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Book Review: Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur

Title: Darkness Unbound

Author: Keri Arthur

Series: Dark Angel #1

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Rating: 2/5 stars

The Overview: 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. -Goodreads

The Review:

Darkness Unbound unfortunately did not hold up well on my reread.

I picked it up again as a refresher before finally continuing the series. The first time around I was super excited for it. The Riley Jensen series had wrapped up and the prospect of getting more in that world delighted me. I must have been riding the high from the Riley books (which now I’m nervous to reread because of how dramatically my rating dropped for this one), and I’m pretty sure I gave this one a high rating because of the nostalgia it evoked. It does include all of the old beloved characters, so it felt like a fresh continuation. And at the moment, that’s still the only thing it really had going for it.

The book is a quintessential paranormal romance. The sex/romance aspect of the plot was the most prominent and all the other components were underdeveloped. I very much prefer the more robust conflict-driven urban fantasy market. I don’t care one way or another if there are sex scenes in those books, but in this case they were so over-the-top I couldn’t help but laugh.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if you like paranormal romance, this was actually an okay read. And what’s more, I’ve read enough from Arthur to know she can dazzle me (I loved her City of Light series), so I’m probably going to keep reading to see if the series develops beyond the basic “seen it a dozen times before” structure.

For the time being, I think the main character, Risa, was relying on the novelty of her persona from the Riley series and I didn’t get a clear sense of who she is and what she wants. There was no connection at all for me for these characters. The conflict also read a little thin. Super convenient things and 2-dimensional villains. I say again, had this read been for obligation or for any other author, I probably would’ve DNFed. But I thought I considered myself a long-time fan and I already own the series, so I’m going to give the rest a go. Also, for what it’s worth, the last chapter was incredibly compelling…

Recommendations: if you’re a paranormal romance fan, this is right up your alley, and in fact a mite better written than most I’ve read (consider diving into the Riley Jensen series first). If, like me, you prefer urban fantasy novels, this will leave you wanting a more developed plot and less romance.

Booktube Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiOtZk0Mke0

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur

Titles: Darkness Unbound

Author: Keri Arthur

Series: Dark Angels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Risa Jones is as extraordinary as her heritage. Born from a lab-enhanced clone mother and an Aedh father, she can not only talk to the souls of the dying and the dead, but she can see the reapers and walk the gray fields that divide this world from the next. They are skill she rarely uses, however, preferring to concentrate on the business she shares with her two best friends. But when her mother asks her to help the parents of a little girl locked in a coma, she reluctantly agrees. What she discovers scares the hell out of her. Because the little girl’s soul no longer resides in her body, and it wasn’t death and the reapers that took her.

 The Review:

Keri Arthur is my favorite paranormal author! I love her characters: they are all well-developed and evoking, and their unique personalities get me emotionally attached every time. The reason they affect me so much is partly due to Arthur’s excellent sense of humor – it translates to her writing in a way that makes the characters more realistic, and the overall story more enjoyable. I also love the story-lines of her books: while primarily romances, these books have dynamic and interesting plots that have you unraveling mysteries with the characters from start to finish. Finally, I love the content… these are incredibly sexy books!

As a spinoff from Arthur’s “Riley Jensen” series, “Darkness Unbound” is every bit as good as its predecessors. Not only is there great development of the characters, but the plot is also fresh and interesting – you wont be able to put it down! In fact, I recommend you have the next book already handy. Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely, and look forward to what Keri has in store for us next!

While this was an excellent read, I’m not sure that it would have the same impact as a stand-alone novel. There are countless references to characters and events that took place in Riley’s series, and I can see how the story would be a little flat if you didn’t know the backstory on most of the referred characters. I’ve had nine books to get to know these people, so their thoughts and opinions have a lot more significance and meaning than would any random character. Also, there are certain familial connections that would be quite confusing if you haven’t read the other books. Therefore:

Recommendations: if this is your first introduction to Arthur’s books, I strongly recommend you start with “Full Moon Rising” (Riley Jensen #1). They are sexy, dynamic, engaging, and memorable, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! On a side note, readers who dislike strong language and sexual content should proceed with caution.

by Niki Hawkes

Other books you might like:

  • “Blue Moon” by Lori Handeland
  • “Guilty Pleasures” by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • “Moon Called” by Patricia Briggs
  • “Stray” by Rachel Vincent
  • “Succubus Blues” by Richelle Mead