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