Embraced by Darkness (Riley Jenson, Book 5)
Random House Dell Spectra (US & CA: 31st July 2007); Hachette Piatkus (UK: 2nd August 2007; AU: May 2008)
Riley Jenson needs all her supernatural abilities to hunt down a particularly eerie serial killer, in Keri Arthur’s Embraced by Darkness.
Riley Jenson is one of the Directorate of Other Races’ guardians, trained to hunt and destroy her prey. With both vampire and werewolf genes, she is mostly werewolf, but has a host of other paranormal skills: she can switch her vision to infrared, is clairvoyant, and can wrap shadows around herself. Mixing searching for a missing pack member and investigating recent serial murders, Riley’s on the hunt.
Set in Melbourne, this series was first published in the US, thus there are terms that don’t seem to fit with the Australian characters. “Cell phone” is used instead of “mobile phone”. “Mom” is used instead of “mum”. “Ass” is used instead of “arse”. North American readers shouldn’t find this a problem, but for Aussie me it’s jarring, and took me out of the story. Mind you, it had been over a year since I’d read a Keri Arthur novel (I read the first four quickly and consecutively), so reading the novels back-to-back probably won’t make the issue too distracting.
Be sure to read this novel before The Darkest Kiss, as the latter’s first chapter deals with a spoiler from the former.
The narrative flows easily, and the final hunt is particularly engrossing – Keri Arthur improves with each novel. Riley usually has numerous sexual partners, but now she’s considering going solo with Kellen. Though his name was familiar, I didn’t remember much about him. He throws Riley’s phone out the window of a limo, and from there on I didn’t like him. The move had “control freak” written all over it, not to mention the careless waste of money. Riley deals with the situation rather calmly, but in real life losing a phone means losing all your contacts and perhaps important files. I don’t find Kellen romantic; rather an ungrateful shite. It says something about him that Riley keeps pining for vampire Quinn, though I don’t think he’s any better.
And that whole mother thing in the book’s summary? While that bit is featured, we don’t actually end up meeting Riley’s mum. But another issue from Riley’s childhood comes to light, and a new supernatural ability saves the day. That she has so many powers gets her out of jams a bit too easily, and I don’t care for her private life, but the rest of the book is fabulously intriguing and entertaining. That it’s set in places familiar to me makes it all the more worthwhile.