Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Full Moon Rising" by Keri Arthur

Riley Jenson is a Guardian Liaison for the Directorate of Other Races, a government organisation that overlooks the supernatural element of the city of Melbourne. She is mostly werewolf, but she also has vampire ancestry, so she has several of their abilities as well. Her boss Jack Parnell wants her to become a full Guardian, but she is reluctant, as she doesn't think it will suit her - a lot of Guardian work involves assassination.

When her twin brother Rhoan goes missing, it couldn't come at a worse time. She keeps crossing paths with a mysterious vampire called Quinn O'Conor, a friend of her brother. It is also the week known as "moon heat", during which she becomes incredibly horny and compelled to have sex with every werewolf or nonhuman in sight. Also, mysterious clones of her colleague Henri Gautier, and strange nonhuman crossbreeds, keep popping up and trying to kill her. She must try to find her brother and figure out what is going on whilst fighting the urge to bang like a rabbit.

Although I'm a huge fan of horror movies, it has never transferred across to horror novels. I don't know why. Then again, this one can't really be labelled as a horror novel. It has supernatural elements, and a couple of action sequences, but the focus is squarely on the sex. Despite being told from the first person viewpoint of Riley, I didn't get to know a whole lot about her other than that she likes to have sex. A lot of it. She also isn't particularly bright. When she has a glass of champagne, and then wakes up to find her lover Talon having sex with her - and is then informed they've been having sex for eight hours, none of which she can remember - she simply thinks that one glass of champagne has gone to her head. If your heroine is too stupid and sex-obsessed to realise she's been drugged and raped, it's kind of hard to get on side with her.

Every time Riley has some sort of task ahead of her, she is constantly thinking about banging someone. It never ends. If the book isn't describing some sort of torrid sex scene, it's a brief fight scene or action sequence in which Riley gets injured and experiences "white-hot pain". That's how the author describes it every single time Riley is hurt. However, we don't need to worry if she gets hurt. She can just change into a werewolf and speed up the healing process. Never feeling like your heroine is in any sort of danger doesn't help too much when it comes to building suspense.

Sex, sex, sex. That's what you get here. Even the sequence in which Riley and Quinn go to break Rhoan out of the facility he's captive in doesn't bother to actually tell us how they manage the feat. Riley mindwarps two of the male guards into having sex with each other, and Quinn simply shows up with a rescued Quinn. There is no continuity over who Riley can mindread, either. Some foes can conveniently be read, whilst others can't. It only seems to depend on where the author wants to take the narrative at that particular time.

Keep in mind I'm probably not the target audience for this type of book. I suspect a lot of paranormal "action" series focus strongly on sex, and this is no exception. There are plenty of plot strands left dangling at the end of this one. They might have been resolved if everybody wasn't having sex every five pages. As it is, I can't say they'll compel me to pick up any further entries in this series.

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