Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel.
. . . .
My first foray into the world of Kelley Armstrong was her YA Darkest Powers trilogy. It wasn’t the best, but it was good, and she scored some major points with me for her characterization. I decided to venture into her adult urban fantasy books with her debut novel, Bitten.
Bitten is the first of the hugely popular Women Of The Otherworld series. It’s about a reluctant werewolf, the only female werewolf known in existence, Elena Michaels.
The novel starts with Elena roaming the streets of Toronto, forced by her werewolf nature to Change. We’re taken inside of her wolf-form mind, ruled as much by animal instinct as by human reasoning. There are a lot of questions posed in the prologue that slowly get revealed through the rest of the book, which at first makes it seem like you’re starting in the middle of a series, rather than the beginning. While these questions are answered as the story progresses, there are just a bit too many pages spent inside of Elena’s memories to get her full backstory. It makes me wish there had been an entire novel dedicated to Elena’s change, and her relationship with the werewolf who betrayed her with a bite, rather than these condensed pages of information.
Even with the slow revealing and flashbacks, Bitten flows remarkably well. Elena is a sympathetic character, battling with the betrayal that turned her world and her plans on their heads, and the wolf that lives inside of her. Her character growth is gradual and believable, and very satisfying.
When we’re introduced to Elena’s pack – which she’s been away from for two years, building as normal of a human life as possible for her – we see a very familial dynamic unfold. Nick and his biological father Antonio read like caring brothers to Elena; Nick the fun-loving, teasing one, Antonio older and more responsible. Jeremy, the packleader, has a definite paternal aspect to him; he feels like a very real father figure to Elena. Clay…. Clay is such an interesting, complex character that it would be impossible to sum him up in one or two short sentences. It’s this very complexity that makes Clay so awesome and easy to love.
Bitten’s plotline is tight and action-packed, which makes for a hugely page-turning read, albeit one that was just a bit too action-y at parts. But the development in personal relationships you find yourself longing for about two-thirds of the way in does come, and it leads right into a very satisfying climax and conclusion – one blessedly cliffhanger-free.
Bitten may not be the quintessential urban fantasy novel, but it is most certainly one that should be read by fans of the genre.
Bitten - 4 out of 5 stars