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Wednesday, May 12, 2010
BWB Review: Bitten
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Page Count: 436 pages
Genre: urban fantasy
Copy for review was from my personal library
50 words or less: As the only female werewolf ever to exist, Elena has her fair share of issues to contend with. While she's busily trying to concoct a "normal" life among humans for herself, she finds out that her past has never really left her, and maybe, just maybe, the perfect guy and life for her has been waiting the whole time. Maybe.
I had Bitten on my bookshelf for a long time; I've heard great things about this series and about this author's writing style, but just had never picked up the book before now (I have more books than I know what to do with- I'm sure someone out there can relate.) I'm glad that I finally got to it, though, as this is an engrossing book from start to finish.
Elena is someone who definitely needs someone in her corner. She thought she had that in Clay, except instead of being only the incredibly loving and devoted lover she thought he was, he was also a werewolf who, after accidentally biting Elena, turned her into one as well. This is important to the story because female werewolves before Elena were nonexistent, which means that she's gone from being her regular old self to a definite person of interest in the male-dominated world of the werewolves. Come to find out, all of Clay's friends and family were werewolves too, so not only does Elena have to deal with what she perceives as deception and betrayal on Clay's part; she has to deal with the fact that everyone around her knew the truth and didn't tell her as well. So, she does what most people would do if they were backed into a corner and felt they had nobody on their side; she ran for it.
The story picks up when all of that is old news; Elena is working at a newspaper, living with her devoted if completely uninspiring boyfriend Philip, and doing an okay job of hiding her werewolf side from the rest of the world. That all comes crashing down too, when Elena gets word from Jeremy, the Pack Alpha, that Pack members are being harmed; going back to help with the search for the killers throws her right back in the ring with Clay, and with all of their unresolved issues and feelings.
While the relationship aspect of the story definitely plays second to the overall story of the werewolves and their search for the killers and battle with outsiders, it's definitely an important facet that determines the tone of the entire book. This is the story of Elena having to figure out what her place is in the world; is she a human who has some weird habits, or is she a werewolf who happens to be able to blend successfully into the human world? Elena honestly doesn't know, and much of the book revolves around her figuring that out. Unexpectedly, this was one of my favorite aspects of the story. I liked that Elena was not willing to sell herself short or let herself be anyone's prize, even Clay's, and while it usually bugs me to no end when a character doesn't know what he or she wants, I felt that it was pretty easy to understand Elena's position.
Elena takes a lot of heat for being indecisive and, as some would perceive, shallow and weak. I think that's not the case. Even though we as readers know that Clay is crazy about her and never meant to hurt her, either emotionally or physically, the bottom line is, he did keep secrets from her (granted, because he had to,) and that hurt her recently-blossomed feelings, heart, and confidence. Add to the mix that all of her friends were in on the secret (again, because it was their secret too,) but didn't tell her and it is a pretty isolating situation. For someone who's only ever wanted to fit in somewhere, suddenly finding out you were on the outside the whole time, and now are attracting attention for all the wrong reasons, would be pretty devastating. Elena has a change of heart throughout the course of the book, and seeing her start to develop a sense of self definitely motivated me to seek out the other books in this series.
My only complaint about this book is Philip, Elena's totally human, architect boyfriend. After awhile, I just got tired of him! He was a great guy- sending the flowers, calling to check in (but mostly to say he was unavailable), and to make vague promises that he never ended up keeping. I don't think he was a bad guy, per se, I just think he was about as interesting as watching grass grow and didn't get a lot in the way of character development; he was definitely there to serve as a contrast to Clay, but the point and comparison were made early on and didn't need to be hammered home over and over again.
Besides that, you all know how much I love a good shifter story, and this is definitely a good shifter story. I'm definitely on board to read more in this series.
Overall Grade: B+
Blog with Bite rating: 3/4