Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Reviewed by Elise

Full Moon Rising is the first in the Riley Jensen series by author Keri Arthur. Keri comes from my neck of the woods, good ol’ Down Under. She is Melbourne based and I’m a bit higher up the coast where the weather is a bit more stable. It’s nice to read a story from an Australian author, more about that later.

The book tells the story of Riley Jensen. Riley is a half werewolf, half vampire crossbreed working for the Guardians in a not too distant future Melbourne. She is a liaison and happy with her job.

The story starts simply. Riley’s guardian brother goes missing. Riley sets out to find him, only to uncover genetic experimentation, betrayal and, like every good urban fantasy novel, a little steamy action.

Werewolves in this book are not portrayed as second class citizens. Despite this, that is how they are perceived in the world Keri Arthur has created. They represent the social spectrum – rich, powerful, successful to those working hard to make a living. In the novel that thing that makes them lesser is their instinct to respond to the moon’s call.

From a werewolf point of view, they celebrate the moon, reveling in succumbing to less human instincts. This includes a compulsion to mate. When I write it like that, it sounds so animalistic but for Riley (and many others) it is a celebration of sexuality and expression of freedom. Mating is done frequently during the week of the full moon. The culture constructed is that of sexual freedom, without judgement and without constraint. I love that Riley, a woman, is able to have many different partners without it being frowned upon. It’s just a shame that in this day and age she needs to be ‘cursed’ as a werewolf for this to be acceptable.

Riley has three main love interests in the story. Two werewolves and one vampire. All relationships are fraught with chemistry even though most scenes gave implications rather than graphic descriptions. Riley feels a pull towards her vampire lover from the moment he turns up on her door step, impressively naked. She feels a connection with him beyond physical intimacy and despite wanting to explore this, he has been betrayed by werewolves before and does not trust Riley enough to go further. 

I liked the action and the mystery to the story. I have read a lot of pure romance lately and it was refreshing to go back to break ins at secret underground facilities, kidnapping and general mayhem. Riley is a capable and strong woman and it fills my heart with joy that most of the time she is able to rescue herself. She is a sensible heroine. She gets help when she needs it and goes off on her own when she doesn’t.

What I liked most about this book however is the setting. It’s nice to read about place I know. I know how long it takes to travel between places and settings without having to guess or google. I did listen to the Audiobook and my one complaint is that the narrator is not Australian. Justine Eyre does a great job. It took me a while to figure out. To others it might sound like a pretty good Aussie accent but it’s just not authentic. The vowels are off and it was a little bit too bogan sounding.

It made me question what I sound like to others for a while until I looked into it a bit more and discovered Justine is Canadian. I now have a better understanding of what it is like for people in minorities who push to be better represented by their own. While I am in no means comparing an Australian accent in an audiobook to the struggles of PoC, LGBTQIA or other under represented people in media, it gives me insight. I have always been supportive of positive representation but now I have first hand experience. If I was so frustrated by an accent I can only imagine how frustrated others feel to have their stories told by others in a way that is disingenuous.

I really enjoyed this offering to the urban fantasy genre. Keri Arthur is a writer with a huge backlist, and after looking into her works a bit more I know have the rest of the Riley Jensen series plus a whole lot of other books to add to my TBR. Given that most urban fantasy is set in the USA, it’s something a little different and well worth the read.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Full Moon Rising
by Keri Arthur
Release Date: December 26, 2006
Publisher: Random House

Comments

  1. The Riley Jensen series was one of the first ones I started reading when I first discovered UF back in 2009. I loved the fact that Riley wasn’t artificially constrained by our cultural norms surrounding sexuality. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with UF as a genre distinct from PNR which is glorified romance and therefore tends to follow the usual rules (monogamy, no cheating, HEA at the end of each book). Not that I don’t love romance also, but it’s nice to change it up a bit. I’m currently reading Keri Arthur’s Lizzie Grace series, which she is self-publishing, and I highly recommend it.

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