After simply loving the fantastic timing and characters in Kelley Armstrong's The Awakening and The Summoning, I thought I'd check out her backlist to see if her adult novels were just as good. I knew in picking up Bitten that I'd be getting a werewolf novel (perfect timing for Halloween) but didn't know much else.
What I stumbled into was a complex and very character driven story about a strong female werewolf, trying to build a life for herself outside of the Pack. Since werewolves are only born male, Elena was bitten (against her will) and has never really gotten past that little detail. Even though her Pack has helped her try to accept this new part of her life, she's determined to break all ties with them in favor of trying to make it on her own in the city. She does pretty good for a while, even moving in with her boyfriend Phillip - a kind and patient man who has absolutely no idea what she really is. That is until the Alpha Jeremy calls asking for help and her return does she start to panic. Even though she's been gone more than a year, Elena still hasn't really sorted out her feelings about being a werewolf or her fellow wolves. She really doesn't know what to do about Clay, Jeremy's foster son, the man who stole her heart but who ends up breaking it more often than not since he tends to usually act more like a wolf than a man. Unwillingly, Elena returns to help the Pack only to discover they are on the brink of an all-out war with some insane loner-wolves who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Elena's story moves at a fast clip with plenty of action and some truly memorable characters to lead the way. Unfortunately, as I got more settled into Bitten, I continued to have issues with a few aspects Elena's story. The characterizations are all there and there were even some really good Pack dynamics happening - I just couldn't get over my irritation with Elena. That's not to say I didn't like her at all, I actually did - she's had some pretty rough things happen in her life and has come out a strong, determined woman - very admirable, but I couldn't stand the way she treated Clay and Phillip. I mean, I know Elena had moved away, trying to make a clean break from her life with the Pack and had set up shop with Phillip; but when things change does she break it off with Phillip or even ask for some time apart? No, the girl doesn't know what she wants (somewhat understandable) and so continues to keep both men stringing along. Very bad form. I understand that there was a lot going on to distract her from making up her mind, but she was so dang slow about it, she just ended up hurting my head. Probably part of the reason is because I became super attached to Clay. Southern drawl and all, the man is a total package. So it's entirely possible I might have become a little miffed any time I thought he wasn't being treated right. That said, Bitten spun an intriguing story full of what I like best: believable characters - I just wish some had acted a little differently.
series reading order:
~ Dime Store Magic
~ Industrial Magic
~ No Humans Involved
~ Personal Demon
~ Living with the Dead
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
All Booked Up review
Alpha Heroes review
Flames Rising review
My Years of Reading Seriously review
book source: my local library