Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Released: September 10, 2011
Format: Mass market paperback
Series: Otherworld #1
Source: Personal shelf
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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Bitten is probably the first urban fantasy novel I ever read. My friend Amy introduced me to the book around 2004 and I was instantly hooked. I frequently re-read Bitten because I think it’s beautifully written and tells a compelling story. This time around, I’m re-visiting the novel as part of Moonlight Gleam’s Women of the Otherworld Series Challenge, which I joined last month. The challenge actually started in March so I’m already behind but Lucy has been incredibly flexible with the rules so I’m going to do my best to get caught up. ^^
Because I’ve read this book so often, I thought I’d spend my time talking about why I think it’s such a wonderful book and what it means to me, rather than a more traditional review post. I hope you don’t mind the change of pace!
As I mentioned, Bitten was probably the first urban fantasy book I ever read. I’ve always enjoyed stories with preter-/supernatural elements, no matter the medium, but I used to spend most of my time reading mysteries, romance, and suspense. And then I read Bitten. No, I devoured Bitten. From the first chapter, where we experience Elena’s Change with her, I was hooked and there was no way I was going to stop reading until I had learnt all of Elena’s story. I connected with Elena instantly because she was so well written — damaged, strong, vulnerable, angry, and so much more. Excellent characters are something of a Kelley Armstrong trademark to my mind and each and every one is unique, regardless of the number of pages they get.
I was also completely intrigued by the werewolf lore: only 35 werewolves in the world, either hereditary (father was a werewolf so they were taken and raised with the knowledge that they would Change) or bitten, either Pack or mutt, with Elena as the only female werewolf in existence. It sounds so simple when I write it out like this but the world building is rich and wonderful and it just sucked me right in.
And then there’s Philip. Elena and Clay’s love story is central to the Otherworld series and I’d completely forgotten about Philip, the man Elena was involved with in Bitten. He’s so sweet and normal and kind. And completely overshadowed by Clay. Some of my favourite scenes in the book are when Philip and Clay interact.
There are also some amazing scenes in Bitten — scenes where I sat back and thought, “Did she really just do that?” There’s a particular moment in the climax that seems so anti-climactic but also perfectly right and I just knew, when I read those lines, that this author was going to keep me on my toes. If you’ve read Bitten, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about it. If you don’t, I won’t say anymore to avoid ruining the moment for you.
Bitten is also the book that introduces us to Karl Marsden, debonaire thief and mutt who wants territory. I think it’s safe for me to mention that he appears in other books down the line and that I’m so happy about that because I find him charming. He’s like James Bond with an even greyer moral compass and I adore him.
Those are just some of the reasons I love to read Bitten. Things get even more interesting in Stolen and I’m excited to get into that book soon.
Thanks to Lucy of Moonlight Gleam for hosting this challenge and getting me to articulate precisely why I’m such a fan of this book!