The Riley Jensen series was published in the UK between early 2007 and early 2010. I bought and read the series at the time of publishing, so in theory I last read them four years ago. The books are Full Moon Rising, Kissing Sin, Tempting Evil, Dangerous Games, Embraced by Darkness, The Darkest Kiss, Deadly Desire, Bound to Shadows and Moon Sworn. For the sake of an easy life I am going to treat the books as a single entity.
The underlying backstory is that Riley is a hybrid of vampire and werewolf, she has a twin brother (Rhoan) and lives in Melbourne. She works for an organisation called the Directorate of Other Races who enforce good behaviour from supernaturals, i.e. vampires, shifters and werewolves.
The Directorate consists of Guardians who act as a cross between an enforcer and legalised killer and office staff – Rhoan has embraced his vampire side more fully so is the former, Riley starts as the latter.
In this reality werewolves are VERY controlled by the moon cycle, there is a week-long period before the full moon where werewolves need to mate, seemingly for the entire time. However given Riley’s habits it seems that werewolves like it all the time, with almost anyone and anywhere.
Even when her twin goes missing the compulsion the mate is still present, there is also the unfortunate problem with Riley’s attitude to consensual sex – namely she seems far too chilled on the multiple occasions when she wakes up from being unconscious to find someone having sex with her. I really do mean multiple, this occurs in at least the first three books and upon rereading the books I found it frankly a little disturbing.
I don’t recall this from the last time that I read the books, but once I noticed it this time it was rather hard to stop noticing and it distracted me from the otherwise tolerable plot lines which are essentially mild mystery novels with a bit of spy stuff that sort of touch on eugenics, genetic modification and making your own family.
That said, the mainstay of all nine books can be summed up as Riley and Rhoan get in rather a lot of danger, Riley bonks at least two people consensually, at least one person doesn’t wait for consent, a few people die and Riley has a crisis about her lack of suitable soul mate and/or lack of babies.
SPOILER: Riley does end up with a soul mate for her vampire half – after she kills her werewolf soul mate. She also ends up with the prospect of babies via her brother’s boyfriend’s sister being implanted with her and the brother’s boyfriend’s babies. This apparently passes for a happy ending.
Four years ago it seems that this level of plot worked for me, but apparently I am now fussier and the consent issue really bugged me. One final thought, the strong hints of a rabid dislike of cats haven’t enamoured Ms Arthur to me but it is the repeated lack of consent that pushes this series to the charity shop.
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