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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2007
I first discovered Keri Arthur in the bargain section of my local Asda. Finding it impossible to resist anything with a vaguely supernatural theme I purchased the book (the first in this series), not expecting much other than another wannabe Laurell K Hamilton.
However, I was very pleasantly surprised at the vivid characterisation and the placement of the main character of Riley, in a parallel modern-day Australia.
The author has successfully - through 5 books - interwoven fantastical elements, occasional strong violence and great sex with crime fighting.
I would strongly recommend this author to anyone, not least because she has exhibited genuine character growth and story arc across each of her books. Something which other series authors have failed to achieve.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2007
More like three and a half stars, really. This is a tricky book. Riley Jenson is on the case again. Blackmailed by her former pack alpha into tracking down a missing pack member, and hunting a vengeful spirit who rips his victims to shreds, she's got a lot on her plate. Throw in the usual love-life complications and this is another neat entry in the Riley Jenson series. Riley shows genuine character growth in each book, and it's a cautious, slightly sad Riley we find here. It's nice to read a series where the characters really do evolve and Arthur does this well.

However, there are issues. The first is perhaps an odd complaint - the two mystery plot strands never dovetailed, as you might expect in a book of this nature. The missing girl plot and the vengeful spirit plot are unrelated, and one is wrapped up so quickly and neatly, you almost don't see the point in it. A shame, because it seemed so promising. The other issue is one I can't go into without spoilers, but suffice to say there's a massive deus ex machina moment that seems cheap and disappointing, given the inventiveness I've come to love in this series.

The good points - Riley's hormones are dancing and jigging less, and Quinn is thankfully absent, although I doubt that will last. I'm waiting patiently for Riley #6 and hoping it gets the series back on track. End verdict - fun but flawed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2007
This book is a real improvement over Keri Arthur's earlier stories in Riley Jenson, Guardian series - there is a greater focus on plotting and characterisation and less emphasis on sex to carry the story along. The book starts with Riley on holiday on an island to recover from all the events of the last year (and last four books). She is contacted there by a member of her former pack who demands that she looks into the disappearance of a pack member, Adrienne, and threatens to hurt Riley and Rhoan's mother if she doesn't comply. Shortly afterwards the Directorate ask her to look into the strange murder of a woman who appears to have been torn limb from limb by her fiancé and Riley discerns a supernatural element to the crime. She works on both investigations at the same time, also finding herself under attack from an unknown assailant, dealing with the memories that contact with her pack has dredged up, and trying to make sense of her relationship with Kellen who wants to 'go solo' with her. Riley's not sure if she can commit to that and clearly has some feelings still for vampire Quinn, although he doesn't appear in person in this story.

The plotting in this book was excellent with good pacing and with the variety of two simultaneous investigations. The caustic relationship between Riley and Salliane, 'The Cow', is very amusing, and adds some light relief in a story with a fair amount of darkness. Riley's skills are growing and strengthening and she discovers a new aspect of her nature in this book following the drug treatment that she received in the first instalment. Her brother Rhoan features in this story as he helps Riley at the denouement at the end of the story when they uncover the evil behind a string of grisly deaths from the UK to Germany to Australia.

This book relied far more on plot and characterisation, particularly Riley's workaholic nature and her complete absorption in being a Guardian and how that plays out with her personal relationships, rather than sex; for me, this made it a much stronger read and made Riley a more sympathetic character. It ended on a cliffhanger in Riley's personal life (although the major plot lines were all completed) and made me look forward to the next book. Although part of a series all the relevant backstory was given in a smooth and concise way and so this book would be easy to understand for a first-time reader despite the complex supernatural world and the varied skills that the non-humans have. "Embraced by Darkness" is a great addition to the series and a book that will probably win this author new readers.
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on 11 November 2010
Riley Jenson. All she seems to do (from the 1st book all the way through the 4th book - Dangerous Games) is complain, complain, and COMPLAIN about how she doesn't want to be a Guardian, and how she thinks her lover Quinn is too narrow-minded when he doesn't want her to have sex indiscrimmiantly. "Oh, boo-hoo, my boyfriend doens't want me to have sex with other men!" And the sex scenes are not even that good: there's no real emotion portrayed in them, and sex without emotion is just whorish, in my opinion. The one with the biggest heart is Quinn, and she expects him to treat her like a princess when she acts like a whore. Sorry, not my cup of tea. Riley seems to try to be more mature in the 5th book (Embraced by Darkness), when she does her best to only have one man as her lover. I don't understand why she was willing to do that for Kellen when she had a cow whenever Quinn suggested she remain faithful to him. I do have to say, that the series redeemed itself with books #6 (The Darkest Kiss), #7 (Deadly Desire), & #8 (Bound to Shadows). Riley stops acting so childish and immature, starts realizing that sex with someone you actually like is important, and starts to restrain herself sexually with other men. She actually matures! Yay! She starts to actually put some EFFORT in her relationships! Instead of expecting only everyone else to put the effort into her. I think there was actually only one sex scene even shown in The Darkest Kiss, which is pretty impressive for this author.
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Riley is supposed to be on holiday to recover from events in the previous books but she never has been one to sit around doing nothing. This time her holiday is spoiled when she is contacted by a member of her mother's pack - the pack that exiled her & Rhoan for being half breeds. Riley wants as little to do with them as they have had to do with her but now they need her help - one of their pack members has gone missing and they want Riley to find her. If Riley refuses then her mother will be killed - a threat she knows they will be happy to carry out.

I'm already a big fan of this series and Embraced by Darkness was a great installment. We have seen Riley go through a lot in the year we've been following her but she has some difficult personal decisions to make this time regarding her relationship with Kellen. I started getting really bad feelings about Kellen near the beginning of the story but I'm not going to say if I was right or not - you'll have to read the book to find out. I just find it very hard to trust Riley's taste in men given her history!

I liked finding out more about Riley & Rhoan's upbringing and their relationship with members of their old pack. It would have been nice to have a chance to meet their mother though. I do love the strong bond between Riley & Rhoan though - they have always been close but as you learn more about their mother's pack it becomes clear that they've only really ever been able to rely on each other. It's good that they are still always there for each other.

I enjoyed the hunt scenes with the bad guys towards the end of the book and was really unsure how Riley would escape. There was a really interesting twist to the way Riley's powers are developing due to the experimental drug she was given at the start of the series, I'm very curious to see how this changes things for her in the future. I did find the bad guys abilities were a little unbelievable and didn't think we were given enough of an explanation for that. I was also a bit surprised at how easily they are defeated at the end considering how powerful they were.

This is a great series for fans of urban fantasy but I would definitely recommend starting with book 1 Full Moon Rising. Riley has developed quite a lot as a character throughout the series & I think you'd be missing out if you didn't read the books in order. I liked the fact that Riley's hormones played a smaller part in this story - I don't mind sex in a story but it can get a little repetitive when the main character is repeatedly having sex with many partners, especially when it is often with people she doesn't like & just as a part of her job. If you haven't started this series yet but are an urban fantasy fan then I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
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on 8 December 2009
This is the 5th installment in the Riley Jenson serious. The story line is excellent and keeps you gripped from the start. Riley is half werewolf, half vamp as is her brother. She has been pushed into being a guardian and works in the newly formed daytime division, along with a horse shifter and weird lizard like creature. There is plenty of action and romance within these covers, but i think you do need to read the previous novels to understand what is going on as Riley's history unravells along the way, explaining relationships the characters have with each other and as to why Riley was forced to become a guardian against her wishes. I would give this novel 10/10
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on 28 February 2015
Two unexpected twists in this book one good (hopefully) and one not so good. I won't say too much so as not to spoil the plot. I think that towards the end of the book Riley overcame certain people/situations too easily considering the set up throughout the early parts. But as ever I love this series.
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on 26 January 2014
Another fabulous book by Keri Arthur. Drawing us back into the dangerous world of Riley Jenson and the Directorate! Each story more compelling than the last. How does she do it? Can't wait until the next story pulls us into the unknown dangers that Riley will have to face!
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on 20 May 2011
Bought this book for my daughter it only lasted her 3 days,safe to say she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Again amazon delivered before estimated time of arrival
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on 2 March 2013
good condition. fast delivery. love this series so much there are so many twist and so much action in these books i cant put them down untill ive finished
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