Darkness Unbound (Dark Angels, Book 1)

Darkness Unbound (Dark Angels, Book 1) - Keri Arthur Originally posted at WickedLilPixie Reviews
4.5 Stars
New Keri Arthur fans and old ones alike are going to love this new series.
Risa Jones is half-werewolf and half-Aedh, enabling her to enter the realm between life and death. She can also see the reapers who collect the souls of the dead. Reapers are the beings who guide souls to heaven or hell, while the Aedh are the gatekeepers guard the gates between heaven and hell and mortality. Either the gatekeepers are no longer able to guard the gates, or they simply no longer want to. They might have decided it would be simpler to permanently close the gates to heaven and hell, not only stopping demons from escaping but preventing souls from moving on. Keys were created to permanently lock the gates, but now they have gone missing before they could be used (oops!). The only person who can find them again is the blood relative of the man who is believed to have stolen them… Risa’s father. The Aedh and the reapers are not the only ones looking for the keys and Risa’s father (whom she has never met), but so is the vampire council, and Risa is unknowingly front and center of all of these various groups’ plans.

This book is like WHOA. If my summary above is any indication, this is some seriously dynamic world and character building. Keri Arthur has built a very complex and unique setting here and magnificently so. In fact, most of this book is really setting up all the different fractions and players that are vying for the keys to the gates between the light path and the dark path. She does all of this with ease, while never dumbing-down anything. You are given a lot of information and are expected to keep up, but never does it feel like the dreadful “information dump”. The pacing is awesome, and she keeps the action going. The sexual content is exactly what I’d come to expect based on my experience with the Riley Jenson series. Risa is an unabashedly sexual creature and she owns it. Lucien Dupont, the Aedh who Risa meets and takes as a lover kept me on the edge of my seat because on the one hand his chemistry with Risa was just smokin off the pages, but I never fully trusted him either even though he appears to have genuine motives. Regardless, I wanted to definitely know more about him. Then there is the mysterious reaper, Azriel, who has synced himself with her chi and follows her around. Yes, you read that right. Oh and her two roommates are wonderful additions to the cast, and Risa was perfectly happy running their 24/7 hour restaurant with them that caters to the shifter crowd.

Riley Jenson fans have nothing to worry about if they were concerned how the series would shift to centering around a “child character” 20 years later. In fact, I completely forgot even knowing Risa as a “child character” the minute I entered this world until someone asked me how it felt about it specifically. Ha! Also, there are a lot more characters that appear and play critical roles in this series from the Riley Jenson series than I was expecting, and I loved it. But don’t you worry, you do not in any way have to be familiar with that series to pick this one up! Go forth and read, my friends.

Here is the Dark Angels reading order:

Darkness Unbound
Darkness Rising 10/25/11
Darkness Devours 6/5/12