Saturday, June 28, 2008

Half vampire, half werewolf

Riley Jenson appears to be a werewolf, but she is actually half vampire. This means that she has the reflexes and mind-clouding ability of vampires, but still changes into a werewolf at the full moon. She lives with her twin brother, Rhoan, and they both work for Melbourne's "Directorate of Other Races," which is a sort of police force that is supposed to control crime among supernatural beings and protect humans from them. Rhoan is a guardian (a sort of top-level agent), but Riley appears to be a sort of secretary, despite the fact that her supervisors want her to become a guardian, too.

The books opens as Riley gets a feeling that her twin is in trouble. Not mortal danger, just...trouble. Because she and Rhoan (for no good reason I could tell) keep their brother/sister relationship secret, she has trouble convincing his boss that he needs help, being able only to say it's a "feeling" she has. When Rhoan hasn't returned from his mission by the following morning, when he was scheduled to, they send another agent to investigate, but Riley decides to do some searching on her own.

Werewolves, it seems (at least in this universe) have hormones that rage as the moon nears fullness, and - unless they find their sought-after soul mate, becoming monogamous thereafter - they basically need to have copious amounts of rampant sex with however many mates they have or can get. Humans simply don't understand this need (which is unlike anything that actual wolves experience, one might add) - and that is possibly why I found my belief in the strength of Riley's concern for her brother to be a bit undermined by the constant time-outs for sex with different (always very rich, Ferrari- or Porsche-driving, stunningly handsome) people along the way to his rescue.

She finds an incredibly handsome, naked rich vampire on her doorstep, who is also looking for her brother, and while she doesn't trust him, her boss pairs the two of them together to search for Rhoan. Other guardians have been disappearing lately, including Riley's closest friend (the agent sent to search for Rhoan). Riley's concern for her missing friend is, typical of her self-centered nature, not expressed by worry for her friend's well-being - instead, Riley laments that she doesn't make friends very easily, so she hopes nothing bad has happened to her friend!

The plot was fast paced (except for the frequent sex detours, which seemed tacked on and did little for character or plot development, unlike, in my opinion, those in Laurell Hamilton and Kim Harrison's novels) and intriguing, complete with cloned villains, secret laboratories and strange, hybrid creatures. But I spent most of the book trying to figure out if I liked it or not. Riley was very self absorbed and displayed appalling judgment on many occasions, so I kept losing sympathy for her. Her passionate determination not to become a guardian was never fully explained. She clearly loves the adrenaline rush of the investigation, so what was the big deal? Why cling to a job as secretary when her abilities lie in a different direction? Certainly not cowardice, as she is fearless and a strong, able fighter, thanks to her mixed heritage.

I'm still not sure how I feel about this one. Often the initial book or books in a series are a bit uneven (I felt that way about the first Kim Harrison Rachel Morgan book), but they get better and better as they go along. I like the idea of a vampire/wolf hybrid, but don't feel it was explored fully in this book, at least - if it's just that she's a faster, stronger werewolf, it's not as intriguing as it might be. Even though she can run and fight in 4-inch heels (and stake vampires with her wooden heels when the opportunity arises). It was certainly a fast-paced adventure, and it introduced some interesting characters (I particularly liked Rhoan and his partner), so I may try the second one in the series.

Books in the Riley Jenson series:
1. Full Moon Rising
2. Kissing Sin
3. Tempting Evil
4. Dangerous Games
5. Embraced by Darkness
6. The Darkest Kiss

Full Moon Rising (#1 in the Riley Jenson series) by Keri Arthur (Bantam Books, 2006)

Also reviewed at:
Lorelei

12 comments:

  1. Hmmmm....there seems to be a glut in the market for these types of books lately, doesn't there? Not sure if this is one I want to spend my time on or not. Sounds like a good concept though.

    Nice review!!

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  2. I agree with Stephanie, there seem to be more and more books of this type popping up. And of course, even if the concept is a good one not every writer will do that good a job exploring it.

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  3. sounds lame. like if it were a sci-fi channel movie on a saturday afternoon, i'd roll my eyes and turn off the TV.

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  4. AnonymousJune 28, 2008

    Oh yeah. There's more and more of these supernatural vampire/werewolves sex/romance novels around. But I get the feeling that they are of varying quality.

    But they sell by the bucket-loads

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  5. Oops. The Anonymous blogger above was from me.

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  6. Stephanie - you are right - there are tons of them out there, and I can't remember where I heard of this one! I did like the concept, but there are so many other books on my list and pile that I doubt I'll return to this unless someone persuades me they get a whole lot better.

    Nymeth - I completely agree - it takes more than a good concept to make a good book. The best writers can take something totally mundane and make it riveting!

    Molly - yes, lame is a good word to sum it up, I think!

    Dark Orpheus - anonymous or not, it's always good to hear from you! They do sell by the bucketloads, and because of that it's hard to tell what's worth reading and what's not. I'd rather take a break from the genre completely and wait for my favorite authors to come out with their new books than read half-baked stuff just to get a "fix." But maybe that's just me!

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  7. Same here. The genre looks very interesting to me - but because there's so many out there, I refuse to swim through the muck to get to the good stuff.

    But then again, if I avoid the genre and the new stuff totally, sometimes I feel bad that I might not be giving a talented new author a fair chance.

    Again, it the idea that we have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince.

    Why is reading so much like dating?

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  8. Ha! That's funny! I guess we can comfort ourselves with the fact that the books don't follow us around and badmouth us when we decide not to read any further - or make us feel guilty about it! But you're right - it is worth the risk to find the gems. I just read a great one in the same genre, but it's YA, and I was so excited to have found it! (Review forthcoming...)

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  9. I will read this series, but it isn't at the top of my list of urban fantasy books to read at the moment. Sounds like a fun read but nothing too great and there are certainly better series out there.

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  10. I'll be curious to hear what you think of it when you get to it. I was kind of hoping lots of people would comment saying to keep reading, the books get better, but so far it's just been crickets chirping. Oh, well!

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  11. Don't be put off, I have a friend who loves this series! Maybe read the next one and then make a decision.

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  12. Thanks, Rhinoa - that's good to hear! I will keep it in mind.

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