Friday, April 05, 2013

Book 41: Bitten

I think everyone was reading this series during CBRIII (or maybe II - either way, lots of reviews), though I'm not sure if I remember any for this novel in particular, the one that started the series, or if everyone else had already been reading it for some time.  It sounded fun enough to pick up the first novel, even I never quite felt like I was in the mood to read it - as much as everyone liked the series, I couldn't quite get beyond the cover (which is weird because covers didn't stop me from starting the Sookie Stackhouse novels).
It was actually a nice break from what I have been reading to just enjoy some lighter fantasy fare (it's not like I've only been reading deep novels, but even the Harry Hole series isn't exactly a fun ride as much as a dark one).  Elena is a werewolf, living in Toronto, and attempting to assimilate.  She lives with her boyfriend Philip who doesn't know about her other side but when she receives a call from Jeremy, the Pack Alpha, she has no choice but to answer his summons, partially just to avoid Philip's questions, and partially because she is worried about what could be going badly enough to cause a call.
The novel gives quite a bit of background on werewolves in Armstrong's world, but she does so in an engaging manner - there are only 35 werewolves in the world, most of these are hereditary, only three, including Elena, are the result of being bitten (many people don't survive the changeover after being bitten hence the rarity), and it is passed through the males of the bloodline making Elena the only female werewolf.  Addtionally, werewolves either belong to the Pack or are "mutts," working on their own, never making any place home.  The Pack monitors and polices their behavior, all in the name of ensuring that they don't reveal themselves to outsiders.  Elena's been called in because a body has been discovered near Jeremy's home, the place the Pack uses as its headquarters, and the death was officially the result of a "wild dog," which of course means werewolf attack.  This threatens the Pack's privacy, and the question is which mutt did it, and why he would challenge the Pack.
I think this was a very good novel to kick off a series, having just the right amount of background and actual plot to set the stage for further novels.  Elena doesn't explain the story of how she was bitten until more than a hundred pages in, but it seems rather obvious much earlier who did it due to the relationships within the Pack.  Elena is struggling with who she is vs who she wants to be, and the two men that make up the love triangle that Elena is in represent these two views of herself.  This isn't exactly a well-balanced love triangle, though, since it is obvious who the author supports and therefore wants the reader to support based on Elena's behavior.
One thing I'm hoping to see in the rest of the series is definitely more women - with the exception of a short interaction about dresses with Philip's sister, this novel wouldn't pass the Bleidel test because there are literally no other women characters in the book.  I understand that the author was showing Elena as being the lone woman in a man's world, where the men see women as sex objects, and are raised by their fathers.  There is some violence against women described in the novel as well.  While I think it worked for this novel as part of the set up, I hope that there are more women in the rest of the series (and considering that I know some of them deal with witches, I don't have to worry about that) so that Elean can be one of many women involved in the supernatural rather than an "exceptional woman."

1 comment:

Malin said...

Have no fear, the series is called "Women of the Otherworld" and there are many wonderful personalities introduced as the series goes on. I would say that the follow-up to this one, Stolen is a distinct step down in quality, but it does introduce quite a few important characters for the later books, and is therefore worth reading just to get to get to know Paige and Savannah, and Eve, who will all become much more prominent later in the series.

This is one of my favourite paranormal series, and while the quality dips on occasion, it never stays bad for very long. I was almost sad to see it conclude last year.