[Review] Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

[rating:5]
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 448
First Published: 2001
Goodreads | Amazon (UK/US)

Borrowed from the library.

First Sentence:

I have to. I’ve been fighting it all night.

Blurb

Elena is living a normal life in Toronto with her boyfriend Philip, well as normal as you can get creeping out in the small hours of the morning to change into a massive wolf. She is the only female werewolf and is trying to live apart from her Pack, but when she receives a desperate phonecall from her Alpha, she knows she has to go to them, but can she stay away? Can she risk her life for the people who dragged her into this life?

Thoughts

A little while ago I was searching for a good werewolf-based urban fantasy as up until now I hadn’t read any and I seem to have a thing for werewolves and I decided this just would not do. Almost everybody recommended this one and they were spot on, this was exactly what I was looking for. I became utterly engrossed in Elena’s world of werewolves and this is the first book I have read in a very very long time that I was sad to see end because I just wasn’t ready to leave Elena and the Pack behind. I wanted to see how her relationships continued and developed after everything that happened and how they celebrated Christmas. The best thing about Bitten is how perfectly executed all aspects of the story are. The legend, mythology, and history of the werewolves is deep and involved, the characters all have their backstory, unique personalities, and flaws, and instead of these things making them angsty, they made them who they were as people. It is the perfect balance of dark supernatural, lighter moments of fun between Pack members, mystery, and just a little bit of romance.

The first-person writing style puts you directly inside the mind of Elena. You know exactly what she thinks and feels, even when she isn’t being true to herself because her emotions practically burst off the page. It draws you in. And the world-building is expertly done, slowly feeding us Elena’s and everybody else’s backstory throughout the novel, building upon their world. You feel as though you are a part of Elena’s memories rather than just being fed information, it is very immersive. The characters are strong and the world is believable.

I did notice an undercurrent of sexism in Bitten, how in the human world women are expected to behave a certain way. They’re expected to be these calm, gentle creatures who have babies and do as they’re told. We see this in the way the Bear Valley folk treat and look at her, Philip’s family presuming she’s into shopping and wedding planning, and more so in the new mutts, which I won’t go into for the sake of spoilers. Elena wants to conform to these ideals believing that this is the way to have a ‘normal life’, however she has lived a decade with a Pack of werewolves who treat her not as the only female werewolf but as one of them. And man she knows how to kick some ass. I believe that Kelley did this intentionally in a bid to prove that hey, women can kick butt too without being sex objects, and I love that message!

I will be getting my hands on the rest of the series as soon as I can to devour because I loved the overall feel and story of this book so much, as well as a copy of Bitten for my shelf as this was a library copy and I do believe I will be re-reading this one at some point, it’s fantastic. Thank you to everybody who recommended it to me! I know Laura of Book Chick City initially told me to read Bitten and Stolen, and Hanna from Booking in Heels kept nudging me.. a lot, and when I asked for werewolf recommendations on the Fantasy Faction forums, Mark also recommended it. Great book!

The Women of the Otherworld series in order:

1. Bitten
2. Stolen
3. Dime Store Magic
4. Industrial Magic
5. Haunted
6. Broken
7. No Humans Involved
8. Personal Demon
9. Living with the Dead
10. Frostbitten
11.  Waking the Witch
12. Spell Bound