Darkness Unbound (Dark Angels #1) – FBS (First Book Syndrome) strikes again!

darkness unbound, dark angels, keri arthurI will start off by saying that I have not read Keri Arthur’s original Riley Jenson series.  I honestly went into this thinking it was the beginning of a new series, not a spin-off of 9 prior novels.  Maybe that’s why it was hard to really get into this book and into this world, but I did try.  The leading lady of the Dark Angels series is Risa Jones, a psychic Aedh/werewolf hybrid whose day job involves running a restaurant with her buddies, but her most important job includes talking to souls of those who are near death’s door, helping them realize whether or not it’s their time to go.  She also has the added perk of seeing soul reapers who guide these souls to the next life.

It’s not Risa’s favorite thing to do. And we soon learn why when she is sent to help a little girl who is comatose in a hospital.  A somber, but routine visit goes horribly wrong when Risa learns that the little girl’s soul was actually stolen, robbing her of the choice to move on.  It leads back to a supernatural creature that’s been collecting souls.  Risa will have to do all she can to solve stop them.  It leads to revelations that put the world as she knows it at risk. She has a daunting task ahead of her and needs all the help she can get.  But will she get it?

This series has a well developed world, which seems to go back to the Riley Jenson novels.  It’s so developed that I couldn’t always keep up at times; I will be honest and say that there are things I can’t even remember now.  It made it somewhat difficult to get into the story. Not to mention, there are a number of characters introduced so it’s hard to pin down their personalities and decide on how I feel about them.  I tend to read novels primarily for the characters and if they are lacking, then my readership follows.

I don’t like how the sex is handled in this book.  I wasn’t expecting Risa to be such a hoe, being quick to hop in the sack…with multiple parters no less. She doesn’t even need to know their names, or their true intentions towards her! I’m no prude or anything, and the books thankfully don’t make it the main focus of the plot, but this is a double edged sword because it feels arbitrary and pointless. It was a failed attempt at being edgy and the characters’ relationship suffers for it because it doesn’t give the reader any sense of a genuine bond, especially towards the end where one lover is completely MIA and a chance for decent development outside the bedroom (or club dance floor) is lost.

I wasn’t completely gripped with this book until the very end if you could believe it, but I was determined to keep trucking on.  I feel like it has potential with the number of creatures we learn about and worlds that we’ll no doubt continue to explore in future novels, so that alone is why I will give the second book a chance.  And by the end Risa has motivation, drive, and an overarching mystery plot line that I genuinely want to see her solve. But does this make me want to backtrack and read the Riley Jenson books? Not really, though that could change later on.

7 responses

  1. I’m also a very character driven reader, so I can relate. And I’m no prude either, enjoy a good sex scene if it moves the plot or generates a side conflict, but in some shifter novels, sex can be casual, purely lust, and uncaring, although usually not hoe(ish) with a main character. I’m thinking Sookie Stackhouse series, supporting characters.

    Whatever, I would have to read this to see if it’s a wolf thing. But I have to say, the book sounds interesting – love the soul talking – and this is a very well done review. For you to get this much out of book 10 without reading the other 9 makes me want to start from the beginning and check it out. So I’d say you did this author well. I gave your review 5 stars. Well done. I’m going to mark this author ‘to read’ on my Goodreads list.

    Susan Stec

    April 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    • Thanks, Susan! Yeah, I am about 1/3rd into the second book and it’s better for me so far. Still not in love with it yet, but I’m willing to see where it goes.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      • I hear you – gonna give it a try. Misunderstood, thought this was the 10th in a series and you hadn’t read the other 9. Figured it out when I marked it ‘to read’. ooops.

        Still, I like the the soul talking thing – have to check it out. Soooo tired of the same ole same ole. Crap, my list is growing – better get reading. LOLOLOL

        April 2, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        • I’m in an Angel mood right about now. I was kind of thinking I would get a Nalini Singh kind of book when I picked up these books, but it’s totally different. I’m hankering for another angel read though so I’m trying to see what I can bump up in my TBR pile.

          April 2, 2012 at 10:04 PM

  2. This sounds like it’d be something I’d really like, but now I’m wondering if I should read her other books first. Still want to give this one a shot. Thanks for posting the review!!

    April 2, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    • No problem. I’m further into book 2 and it’s definitely a lot better for me so far. I’m actually going to read some more tonight which is a good sign. Still don’t feel like going back to read 9 other books though, lol.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM

  3. Pingback: Darkness Rising (Dark Angel #2) – Now we’re talkin’! « Your Urban Fantasy

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