Women of the Otherworld Challenge: BROKEN

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 2012 and it is already February 2013, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Broken by Kelley Armstrong, UK cover

Broken (Women of the Otherworld #6)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 4th May 2006

Broken, Kelley Armstrong’s sixth novel, marks the welcome return of kick-ass werewolf Elena Michaels. When the not entirely trustworthy half-demon Xavier calls in a favour, it seems easy enough – steal Jack the Ripper’s ‘From Hell’ letter away from a Toronto collector who had himself stolen it from the British police files. But nothing in the supernatural world is ever as simple as it seems. When Elena accidentally triggers a spell placed on the letter, she opens a portal into the nether regions of Victorian London. Toronto may be looking for a tourism boost, but ‘Gateway to Hell’ isn’t quite the slogan the city had in mind.

With thieving vampires, killer rates and unstoppable zombies on the loose, Elena and the rest of her Pack have a lot on their hands. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of Elena’s pregnancy . . .

As with previous Women of the Otherworld Challenge posts this is not going to be a “normal” review.

Broken is actually one of my least liked books in the Women of the Otherworld series. Although it features Clay, Elena, and Jeremy who are without a doubt my favourite characters, this book doesn’t really do anything for me. To be fair, Armstrong does her usual brilliant job of making the action fast paced and the mystery interesting. I just don’t personally feel that the link to Jack the Ripper adds anything to the story – really, the letter that causes all the problems in the book could be from any bad guy and it would work just as well.

One of the things I do really like about the book, in terms of character development, is that it shows that Elena has really settled into her life in the Pack. She’s not fighting it anymore. The fact that Elena’s pregnant and still determined to carry on as normal helped cement my like of her as a character; I was also very amused by the way Armstrong wrote both Jeremy and Clay’s reactions to this, and her reaction to them. I also enjoyed the appearance of Jamie in this book. She tries really hard to be helpful, and I think she’s actually quite brave. Jamie seems to have been a popular character for Armstrong at this point in the series, as she also appeared in the previous two books.

Review: 13 by Kelley Armstrong

Women of the Otherworld #13

13 by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition cover.

Title: 13 (Women of the Otherworld #13)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (24th July 2012)
Blurb:

13. The breath-taking, explosive finale to the Women of the Otherworldseries.

War is coming to the Otherworld. A sinister cult known as The Supernatural Liberation Movement is hell-bent on exposing the truth about supernaturals to the rest of the world. Their violent, ruthless plan has put everyone at risk: from werewolves to vampires, from witches to half-demons.

Savannah Levine – fiery and unpredictable – stands at the heart of the maelstrom. There is a new, dark magic inside her, granting her the power to summon spells of terrifying strength. But whether this magic is a gift or a curse, no one knows.

On the eve of battle, all the major players must come together in a last, desperate fight for survival – Elena and Clay; Adam and Savannah; Paige and Lucas; Jeremy and Jamie; Hope, Eve and more . . . They are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for their loved ones.

They are fighting for the Otherworld.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

13 is the final book in Kelley Armstrong’s brilliant Women of the Otherworld series. This book brings to an end a brilliant series that has featured witches, sorcerers, demons, angels, vampires, ghosts and necromancers – just to name a few. After 13 books I am really sad to see the series draw to a close.

Continue reading

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: Haunted 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 #6

Haunted by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition cover

Haunted (Women of the Otherworld #5)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 26th May 2005

Eve Levine – half-demon, black witch and devoted mother – has been dead for three years. She has a great house, an interesting love life and can’t be killed again – which comes in handy when you’ve made as many enemies as Eve. Yes, the afterlife isn’t too bad – all she needs to do is find a way to communicate with her daughter Savannah and she’ll be happy.

But fate – or more exactly, the Fates – have other plans. Eve owes them a favour, and they’ve just called it in. An evil spirit called the Nix has escaped from hell. She feeds on chaos and death, and is very good at persuading people to kill for her. The Fates want Eve to hunt her down before she does any more damage, but the Nix is a dangerous enemy – previous hunters have been sent made in the process. As if that’s not problem enough, it turns out that the only way to stop her is with an angel’s sword. And Eve’s no angel . . .

As with both Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic, this is not going to be a “normal” review.

In Haunted we get our first real introduction to Eve Levine. Sure she’s appeared in previous books, but she hasn’t had much page time, and as such has remained rather mysterious up to this point. There are only three things that we know for certain about her: she’s a black witch, she loves her daughter, and she had a long/short enough relationship with Kristoff Nast to have Savannah. Eve is everything I expected her to be, and yet completely different.

Eve is the star of Haunted, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed her as the protagonist. I also enjoyed the fact that occasionally Armstrong slipped in a chapter from Nix’s – or one of her dupes – point of view. It broke up the narrative, and gave some interesting insight into Nix. I also enjoyed the fact that whilst the story stayed mainly in  the afterlife, we did get a quick peek at some familiar faces.

The plot of Haunted is of a similar style to that of Bitten – part bad guy chasing/hunting, part romance. This really helped to cement Eve as a complex character for me. She is very dedicated to the task that the Fates set her, but at the same time she’s blind to what is in front of her. The ending of this book was particularly poignant, I thought.

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: Industrial 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 #4

Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition cover

Industrial Magic (Women of the Otherworld #4)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 2nd September 2004

When Paige Winterbourne is ousted as leader of the American Coven of Witches, all she wants to do is hide under her duvet for a few months. But fate, of course, has other plans. A murderer is on the loose – somone with superhuman skills and a grudge against the supernatural community. When Paige learns that the killer is targeting children, she has to get involved.

Desperate to protect those she loves, Paige is thrown into a world of arrogant sorcerers, drunkem necromancers, sulky druid gods and pretentious leather-clad vampires. Not to mention an apparently unstoppable supernatural psychopath hell-bent on revenge . . .

As with both Bitten, Stolen and Dime Store Magic, this is not going to be a “normal” review.

This book sees Armstrong return to form. Paige and Savannah are still trying to reconcile their different backgrounds, but they’ve grown surer of their relationship since the events in Dime Store Magic. I really enjoyed their interactions, especially with the introduction of Lucas Cortez. In this book we get to meet for the first time one of my favourite secondary characters Benicio Cortez, Lucas’s father. I think one of the reasons that I love Benicio so much is that it’s obvious (to me at least) that he loves his son. I’m also amused by the way Lucas dances around his father, as they don’t have the easiest of relationships.

Like in Dime Store Magic, the plot in Industrial Magic resolves around the cabal connection although this time it is Lucas’s connection rather than Savannah’s. This means that Savannah doesn’t appear much in the book, and instead we focus more on both Paige and Lucas. We also get re-introduced to Elena, Clay, Jeremy, Cassandra and Aaron. We also get to meet Jamie Vegas for the first time, and she is quite a character!

The plot of this book is very complicated and complex, and I enjoyed watching it unravel. I especially enjoyed the final parts of the book. Armstrong did a brilliant job wrapping it all up 🙂

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.