DARKNESS UNBOUND by Keri Arthur
Series: Dark Angels #1
Random House: Dell
Released: September 27, 2011
Page Count: 364
Rating: Really liked it!
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 Jensen - 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 siezing souls, and somehow stop her father . . . before all hell breaks loose.
I nabbed this on a whim on Audible, because it was on sale and HELLO IT'S KERI ARTHUR, started listening while driving to my friend's house for our annual sometime-around-Christmas gift exchange, and almost didn't get out of the car because I was already hooked. There was a mention of Riley Jensen being Risa's aunt sometime in the first chapter or so, and that would have been enough on its own had the writing not been up to par (which of course it was!). Also, I love an Aussie accent. This narrator is fabulous. But anyway . . .
Welcome (again) to Keri Arthur's Guardian-verse. Risa is the "niece" of Riley Jensen, main character of the Guardian series, and a badass in her own right. Being half-Aedh, she can walk the gray fields and see spirits. Her mother, a famous psychic, asks her to consult on a case, and Risa's discovery leads to the disturbing revelation that someone is stealing souls . . . and her unknown father may be responsible. Darkness Unbound is full of cameos from characters from the Guardian series, yet without it being overwhelming. Total fangirl moment here.
Of course, you can't talk about an Arthur book without mentioning the sex. There is your basic one-on-one, gettin' good and sweaty-type sex, and there's also a quasi-threesome at a club involving Risa, her partner, Lucian, taking her from behind, and an unnamed third party taking her mouth. I thought it was pretty hot, but if you're at all prudish then this world may not be for you. Sex in this world is fairly open, with no social constructs in place to make it - or any kinks involved - at all shameful. This was one of my favorite parts of the Guardian series, to be honest, and I am quite happy to see it continued here with the next generation.
Risa's love interest is Lucian, a disgraced Aedh. He's . . . just meh. I'm not a huge fan, and he's probably going to turn out to be a bad guy at some point. I do, however, have high hopes that Risa and her reaper stalker / protector, Azriel, will hook up. Azrial is SEXY, and I always dig a man with a sword.
The one thing that is driving me nuts is that I can't remember much of Risa's mother's backstory. I know that Dia and Riley were friends, at least eventually, in the Guardian series, and it's probably at least somewhat relevant here. But it has completely slipped out of my brain, and there's no telling where those books are packed right now! Bummer.
As I write this review, I am already listening to Darkness Rising. Hop to it, people! This series is flippin' fabulous! And if you haven't read the Riley Jensen, Guardian series, you should really read that first. Seriously. Go read it now.