I started reading this series earlier this May and even though the last book annoyed me enough about everything that I nearly call it quits. To be honest, this book redeemed itself. I enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t wait for the fourth book on 6th of November 2012. Since I didn’t quite do a proper review to either of the books and this being the review of the third book, I’ll give some summary to to the series which if you don’t mind me giving some spoilers to the early books.
Darkness Devours was the latest installment for Keri Arthur’s Dark Angel which is an urban fantasy series about a half-Helki-werewolf and half-Aedh Risa Jones, a successful restaurateur who sometimes aids her psychic mother with her powers of crossing the planes between the living and dead.
In the first book, Risa was helping her mother to check on a dying girl in a hospital. Once she’s there, she found out the dying little girl was already dead since her soul was being ripped off savagely by an unknown wraith. Doing so, the little girl soul will never be reborn. She was also well aware of being followed by a warrior angel and in her rage, he found out that he can see him. He eventually told her that he was sent to find keys to hell and only she can find the keys. With an angel as a bodyguard, things didn’t get any better for her especially when she felt animal attraction to the powerful being which she found solace in the arm of an Aedh, Lucian, who had saved her in a surprised attack by people who wanted to keep her away from the investigation. She then began earnestly investigate more of the killings and found out everything was involved around the real estate of the town where a powerful magical ley line exist and there were someone powerful wanted buying the entire area by forcefully killing or threatening the land owners. While she was focusing on the case, many powerful supernatural creatures started to target her because of her father who was rumored to be in town. She found out that her Aedh father had created 3 keys that can permanently lock or open the gates of hell and Risa was the only one who can find all of them. Risa who was unwillingly being coerced to the quest to find all of them with everyone threatening the lives of her loved ones which in the end claimed the life of her mother.
In the second book, Risa was in severe depression and distraught when she found her mother being literally torn apart in her house. Investigation by the Directorate gives her no leads to what may have killed her, the Directorate’s head, Madeline Hunter, offers Risa the vampire council’s resources to look into her mother’s case if she was to help the Vampire’s with cases that require Risa’s expertise in exchange. When members of the vampire council started to die mysteriously, Risa was ordered to find the culprit. Her Aedh father suddenly gave her more clues to where the first key was and Risa had to piece everything together including finding a book that was stolen from her to prevent the Razvan from retrieving it. Things went awry in every sort of way with kidnappings, torturing, lies and blackmail, things seems to be at its end for Risa.
In this book, Darkness Devours continued from the disparity of the second book with Risa still intending to find out who is behind the killings involved with the ley line’s land requisition and the connection to her mother’s demise. She met up with her ex-lover, Jak, a were-wolf, journalist who had tried to use her and her mother with the story about them to the paper and left Risa broken and betrayed. This time, she offered him an exclusive in exchange to his investigation skills to find the elusive John Nadler who was behind the consortium that was buying the lands. After the meeting, she and Azriel was attacked by powerful beings that was send to kidnap Risa by any other means, narrowly escaping them, Risa changed her features to avoid being targeted again. Madeline Hunter called up again and gave her another case involving several vampires that were find murdered and eaten after they left a vampire club. There, Risa found out that the vampires were using specially bred humans that are specifically being used to feed the vampires. In one of the room, she felt angry ghosts that were murdered in vampire’s blood frenzies and found that there were dark creatures attracted to these dark energies and precede to appease the ghosts’ anguish by targeting the blood-addicted vampires. Risa was forced to accept the case because the council will decided to kill her if she weren’t able to find the culprit within 72 hours.
One of the main reason I love the series was the intricate multiple of plots Keri Arthur’s had weaved within each of her books. There are major plot around the series which was Risa’s quest of finding the keys but the books instead focus on the continuation of the case in the first book which affected Risa the most. There was also side plots like Hunter’s assignments which Risa was forced to undertake since the second book. Overall, it may overwhelm the readers but to me, its like an unconventional procedural crime story. There are plenty of suspense and supernatural action scenes which satisfies my blood/gore cravings. The story is structured nicely around Risa that I can’t help but sympathized her a lot. She was one unnatural creature who wanted normal life with her family and friends but unwillingly being forced around by people who hurt her and her loved ones enough that made her fear and distrust everyone. I do like seeing character complexities to this extend which I found lacking in most of the books I read. Since I like urban fantasy books in this way instead of conventional paranormal romances storylines, I do recommend this if you like serious approach in supernatural’s main female character that have other motives instead of a major storyline with alpha male saving the character and killing the antagonist.
There’s also a blooming romance elements with Risa’s attraction to the Mijai reaper, the fallen Aedh and a the newly addition werewolf. With the world’s conflict kept forcing their problems down on her throat, she crave for companionship and normalcy in life. She was confused with her attraction to Azriel who in turn was aware off since he can read her mind but they refused to act on it. She started to be uncomfortable around Lucian who is an Aedh who is incapable to feel for anything and instead intend on using her body to satisfy their need. Until Risa found out he was extracting information from her mind and kept pressuring her about it. This time, I’m so glad that Risa’s strong attitude around Lucian because to me he is very suspicious since last book. Jak was Risa’s past lover whom she had imagined a life with but he had betrayed her for his career advancement. Personally, I sympathized with Risa’s inability to find her happy-ever-afters but it does made the serial a good read and destroy any sense of predictability to her romantic fate.
I was fairly disappointed with the second book because Risa was constantly being forced in situation that made her helpless like a classic damsel in distress and she had to depend on Azriel and Lucian to get through the conflicts. Personally, the arc with her as a forced private eye is much better than minor story arc focusing on her choosing Lucian or Azriel. I really like the way it goes with Azriel and Risa now especially with their developing relationship since the last two books. With more things started to bring the series to its full motion, I am looking forward to the fourth book since I have read the excerpt at the end of the book and very anxious about the continuation.
I think there will be three more books in the series. But looking at the publication rate, I think the series will end quicker. I really do hope so.