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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Risa Jones is a half-werewolf, half-Aedh (a supernatural being with vampire-like characteristics), with a couple of exceptional abilities. She can see reapers (soul collectors), she's clairvoyant and she can walk in a spiritual domain known as the 'grey lands. Thanks to her abilities, Risa knows exactly how she's going to die (when she's old and grey, in a car crash), so when she realises she's being followed by a reaper, she confronts him wanting to know what is going on. The reaper, Azriel, tells her that she's being watched because her father is set on a course of action that is going to cause major trouble: and it is believed that he's going to try to make contact with her. The only trouble with that is that Risa, the result of a one-night stand 28 years ago, has never met her Aedh father. Which makes things all the more awkward when other interested parties start confronting and attacking her and those close to her in order to get to him.

Set in Australia, Darkness Unbound has an interesting cast of support characters - Risa's varied (and mostly close) werewolf family, her long-term friends, Ilianna (a still-closted lesbian mare), Tao (a stuly chef, whose friendship is formerly of the 'with benefits' variety), and tech geek Stane and there's a damaged full Aedh, Lucian, with whom Risa has a burgeoning relationship - to say nothing of her interest in Azriel. There are a couple of fairly graphic sex scenes - one of which involves Risa, Lucian and a strange male werewolf in public three-way activity at a werewolf sex club. It's so token and clinical that this is arguably the least sexy scene I have ever read. Despite Risa's physically active 'love life' there is little in the way of romance in these aspects of sub-plot. Sex with Lucian falls short of kissing him, and her interest in Azriel is entirely based on his physique.

I was disappointed by this novel. Although there is lots of set up for a potentially interesting series, too much is left hanging open for further novels. The elements of the story which do gain resolution boil down to being an attack on small landowners by "evil developers" - far from the most original plotline (even if there are supernatural creatures thrown in). I'll probably download the next in the series at some point if I can't find anything else to read, but it certainly won't be something I put on pre-order, and how well that one goes will be make or break for me in regard to further entries in the series.

Not good, but there were still a couple of glimmers of promise.

3/5
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on 31 October 2011
Risa Jones is a half Werewolf/half Aedh who is trying to live a normal life, despite her supernatural background. Her family has money and connections, as well as power, but it doesn't stop her from working hard to find her own way. Yet everything is about to change. She has inherited Aedh abilities from her absent father which allow her to travel into the spirit world and see things others can't. Many people begin seeking her because of this. Using her powers is not pleasant, though, and she isn't happy about having to use them now. Despite her reservations, she is drawn into a major power play after seeing things she can't ignore.

Risa also finds herself being sought after by a number of supernatural groups. These include unidentifiable shape-shifters, a grim reaper and Aedh like her. All with their own agenda. Some of them want the use of her skills, others want her death. It is only her closest friends and family that she can trust, but even they will try to hold her back from doing what she feels is right. Despite this, she refuses to back out of what she feels is her obligation to protect innocent humans and the people she cares about. To be successful, though, there is a lot she'll have to learn and not much time to do it.

Darkness Unbound is the first book in the new Dark Angels series. It is set in the same world as the Riley Jensen series by the same author. I have not read any books by Keri Arthur before now, but the storyline for this one caught my eye. Readers certainly don't need to have read the other series to find this novel enjoyable. The main character, Risa, is strong and holds her own in the story. She gives as good as she gets. The plot is engaging and suspenseful, though it could have been better. Very little gets resolved in this first book, which is a bit frustrating. I'm not a big fan of cliffhangers, but the ending didn't leave me too bereft like some series manage to do. That could be considered a good or bad thing.

Risa's love life is another factor readers may or may not like. The werewolf side of her has sexual urges that need to be fulfilled regularly and she takes care of them in ways that are not the norm for other books in the genre. Yet there is a good chance she could settle down later. I am rather suspicious of the man she began a relationship with in this first book, as he most likely has his own agenda based on small hints the author drops, but it is unclear how things will go. There is another man who has strong potential and looks to be a better candidate, but very little happened with him so far. Regardless, readers should know that casual sex is not taboo in this world setting. There are some rather steamy scenes that occur. I wasn't bothered by it, but some may be.

It isn't easy finding a good Urban Fantasy/Paranormal series, once you've read all the popular ones. It was nice to discover Darkness Unbound since it is certainly better than some of the others I've seen out there (though not the best). This opening book has a good beginning and excellent world building. Hopefully, it will get even better as time goes on. The potential is certainly there. The next book is set to be released soon and I plan on reading it when it comes out.
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on 29 June 2012
Having read and massively enjoyed the Riley series I had high hopes of Keri Arthur's new series. I had plugged the gap prior to it's arrival by reading some of her older books, re-issued once Riley became popular, and it was always easy to see that they were written by a more inexperienced author finding her way. You can easily see the origins of Riley in the Ripple Creek novels and the Nikki and Michael ones have strong psychic and supernatural overtones. I read these books but didn't keep them; I have kept all my Riley ones.
I was thus stunned at how poor this new novel is that features Risa and set 25 years on from the Riley books. Real problem is that Risa (half wolf, half Aedh)and her life are just not interesting and have no depth - I don't find anything to connect with when being told how stunningly attractive she and her friends are, how they live in a stunning home, how they are all loaded with money, have fantastic vehicles etc. The guys Risa fancies are of course all gorgeous and Lucian is of course fantastic in bed, but so what? Just very shallow.
Neither was the plot very engaging - I appreciate it may have been setting up things for later books but I didn't really care about the soul stealing.
Finally, the book felt as if it had been written by an American. Is this a deliberate ploy to engage an American audience, because one of the great things about Riley was how Australian the novels were?
Real disappointment. I won't be reading any more in the series.
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I am a huge fan of the Riley Jenson series and this was the only reason i bought this book.

Now i have a few issues with the transition of that series to this, mainly the 25 year time span that has passed. I am sorry but it is just too much to wrap my head around in what has in real time been a little over a year or so now.

For lovers of that series, Riley is in this book, albeit briefly, she is married to Qhuinn, she still lives with Liander and Rhoan, oh and they have 5 children, 2 sets of twins and another daughter. The most irritating thing about it that that only 3 of these children are ever mentioned by name. Even in sentences regarding all 5 children, only 3 are spoken about.

Now that my moan is over about that, onto this book.

Risa is a mid twenties girl, rides a motorbike, is half Aedh (Angel) and half werewolf.

I think she is attempting to become like Riley, not so much in determination but down to the fact that keri wrote her that way which is a bit silly because if she wanted mroe Riley stories, then she should of carried on writing them.

Unlike Riley, Risa doesnt seem to have any endearing qualities, Riley was passionate, artistic, stubborn, determined, crazy, family orientated and sexual, she had a tumultuous love life and Risa's is quite boring in comparison.

You only really read about one "hook up" and you cant call it anythign else because they have one date and then they are at it like rabbits.

Plot-lines include a dark entity ripping souls away from their hosts leaving their bodies empty, some hellhounds, the reappearance of Risa's father, etc etc etc.

There are one or 2 severe inconsistencies for example Tao, who is the grandson of Rileys former werewolf lover Kellan. Confused as to how that is even possible considering that only 25 years have passed and Tao is in his twenties, and i know for a fact that Kellan wasnt married or had kids then as Riley would never of slept with him.

To be honest with you, i wasnt that impressed by this outing, but i will buy the next one as i believe it has serious potential, especially the connection between Risa and Azriel.

However, Ms Arthur needs to stop writing Risa as a Riley Clone and allow her to develop her own personality, traits, emotions, endearances and stories that dont involve Riley, Quinn and Roahn, otherwise this series is gonna fall flat on its arse.
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on 5 April 2013
I was distraught when the Riley Jensen series came to an end but Miss Arthur has created another awesome kick ass heroine in Risa. The first book in the Dark Angel series has certainly started things off with a bang. Sexy, scary, sultry, sassy and sometimes sad I loved everything about this story from the introduction of Azriel to the appearance of old friends such as the aforementioned Riley.
Miss Arthur transports her readers into a whole new world of supernatural action and it is a wild ride so hang on to your hats!
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on 12 October 2011
I've been looking forward to this series, I've read all the Riley Jenson books and was missing my fix, so was thrilled to hear this series was going to include Riley and some other characters I was familiar with.It was also great to catch up with Risa, the main character in this series, who we last saw as a child in the Riley books.it did take me a little while to adjust to Risa being an adult, and get to know the new characters,but once I got into it the book zipped along and was a cracking good story.I'd say it was a great start to the new series, and I'm looking forward to the next book, especially as you can read the start at the end of this one.
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on 19 August 2012
A great story full of intersting characters in a fully formed, interesting world with a good supply of lore and backstory. Sounds perfect? It is pretty close, the world and some of the races could do with a little explanation but other than that, yeah it's perfect....appart from the ending. The main character who, until that point had been pretty likeable and rational, becomes entirely focused on revenge, 90% of the plot is left wide open and the bit that's tied up is done in about 6 pages of lack-luster action.
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on 14 February 2013
Never fails to delight me this author, again was enthralled from start to finish. Brilliant yet again. Fans will not be disappointed, will commence book two later as am dying to find out what happens next with Risa and her friends. Would recommend as always.
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on 30 December 2015
Darkness Unbound is the first book in the new Dark Angels series.
I have not read any books by Keri Arthur before now, but the storyline for this one caught my eye. Readers certainly don't need to have read the other series to find this novel enjoyable. T

The main character, Risa, is strong and holds her own in the story, as a supernatural character she She gives as good as she gets especially since she is half werewolf and half Aedh (kind of like an angel) The plot is engaging and suspenseful though at times a little too quick, however saying that very little gets resolved in this first book, which is a bit frustrating but I've just started book 2 so I'm not worried!

Overall; powerful characters with the flaws of humanity thrown in, the usual mix of sex/violence and stories to keep one entertained.
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on 9 December 2013
Excellent spin off from the Riley jenson guardian books, if you read those and enjoyed them you will definitely enjoy this.
The book isn't as sexually graphic as the Riley Jensen novels but still is as detailed in other areas.
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