Women of the Otherworld Challenge: Dime Store Magic 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 late August, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Women of the Otherworld #3

Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition cover.

Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld #3)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 19th February 2004

Paige Winterbourne is a witch. Not that you’d notice – no warts, no green skin, no cute little wiggle of the nose whenever she casts a spell. No, most of the time she’s just a normal twenty-three-year-old-girl: works too hard, worries about her weight, wonders if she’ll ever find a boyfriend. Okay, so she does have an adopted teenage daughter. Savannah, who wants to raise her black witch of a mother from the dead. And who is being stalked by a telekinetic half-demon and an all-powerful cabal of sorcerers. But other than that, Paige has a really ordinary life. That is, until the neighbours find out who she is, and all hell breaks loose. Literally . . .

As with both Bitten and Stolen, this is not going to be a “normal” review. I adore this series and these characters. This is actually my least favourite book in the series. I just don’t get on with Paige as a main character, and as such this is actually a book I very rarely re-read.

Although not the main character of the book, Armstrong positions Savannah as one of the main characters. Paige tries very hard with Savannah, but is handicapped by the fact that they have very different backgrounds: Paige grew up in the Coven and Savannah didn’t. The impetus of the plot focuses on Savannah, and the fact that a couple of the characters want to gain control of her; Paige, of course, doesn’t make this task easy for them and of course they retaliate and the plot spirals from there.

As well as being re-introduced to Paige and Savannah, and the re-appearance of a certain telekinetic half-demon from Stolen, we are introduced to two new characters both of whom are sorcerers – a witch’s enemy. Lucas  Cortez and Kristof Nast. Both are sons of the head of a sorcerers cabal, and both play an important part in the book.

Although this is my least favourite book in the Women of the Otherworld series, it is still an interesting and compelling read.

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: Stolen 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 the start of June, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Women of the Otherworld #2

Stolen by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition.

Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published by Orbit 22nd April 2004.

Elena Michaels is a wanted woman. She hasn’t done anything wrong. Well, not recently, anyway. But ten years ago her lover turned her into a werewolf: the only female werewolf in the world, in fact.

And now, just as she’s finally coming to terms with it all, a group of scientists learns of her existence. They’re hunting her down, and Elena is about to run straight into their trap. But they haven’t reckoned with Elena’s adoptive family, her Pack, who will stop at nothing to get her back. They haven’t reckoned with Elena herself, either, and that’s a very big mistake . . .

As with Bitten, this isn’t going to be a “normal” review. I adore this series and these characters. I haven’t read it quite as much as I have Bitten, but I do go back occasionally and re-read it.

Stolen is the second book in the Women of the Otherworld series, and honesly it doesn’t have quite the same spark for me as Bitten does. In Stolen we get to meet Elena and Clay again. Life has moved on from the end of Bitten and both Clay AND Elena are trying to make their relationship work. They still have the brilliant chemistry of Bitten, but they both seem more comfortable about it – especially Elena, though there are a few wobbles. Jeremy also turns up in this book – well someone has to keep an eye on them 😉 – but the rest of the Pack are elsewhere, so we get to meet a few new characters which set up later books in the series. We get to meet Ruth and Paige Winterbourne, who are in many ways the fulcrum of this book. This book also has the first appearances of Adam, Cassandra, Aaron, and Savannah. Elena remains the narrator of this book, and I like the way she has matured since Bitten.

‘You smell so good.’

He chuckled. ‘Like ham?’

‘No, like you. I missed you so much.’

– Kelley Armstrong, Stolen (Orbit, 2004), p. 425.

The plot of Stolen is very different from Bitten. In this book we get a greater hint of the greater world and politics of the Women of the Otherworld series. Before there were just werewolves, now there are witches, sorcerers, vampires, and half-demons. What I liked in this book is that not all the danger came from the supernatural in this book. Part of the plot is, I think, an interesting and insightful look at human nature.

If you’re a fan of Urban Fantasy then I highly recommend this series. It really is an interesting world. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of werewolves, because they’re not alone in this world.

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.