Aria loses her humanity after being saved by a monster she believed only to exist in horror stories. But everything isn’t what it seems when her savior becomes a handsome angel prince who awakened her ancient and deadly powers. Powers that can destroy the world, or save it. Only true love can break the prince’s curse and stop him from turning into stone for all eternity.
The Archangel’s Kiss takes place in Paris, France, the dream destination of main character, Aria, and where she’s currently spending a summer vacationing before beginning college. Paris is an excellent choice for a gothic romance, not only because it is known as the city of love, but also because of the many gargoyle-adorned buildings, which is likely why the author chose to have her story take place here. Having Aria not be native to Paris as well could have allows the audience learn more about the city through her eyes, as well as create an interesting parallel between Aria being the outsider in this new country, and in the world of the supernatural. Paris also has memorable, and stunning architecture and monuments that serve as excellent backdrops for romantic scenes. The author does well describing the famous La Boheme theater, even pulling an interesting historical fact about this theater’s chandelier inspiring the Phantom of the Opera, but, for most of the book, we are left with very little description. However, since much of the book takes place at parties and houses, many times while reading it, I found myself forgetting that they were supposed to be in France at all. As a result, it feels like wasted potential to have the story set in Paris, and have Aria herself be so excited to see the city, and yet we as the readers see so little of it.
The plot of The Archangel’s Kiss has several interesting elements. In particular, the politics of the supernatural underworld that Aria finds herself in rather fascinating, and I enjoyed learning more about the uneasy peace between vampires and angels. What’s more, it was nice that the author didn’t limit herself just to one culture or species against another, rather, she made sure to include other species, such as werewolves and spirits. The concept of soul mates was also interesting, and I genuinely wanted to learn more about how they worked. However, it also felt that the story fell short in explaining certain plot details. When we meet Aria, she’s just been rejected by her first soul mate, the vampire king Philippe, and is rescued by the gargoyle Cedric, who becomes her new soul mate. It’s later explained that, because Philippe rejected her, she will be condemned to hell if she doesn’t fall in love with Cedric, and he will die, and we never learn exactly why. It is common to see the unloved die in supernatural romances, but we don’t know why Aria will now go to hell if she dies, especially since she hasn’t really done anything wrong. While the majority of the plot is meant to be dedicated to having these two characters fall for each other, the constant threat of death if they fail feels less romantic and more concerning.
Aria is eighteen years old, and learns that she has to fall in love with a complete stranger in thirty days or go to hell, and doesn’t seem to find this especially concerning after the paragraph she learns about it. A chapter after learning about this task, she’s immediately moved on and is shopping for dresses, which feels rather unrealistic. Cedric as well is difficult to like, and is portrayed one-dimensional. He only ever thinks about how much he loves Aria, and is very overprotective of her, to the point of obsession. He doesn’t appear to have any hobbies or interests outside of their relationship, and can be rather cruel to her if she doesn’t do what he wants. On the final point of the love triangle is Philippe, who, through his dialogue claims that he’s still in love with Aria in spite of rejecting her, but never manages to explain to the audience why, save for finding her beautiful. It paints him as a shallow and flat character.