Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bitten and Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

I have a Love/Hate relationship with series.  I never pick up the first one because I have no patience to wait for installment 2, 3, 4... or, more likely than not, I would just forget to come back for more a year later.  I mean do you have any idea how many books I can go through in a year?  They’re lucky if they can stay in my memory for a month.  A year?  Please.  So many great books and authors, so little time.  Anyway, I’m always looking for great series to power through (hint?) and can spend hours crawling and climbing the shelves at bookstores and libraries in search of something to satisfy my need.    

In comes Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld.   Oh, yeah.  Did you know there are 10 of them?!?!?  Yep, Frostbitten is No. 10.  That was enough for me.  Decision made, I started at the beginning and got Bitten and Stolen at the same time.   

Mini Synopsis: 
Bitten -  Adopted by the Pack when bitten, Elena had spent years struggling with her resentment at having her life stolen away. ... But now the Pack has called Elena home to help them fight an alliance of renegade werewolves who are bent on exposing and annihilating the Pack. And although Elena is obliged to rejoin her "family," she vows not to be swept up in Pack life again, no matter how natural it might feel. …

Stolen - …Vampires, demons, shamans, witches -- in Stolen they all exist, and they’re all under attack. An obsessed tycoon with a sick curiosity is well on his way to amassing a private collection of supernaturals, and plans to harness their powers for himself -- even if it means killing them. For Elena, kidnapped and imprisoned deep underground, separated from her Pack, unable to tell her friends from her enemies, choosing the right allies is a matter of life and death.
Elena Michaels is intelligent, tough and sarcastic.  I liked the storyline in Bitten, but Elena’s sarcasm in Stolen had me in laughing a number of times.  On the other hand Clayton… yum.  Loyal, dangerous, passionate…Yeah, that about describes him.

The only aspect of the books that I didn’t particularly like was Armstrong’s description of the dog pack interactions.  Not that there were awkward canine sex scenes, no.  Sex scenes were juicy if a bit scarce but purely bipedal.  It’s just that the interaction between the pack members did conjure up images of Disney’s Never Cry Wolf.  For those too young to remember, I won’t elaborate, but it doesn’t quite … do it for me.

Werewolves didn’t even warrant their own classification.  They were lumped into “Zombies, Werewolves, and other Miscellaneous Demonic Phenomena.”  Miscellaneous demonic phenomena? The demonic part kind of stung. I was not demonic.  Well, maybe driving some hapless guy from his airplane seat wasn’t exactly nice, but it certainly wasn’t demonic.  A miscellaneous demonic phenomenon would have shoved him out the escape hatch.  I’d barely been tempted even to do that.  
Page 12, Stolen. 

Verdict:  I loved my first dip in the Women of the Underworld pool.  Okay, maybe I wasn’t up all night devouring every word, and I may have taken time out to answer the phone and make dinner, but still great books.  If you’re into supernatural action-packed romances, this will work.  It’s a well mixed drink, little sweet and sour with just the right twist of sarcasm.  The dog-pack imagery is like the little umbrella in your drink; I personally can do without it and am more afraid it will put out an eye, but some people like them and think they're cute.

Now the dilemma:  be a good girl and read 3, 4, 5 before 6 Broken, which continues with Elena’s escapades, then 7, 8, and 9, before 10 Frostbitten, the continuing saga of Elena and Clayton's life ….or just go straight to 6 and 10?   

Bitten (2004) and Stolen (2004)
Written by Kelley Armstrong
Published By Penguin Group (USA) 

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