Kelley Armstrong
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Buy *Bitten: Women of the Otherworld, Book I* online Bitten: Women of the Otherworld, Book I
Kelley Armstrong
436 pages
September 2004
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Filled with great emotion and captivating conflicts of minds as well as attitudes, Kelley Armstrong begins a spectacular "Women of the Otherworld" series with Bitten. Blowing many of the so-called werewolf myths to smithereens while creating new ones of her own, Armstrong goes deep into the psyche of one person: journalist Elena Michaels, an ordinary human who has bitten by a werewolf and transforms into one as a result, thus becoming the only female werewolf in existence. The resultant love/hate relationship she develops with her new brethren, the werewolf Pack, and especially with the werewolf who bit her, is exceptionally complex and akin to quicksand – in other words, it sucks the readers right in.

Scarred by an abusive childhood and now filled with a werewolf’s strength and anger, Elena is consumed by a bitter internal battle as her wistful human self, which aches for the normal life that has always eluded her, fights with her new bloodthirsty, powerful, and at times uncontrollable werewolf one. Refusing to be bound by the Pack’s rules, she moves to Toronto to begin a new career and relationship. But can she truly be happy in this ordinary relationship and within the busy confines of a metropolis where she can’t transform without ever-present danger?

Even as she struggles to find the answers, Elena is summoned by the Pack. Once back, she reluctantly realizes that the Pack faces a rebellion by its outcasts. As the lines of battle are drawn and Elena unwittingly becomes its center, what will she do - which side will she choose? Will she run back to Toronto and to her "normal" life, breaking all her werewolf ties and maybe even losing the love of a lifetime, or will she stay and fight and forever lose her dreams of being "normal"?

Kelley Armstrong’s well-conceived, strongly plotted story is without a doubt one of the finest pieces of writing around, and the fact that it is the author’s debut effort only reveals her stellar writing talents. Bitten is simply spectacular. Armstrong's depiction of a hidden werewolf culture set in modern times, within normal society and with the resultant secrecy and gore, feels all too realistic. Combined with the simplicity of her writing style, it comes across with great effect. There are tortured souls galore among the character cast. In depth and with utter candor, Armstrong explores all facets of the werewolf life, especially the sensuality and murderous ferocity that are such an integral part of their lives, and no one exemplifies this dichotomy more than Elena. Romance, suspense and paranormal elements blend together beautifully to round out this complicated and sophisticated supernatural thriller. It’s highly recommended that readers do not miss reading this book and indeed the series itself.

© 2004 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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