Series: Otherworld (Previously Women of the Otherworld)
Publication Date: September 7, 2004 (reprint) Publisher: Plume
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon
Elena Michaels is a werewolf. On certain nights, she takes off into the streets of the city naked and furred, savagely striking at the throats of her animal prey. Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever continues to haunt her. When the elite pack of werewolves that initiated her into her new life is threatened, Michaels is thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to this secret clan, and forces her to reckon with who, and what, she is.
I'll be honest; I had never heard of this book, series, or author before Syfy announced the series premier earlier this year. How I missed it before is beyond me. I was quick to pick it up though because I absolutely adore books about werewolves. And this one was no disappointment. Bitten is in many ways so much alike other werewolf stories and yet so different as well. Rare is the author who can author a female shapeshifting lead as well as Armstrong. Neither are rules and laws that govern the life and existence of werewolves typically encountered.
The story is told from the POV of Elena Michaels, a beautiful, strong, independent woman with both the job and man of her dreams. The problem with this scenario? Elena is a werewolf--the only female werewolf, in fact--but she didn't want to be a werewolf. To her it was like a plague, one that meant she had to lie to the man she loved and sneak off in the middle of the night because her body refused to ignore her demands that it remain entirely human.
To make matters worse, Jeremy, the Pack Alpha, starts calling, demanding she returns home. So home she goes. Cue Clay. Clay-- the man she thought she loved, the man that betrayed her, that bit her. There is no escaping the way Elena feels about him--she hated him, but she loved him.
I certainly don't want to give away too much about the book, so my synopsis ends there. As for my feelings about it, well here goes.
Elena, honestly, I couldn't stand her, still can't stand her in any of the other books in the series, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. I actually enjoy a lead character that tries my patience. As for Clay, I fell head over heels in love with him. Together, they compliment each other in the best way: like gasoline and fire. Explosive and destructive, yet in its wake leaves a blank slate to build something new.
Some scenes were a bit slow going, but as a whole the writing and pace of the book were spot on. Even the sex scenes were well done. The spacing of those scenes were well planned-- Elena wasn't being groped on every other page and the writing was exceptional. Armstrong's descriptions, unlike many romance novels, were not cheesy or vomit-inducing, but were vivid and blush-inducing. That's the difference between good sex scenes and bad ones: good ones will make you blush or even arouse you, bad ones make you laugh out loud at the absurdity. Armstrong definitely knows how to write steamy, arousing sex.
There were certainly parts of this book that annoyed me. The entire conversation between Elena and Jeremy when Clay bites her is a great example. That whole scene makes Elena seem like a ditz.Then, the bits and pieces of Elena's past that are revealed in Bitten seemed very contrived. And the end of the book frustrated me. The entire novel built up to this grand climax, then simply popped and fizzled instead of a big bang, though I suspect it was intentional as a lead in to the second novel of the series.
All in all, this is one of my all time favorite novels, one that I will certainly reread again and again.