‘Bitten’ is a story about Elena Michaels, a woman in her late twenties attempting to achieve the average dreams and wishes of a twenty-first-century woman; successful career, good home, life partner – and it’s working, except for the fact that she a werewolf, which is slightly hindering her normal life aspirations.
Bitten is (in some ways) the first in a long series of ‘Otherworld’ stories. I say in some ways because you can read all her books in a chronological order, but for the first time through I’d say starting with Bitten is advisable.
In this book you are introduced into the world and workings of being a werewolf, being a member of the pack, and being the only female of the species. The story is a combination of supernatural fiction, romance, humorous, suspense, action and erotica (the last one is loosely woven in there).
I think one of the main reasons I love this book and these characters especially is because of their interactions as wolfs, I love the way Kelley Armstrong (the author) mixes the human traits that we all have into the wolf mindset – and body. One of the main characters, Clayton, who is Elena’s on-off-lover-husband-werewolf-infect(or) is often more wolf-like than human, due to his childhood experiences, which makes for an interesting character that you can sometimes find bewildering whilst, no doubt, developing a full blown crush on.
Without giving any spoilers the story revolves around Elena having to return to the Pack, at least momentarily, to help with a rogue human-killing and eating Mutt (which is what they call the werewolf’s that do not belong to the Pack). As is often the case with these type of stories, things continue to get worse, mayhem ensues all the while Elena tries to fight against the pull of the Pack and Clayton, whilst fighting against her nature.
The characters are smart, funny, engaging and endearing (in their own ways) and you will find yourself caught up in their world very quickly. I really enjoy the way Armstrong writes, I think she does a really great job of bringing you into their world, especially when they are in wolf form. She keeps it exciting and page turning whilst effortlessly maintaining a unique character voice. Another note worth making is that, despite it being a story about a werewolf – and in the following books many other supernaturals, she manages to keep a believably to it, none of it is over the top, which I love.
As can be the case now, since Twilight-mania, stories of this nature can sometimes get snubbed as another teen romance drama. I don’t believe it is, there are some very adult scenes described and overall the characters are mature, hardy and lusty. They are actual, substantial characters.
Overall, I really do love not only this book, but every other book that follows (which include witches, sorcerers, vampires, half-demons, necromancer and the supernatural afterlife just to name a few). It is a very fun, exciting read and I usually read the whole series at least once a year. To count, I believe I have all the paper books available, of which there are 17, so if you commit to this series (which I think you should) it might take you some time. Also, if you are interested, there is now a T.V series based off the books, likewise called Bitten. I would say not to judge the books too harshly against the show – like with most book to film/T.V adaptions, they are never as good as the original book form.
Extract (showing an example of the characters in wolf form)
“When I stepped from the thicket after my Change, Clay was there. He stood back, nose twitching. Then his mouth fell open, tongue lolling out in a wolf-grin as if we’d never argued. I searched for my own anger, knowing it should be there, but unable to find it, as if I’d left it in the thicket beside my discarded clothes.
I eyed Clay for a moment, then cautiously started to skirt around him. I was almost past him when he twisted and lunged sideways, grabbing my hind leg and yanking it out from under me. As I tumbled down, he jumped on top of me. We rolled through the underbrush, knocking into a sapling and sending a squirrel scampering for a steadier perch, chattering its annoyance as it ran. When I finally got out from under him, I leapt to my feet and ran. Behind me, Clay crashed through the brush. After no more than ten yards, I heard a yelp, then felt the ground shudder as Clay fell. I glanced over my shoulder to see him snapping and tugging at a vine caught around his fore-paw. I slowed to turn around and go back for him, then saw him break free and lunge into a run. Realizing I was losing my lead, I turned forward and plowed into something solid, somersaulting over it and into a patch of nettles.
I looked up from my crash landing to see Nick standing over me. With a growl and as much dignity as I could muster, I got to my feet. Nick stood back and watched, eyes laughing as I disentangled myself from the nettles. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Clay sneak up behind Nick. He crouched, forequarters down, rear end in the air. Then he pounced, knocking Nick flying into the nettles. As Nick was struggling to stand, I walked by him with a “serves you right” snort. He grabbed my foreleg and yanked me down. We tussled for a minute before I managed to get free and dart behind Clay.
While Nick extricated himself from the nettles, Clay rubbed his muzzle against mine, hot breath ruffling the fur around my neck. Nick walked around us, rubbing and sniffing a greeting. When he lingered too long sniffing near my tail, Clay growled a warning and he backed off. —
— We’d gone about a half mile before I caught the scent we wanted. Fresh deer. With a spurt of energy, I raced forward. Behind me, Nick and Clay ran through the woods in near silence. Only the rustle of dead undergrowth beneath their feet betrayed them. Then the wind changed and drove the scent of deer full in our faces. Nick yelped and raced up beside me, trying to take the lead. I snapped at him, catching a chunk of dark fur as he scrambled out of my way.
As I dealt with Nick, I realized Clay wasn’t right behind us. I slowed, then turned and went back. He was standing about twenty feet away, nose twitching as he sniffed the air. As I loped over, he caught my eye and I knew why he’d stopped. We were close enough. It was time to plan. It might seem silly to think of deer as dangerous, but we’re not human hunters who never get within a hundred feet of their prey. A slash of antlers can lay a wolf open. A well-aimed hoof can split a skull. There was a twelve-inch scar on Clay’s thigh where he’d had his flank sliced by a hoof. Even real wolves know that a deer hunt requires caution and planning.
Planning obviously didn’t mean discussing the matter, since such high-level communication was impossible as wolves. Unlike humans, though, we had something better: instinct and a brain ingrained with patterns that had proven successful for thousands of generations. We could assess the situation, recall a plan, and communicate it with a look. Or, at least, Clay and I could. Like many werewolves, Nick either wasn’t in tune with the messages his wolf brain sent or his human brain didn’t trust them. It didn’t matter. Clay and I were the Alpha pair there, so Nick would follow orders without needing an explanation.”
Have you read Bitten before or seen the T.V adaption? If not are you intrigued now?
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