Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book 53: Stolen

I've taken a bit of an unplanned break from reviewing, and have also fallen a bit behind on my reading in general (so this is what having a bit of a social life does - I'm not sure if I approve), but figured it was time to get back to it.  Stolen is the second novel of the Women of the Otherworld series, and so far, I'm definitely still hooked.  While investigating a potential threat to exposing werewolves to the public, Elena discovers that werewolves are not the only supernatural beings in the world when she realizes that the people she is meeting with are witches.  This meeting leads to the introduction of vampires, demons and other beings into Armstrong's world.  Elena is a bit surprised to find out that werewolves aren't alone in the world, and while it is easy for the reader to thing "well, if there are werewolves, why wouldn't there be these other things?", it actually makes sense in a way.  It's easy to think of being able to change one's body has some weird genetic mutation but witchcraft?  That's a whole different level.
This gathering of supernatural forces is in response to a common threat.  A group of scientists, sponsored by a tech millionaire (billionaire) are kidnapping supernatural beings for nefarious purposes - research, money making schemes, gaming ... as the only female werewolf, Elena is of special interest, and is soon targeted and captured, leading to various adventures as she attempts to learn as much as she can and escape.
Since Armstrong wasn't tied down as much with introducing her main character, this novel moved along much more quickly than the previous one, and it also helped that Elena had by this point come to accept herself rather than fighting with the parts of her personality she was unsure about it.  Additionally, even though Armstrong introduces quite a few new characters, she only develops the ones important to the story, relying on the fact that there will be later novels to flesh others out more.  With the influx of new characters, she was also smart about how she handled old characters, sending a few off to a trip on Europe, thus avoiding cluttering the book just so the readers could see familiar faces.  My one complaint about the previous novel was the lack of female characters which this novel nicely gets rid of, introducing several women in both the supernatural setting, and in the lab/prison.  So far I'm definitely happy with the series - as far as seriousness vs lightheartedness, I feel like it ranks somewhere between The Dresden Files and The Stackhouse Series - Elena is a fairly competent character (Sookie wasn't incompetent, but I feel like she got rescued more), but at this point, I don't think series has gone as dark as The Dresden Files occasionally do.  It might help that unlike Harry, Elena actually gets to have sex fairly often.

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