Book Review: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Posted May 16, 2022 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Plume on September 7, 2004
Pages: 434
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Omens, Wild Justice, Sea of Shadows, Visions, The Masked Truth, City of the Lost, Forest of Ruin, Betrayals, A Darkness Absolute, Indigo, Rituals, The Unquiet Past, This Fallen Prey, Stolen, Rough Justice, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, Dark Screams: Volume Nine, No Humans Involved,, Waking the Witch, Portents, Missing, Alone in the Wild, Watcher in the Woods, Otherworld Secrets, Wherever She Goes, "The Case of the Half-Demon Spy", "Truth & Consequences", "Territorial", "Escape", "Adventurer", Otherworld Chills, A Stranger in Town, "Bargain", Hex on the Beach, "Recruit", "Checkmate", "Framed", Cursed Luck, High Jinx

First in the Women of the Otherworld (now shortened to Otherworld) urban fantasy series and revolving around a group of supernaturals. The focus is on Elena Michaels, a journalist living in Toronto versus her life with the Pack.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Women of the Otherworld books on my website.

My Take

Bitten is a combination of back story for Elena and Clay and a dramatic introduction to the life of a werewolf.

I adore Elena and then again I do not like her. She ticks me off with her constant running away, her hypocrisy, and yet I like her feistiness. She’s living a double life, trying for her dream but stuck with her reality, a part of which is the lying she’s doing with Philip, trying to be what she thinks he expects. It’s no kind of future for which anyone should aim. That trip back to Toronto to be with Philip was full of tense days. Poor Philip. Clay is not someone who cares what others think. And Philip. He’s wanting Elena’s dream . . .

It’s sad and yet too easy to understand when this change was not something she had planned for. Not that you can plan for something you didn’t realize existed. And we know all this through first person protagonist point-of-view from Elena’s perspective.

Her dream is something Elena treasured throughout her horrible childhood, and Philip and his welcoming family could be the fulfillment of that dream.

“Only humans kills for sport”, for the fun of it.”

It’s a scary situation with mutts invading Bear Valley, riling up the human citizens. Lord knows Daniel is doing his best to turn the humans against the Danverses.

Armstrong has thrown in a few red herrings. Nope, I’m not sharing, *grin*. I will share how I laughed at the newer mutts who hadn’t yet realized their strengths and Elena’s reaction to their bravado.

The mutts are sad in that they don’t realize how practical a Pack is about controlling behavior. Especially in these modern days with instant communication and all the surveillance everywhere. They’re addicts to the excitement.

Armstrong paints an amazing picture of werewolves and mutts and their contrasting lifestyles. Naturally, she does emphasis the mutts’ evil, but she doesn’t downplay Clay’s obsessions, either.

Bitten has a good pace and a sad, sorry tale that will find you weeping in places. The story is both character- and action-driven — that chase at the airport had my heart going. It’s not the only chase or attack, and it certainly demonstrates the differences between Pack and mutt. As for the characters, hoo boy, they are an assorted bunch ranging from peacefully good to incredibly evil.

It’s a series to buy!

The Story

It’s a truce between Elena and the Pack . . . until “wild dogs” attack people in Bear Valley.

Tracking the mutts had been Elena’s job until she fled. Now she’s a target.

The Characters

Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf in existence, is a journalist living in Canada who specifically writes about Canadian politics. Philip is her human boyfriend. Anne is Philip’s mother; Larry his father. Judith and Diane are his sisters. Ken is Diane’s husband.

The Stonehaven Pack
Based in the struggling small town of Bear Valley in upper-state New York, Jeremy Danvers, an artist whose former career had been as a translator, is the calm Alpha of the Pack. The excitable Clayton Danvers, a professor of anthropology (his specialty is in anthropomorphic religions), is his second-in-command and foster-son-turned-bodyguard. Clay has a nasty childhood background as well and it colors how he sees people. Members of the Pack who don’t live at Stonehaven include the easygoing playboy, Nick Sorrentino; his successful father, Antonio, who was a contemporary of Jeremy’s — both live in the Catskills on their estate; Peter Myers, with the wild red hair and a degree in audiovisual technology, who lives across the border in Vermont; and, the fun-loving Logan, who lives in Albany and is Elena’s best friend. Celia is Elena’s cousin’s “wife”. Dominic had been Antonio’s father who had had three sons, the deceased Gregory, Benedict who had left, and Antonio.

Rick’s Tavern is one of three licensed establishments. Mike had been one of the searchers. Morgan is the town police chief; Officer O’Neil is one of his men.

Daniel Santos, seven when Clay was brought into the Pack, had a brother, Stephen. Daniel has started his own “pack” that includes Zachary Cain, a dumb serial killer; Jimmy Koenig; Scott Brandon, a serial killer from North Carolina; Thomas LeBlanc is a medical lab technician and yet another serial killer; Victor Olson, who’s a rapist; and, international jewel thief Karl Marsten.

Sally and Juan are Anne and Larry’s neighbors. José Carter was a small-time con man selling the wrong information. Malcolm Danvers had been Jeremy’s brutal father and the former Pack Alpha. The Legacy is a centuries-old book that tells the history of werewolves, the Alphas adding to it every generation. Ethan Ritter had been part of a range dispute. A mutt is a werewolf without a Pack, and dangerous.

The Cover and Title

The cover is red. A red sky with the silhouettes of leafless trees. A red-tinged wolf with yellow eyes in the lower right corner. Elena’s naked red back with her hair as wild as the tree branches. All the text is white from the blurb starting at Elena’s shoulders welcoming us to the series, the title below it with a testimonial below that. Under the wolf’s eye on the right is an info blurb with the author’s name below it.

The title is the event that brought Elena into the Pack, when she’s Bitten.

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