(This review contains spoilers for book one) Considering the ending of Darkness Unbound, I...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 4 stars.
(This review contains spoilers for book one) Considering the ending of Darkness Unbound, I was both super excited and nervous to start Darkness Rising. I really wanted to know more about what happened to Risa's mother but I was afraid that Risa would no longer be the her usual kick ass self, or that a depressing cloud would smother the book. I was so happy to see that the book wasn't angsty or depressing! But still showed how the death affected Risa which was also important to me. I hate when there's character death and the other character say "OMG I'M SO SAD!!" and then poof, they're happy again and unchanged.
Quite a few hugely minor characters from Darkness Unbound made reappearances in Darkness Rising. I love it when authors do that because I feel much more immersed in the world rather than simply getting the same props and main cast but a new storyline (like in cartoons, for example). None of the character returns I'm referencing really mattered or were ones I cared about, but all were memorable enough for me to recall them. I also loved all of the tiny continuations from the previous book in the series like Iliana's parents harping on her need to mate with a stallion and her willingness to do anything to get out of having dinner with them. It's always little things like that that make the book and characters for me.
I thought Lucian was okay in the first book but something about him in this one creeped me out. It wasn't anything he did specifically either, I just didn't like him. The entire book I was waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop and for Lucian to screw Risa over. This made at least the first half of the book a little weird for me whenever he was in a scene because I don't think that was quite the intended vibe. On the other hand, I freakin' adored Azriel. I was much more ambivalent towards him in Darkness Unbound but with his new found playfulness and other 'unfortunate' human traits, I found it hard not to love his character. His transition from stone cold and completely inhuman to attempting jokes for Risa's sake and a few displays of emotion were a joy to read. Every time I caught some progress towards something new, I wanted to start my own cheer for him or something equally fangirly. Maybe it was Azriel's explicit and vocal hatred for Lucian that swayed me...
My biggest issue with Darkness Unbound was how confused I was. So much was thrown at me at once and some of it was never explained or only done so vaguely. The biggest one for me was Iliana was called a Mare countless times and her potential mate was referred to as a stallion. I spent the entire book wondering if Iliana was a centaur, but I knew that couldn't be right but the only other option I came up with was that it was just metaphorical. It never occurred to me that Arthur meant that she shapeshifted into a horse until it was plainly said in Darkness Rising. Anyway, in Darkness Rising things were explained so much more satisfactorily. I always knew what was going on.(less)
Let me preface this review by saying that I'm an utter idiot and didn't realize the Dark An...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 4 stars.
Let me preface this review by saying that I'm an utter idiot and didn't realize the Dark Angels series had anything to do with the Riley Jenson Guardian one. Moving on: The very beginning of Darkness Unbound was an... interesting journey for me. I was so lost and utterly confused. Every few paragraphs something new was being added and none of it was something I was familiar with. We've got reapers, Helki werewolves, pagans, firestarters, Aedh, Fravardin, mares etc. I had to somehow learn all of those while being introduced to a stream of characters and those characters' friends, family and sexual preference. Somewhere in there I believe there was a plot too but I can't be sure because I was so freakin' lost. I have to say that while I was frustrated, lost and confused that I was also deeply intrigued. I'd picked up this book thinking 'alright! urban fantasy, let's do this' and expected it to be something I could plow through, enjoy the interesting story and familiarity then quickly move on from it. Darkness Unbound proved to be so much more than a run of the mill urban fantasy. It was something startlingly new to me but fascinating and definitely enjoyable. All I can say is read, you won't regret it. Things became much clearer as the book moved along and several times I felt ridiculous for not having gotten something in the first place. Everything probably would have been crystal clear if I'd read the Riley Jenson series first but I hadn't realized the two were related.
There were so many little itty-bitty parts of Darkness Unbound that made me want to hug Arthur for their uniqueness. Our heroine, Risa Jones, has loving family and friends. I never see that in urban fantasy! Most times it's them against the world with a sidekick or love interest to save or help out a little. Risa is a rich, privileged character. My mind was totally blown when this finally sank in. The whole concept for the book was unique but it was these small additions that mattered most to me. They made Risa more of her own character rather than urban fantasy heroine #32.
Darkness Unbound was significantly more risque than most urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels I've read. I wasn't on board for the occurrence at Franklin's. Smut with not even a single iota of emotion does nothing for me. Maybe it's because I'm not familiar with Arthur's writing but I feel it's necessary to mention the threesome that takes place, it certainly caught me off guard. You won't find that in pretty much any non-erotia romance, let alone a book marketed as urban fantasy. It's quick, maybe a page or two, but I do feel that it's enough for those of you who find menages to be a no go for it to possibly ruin things for you. I was really enjoying the story and adoring Risa so when stumbled upon it I was more baffled than anything else because, despite all the sexuality and promiscuity mentioned, I never expected to face it head on.
The ending was intense. There is no way that I'll be able to resist reading the next in the series, Darkness Rising, for long. I usually like to space books out so that by the time the upcoming book releases I won't have forgotten everything, but the ending of Darkness Unbound is heart stopping. I need to know what's next for Risa right now!(less)
This book was a quick, fun, and light read. It didn't have much substance but I wasn't hopi...moreReview originally posted on Bitten Books and given 4 stars.
This book was a quick, fun, and light read. It didn't have much substance but I wasn't hoping for any. Laurie had me laughing out loud at certain parts and commending her on many of her witty and sarcastic remarks. I really enjoyed the writing style and feel of this book. It was fast paced without being overwhelming and the subject of a psychic detective never felt contrived or unrealistic.
I enjoyed all of Laurie's characters. Abby grew on me quite quickly. She was funny, caring and in a little over her head, which I always find fun when paired with humor. She had a great voice that kept me interested and chowing down chapters. I especially loved Abby's interactions with other characters. Her budding relationship with Dutch was the highlight but I also really enjoyed the interactions she had with her sister, Cat. I can't wait to see the Abby/Dutch relationship furthered in future books. Getting to know and trust one another was funny in this book but I can't wait to see a true partnership form between them (both professionally and personally).
Usually I don't mention any author information in my reviews but I felt this was too relevant not too. Victoria Laurie is a real life police psychic. While my personal opinion is that that's a load of hoo-ha, I couldn't help but think how how cool it was that she made a cozy mystery out of her life. I think she did a great job touching on preconceptions people have and treating them with humor and levity. I think if more psychics had her attitude and approach, my image of a psychic wouldn't be Professor Trelawney.(less)