Genres: Urban Fantasy
Series: Dark Angels #1
Published by Bantam Dell, Random House on September 27, 2011
Also by this author: Full Moon Rising, Darkness Rising, Fireborn
The fight against darkness rages on for the next generation—in New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur’s exciting new series set in the world of the Guardians.
Being half werewolf and half Aedh, Risa Jones can enter the twilight realms between life and death and see the reapers, supernatural beings that collect the souls of the dead. But she soon makes a terrifying discovery: Some sinister force is stealing souls, preventing the dead from ever knowing the afterlife.
Reapers escort souls—not snatch them—but Risa is still unnerved when a reaper shadows her in search of someone Risa has never met: her own father, an Aedh priest, who is rumored to be tampering with the gates of hell for a dark purpose. With the help of her “aunt”—half-werewolf, half-vampire Riley Jenson—and an Aedh named Lucian who may have lost his wings but none of his sex appeal, Risa must pursue whatever shadowy practitioner of blood magic is seizing souls, and somehow stop her father . . . before all hell breaks loose.
Having followed Keri Arthur’s work for many years, particularly her Riley Jensen series, I was very excited when I heard she was going to be writing Risa’s story. The Riley Jensen books are fantastic paranormal romance novels with lots of action and great storylines and I was hoping that I’d be able to say the same about the Dark Angels series. Thankfully, I can!
Risa Jones was just a kid in the Riley Jensen books but she’s all grown up in this series, running a restaurant with a couple friends and trying to lead a normal life — at least as normal as a half-werewolf, half-Aedh woman can. (For the uninitiated, the Aedh are winged beings who have varying powers and can take different states (flesh vs. energy).) It’s a change from the Riley books; Riley was a Guardian, tasked with protecting Melbourne from the evil supernaturals, while Risa definitely does not want to be a Guardian, not after seeing the toll it took on Riley. Nonetheless, she has a good grasp of her powers and knows how to defend herself, which comes in handy when her curiosity has her running around town trying to figure out why everyone is suddenly interested in her absentee father.
Risa also has to deal with new developments on the romantic front, in the shape of an Aedh named Lucien. He’s very mysterious and I’m curious to see what his role will be in future novels. In Darkness Unbound, he proves himself to be a capable ally and a sexy, sexy dude, much like Quinn in Full Moon Rising (the first Riley Jensen novel). Risa’s also attracted to one of the reapers, the beings responsible for shepherding souls after people die. This particular reaper, Azriel, is one of the many folks looking for her father and just happens to be quite appealing. This also reminded me of the Riley books since Riley found herself torn between two men for almost the entire series. But this is good news, because Keri Arthur is a genius when it comes to writing love triangles in which you (and the character) have a hard time choosing who’s a better match!Another comparison with the Riley series: lots of steaminess. Keri Arthur doesn’t shy away from the sex and Darkness Unbound is no exception. Her characters have *very* healthy lives, if you know what I mean. 😉 But the romantic antics in no way detract from the main plot, which is completely engrossing.
Fans of Keri’s other work won’t be disappointed in any way, and I suspect that this new series will attract even more readers since Darkness Unbound hooks you from the start! Plus there are a lot of familiar faces, like Riley and Rhoan, who were main characters in the Riley books but who take a more secondary role in the Dark Angels series, at least so far. It’s a fun glimpse into what happened to these guys after the series was over, but you don’t have to be familiar with the characters to enjoy them in Darkness Unbound.
Everything about Darkness Unbound made me happy and I can’t wait to see what happens to Risa next, in Darkness Rising, currently in my TBR stack.
P.S. How lush is this cover? I think it’s one of my favourites of the fall. Such dramatic colours and it really incorporates a lot of elements of the story and captures Risa nicely.