Published 2004 464 pages
Reviewed by Lotte
Summary (from the book jacket)
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?
There’s plenty of blood, sex and gore in Bitten, but be warned, there’s absolutely no mention of a vampire anywhere. So why am I reviewing this for Love Vampires? The simple answer is that this is the first book in the Women of the Otherworld series and the vampires appear from book two onwards. Therefore, unless you’re freakily rigid about reading exclusively vampire fiction, you’re probably going to start here if you don’t want to miss out on Kelley Armstrong’s exciting supernatural creations.
Right from the opening sentence, we’re plunged into the daily battle Elena endures as she tries to deny her werewolf identity. She already knows it’s a fight she can’t win, but she won’t give up trying to hide her otherness and be ‘normal’. Essentially this is the crux of the story - how can Elena accept herself and reconcile this irrevocable new existence with her traumatic past? Can she really love a normal man who can never know the truth? And what about Clay, her brilliant and gorgeous ex? She hates him for what he did to her, but could he be right when he says they’re meant for each other? Elena’s journey to resolve these issues is conducted against the backdrop of a sudden and sustained attack being waged against the established werewolf Pack, from whom Elena has estranged herself whilst living an ordinary life.
The novel is narrated by Elena, so we soon feel her anger and sadness about how her future human life possibilities have been taken away with one small bite. The opening section introduces us to the new life she has created with Philip, a man who loves her but is exasperated by her crazy habit of going for walks in the middle of the night. We quickly understand the tense isolation she experiences as the lone werewolf in downtown Toronto, an unforgiving environment for someone with the irresistible urge to run wild and howl from time to time. Although she initially tries to ignore Pack leader Jeremy’s call for her to return to Stonehaven, there’s a sense of relief as she draws closer to the only place she can really be herself.
I was intrigued to read a book with the focus solely on the werewolves, who are obviously more in the background of a typical vampire story. There’s plenty of detail about many aspects of werewolf life as lived by the Stonehaven Pack. It’s never boring, but I felt that a bit more editing could have resulted in the same story told at a slightly snappier pace. Kelly Armstrong has created a vivid and detailed world with interesting, complex characters grappling with vivid dilemmas. The story develops slowly at first, but ultimately you want to find out if Elena and her Pack can survive the relentless attacks on their authority and very existence. It’s a great start to the Women of the Otherworld series – I’m just hoping that there are a few more female characters in the next book!
LoveVampires Review Rating:
Kelley Armstrong has many original short stories and a novella about the characters and creatures from her published books on her website (just follow the Extras link to ‘Online Fiction’.) Visit Kelley’s website.