Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review - Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (Women Of The Otherworld #2)

It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong's debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman and the only living female werewolf.

In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the "other races" and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals - witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves - are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match.

Note; since I totally dropped the ball and waited weeks after finishing the novel to write the review, this will be relatively short.

My relationship with Kelley Armstrong’s novels has been on a steady decline since I finished her Darkest Powers YA series.  It seems like the books in her series’ progressively get worse after a strong opener, and after reading Stolen, I’m thinking that’s going to be the case with her Otherworld series, as well.  I went into it expecting a book on par with Bitten, which I just did not get.  I couldn’t connect with any of the new characters, and the Big Bad Guy suffered from the same lack of depth and dimension that so many stereotypical villains have that is so off-putting.

Don’t get me wrong, this was an entertaining book.  Action-packed, easily readable.  Elena and the Pack are as likeable as ever, but the same can’t be said for the other characters in this one.  Considering we’re introduced to so many new supernatural races, the history behind them is seriously lacking in Stolen.  In fact, a large chunk of this novel takes place with Elena in captivity.  While we do learn a bit about the other captives, all of whom belong to other supernatural races, it comes in the form of info-dumping by the scientists and doctors there, and a few times by the witches, half-demons or telekinetics themselves.  But my point is that it didn’t flow.  There was a forced quality to this novel that I did not appreciate, and though there were a lot of genuinely good aspects to the book, that took away from my enjoyment considerably.

On top of my inability to connect with so many of Stolen’s characters, I had a serious lack of interest in the whole real-life-video-game hunting thing Winsloe had going.  Reading it on the synopsis, it seemed awesome, like a modern-day The Most Dangerous Game thing.  Even though the book even references the classic short story, the execution fell flat for me.  Too much action, not enough of a psychological twist.

What I did like, though, was pretty much everything I liked about Bitten.  Powerful, independent protagonist, sexy and healthy romance, strong familial pack dynamic, and a very easy, engrossing writing style.  It never felt like a chore to return to the book, even with the problems I had with it.  While I do wish it had been as tight and strong as its predecessor, I don’t regret reading Stolen.  Will I read its sequel, Dime Store Magic?  That remains to be seen.  I know it’s told through Paige’s eyes, and I never really liked her in this book, so I’m not sure I’ll be investing hundreds of pages’ worth of my time in her.

Bitten - 3 out of 5 stars


  1. I'll stick it on my someday-maybe-if-I'm-stuck pile so! I do need to read the Darkest Powers series though, I think I'd enjoy them. It's sad when come to a crossroads with an author you previously loved and your thinking of parting ways. It has happened me too

    1. Yeah, it's disappointing. She's a good writer, but sometimes you can tell she's writing more for the money than anything else. I think you'll like Darkest Powers, too, especially the fist book. It's good on characterization.


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