Published 2004 544 pages
Reviewed by Lotte
Summary (from the book jacket)
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 on Elena’s adoptive family, her Pack, who will stop at nothing to get her back. They haven’t reconed on Elena herself, either, and that’s a very big mistake…
It’s a welcome second outing for our narrator Elena, the world’s only female werewolf. Only this time, there’s even more action and more ruthless villains, so Elena and her assorted companions have plenty to keep them busy and the reader happy too.
As this is book two of the Women of the Otherworld series, you’ll definitely enjoy it more if you’ve read Bitten first, because you’ll already know Elena and the other Pack werewolves’ characters, as well as important details about their lives and how they fit into this world. Throughout book one, it seemed that only werewolves existed and even Elena was unaware of other supernatural beings in her universe. This idea is swiftly discredited in the opening Prologue of this book as we follow the terrifying experiences of a Shamen on the run from some very nasty people who’ve built a high-tech, super-secure underground prison, which they regard as a research facility for investigating all the non-human species they can catch. It’s this frightening place that is soon to become ‘home’ to Elena.
Much of the story takes place inside this prison and within its walls we find out more about the other subjects being studied by the scientists, including witches, shamens, demons, vampires and of course werewolves. It’s an interesting mix, which will be further explored in this series as different characters narrate future books. So as the outside world’s possibilities are rapidly expanding, Elena’s lived experience is suddenly confined. Just like us, Elena has to find out more about these other supernaturals, as she knows nothing about their abilities or whether she can trust them. They are also intrigued by Elena, as she has a certain reputation and status in the supernatural world being the only female werewolf. This uneasy gathering of powerful beings makes for some interesting tension as they are forced to join together to combat the threat of the scientists, who appear to have vast resources and funding available to them. As the story develops we learn just why their investor is so keen to finance such a dangerous project.
I felt that the first book of this series sometimes lacked a bit of dramatic pace at times, but this isn’t a problem with Stolen. The constant threat of death hanging over them all and the seeming impossibility of escape makes for a tense and gripping read. The new characters and species are intriguing and some of them will be featuring in further novels, so I look forward to finding out more about them. There are also some interesting plot developments in this book involving interactions between the captives and their captors showing that sometimes the lines aren’t always clearly drawn.
Generally, the writing and plot are good and it’s a enjoyable read. My only criticisms are around the portrayal of the vampires and the scientists. The vampires seem a little insipid (never thought I’d say that about a vampire!) and the scientists don’t seem to be very good scientists. Maybe I’m being picky worrying about this, but surely scientists working on such a fascinating topic would be a bit more concerned about keeping their rare specimens alive? Nonetheless, it’s a satisfying, complete story so you could read this as a stand-alone novel, but I suspect that most people will be keen to move onto the next book in the series to discover more about Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld.
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.