For this week’s Throw Back Thursday, I’m going to give you a mini review of the first book in one of my favorite series, Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong.
Bitten is the story of Elena Michaels, reporter by day, werewolf by night. She didn’t choose to become what she is, but she has taken her life back by leaving her Pack behind and living in the city. She’s got a human boyfriend, a human job, almost everything to make her life perfect. The only thing that breaks the illusion is having to sneak off very once and a while and change into a wolf. But Elena is willing to live with that so she can have the life she’s always wanted. But when her old Pack alpha calls her home, she knows she can’t ignore the summons, even if it will pull her headfirst back into the world she has been trying to escape.
I’ve read this whole series a couple of times, and even just flipping through this book looking for parts to review makes me want to jump back in.
I don’t read a lot of adult fiction: I find that the storylines often get a little bit campy and predictable. Not that it can’t happen in YA too, but I’ve found that I’m not as engaged in as much adult fiction. Kelley Armstrong is really the exception. She writes for YA too, but Women of the Otherworld is my favorite of hers. Her world is thrilling urban fantasy filled with smart independent women. And while all of these women have amazing power of their own, steamy romances make it that much more enthralling. Women of the Otherworld has werewolves, vampires, necromancers, witches, half-demons, really anything you could ask for in fantasy.
I went on a bit of a tangent on the series as a whole, but Bitten really is the perfect first book to set the series off. Armstrong originally wrote it as a standalone novel, but fans wanted more of Elena, so Armstrong wrote a sequel that set the whole series up for Elena to be joined by more outstanding protagonists. Though I do love the others, Elena will always be my favorite. She really is a strong female role model for other young women to look up to. She’s got a traumatic, haunting past, and while that never goes away, she learns live with who she is and what she has survived, and become stronger because of it.
Bitten is packed (ha, pack-ed, as in wolf pack), with great characters. The alpha, Jeremy, is a wise, fatherly leader, but one who is human enough to make mistakes, too. And how can I not mention Clay, the biggest heartthrob to ever appear in ink.
People ask me often what my favorite book is, and I can never answer, because I read amazing books all the time that astound me with their characters, their worldbuilding, engaging plots, inspiring and relevant themes. And while Kelley Armstrong is a great writer, Bitten is not the “best” books I’ve ever read. But it is up there on my favorites because I can pick it up again and again and feel the same thrill, and fall in love with the characters all over again.
But I will warn you: if you pick up Bitten, you may very well get hooked. And Women of the Otherworld is 13 books long, so you’d better be willing to be in it for the longhaul.