by Kelley Armstrong
4 of 5 stars
Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She’s also a werewolf.
Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel that begins the Women of the Otherworld series.
Elena Michaels: She was bitten and turned by a werewolf 10 years ago at age 20 and has not been able to accept the life forced upon her. She is the product of a rough childhood and wants nothing more than to be normal. She has trouble fitting into society due to a combination of past and present mental scars. She goes to great lengths to hide who and what she is from humans.
Clayton Danvers: He is highly intelligent but lacks social skills because he was turned into a werewolf at 7 and abandoned becoming feral. He seems more like a wolf that turns human than the other way around.
Armstrong has a way of writing that makes you feel a part of the story. Right from the start, you can almost feel Elena’s desperation when she tries to fight the change.
My battle is as futile as a woman feeling the first pangs of labor and deciding it’s an inconvenient time to give birth. Nature wins out. It always does.
As a reader, you really start to feel the internal struggle Elena is dealing with as she tries her hardest to be “normal”. She is basically living 2 lives. She has the pack at Stonehaven, and Clay of course, and then she has humanity in Toronto with Philip. It goes beyond that though. She not only hides her wolfy instincts, she also hides any of the abrasive aspects of her personality. What can you expect though, given that she never had a stable home.
I went from one foster family to the next, always taken by the ones utterly charmed by my face and utterly incapable of handling my scarred psyche.
Most writers seem to have trouble providing a unique voice for even just 2 characters, not the case with Kelley Armstrong. She creates a unique voice for Elena as well as a “wolf” voice. When Elena is narrating in wolf form, she “says” things she wouldn’t when human.
There’s a pretender to my throne.
This book is very heavy on the narrative and light on the dialogue, so there are times when it feels like an information dump. Honestly, that is one of the main reasons that I didn’t give this book 5 stars. There is a fine line between world building and creating an information overload that can get boring.
Not to mention, the more detailed the world, the more chance there is for inconsistencies. In Armstrong’s world, there are only “35 wolves at last count” which seems like a small number for so much history and so many rules. Especially considering that only like 5 of them are Pack. I also can’t figure out why Elena cares if werewolves die out completely given that she hates what she is so much.
And then we have Clay. He is one big walking contradiciton. He’s sweet yet fierce, intelligent but almost childlike in his emotions. He balances between the stalker/obsessed and possessive/protective sides of the scale. He really doesn’t have a full range of human emotion, at times acting like an overly intelligent animal ruled by instincts of the wolf.
He was so young when changed, and on his own for so long, that he was more animal than boy when he was found by Jeremy. In fact, he didn’t even remember how to be human. It sounds odd, but the fact that he is so emotionally stunted is a large part of his charm. He is more honest and genuine than most humans.
The truth is, if a werewolf behaved like this psychopath it wouldn’t be because he was part animal, but because he was still too human. Only humans kill for sport.
Any fan of shifters, werewolves or paranormal romance should read this series. It really isn’t one to be missed.
Point of View: First person, Elena
Length: 544 pages
Price: $7.99 on amazon
Syfy is currently airing a series (Bitten) based on the books.