Complete series with 7 novels.
Genres: urban fantasy
Main series: Riley Jenson, Guardian
Risa Jones is half-werewolf and half-aedh, what humans used to call angels. In addition to some precognition and other psychic skills she got from her mother, Dia, Risa can see the Reapers, the escorts of the dead. The reapers have sent one extremely sexy Reaper, Azriel, to shadow Risa because they want to use her to collect something that her father made. Something that can control the gates to heaven and hell. And they aren’t the only ones.
The Dark Angels series is a spinoff of the Riley Jenson, Guardian series, set 20-something years after the end of the first series. It features the original main character’s best friend, Dia’s, daughter, Risa Jones all grown up now. While we see the characters from the original series in cameos, Dark Angels is an entirely different story. You don’t have to have read Riley Jenson prior to Dark Angels to know what is going on. Right off the bat, the start of Dark Angels also shows how much Keri Arthur has improved as an author since she started that series so many years ago.
Darkness Unbound sets up a story about Risa Jones and how every single person wants her to do something for them, or else. Her father, Hieu, created these objects to mess with the gates of heaven and hell, and the only person on Earth who can find them is Risa because she is his daughter. There are several factions who have separate goals who have all established in this book that they’re willing to do whatever they can to make her cooperate with them. There is no getting out of this quest for Risa. Her life has gone from idealic to hellish in the span of days.
There is also a sidequest in every book of the series. Risa killed someone or took something. Or else. The part of the book that actually pertains to the overall series, the part where we have to actually kind of totally save the world? It is often completely ignored in favour of either relationship drama or these side quests. Because they’re sooo important. I officially like the couple more than the story. I honestly don’t care about anything else.
At the start, Risa Jones has had a good life. She is loved by her mom. She views her Aunt Riley, of no blood relation, as a second mother and Riley’s family is her family. She has the best of friends ever. For someone who grew up with every privilege, she is remarkably down to earth. Risa has an odd assortment of powers, and what she has she is very powerful at. he also has the best friends. Tao, the fire mage and werewolf, who is always there for her when she needs someone. There is also Illiana, the incredibly powerful witch horseshifter. Both have skills that are useful in Risa’s quest, but they’re both the best people.
But with every new book, more and more shit is getting heaped onto the Risa pile. It is fun. Risa gets penned in and is cornered. The attacks on her are increasing. She can’t go anywhere without getting attacked by someone. Her father constantly shows up to threaten her. He pops in, threatens, and then leaves again. No helping her or anything. Then there are all the other factions who do the same damn thing. Madeline Hunter, the director of the Guardians, shows up to threaten Risa before giving her a job. There is the other Aedhs who show up to threaten her before taking off again. it gets kind of repetitive, but the effect it has on Risa eventually makes me love Risa more.
However, Risa is categorically incapable of asking for help, just like the vast majority of urban fantasy leads, including Arthur’s Riley Jenson. She has the bestest, most powerfulest friends ever. She has two really powerful male love interests. Her aunt is a former Guardian, with incredibly powerful psychic powers, married to a half-Aedh vampire who again, is super powerful. Yet she wants to do everything on her own, with Azriel’s help. Sometimes. She doesn’t want to bother anyone. She wants to protect all those she loves. Then she takes too much on, and all it does is hurt her. Noble goal, but it is a bit frustrating at times.
There are two guys in Risa’s life. There is Lucian, the Aedh who shows up at a very convenient time in her life. Just after her father shows up, so does Lucian. He is super sexy, and he got kicked out of the Aedh priesthood and his wings were taken away from him, so Risa feels sorry for him. I don’t particularly like him. He is an arrogant asshole.
The second is the grim reaper, the Mijai, Azriel. Azriel is shadowing Risa as his job, on the lookout for her father. Risa and Azriel just have this chemistry together that I just need more of. Azriel is supposed to be incredibly inhuman, with no emotions, apart from everyone and alone in the world. Yet, he has the most adorable smirk of personality that shows through like a ray of sun coming out from behind the clouds. He is the cutest thing about this series. Over the course of the series, Azriel breaks out of his shell and becomes more and more of a character that is there to love and support Risa. I just want more and more of them.
The ending was very common. It is a good ending, even if it is common. Everything is wrapped up fine. There are a few things left for cleanup, but nothing we actually need to see. Just the common fallout for a series of this nature. Nothing is really a surprise. My main issue is that a lot of it was just kind of handed to them. After six previous books of the same problems, and with every problem still left to solve, it only takes this one book to solve everything that is left. Just a bit too easy for what we go through.