sold me on their relationship as a long-term thing, and everything in it was solid fun. I won’t call this the best PNR I’ve ever read, but it’s up there and if you can make it through Angel’s Blood you absolutely need to read this one. It’s a warm hug coupled with some awful murders.