This is Nalini Singh’s first book in her Guild Hunter series. It is written in third person from Elena Deveraux and Rafael’s POVs with a couple others briefly thrown in.
So first about this world. Archangels rule the world and it is split between 10 of them, creating 10 regions. Below the Archangels in power are the regular angels. Stronger ones hold sectors within Archangel territories, others are soldiers. These are the main occupations we see in the series, but I’m guessing they can do other things.
Angels make vampires. It is unknown how they are made, but humans can attempt to become vampire candidates. Whether or not they are chosen is up to the angels. Vampires are not able to create other vampires. In order to become a vampire, a human also has to agree to 100 years of service to the angels. The angels can treat the vampires however they want, making the decision to apply for immortality more difficult than one might think.
Angels and vampires are immortal, whereas the humans are very mortal. Though they do not have the strength of the vampires and the angels, they are by FAR the most populous. And within the human population are the hunters. They are born with the ability to scent vampires. Though this seems like a bizarre ability to have, it gives them an advantage as otherwise humans may not know there is a vampire in their midst.
Humans have also created the Guild. The Guild is hired by angels to collect vampires who have run out on their 100 year contracts. These vampires are generally not that strong as they get stronger with age, but occasionally they can be called in to assist with tracking older vampires. You do not have to be a born hunter to be a part of the Guild; regular humans can also join. It does however take a certain kind of person to join the Guild. But when they have, the have a brotherhood they can rely upon for life.
Elena is a born hunter. Little does she know how her life is going to change when she gets contracted by the Archangel Raphael to assist with tracking someone down; someone old and powerful. Not only does she need to fear for her life from this mission, she also has to fight herself with the strong attraction she has to Raphael. But she knows that to an immortal who is about 1500 years old, she is only a play thing that he would amuse himself with for a brief time.
Raphael can feel his humanity slipping away. He is getting colder and colder as the years pass. However, when he meets Elena, she intrigues him. It has been a long time since he has paid much attention to mortals, and this one that he needs (she is the best tracker after all) appeals to him for some reason.
This book can be somewhat frustrating at time with how arrogant Raphael is. He sees everyone as beneath him, even Elena. However, Elena does not put up with it, even though Raphael could kill her at any time. Elena deals with a lot of threats to her life through the course of this book.
Warning, there is a LOT of violence and death in this book. To offset it though, are some really awesome characters. Nalini Singh has created a very compelling world filled with people that are believable. Yes, Raphael can be a douche bag at times, however when you are one of the 10 most powerful beings on the planet and have been alive for about 1500 years, that is a realistic state. So watching him and Elena change as they move toward each other is amazing.