Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Review: Bitten by Kelly Armstrong

Hey All, time for my review of Kelley Armstrong's Bitten, Book 1 of the Women of the Otherworld series.

Title: Bitten
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: February 2004
Series: Women of the Otherworld, Book 1
Source: Library copy

From the author's website:
Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.

So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Bitten when I picked it up, I’d heard both good and bad things about it from friends. Some had loved it; others hadn’t even been able to finish reading the book.  I suppose my opinion fits somewhere between these two. I wasn’t a massive fan, but it was enjoyable enough to have me finish the whole 450 odd pages. Bitten starts following the daily life of main character Elena, who’s a werewolf trying desperately to prove she can function in normal society. She has a flat, a job and even a live-in boyfriend, something she had never expected. However her normal life all comes crashing down when Pack Alpha Jeremy leaves a mysterious message. Having promised to return home to the Pack when her Alpha called, Elena cannot ignore the message. Especially since no-one is picking up the phone at the house in Stonehaven or returning any of her messages. But Elena had run from the Pack for a reason...

There are few werewolves left and the vast majority are male, and by vast majority I mean all of them except for Elena, she is the only female werewolf in the world. However she was not born a werewolf like many, but bitten without her consent by the one man she trusted above all others. He’s the reason she ran, and the reason she won’t stay with the Pack longer than she absolutely has to.

When Elena returns to Stonehaven she finds the Pack members safe and well (though apparently unfamiliar with how to answer a phone). The townspeople however are another matter. There have been several deaths in Stonehaven. The police believe them to be the result of wild dog attacks, but the Pack knows better. A Mutt (a wolf not a member of the Pack) is killing the people of Stonehaven, leaving obvious signs of a werewolf killing. The Pack finds the murderer easily enough, but his death raises yet more questions. And when a member of the Pack is found dead it can only mean one thing....War.

To be honest, I wasn’t amazed by Bitten. I found a couple of characters a bit bland and the only one with any air of mystery is Jeremy and considering there are only 7 Pack members I had trouble remembering which was which (with the exception of the main 3, Elena, Jeremy and Clay). I mean, when one was murdered, I had to flick back to remind myself which one he was. I also found Elena a little annoying, she can’t forgive Clay for his betrayal, but she’s quite happy to sleep with him and by doing so betray her human boyfriend (who gets conveniently forgotten a lot).However, the interactions between Elena and the Mutts are great, and prove her to be a strong female who will not be intimidated or dictated to. This, and only this, improve my feelings about her character, otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd have stopped reading about halfway through. I also will give credit for the plot line, it’s not half bad. It doesn't focus too much on the screwed up relationship between Elena and Clay and everything is linked back to the finding and executing the rogue Mutts. I found the ending a tad predictable but other than that I have no complaints. There is non-stop action in this book which saves it for me. 

Would I pick Bitten up and read it again? Hard to say... I guess I would give it another chance, just to see if I liked it any better second time around, but not for a while yet...

My Rating: 3/5

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