The Vampire Council just won’t leave poor Risa Jones alone. This time she is forced to investigate a string of murders involving blood-whore addicted vampires. Sure, she’s got her own problems to deal with, but with an execution order on her life she’ll have to shift priorities and solve this case in order to get it lifted. She begrudgingly enlists the help of her ex-boyfriend journalist; this only serves to stir the pot even more, bringing up old feelings and nuggets of her past.
Not a lot of progress is made toward the overarching plot of the series, which involves Risa confiscating keys for her father that could potentially open the gates the hell. But I found the mystery to be satisfying enough to keep my interest. I love vamps so if we were going to get a side plot, I’m glad it was this one. That said, I hope that the next book is heavier on the main plot so that there can be steady advancement of the plot.
I am enjoying the continued development of her dark angel partner in crime, Azriel. There is progress on the relationship front with Risa as well, but it’s fragile at best and I have feeling that there will be a hitch. Not to mention, her current lover Lucian is not quite out of the picture yet, though this relationship hits its own rocky waters. I’m surprised it’s taken this long honestly. Lucian practically has a red flag stamped to his forehead when it comes to trust. It’s so obvious that he’s hiding something that I question if this is a red herring; otherwise, we’re in for a grossly underwhelming revelation of his true intentions.
When I first started reading Keri Arthur’s Dark Angel series, I wasn’t sure if it would be my cup of tea. I wasn’t really feeling Risa much as the lead and sometimes that can make or break a series for me. While she’s still not necessarily my favorite, I’m growing more attached to the supporting characters (namely Azriel ), so for now I will continue reading.
I picked Susan Ee’s Angelfall at just the right time. Coming off the high of reading and totally adoring Wicked as They Come by Delilah Dawson, another debut author, I am fully convinced that rookies know how to play with the big boys. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Susan Ee’s post-apocalyptic series takes place in Silicon Valley, California. In only six weeks the world has been brought to its knees by the hands of beautiful, yet destructive angels. There’s little order among the chaos as gangs terrorize by day, and the supernatural terrorize by night. One night, 17-year-old Penryn and her family take their chances and a brave the night to find a safer harbor. But once they witness a major struggle between an angel called Raffe and his fellow brethren, it ends with the lone angel beaten and wingless, and her little her sister being abducted by the winged terrors. They must begrudgingly team up with one another so that they can get back what they want most; Penryn, her sister, and Raffe, his wings. And they face almost any and every danger along the way.
This book would have taken me by surprise, but the high ratings and praise made me pretty confident that it would live up to the hype. Though I’m capable of thinking for myself, I have to side with the majority here. It’s a fantastic new series and it’s definitely one of my favorite dystopian novels. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for all things paranormal and this book blends both elements perfectly? I’m not going to try to figure it out, but it just works. Every time I had to put the book down, I really didn’t want to. And if that’s not a sign of a good read, I don’t really know what is.
The cover is really cool. I like the simple, but understated feel to it. It sets you up for a complete surprise once you begin to read the book because it’s filled with tons of creepy and pulse-pounding moments. Penryn and Raffe’s uneasy relationship is surprisingly endearing and it only gets better as the book progresses. I wasn’t sure what to expect since this book seems to be classified as young adult, but I found there to be a number of mature subject matter involved and the only thing separating it from an adult novel is the lack of sex, though the themes are there.
Speaking of themes. There are a number of others that Susan Ee brings to light in this book from racism, to misogyny, to religious beliefs, to human experimentation, to rebellion, to fractured family life. Each setting is structured to tackle these issues, or at least bring them to light for the reader to ponder. But it’s easy to see that it’s all under one big umbrella of deceit.
The book only lagged for me once when they reach a resistance camp. I think it’s because that’s the only area of the novel where it felt like your standard dystopian fanfare for the oppressed to strategize about how to take down those currently in power. With a book so unique, this scene stuck out to me like a sore thumb, though it’s still manageable and the book does move along to other places.
There’s very little to complain about on my end. I highly recommend this book. It’s only $1.99 right now, so you’re not breaking the bank too much if you want to give it a try. But I personally think you won’t be sorry.
I read the first novel of Keri Arthur’s series, Darkness Unbound, finding that the pieces of a good Urban Fantasy series were there, but it didn’t really come together to carve out its own unique spot in this genre. Well, Darkness Rising is definitely putting this series on the right track to do that and I’m glad that it didn’t take very long. Many books suffer from FBS (first book syndrome), even some of the best series. So that’s why I decided to give the Dark Angels saga another shot and I’m happy I did.
After the heart-wrenching ending of the prior book, Risa Jones, the Aedh/werewolf hybrid, is out for blood and desperately searching for her mother’s killer. She’s even willing to work for Madeline Hunter, the evil leader of the vampire council, doing her bidding in exchange for information to help her get to the bottom of the murder.
Part of that includes Risa finding the culprit responsible for spelling elder vampire council members to rapidly age and die. As if those two pesky tasks weren’t enough on her plate, Risa’s Aedh father also has plans for her, practically demanding she thrust herself into danger to locate the keys to heaven and hell—to what purpose we still don’t quite know, but if she fails it will be her friends who pay the price. All of this while trying to figure out the growing powers within herself.
This book still wasn’t perfect, but I felt like I was finally becoming familiar with the world and the characters. I wasn’t hooked during the first book until the very end, but the momentum flows into this book so it ended up being quite an entertaining ride. I’m still not totally in love with the characters yet, but I think it has potential to grow over time. I particularly see a lot of potential with Risa’s own personal “guardian angel” of sorts, Azriel. Some of their interactions are a bit predictable and I think I have a sense of where the relationship is going, but I appreciate that the author isn’t rushing it. I was concerned this could be the case considering how Risa rationalizes her whoring ways as “celebrating sexuality.” Still not buying it and I still think it’s a lame attempt by the author to seem edgy, but it doesn’t detract overall from the story.
After reading the first novel I wasn’t really sure I would be interested in reading the original 9 novels from the Riley Jenson books. But after this book my interest has piqued a bit more. Unfortunately, I know how those books will end up so that may take away a bit of the suspense, but it could be worth it regardless of that. I’m still not in a rush to read them though and I doubt I will get to them this year.
All in all, for anyone that may have had a hard time getting into the first book, I urge you to give the second book a try because the series has potential to be really great.
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.