By Keri Arthur
Darkness Unbound is the first book in a spinoff series by Keri Arthur. This book takes place about 28 years after the Arthur’s Riley Jenson Guardian series left off. Same world, some of the same characters, only set in the future. I picked this book up mainly to find out what happened to Riley and her family. Thankfully Arthur gives up this information, but mentions everything in a passing way—after all, they are the background characters. And for those of you wondering, no, you don’t have to read that series first in order to jump into this one, but it doesn’t hurt if you have to time to check it out.
After getting a call from her mom to help determine if a soul is still in a young girl or if she has passed, Risa discovers that the girl’s soul was stolen. This sets the story up for Risa to try and figure out whom or what stole the girl’s soul. She has help from a sexy reaper that has been ordered to follow her in order to find her father who hasn’t contacted her since she was born. Apparently her father is trying to tamper with and control the gates of hell. Plus she has the help of her roommates—a half witch /half mare shifter, Iliana, and a werewolf with an affinity for fire, Tao. Oh, and have I mentioned that Risa is half werewolf and half Adeh? Yeah, three very distinct characters with unusual abilities add up to what should be a very interesting series.
What readers will notice is that this book isn’t as dark as Riley’s series. Yes, Risa and her friends deal with evil bad guys, but it isn’t as bad as what Riley had to deal with—probably because she doesn’t work for the Directorate, yet…
Arthur’s writing style is fairly fast paced with characters taking beating after beating and then walking away with only some caffeine to help them get through. It made me tired to think of all of the action Risa went through before she was allowed sleep. There’s a ton of action, a little romance and of course a lot of mystery. Arthur sets this series up well by having the book end with one storyline complete, another storyline still open, and a third one just starting. So far there are five books in the series, with the fifth one due out in 2013, and I can see how it will take several to tie up all of these loose ends.