Book Review Paranormal Style: Darkness Unbound

Darkness Unbound (Dark Angels, #1)Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay – so I have to admit. What with grad school, and work, and coming up baby stuff, etc., I like to read fluff. And since I also really like to read, I read a lot of fluff. I don’t want to get too involved in the story. I don’t want to have to do a lot of thinking. I just want to be entertained, and I prefer to be entertained with werewolves. I am assuming that at some point in my life (i.e. when the bean is like 10 or something) I can start reading literature again. In the meantime, I am going to unabashedly enjoy my werewolf porn. SO THERE! Ahem.

Keri Arthur is the author of the 9-book Riley Jenson Guardian series, and the most pornographic (I mean that in an extremely good way, btw) of my werewolf porn. I quite enjoyed the Riley Jenson series. Quite. I had also read her two “Myth & Magic” books, but was less impressed…I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new Dark Angels series, but was intrigued that the main character ‘Risa Jones’ was also present for the last 6 of the Riley Jenson series (albeit as a very small child), and that it sounded like Riley would have a presence in these books. I am a sucker for “where are they now?” reveals.

The Story
Risa Jones is half werewolf (her mother is a werewolf clone & a famous psychic!) and half Aedh (a race of angelic-type creatures, complete with wings & an amazing kissing ability; she’s never met her father. Apparently the Aedh don’t actually produce a child until they are reaching the end of their lifespans – which number in the thousands of years, which means the end of their lifespans could still encompass another 20-40 years or something). ANYWAYS –

Risa has an extraordinary ability as a result of her heritage. She can see the reapers – those who are sent to escort the souls of the dead to their resting places.

Other than the occasional favor to her mother when she looks for the souls of the dying to let the surviving loved ones know if they’ve moved on yet, she spends her time working at the restaurant she owns with her two besties.

Of course, that would be a super boring book, so something must happen, right? AND IT DOES!

All of a sudden, Risa is the subject of much interest…she gains a reaper follower (a hot young thing who goes by Azriel – only time will tell if he will ever reveal his true name to Risa), an Aedh lover (he is trapped in a mortal form ever since his wings were ripped off as punishment for avenging his sister’s death), and new contact with the previously absent father. In addition, Madrilene Hunter – one of the oldest & probably the scariest vampire in Australia who also happens to be the head of the Directorate of Other Races (the Guardian division, which Aunt Riley works for, is a division of the Directorate).

It seems Papa Aedh and a few friends were very naughty indeed. They manufactured some keys that have the ability to completely open – or close – the gates of heaven & hell. Open = bad, because all those currently stuck in hell could come out! Closed = bad, because that means that no new souls could get out to inhabit the newly born, leaving a bunch of soulless, vegetable people.

Risa is the only one who can find these keys and destroy them (or get them to the people who want to use them). Not everyone wants her to find these keys; or at least not on her own. She is attacked. And beaten. And tortured. And kidnapped. Her friends are attacked. There is a lot of violence and weirdness. And awesomeness, too, of course.

The Score
Romance/Sexytimes: A – Well, it is Keri Arthur, and she does know how to bring the heat! Risa & her Aedh lover (Lucian) get pretty involved!

Writing: B+ – This was pretty well written. Nothing irritated me while reading, nor was I distracted by poor grammar or weirdly constructed sentences. However, the writing was not out-of-this-world.

Paranormality: B – I honestly think this is Keri’s weak point. The paranormal worlds just seem a bit off. The hover bike mention seemed unnecessary and just a tool to say “hey! it’s the future!” which wasn’t necessary. It’s a paranormal world – you don’t need to work so hard to prove it! There aren’t really inconsistencies, but the world building always feels a bit weak.

Book Score: A- – I enjoyed it. It was a good story with plenty of action (of all sorts). I liked the brief glimpses into characters from the Guardian series, and really like the character development of Risa. I was so excited to find out that the 2nd in the series was being released just a month later (i.e. 10/25/11 – double i.e. I’ve already finished it) so I wouldn’t have to wait too long to find out what was happening next.

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Gratitude Journal

November 4, 2011: I am grateful for the internet, which gives me the ability to work from home, in my pajamas, this morning.

November 3, 2011: I am grateful that I have a good job that is challenging & interesting, if not necessarily catering to my life interests. I have the opportunity for professional development (weekly leadership seminar today!), have a decent salary, good health insurance, and a bunch of people who are excited for my pregnancy and not at all worried about my maternity leave (in fact, they’ve told me to not even THINK about being available in May – i.e. budget season – and that they’d get through it without me, as long as I do all the prep work before I leave…)

November 2, 2011: I am grateful for the architect, who is simply wonderful. He picks up the household slack when I’m busy with schoolwork, brings me chicken fingers on his way home from work, and is simply the most wonderful husband I could ask for…

November 1, 2011:  I am grateful for my (so far, knock on wood) easy and wonderful pregnancy

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