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Literature / Guild Hunter

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Guild Hunter is a series of Urban Fantasy (with shades of Paranormal Romance) books by Nalini Singh, who also writes Psy Changeling.

This is not the world you know. It is a world that has been ruled by the Angels since the dawn of humanity.note  In the equivalent to our early 21st century, the Archangel Raphael (Archangel of New York and de facto ruler of North America) hires top Vampire Hunter Elena Devereaux for a very special—and secret—assignment; he wants her to hunt down a Fallen Angel. It's gonna be one hell of a day at the office...

The series consists of:

  • Angels' Dance (novella)
  • Angels' Judgment (novella)
  • Angels' Pawn (novella)
  • Angels' Blood
  • Archangel's Kiss
  • Archangel's Consort
  • Angel's Wolf (novella)
  • Archangel's Blade
  • Archangel's Storm
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  • Archangel's Legion
  • Archangel's Shadows
  • Archangel's Enigma
  • Archangel's Heart
  • Archangel's Viper
  • Archangel’s Prophecy
  • Archangel's War
  • Archangel's Sun

As this is a long-running series, some spoilers from earlier books may be unmarked.

The Guild Hunter series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Elena. Comes with being a Guild Hunter.
    • Ashwini and Honor, as fellow Hunters, also fit this.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Illium is "Bluebell" and Aodhan is "Sparkle." Illium likes his nickname but Aodhan can't stand his.
  • Alpha Bitch: Michaela, aka "Bitch Queen"
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Lijuan, by the end of the second book. No one has the slightest idea of what she has become.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The way Angels' society works.
  • Badass Biker: Both Ransom and Janvier.
    • Naasir sometimes rides a motorcycle as well.
  • Badass Family: While its members are not technically related, the Guild certainly fits this trope.
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  • Badass in Charge: Any Archangel is this.
  • Band of Brothers: The Hunters' Guild is very much this.
  • Big Applesauce: Raphael's chosen hometown.
  • Big Bad: Zhou Lijuan, in many of the books starring Elena and Raphael.
  • Big Fancy House: Jeffrey Devereaux bought one after the event that shattered his family. Elena even nicknamed it the "Big House".
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The angels generally stick to the "be feared but not hated" truism, because it's better in the long run. But God (or another Angel or Archangel) help you if you piss them off- they will take you down without a second thought. Wars between Archangels are to be avoided at all costs- the fallout is not pretty.
    • Raphael vs. Uram in the first book tore up most of New York City. The entire Cadre vs. Zhou Lijuan in the second book made a crater where Beijing used to be.
  • Blue Blood: Elena's father personifies this trope, at least as far as a human can in this setting.
  • Casting a Shadow: Although he cannot project shadows, Jason can manipulate shadows to conceal himself. He displays and explains this power in Archangel's Storm.
  • Chekhov's Tattoo: During Archangel's Legion, a strange tattoo starts to appear on Raphael's face, for no apparent reason. It turns out that this marks him as the commander of the Legion; a legendary force of 777 warrior-angels. They show up just in the nick of time.
  • Childhood Friends: Illium and Aodhan
  • Children Are Innocent: To harm a child may well be the only true taboo Angelkind has left.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hunters in general, with Elena showing the most of this.
  • Council of Angels: The Cadre of Ten, made up of the ten most powerful Archangels in the world. The number can dip as low as seven, but there's never meant to be more than ten; there's only so much of the planet, after all.
  • Cultured Badass: Dmitri comes to mind.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: What happens to anyone foolish enough to challenge an Archangel without being one themselves.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Elena, Raphael, Dmitri, Jason and Ashwini particularly come to mind.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Raphael's special all-black room. Jason.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Both played straight and subverted with Elena's mother. While Marguerite was a wonderful mother up to the event that shattered her family, after that she became nothing more than a shadow of herself, not standing up for her surviving daughters when they needed her and ultimately driving herself to suicide.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: What almost happens to Elena at the end of the first book. Of course, it was in Raphael's arms.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Elena's first name is "Elianora"; she prefers the shorter version, even if her father insists on using the longer one.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Galen. He's really a nice guy, unless he's training you. Then you could only wish for Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.
  • Eternal Love: Raphael and Elena
    • Dmitri and Honor, completed with reincarnation
    • Jason and Mahiya
    • Janvier and Ashwini
    • Naasir and Andromeda
    • Venom and Holly
    • Galen and Jessamy, together for over four hundred years
    • Elijah and Hannah, together for over nine hundred years
    • Nadiel and Caliane, until the former's death
    • Titus and Sharine
  • Etiquette Nazi: Lijuan
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: In the series, your relationship status can be (and commonly is) displayed for the world, via your choice of jewelry. Silver for "single", gold for "married", and amber for "entangled". Elena and Raphael choose amber. Of the official couples, only Dmitri and Honor get legally married and wear gold. Janvier and Ashwini also get married although it's never outright stated if they wear gold as well.
    • Naasir and Andromeda as well as Galen and Jessamy wear amber.
  • Family of Choice: The Guild is this to its Hunter, even the ones who already have perfectly functional families.
    • Raphael and the members of his Seven also have a close, familial-type relationship.
  • Given Name Reveal: Just after they acknowledge their feelings for each other, Venom tells Holly the name he was born with...while they're having sex for the first time. It's Tushar.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Expect several graphic descriptions of Raphael and Elena's lovemaking in each book. If they aren't the main characters, the focus shifts to the chosen protagonists.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Naasir, who is the result of merging a human boy and a white tiger cub. Unusually for this trope, he was Made, not born.
  • Have You Seen My God?: Archangels apparently answer to no one but themselves and their fellows in the Cadre.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Illium and Aodhan
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Dmitri. It's very well hidden, but it exists!
  • Hybrid Power: Holly is a unique supernatural being, not quite a vampire but needing to drink blood to survive. She has vampiric traits as well as limited angelic traits. She is also venomous, able to mesmerize people with her gaze and can move incredibly quickly, like a snake. A less-common variant of this trope, as she was a mundane human who was transformed, rather than born from the union of two supernatural creatures.
    • She is considered a very young immortal, and is growing into her powers.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the books in the series, with the exception of Angels' Blood, the very first novel, are titled "Archangel's [Noun]," referring to the relationship of one of the main characters with the archangel who features most prominently in the book.
    • For example, Archangel's Viper, featuring Venom and Holly, is so named because Venom is poisonous and is described as having the bright green eyes of a viper complete with vertical pupils.
    • Archangel's Sun: The sun in question is Sharine, around whom Titus revolves.
  • Immortality Seeker: The vast majority of vampires were this.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Vampires over 200-years-old cannot have children.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: Angels vastly conformed to this trope.
    He was cut in sparkling ice, his wings so bright as to almost hurt human eyes, his face and his skin seeming to be created from marble overlaid with white-gold.
    • As for vampires, the older they got, the more beautiful they become.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Raphael and Dmitri.
    • Also, starting with book two, Elena and all her human friends.
    • As of their respective Makings, Vivek, Honor, and Ashwini with all their human friends.
    • Any angel-vampire friendship is this.
  • Interspecies Romance: Raphael and Elena's starts as this.
  • I Want Them Alive: The mission statement of the Hunter's Guild. Lethal force is used only as a last resort.
  • The Jeeves: Montgomery
  • Jerkass: Angels usually treat humans with contempt. Also, Elena's estranged father, Jeffrey Devereaux, who seems to go out of his way to fit this trope.
    • Irony: Elena's father threw her out on the street because she was "Hunter-Born", but it turns out that he carried the "Hunter"-gene, and that his youngest daughter (with his second wife) is also Hunter-born.
      • The Reveal: Jeffrey was adopted by the Devereaux family. His real mother was a Hunter who was killed in front of him by a trio of rogue vampires. This trauma caused him to be prejudiced against Hunters, because he was afraid that his daughter would suffer the same fate.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Angels are this to any vampire who signed a Contract with them.
  • Lady-in-Waiting: The Archangel Neha has several of those.
  • Lady of War: Any female Archangel is this.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility Played straight with the Angels; for some reason, all female Angels have trouble getting pregnant. One child in a century is the average...for all of Angelkind. Also, because of their immortality, it takes new Angels about 100 years to fully mature, both physically and emotionally.
  • Light Is Not Good: Angels might look like incredibly beautiful humans...but they're not.
  • Long-Lived: Angels don't have a definite lifespan as they can't die naturally, and therefore tend to live a very long time.
    • Also vampires, for similar reasons.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: Elena, a human, falls in love with Raphael, an Archangel. This trope is heavily implied.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: Any immortal-human friendship is this.
  • Missing Mom: Elena's mother died by suicide when she was young; Raphael's had been Sleeping for centuries, at least until the third book.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Archangel Neha, a.k.a. "Queen of Snakes" and "Queen of Poisons".
  • Not So Different: They're immortal and super-powerful, but they bicker and fight among themselves like humans.
  • Official Couple: For the series as a whole, Raphael and Elena.
  • The Older Immortal: Caliane, an Ancient, is tens of thousands of years older than everyone else.
  • One True Love: Raphael and Elena
    • Dmitri and Honor
    • Jason and Mahiya
    • Janvier and Ashwini
    • Naasir and Andromeda
    • Venom and Holly
    • Galen and Jessamy
    • Elijah and Hannah
  • One World Order: It's an angels' world, we just live here — and we'd better not forget that.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Let's be clear: they are called "angels" only because they are winged beings. They have nothing to do with God or any kind of belief system whatsoever, even if some Archangels (such as Lijuan) would like you to believe otherwise. That being said, they are a very powerful and nigh-immortal species implied to have existed even before the dawn of humankind. They also produce a toxin that must be regularly discharged into somebody else or it drives them insane, thus they create vampires — from willing human populations.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Angels can turn humans into vampires, in exchange for a contract pledging 100 years of servitude. And if the vampires get any funny ideas about breaking the contract, they are reminded to Read the Fine Print, often forcefully. These vampires need blood, but they can stand direct sunlight and eat normal food in small amounts. They are not vulnerable to holy items (crosses, bibles, etc.). Younger vampires (under 200 years) can father mortal children with human women, but they cannot make more vampires; only angels can do that.
    • Venom. His eyes have vertical pupils and nictitating membranes, like a snake, and his fangs can inject poison into a victim. He can even spit poison, like a spitting cobra. He was Made by Neha, who was trying to incorporate snake-like abilities into her vampires. Venom was her most successful experiment.
    • Naasir; part vampire, part...tiger? Nobody's really sure, but he's strong enough—and loyal enough—that most people don't ask too many questions.
    • Holly Chang, aka "Sorrow". She was Made (against her will) by Uram at the height of his Bloodborne insanity. She's more human than vampire, since she needs human food as much as blood to survive. Her fangs are slightly undersized, but secrete poison like Venom.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Lijuan's "Reborn"... *brrr*. They were originally raised by some form of necromancy, but can make more by biting and infecting their victims.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Jeffrey Deveraux, Elena's father, whose two eldest daughters, Mirabelle and Arielle, died at the hand of a psychopathic vampire.
    • Also Dmitri, whose children were killed by a psychopathic angel.
    • And more generally, what will happen to any vampire whose children will not be Made.
  • Personality Powers: The gifts Archangels received during the Cascade tend to reflect their nature. What this says about Lijuan is... terrifying.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Archangels are this.
  • The Power of Love: Supposed in-universe (since no one really knows) to be the reason behind Elena's very unique Making.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Seven. Each Archangel has their own, comprised of their most powerful / loyal / talented subordinates. The Seven does double duty as bodyguards and field agents. Raphael's Seven includes Dmitri ("Major-Domo" / Second-in-Command), Jason (The Spymaster), Ilium, Aodhan, Nassir and Venom.
  • Really 700 Years Old: In the most extreme cases (the Ancients), angels can live several hundred thousand years, their lifespan having no natural limit. It also takes them a century to reach adulthood, so an angel will always looks considerably younger than his age.
    • As for vampires, their Making slows down the ageing process to the point where it becomes insignificant, so they never seems any older than the age at which they were Made.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Dmitri and Honor, the latter being the reincarnation of the former's first wife and One True Love.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: To the word, the way Favashi is described.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Dmitri tends to play with other members of the Seven. None of them would be in Raphael's closest circle if they weren't smart.
  • The Spymaster: Jason is Raphael's. He is recognized as the finest spy among all of Angelkind, and many other Archangels have tried to hire him away from Raphael. None have succeeded.
  • Stronger with Age: Zig-zags on this. As a general rule, the older an immortal is, the stronger they are; Archangels, in general, are the oldest, strongest angels, but there are other factors as well- your lineage, natural events (like Cascades) and life experiences are all implied to have an effect on your power levels. As an example of this, Raphael is the youngest but one of the strongest of the Cadre and the de-facto leader, while Michaela, who is implied to be of a similar age, is much weaker. The same is true among lesser angels and vampires- Illium, considered young by angel standards, is on the verge of becoming an Archangel, whilst Anoushka, daughter of an archangel, stopped growing in power long before she was as old as he is.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Raphael
  • Telepathy: One of Raphael's powers.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Elena, who is transformed into an Angel at the end of the first book. This is Hand Waved as The Power of Love, since even the angels don't know why it happens.
  • Tranquil Fury: Raphael. Running is useless.
  • Trauma Conga Line: When Elena was a child, rogue vampire Slater Patalis tracked her to her house and broke in. He tortured her mother, and tortured and murdered two of her sisters. Elena and and her mother survived, but her mother committed suicide a few years later. Her father then blamed her, and disowned her when she became a Guild Hunter.
  • Vampire Hunter: Organized by the Hunter's Guild, their main task is to bring back alive those vampires foolish enough to think they can escape their contract to their Angelic masters for punishment. Lethal force is only used in extreme cases, or to hunt down the few who have given in to their bloodlust.
    • The best Hunters are the "Hunter-Born" like Elena, who are stronger and faster than normal humans, and can track vampires by their scent like two-legged bloodhounds.
  • Weapon of Choice: Sara's crossbow and Elena's knives.
  • Well Done Daughter Gal: Elena to her father, Jeffrey.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Many humans are eager to become vampires, because they want eternal life and eternal youth. But for the angels and already-"Made" vampires, boredom starts to set in after a few centuries...or millennia. Angels have the option of hibernating for centuries (or millennia) in a near-comatose state, which they simply call "the Sleep". Vampires do not have this option.
  • Wild Child: Naasir was this, and he's only gotten wilder with age. Justified, since he was Made by merging a young human boy and a white tiger cub.
  • Winged Humanoid: Angels are described as looking essentially human, except for the part where they have wings.


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