Sunday, July 4, 2010

another urban fantasy with vampires and werewolves, this time set in australia; moon sworn by keri arthur

One of Australia's most prolific writers of urban fantasy, Keri Arthur has released another in her Riley Jenson Guardian series, Moon Sworn. 
Like the majority of books in this genre, the Guardian series has a feisty, supernatural, female protagonist; baddies who are also supernatural; a shadowy government organisation of some sort which allows said protagonist to literally get away with murder; and a bit of raunchy sex.
Ho hum, yet another urban fantasy that seems as though it's been cut from the same cloth as all the others out there. Which is such a shame as Arthur isn't a bad writer.
What the Riley Jensen series does have going for it is that unlike the majority of the other books and series in this genre, it's actually set in a country other than America. Arthur has based the books in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, making the setting, at least, more interesting.
Riley, the said heroine, is a half vampire, half werewolf – yep, two for the price of one – who works for the Guardians, ie. The shadowy government organisation that keeps all the other supernaturals in check.
She's in love with a handsome, and powerful, vampire (of course) and he loves her and they're always interested in having a bit of raunchy sex … yawn.
Added interest – Riley has a brother who's gay, yay, something slightly different. But no, he's also in a loving relationship with another sexy vampire. Again, yawn.
So, the basic premise is fairly ordinary. Still, Moon Sworn isn't a bad read. This time around some of Riley's previous escapades come back to haunt her and she ends up stuck in the middle of outback Australia with bits missing from her memory and a sneaking suspicion that some thing's wrong. Of course.
Ideally you really need to have read the other eight books in the series to really know what's going on, and to understand why the guy who took her memory and dumped her in the outback did it.
Riley manages to find herself in the middle of a murder investigation, which helps her remember bits and pieces about who she is and how she got in the mess she's in. Eventually, she works it all out, is reunited with the love of her life and sorts out some family business fairly thoroughly.
And that's about it. If Arthur put her mind to it, she could easily be a very good author. Her books aren't bad, it's just that there are so many of the same genre over-stocking the bookshelves at the moment. It's as though every author in the world decided to jump on the Twilight bandwagon at exactly the same time.
Unfortunately for authors like Arthur, there's much better stuff out there already, and has been for some time. Classic Anne Rice and the long-running series from Laurell K Hamilton, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, as well as Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels.
But, if you love the genre – and like many, I still do – you'll enjoy the differences in Arthur's books that make them worth picking up. After all, it could be worse, you could be reading the Twilight series.

Moon Sworn by Keri Arthur is published by Piatkus, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group and is available from good book stores and online.


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