“(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”