Published 2009 339 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
The Alaskan wilderness is a harsh landscape in the best of conditions, but with a pack of rogue werewolves on the loose, it's downright deadly.
Elena Michaels, the American Werewolf Pack's chief enforcer, knows all too well the havoc "mutts" can wreak. When the Pack learns of a series of gruesome maulings and murders outside of Anchorage, Elena and her partner Clay travel to Alaska in the dead of winter, expecting to hunt down a pack of dangerous werewolves. But, trapped in a savage, frozen realm, it is their own untamed nature - and their werewolf heritage - they have to confront…
Frostbitten is the eleventh book in Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld fantasy series which follows the lives and adventures of a number of supernatural women. Frostbitten returns the storytelling to Elena Michaels, the world’s only female werewolf, and the original protagonist in this series. It isn’t necessary to read this series in strict order but if you haven’t read any of these books before I’d recommend starting with Bitten or Stolen and taking it from there.
Frostbitten is the fourth story that features Elena and in previous instalments readers have followed her development as she returns to the American werewolf pack and reconciles herself with the man who bit her and turned her into a werewolf, eventually marrying him and having werewolf babies. Along the way there have been plenty of rogue werewolves to kill and supernatural mysteries to solve – revealing the presence of a whole host of supernatural races beyond just werewolves.
Like previous books featuring Elena, the focus of this story is firmly placed on the werewolves - and other supernaturals (such as vampires, demons, ghosts or zombies) have no part in the story. The story starts off simply enough with Elena tracking Reese, a young “mutt”, to Alaska. She wants to warn him that he is in danger from a couple of man-eating rogue werewolves. Before she can give him her warning he runs into some local “mutts” that try to maim him.
This combined with news stories of wolf kills around Anchorage raises Elena’s suspensions that the local “mutts” might be killing humans and letting the wolf population of Alaska take the blame. As Elena and Clay start to investigate the killings it becomes apparent that nothing is as simple as it seems. In addition to the half-eaten bodies that have been found, three young women have also gone missing and no trace of them has been found. A local werewolf who is a friend of the American pack is also missing… are these events connected or just coincidence? When Elena is attacked by something that looks like a freaky cross between a bear and a wolf it would seem that there are more dangerous creatures in the woods than just wolves and werewolves.
Frostbitten is a multi-stranded supernatural mystery with the ability to keep readers guessing right up to the final pages of the book. Introducing Inuit shapeshifter myth and wild magic into the Otherworld mythology further expands the boundaries of what is known about their supernatural world and works well in this werewolf centric story.
Like all of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld books, Frostbitten has a mixture of fantasy action and romance. Several books into the series the author has still found plenty of new ground to explore in Elena and Clay’s relationship which keeps an interesting thread of relationship development throughout the story.
One of these relationship issues is that one day Elena may become the Alpha of the American pack – and Clay – which could upset the balance of their husband and wife relationship. Another upset is caused when Elena receives a letter asking forgiveness from a childhood abuser. This issue pervades the entire story and effects Elena’s judgements and reactions as memories from her past invade her present. At times Frostbitten is uncomfortable reading as Elena reconciles her inner abused child with her strong werewolf exterior.
Frostbitten is a gripping supernatural thriller and shows Kelley Armstrong to be on top form as she delivers another instalment of top-quality fantasy fiction. Recommended reading.
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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.