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Women of the Otherworld Challenge: Bitten Review

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

As this challenge started in March and it is already May, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Women of the Otherworld #1

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition.

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published by Orbit  26th February 2004.

Elena Michaels is your regular twenty-first century girl: self-assured, smart and fighting fit. She also just happens to be the only female werewolf in the world . . .

It has some good points. When she walks down a dark alleyway, she’s the scary one. But now her Pack – the one she abandoned so that she could live a normal life – are in trouble, and they need her help. Is she willing to risk her life to help the ex-lover who betrayed her by turning her into a werewolf in the first place? And, more to the point, does she have a choice?

So this isn’t going to be a “normal” review – there will be no rating given. It wouldn’t be fair for me to try to review it dispassionately, as this is one of my favourite books and has some of my favourite characters in it. It is also a book I re-read a LOT.

Bitten is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s brilliant Women of the Otherworld series. In it we meet for the first time Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf. Elena rocks. She is brilliantly perceptive, very self-assured and totally kick-ass; at the same time she is also haunted by her past and a little bit (willfully) blind. We also meet Clayton Danvers, another of my favourite characters. I love the way Armstrong creates certain perceptions about Clay, and then stands them on their head. The chemistry between Elena and Clay is extraordinary. When they are together there is just this spark and I always end up smiling when I read about them – even when I want to yell at them. Jeremy, Antonio, Nick, and Peter are all interesting, and believable. They all add something to the story – in fact, I can’t think of a character that doesn’t. I also confess that I have a soft spot for Karl Marsten – he makes me think of a less powerful Thomas Crown.

I really enjoy the plot of Bitten; despite reading the book numerous times, I always find myself desperate to find out what happens next. The main plot of the book is full of twists and turns, and I love the way Armstrong slips in revelations about Elena’s past. I also like the way that this book asks the questions: what makes a monster? It is an interesting question to have running through an Urban Fantasy. The answer Elena comes up with is an interesting one – and one I totally agree with. This book has some of my favourite lines about what a monster is:

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.
– Kelley Armstrong, Bitten (Orbit, 2005), p. 26.

I think this is something that a lot of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy books gloss over: that it isn’t (necessarily) the supernatural element that makes something a monster.

This book and series were in many ways my corner-stone for what I expected when I read Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. If you haven’t picked up this book yet and you’re a fan of Urban Fantasy then I highly recommend that you do. You won’t be disappointed.

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  1. May 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

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