Review: The Singer by Elizabeth Hunter

Reviewed by Joanna

We ended the first book in this series on a cliffhanger. Malachi and Ava, a newly mated and bonded couple of half-human half-angel folk were being pursued through Istanbul by the deadly Gregori. They were trapped in an underground cistern fighting for their lives, only for… Malachi to be killed by Brage, one of the Fallen.

Ava goes into extreme shock and a mourning so fierce she bursts the ear drums of those around her. She’s only just found Malachi – her true soul mate and reshon, after years of being isolated and considered mentally ill by her human family.

But here’s the kicker – the extent of her powers being unknown and untested, Ava has no idea that when she calls out for Malachi in the old language to return to her, he does just that.

Malachi is back from the dead.

He appears in the middle of nowhere, naked, untattooed with his Scribe marks, and with no memory of who he is. A farmer helps him and pieces of his memories return until eventually he finds his way back at the Irin retreat where he and Ava first consummated their love. He can remember her face but not her, and in his sleep he can hear her calling and crying. Malachi tries desperately to get back to her, but Ava has gone.

Damien, their friend, took her to his mate for training, somewhere in remote mountains in Scandinavia. The Irina, the females of their race, were badly decimated in an attack two hundred years ago, and the survivors no longer trust the males who were meant to protect them. This is a conflict to Ava – she loves and trusts her mate, even if she thinks him dead, so all the hating going on by doesn’t suit her.

She’s also an anomaly as she was born to a human mother, which is unheard of and no one can predict quite what she can do. Ava’s arrival is a catalyst for change within the new race she’s found herself a member of. And revolution is a theme of these books. The Irin is run by a council of old dudes <— same as much of the rest of the world. And they don’t do a particularly good job. The few females who survived the attack won’t reintegrate as they resent the males and the council, but the separation can’t continue with the threat of attack from the evil Gregori.

Plus the guys simply want the ladies back… for reasons.

I love the kicker to this – Irin males can only have sex with females of their own race – they can’t touch human women. So the fellas have been hard up for two hundred years. I mean, the population is in severe decline too, but this made me laugh whenever one of the younger males got all ansty about finding a mate.

In the meantime, as Ava receives training in her powers (involving a powerful singing method of sharing visions, hence the title), Malachi is trying to find his mate who of course doesn’t know of his resurrection. Oh and Brage is trying to find them both. He plans to kill the Irin and capture the Irina for his evil father.

The world building in book one was great, but here were several info dumps which padded out the middle of the story and I felt the slog as the plot slowed considerably. But overall I was more frustrated by just how long it took Ava and Malachi to get back together – the majority of the book they are chatting to other people or wandering about. This drove me a bit nuts and I missed the fight they should’ve been having to reunite. Plus the tension kept rising then falling away, and the story was unnecessarily bloated.

The emotions were great when they did get back together, and I’m glad it wasn’t all Gasp, you’re still alive! There was far more meaning, and Hunter did a great job of thinking through what this really could be like for Ava.

A couple of the angels pop in every now and again to be mysterious and make vague threats or unclear statements, in their way of driving the background plot. I wondered where these beings went when they weren’t scaring people by dropping their humans masks, or standing around on mountains staring into the sun.

“Is she what I think?” he asked. “What the heretics claim?”

“Yes.”

His cold heart quickened. “Truly?”

And no.”

Fucking angels.

Overall the Ava/Malachi segments I found wonderful, and the interactions with their friends were fun (there are some kick-ass Irina who won’t rely solely on males for protection ever again), but this was a much slower book than the first. That’s often the way with middle books of a series, so I’m heading on over to book three to get some conclusions going on.

Rating: C+/B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Singer
by Elizabeth Hunter
Release Date: May 6, 2014

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