Thursday, December 29, 2011

Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur

Even in a world where Vampires, Werecreatures and others are a fact of daily life, Risa Jones is different, being half-Werewolf and half Aedh, a being of magic much like Angels, who can enter the Veil beyond life and come back. Aedh are rare- most of them having been killed off by each other, and half-breed Aedh are even rarer still- Risa was conceived through an experiment, and only she survived, most of the others dying before they were born.

Risa's mother, too, is unusual- a blind seer who was abducted for her powers, but later rescued by Riley Jensen. And Risa views Riley as an aunt. But Riley has been retired from the Directorate for twenty years, and Risa is living on her own, although she and her mother are still close. So when her mother asks her to look into a case of a young girl suddenly taken to the hospital when she just... stopped, Riley is stunned to learn that this girl's soul is gone, stolen from her in an instant.

And she's not the only one who has an interest in tracking down who would do this to a young girl. The Reapers- the spirits who guide the souls through death and punish those who would do evil beyond the grave, also have an interest in the case, and in Risa- her Aedh father was an Aedh priest- one of the Aedh who has even more power over the veil than other Aedh. The Reapers want to track him down because her father was responsible for creating keys that could lock the doors that the souls travel through after death- or fling them wide open. Lock them, and eventually humans and others would die off as no souls returned to life to replace the ones that died. Fling them wide open, and the dead, even the evil dead, could return any time they liked, taking over living bodies with impunity. The Reapers want Risa to find her father for them, because ever since the keys were made, he's gone into hiding, but now that they know about the soul-stealing, they also want to track down who is doing this and eliminate them.

She and the Reaper, who calls himself Azriel (the name all Reapers go by) talk, and she agrees to track down the Soul stealer, because both of them think that someone who would do that to a child needs to die. This particular Reaper is a Mijai, a dark Reaper, a soldier among Reapers who takes care of threats to the land of the dead- and to the spirits. But she will also have time to live her own life, that is, if the head of the Directorate, a woman named Hunter, isn't trying to recruit her. And while she knows that Riley was once part of the Directorate, along with her brother, Rhoan, Risa has never really wanted to be part of it. But how long can she evade Hunter if the woman will do anything to recruit her?

As Risa finds another Aedh, a man named Lucian, she wonders if he has anything to do with the case with the Reapers- because Lucian is quite impressed with her and wants to be her lover- And Aedh- full blooded Aedh, are affectionate only at the ends of their lives, when they want to mate and make more Aedh. But can she trust anything he tells her, and what is up with all the people trying to kill her? Why does someone want to kill her, and who of her many enemies are behind it? Is it really all about trying to find her father and the keys he and his fellow Aedh priests constructed, or is there some other reason that someone wants her dead? It's up to Risa, her friends Ilianna and Tao, as well as Lucian and Azriel, to keep Risa safe and alive as she investigates who is stealing souls and finding her father, and the keys he was responsible for making. But when her father contacts her, it puts her in even more danger, and suddenly, her friends and lovers might not be enough to protect her. Will Risa and those she loves come out of the conflict alive?

Risa is a minor character from the Riley Jensen series, in which she was just a kid, only eight years old. Now, she all grown up, a wealthy woman who is part owner of a bar/restaurant with her two friends, and she's ready to start kicking ass on her own. In a way, she's rather more fortunate than Riley was, as Riley only had her brother to call on for help, and wasn't in any way rich, at least until she married her vampire lover, Quinn. But at the same time, Risa is hampered in other ways. She knows almost nothing about the Aedh side of her heritage, and nothing about her father- her mother hasn't wanted to tell her at all. And Risa definitely wants to know.

Her Aedh powers are interesting. Risa can cross the veil simply by concentrating, but it plays holy hell with anything that makes the trip with her, mostly her clothing, as it also ruins electronics, but she knows better than to try taking her cellphone with her. Or anything electronic that isn't contained inside her body I found this series somewhat different than the Riley Jensen stories, and I did enjoy it, but it does seem very different. Both characters might be a mix of races, but Riley's were ones that didn't hold much mystery- Vampires and Werewolves, whereas Risa is a mix of Werewolf and Aedh, a race we don't know anything about at the start of the book. But we learn a bit- but I feel that we are going to have to wait to learn more, like, a lot of other books.

Well, its not Riley Jensen, though she does appear. Risa is a bit more confident than Riley, though many of her feelings seem the same, like she's almost the same character. But I liked the book, and I do want to read more. So, Recommended to read, because in many ways, it's a lot like the earlier books.

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