Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Darkness Hunts (Dark Angels #4) by Keri Arthur

Risa Jones, half-Aedh/half-werewolf, can enter the realm between life and death. She can speak to the dying and the dead, and she can see the Reapers, collectors of souls. What she cannot yet see is the identity of a stranger murdering women and draining their blood. Now Risa must summon her gifts to find him, even if it means putting her own life in danger. But Risa needn’t look far. The killer knows who she is.

He tells her his victims are infected by darkness and he’s fated to destroy them. Fascinated by Risa, he engages her in a sinister game: the chance to save the life of his next victim by deciphering his series of clues. In a race against time, she enlists the help of the Reaper Azriel.

But as an attraction between them grows, so does the fear that the stranger’s motives are only part of a larger, more dangerous scheme—one that has lured Risa and Azriel into the dark.

Risa can’t even catch a good night’s sleep with all the trouble and danger that finds her. She’s still the key to finding the keys that many different people and beings want to get their hands on. The keys control the gates to heaven and hell and in the wrong hands those gates can be closed permanently, not allowing souls to cross and causing devastation when you consider babies being born without souls. Needless to say, the keys needs to be found and destroyed and not fall into the wrong hands. Risa has a way to sense the keys, thanks to her dear old dad, a being who is now completely made of energy, but who finds ways to communicate with Risa whether she likes it or not. On top of this continuing key storyline that has been building since book 1, there’s a faceless man tormenting the Directorate. With Rhoan on the case, he brings in Risa as the faceless man is now targeting Risa after they have an encounter in one of the gray realms, a space not on earth, but just…between.

Risa and her reaper shadow, Azriel, are still trying to track clues and sources to get more information on the missing keys. That story takes a bit of a backseat to the faceless horror that is the man killing female vampires and playing with the Directorate because he’s bored and likes to mess with people. He’s made Risa his “girl”, making sure she’s the one who follows up on clues and leads to try to help save his victims. When Rhoan gets caught and his life is in danger, Risa’s all in and will do whatever it takes to save him and kill this threat, once and for all.

Poor Risa, I’m not sure how she stands upright sometimes. She’s run ragged in this book, constantly going from one clue to another, finding herself moving from one dangerous situation into another far worse one. She’s run down, everyone thinks she’s looks horrible (much to her delight) and she mentions more than once just wanting a big meal and sleep. She gets very little of both as the action comes at her fast and furious from page 1 and doesn’t let up until her final, dangerous battle with the faceless monster.

Also happening alongside all the action is her attraction to Lucian and the unnatural compulsion she has around him to never be able to say no to the lust that she feels in his presence. Lucian has seemed like he has an agenda from the first moment we met him back at the start of the series and was just using Risa via sex (to read her mind) to further his own plans. I can’t stand this guy and his relationship with Risa finally comes to a head in this story and while I was ready to smack Risa early on for constantly not listening to her own inner warnings about the guy, along with Azriel’s clear hatred of him, let’s just say with a little spell to help her, she finally comes to her senses and Lucian shows some of his true colors. I have no doubt there will be more to come where he’s concerned, but I was finally able to cheer for Risa and how she handled him. It’s been a long time coming.

“I don’t want to die, Azriel.”

“That is not an outcome that would please me, either.”

I couldn’t help smiling. “Really? I mean, it would at least free you from my bothersome tendency to do what I want rather than listen to your good advice.”

Amusement briefly crinkled the corners of his eyes. “Is there not a saying about challenges being the spice of life?”

“Actually, it’s variety that’s the spice of life.”

“And you are nothing if not variable,” he agreed solemnly.

I laughed, then leaned forward and brushed a quick kiss across his lips. “Thank you.”

His hands clenched briefly against mine. I had no doubt he was fighting the urge to reach for me and deepen the kiss, because I was fighting the very same battle. “For what?” he said, voice controlled and very, very even.

“For making me laugh when all I want to do is cry.”

Now, Azriel. I love this guy. He’s so full of inner angst and we really don’t know the full story on that, but we do learn how his feelings for Risa are impacting him personally and how their connection is not a good thing in his eyes. He’s fighting between feeling like he needs to keep his distance so his mission regarding the keys can be seen through, but his feelings for Risa, which he shouldn’t have, are becoming hard to ignore. They have a strong connection that we’re finally given some details about and with the way this story ends, I can’t wait to see how that plays out. Azriel is a reaper, a more energy being than flesh, Risa is half werewolf/half Aedh and a future between them is virtually impossible. But, never say never in this world because Azriel has changed from book 1 to now and who knows what other changes may be happening in the future that would actually give this couple a reason to believe they might have just that, a future. This reader can only hope!

Rhoan, Riley and Quinn all make appearances throughout, especially Rhoan, whose life is put in danger giving Risa all the excuse she needs to go all in against the faceless enemy. I always love seeing my favorites Riley and Quinn in any small way, and I like the way they’ve become family to Risa. She needs them and they’re always there for her.

This is definitely a series that should be read in order. The main missing key storyline keeps building with each book and the relationship between Risa and Azriel is more powerful to have followed them from the beginning. Risa is turning into a strong fighter, even if all she wants to do is be left alone to run her restaurant with her two best friends; that’s not a possibility for her right now. She’s too unique a character to just sit on the sidelines and she’s proving to be a kickass heroine who has to play a lot of different sides to balance all the people in her life who want something from her. I’m enjoying this series more and more with each book and love the direction its heading.

Release date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Signet Select
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*eARC provided by publisher for review* 



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