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Darkness Rising by Keri Arthur

Darkness Rising

by Keri Arthur

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dark Angels (2)

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Darkness Rising opens with Risa's father forcefully ordering her to find the keys that he created to open the gates to hell. Nice guy, yeah? Then Risa is essentially blackmailed by the head of the Directorate, Madeline Hunter, into doing Hunter's dirty work in exchange for help solving Dia's murder. Considering that's all crammed into the first chapter, you'd think that the action would be nonstop . . . and yet, not so much. At least it felt slow to me.

It may have been because I listened to this one in audio, but I found myself oddly unable to focus on the story and probably missed a good quarter of it from zoning out on the narration. The big things that I was worried about while reading the first book came to pass: (1) Risa continued to trust the wrong guy, Lucian. He reminds me of a certain snakelike character from the Riley Jensen, Guardian series, and I don't much like him. (2) Risa failed to see what her reaper, Azrael, was thinking. He clearly has a thing for her, but she is only seeing her own perception of his actions and beliefs and not understanding why he is perpetually frustrated with her. Come on, girl, get it together!

It's a little frustrating to see Risa repeating so many of Riley's mistakes, especially while she notes that Riley had spoken to her about these things. Risa trusts the wrong people, is ill-prepared because she lets people rush her and boss her around, and doesn't ask the right people for help because she is too worried about them getting hurt, even if their expertise means that they are more likely to not be hurt than she is. I wanted to shake her a few times.

You know what else is frustrating? The lack of sex. Heh. There are a couple of scenes, but I was really hoping that this series would be a bit hotter than it's turning out to be.

Here's what did work: Risa is clearly starting to come into her own. In Darkness Unbound, Risa is constantly turning to others for help because she doesn't have the skills or knowledge to do it on her own. That's not necessarily a bad idea, true, but it was nice to see her take a more prominent role in her investigation. The sword she acquires doesn't hurt her new badass image, either.

Given my love of the prequel series, it's fairly obvious that I'm not going to give up after one lackluster installment. Really, it's not bad, it's just not quite up to par with expectations. Here's hoping that the rest of the series takes us on a sexy, fast-paced ride! ( )
  HopelessBibliophile | Jan 6, 2015 |
I found this second book very slow. It took me forever to finish it, and I only did it because I didn't want it to carry on into the new year. I have to say Risa was more interesting as a child than she is as an adult. ( )
  DrkCherry | Sep 21, 2013 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: This action-packed sequel to Darkness Unbound explores more of Risa’s relationships with Azriel and an equally dark and dangerous world.

Opening Sentence: The house still smelled of death.

The Review:

There is really no way I can start off this review without a giant spoiler from the first book in the series, Darkness Unbound, but since it is already mentioned in the synopsis it is fair game. Two months have passed since Risa’s mother was brutally murdered. In order to find out the identity of the murderer, Risa enters into an uneasy deal with Madeline Hunter, the leader of the Directorate. The Directorate has the resources that will help Risa find the murderer but in so doing Risa will be running jobs on the side for Madeline or else the Directorate will no longer look into her mother’s murder.

Risa’s father confronts her with the clue to find the first key to open or lock the gates to the other side. Everyone (good, bad and questionable) wants that key from Risa while she would rather just keep it hidden and she is given no choice but to find the key. Meanwhile, vampires from the Vampire Council are rapidly aging and dying. Madeline forces Risa to look into who is cursing the vampires before too many of them die. Risa’s relationship with the sexy, fallen Aedh, Lucian, is still purely sexual while the relationship with the equally sexy and mysterious Azriel is still complicated but he still obediently follows Risa and helps her stay alive.

Risa feels like a puppet strung between too many people that want to use her. Above all Risa wants to keep her friends safe so she does whatever she can to protect them. Risa still acts impulsively at times not exactly thinking through the outcomes before she launches into her search for both of her tasks. She is strong for the lessons she learns.

The worldbuilding just continues in Darkness Rising. This world just keep expanding, especially the ghostly realm. I enjoyed this world a whole lot more than I did in the first book. I think I understood all the action and the different people that are after Risa. This novel is action packed and sucks you right in. The plot moves right along and there is some resolution to the overall storyline but it is still left wide open in the end. Because of the continuing storyline this is one series that I think needs to be read altogether.

Overall, Darkness Rising is full of interesting mythology and worlds. This is a dark, sexy and engaging world. If you are interested in a paranormal world set in Australia, then definitely check out this series.

Notable Scene:

He raised the sword, offering it to me hilt first. “Take her.”

I wrapped my hands around the night-dark hilt. Fire flared along the blade’s edge, thick and dangerous. The hilt itself felt warm against my palm, and something within it pulsed, as if it had a life and a heart of its own.

And given it was forged during a demon’s death, maybe it did.

I licked my lips, the raised by gaze to Azriel’s. “Now what?”

“Place the tip against your stomach.”

I closed my eyes against the rush of fear and did as he asked. The metal hummed—a sound that vibrated through every nerve ending.

“Now we perform the bonding ritual. Repeat after me; we are one mind, me and thee.”

I repeated the words softly. Energy stirred, caressing my skin and making the small hairs at the back of my neck rise.

“We are one spirit, me and thee.”

The power in the air increased as I repeated the words, crackling like lightning through the darkness, until it felt as if I were standing in the eye of the storm.

“We are one body, me and thee, spirit within flesh, bound together until life is over and the soul has moved on.”

I repeated the sentence. The words seemed to hang in the air, electric and alive. The sword burned against my palms, throbbing with life and hunger.

“Now,” Azriel said softly, “make the sacrifice.”

FTC Advisory: I purchased my own copy of Darkness Rising. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Aug 27, 2012 |
DARKNESS RISING picks up about two months after Risa’s mother’s murder. Risa is still devastated by her loss but she’s working through it. Unfortunately, her father and Madeline Hunter have other ideas: her father wants Risa to keep looking for the keys and Madeline wants Risa to prove her worth by figuring out who’s attacking members of the vampire council. Forced to work both problems at the same time, Risa has little choice but to call on her allies for assistance.

Plot-wise, DARKNESS RISING is very satisfying. There are developments in Risa’s search for the keys and the mystery of who’s killing vampires is resolved in an unpredictable but entirely logical way. (This is my favourite kind of mystery. I hate it when the answers don’t jive with the rest of the book.) Both of these storylines were exciting and well written and they made it incredibly difficult to put DARKNESS RISING down.

On the romance level, there are also developments. Sexy developments. Risa finds herself more and more drawn to Azriel, her reaper companion, though she continues her relationship with Lucien. And I find myself more and more in Azriel’s corner since Azriel is revealing more of himself while Lucien is starting to have a shady vibe, at least to me. In fact, my opinion of Lucien has definitely taken a downward turn since he does a few things in DARKNESS RISING that made me question his motivations. I’m looking forward to finding out whether Lucien really is on Risa’s side. Readers, please let me know what you think in the comments!

The Dark Angels series is off to a promising start with the first two books. DARKNESS UNBOUND let us settle back into the world Keri created for Riley and company while showcasing an almost-new set of characters. Grown-up Risa is a treat, and I love the constants that carry over from the Riley books, like Risa’s love of Coke. In DARKNESS RISING, the action and stakes escalate, increasing my investment in the series. It’s another fantastic entry in Keri Arthur’s oeuvre, filled with steamy scenes, great action, and a fast-paced plot. I can’t wait to see what happens to Risa next!

http://ireadgood.wordpress.com ( )
  jthorburn | May 25, 2012 |
(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.

Review originally posted on my blog, Bitten Books: http://www.bittenbooks.com/2012/02/review-darkness-rising-dark-angels-2-by.html ( )
  asterravos | Feb 18, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keri Arthurprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maarleveld, SaskiaReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andreozzi, LynnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolesova, JulianaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Risa will go to any lengths to avenge her mother’s murder—even if it means making a pact with the most evil vampire she’s ever met. Lethal and powerful, Madeline Hunter is leader of the vampire council, and will put her resources behind finding the killer—for a price. The venerable vampire requires the assistance of Risa’s psychic powers. Quid pro quo.

Someone—or something—is targeting the elders of the local council, cursing the immortal vampires to rapidly age, sink into madness, and die. Risa must track down the vengeful being responsible. But Risa’s father, a rogue Aedh priest, also enlists her in a dangerous mission. And not even the great Madeline Hunter may be able to protect her from the shadowy forces that desire nothing less than Risa’s destruction.

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Risa agrees to use her powers to find out who is causing the immortal vampires to age rapidly in exchange for assistance in avenging her mother's murder from Madeline Hunter, the powerful leader of the vampire council.

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