DARKNESS UNBOUND (Dark Angels #1)
by Keri Arthur
PUBLISHER: Piatkus (UK) | Dell (US)
RELEASE DATE: Oct 2011 (UK) | Sept 2011 (US)
FORMAT: Paperback, 364 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Risa Jones is as extraordinary as her heritage. Born from a lab-enhanced clone mother and an Aedh father, she can not only talk to the souls of the dying and the dead, but she can see the reapers and walk the gray fields that divide this world from the next. They are skill she rarely uses, however, preferring to concentrate on the business she shares with her two best friends. But when her mother asks her to help the parents of a little girl locked in a coma, she reluctantly agrees. What she discovers scares the hell out of her. Because the little girl’s soul no longer resides in her body, and it wasn’t death and the reapers that took her. Someone had ripped her soul from her flesh. As it turns out, a creature consuming the souls of the innocent–and not so innocent–is the least of her problems. Because someone wants to rip open the gates that divided hell from earth, and Risa is a key component in their plans. And the only person standing between her and disaster is a reaper who isn’t exactly on her side. (Goodreads)
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I’d heard so many people praising the author’s Riley Jensen series that I was positive this would be an amazing urban fantasy.
Unfortunately, DARKNESS UNBOUND reads like a debut novel with all the trappings of a new writer than one so seasoned. There’s awkward dialogue, info dumping, a heroine who doesn’t know who she is, acting like a child one minute then trying to kick butt in the next, all wrapped up in choppy writing.
For the first hundred pages or so, I thought I was reading a young adult novel with regards to the way Risa Jones acts. Stomping around after being told what to do by her uncle and then pouting. From her actions I thought she was a teenager rather than twenty eight years old.
There is a lot of unnecessary descriptions added at very odd moments. For instance, after being kidnapped and abused, Riley returns home to be told that they must leave as soon as possible due to the baddies heading their way.
“Please, we must be going. We have delayed here too long.”
Again his words held an edge that motivated. I grabbed my Coke and gulped it down so quickly the gas rose back up my throat. I smothered the burp, then stood…”
This is meant to be a really tense and highly charged moment, did I really need to know she stifled a burp?
Also dialogue like this:
I half smiled. “Because I am sometimes my mother’s daughter, and I can sense the avoidance in your words.”
You can’t be your mother’s daughter ‘sometimes‘ (even if you may want to).
These type of instances were dotted throughout the book and slowly wound me down. DARKNESS UNBOUND was a bitter disappointment, even to the point that I’m not sure I want to continue with the series, or begin her others.
Much of the dialogue was just information, someone (mainly Risa) asking the question and another answering it. This is just info dumping disguised as dialogue in my opinion and soon became very tedious. Also the fact that Risa is the daughter of a very powerful psychic and werewolf, an Aedh father and an aunt who to all accounts is a serious kick-arse, it is slightly unbelievable that she didn’t know the answers to the questions she was asking, which made the whole situation unrealistic.
Because Risa didn’t act like a 28 year old, some of the sex scenes seemed to come from know where. These I must admit were written and flowed well but were pretty explicit, which is fine if it fit with the heroine’s personality but it didn’t. There was also an orgy scene that felt so out of place, it was distasteful and crude rather than erotic.
DARKNESS UNBOUND was a disappointing read, with characters that didn’t ring true, far too much info dumping in disguise as dialogue, and a heroine that didn’t really inspire.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Darkness Unbound
- Darkness Rising
- Darkness Devours
- Darkness Hunts
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