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Kelley Armstrong
book cover

Women of the Otherworld 1
2001, Sep, Viking hb
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Who recommends: JW, Shelley, Robin, Barbara, Lori, Preeti, Linda, Isabel, Danielle
Who discommends: Margaret

Someone mentioned this book a few weeks ago, and I was happily surprised to see that my library had the audiobook version. It turned out to be an intense and suspenseful werewolf story with a strong romance, although, as happens sometimes with first person narration, a great deal is apparent to the reader (listener) that is not apparent to the narrator. I enjoyed it greatly, so put me down for a strong recommendation. I even recommend the audiobook version, although I often don't like Brilliance productions, this one was good. This is the same narrator I recently heard reading a Jennifer Crusie book, so maybe they are getting better narrators than with their earlier titles.--JW (03 Dec 01)

I have been meaning to write in about BITTEN. Put me down for a strong recommend also. I really enjoyed this one and am hoping this author writes more paranormal fiction books. I think BITTEN is one of the best books I have read in 2001.--Shelley (03 Dec 01)

I enjoyed it though I didn't find it a one sitting read. It was certainly very good for a first time author. It must have gotten some very good reviews as my library system has purchased 99 copies of it.--Robin (08 Dec 01)

I think some critics might be shocked to find that this "literary" novel works quite well as an SFR. I like Armstrong's voice, so I'd like to see more from her. But I'm not sure if we'll see more of Elena. The book did seem to be a very satisfactory standalone novel.--Lori (30 Dec 01)

This book did absolutely nothing for me. I found the premise mildly interesting but got rather bored with the story, particularly as the romance bit seemed to rather tedious and repititious. I put it down when I was about 2/3's of the way through and can't be bothered picking it up again.--Margaret (18 Jan 02)

I read this a couple of weeks ago and liked it better than you did, Margaret. I saw BITTEN as being mainly a rite of passage story. The troubled and difficult heroine has to come to terms with the werewolf "family" she rebelliously tried to leave behind by first making peace with her own wild self. What I liked about the book: the tantalizing way the plot unfolded so that you were impatient for every new revelation, and the rather dangerous and sexy enforcer werewolf who is obsessed with the heroine. What I disliked about the book: the heroine, and just about everyone else in the story, really. These were messed up people in the middle of a violent murder mystery. Despite a strong resolution to the love story and to the thriller plot, the pervasive sense of alienation transferred itself to me, I guess. I'm still going to read any sequels.

A far better werewolf book on almost the same theme (werewolf woman tries to fit in among humans but ultimately comes to term with her werewolf self, her werewolf family, and her dark and sexy werewolf lover) is the young adult novel BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE by Annette Curtis Klause.--Preeti (21 Jan 02)

Yes, the plot was tantalizing, up to a point, but I can see how it's going from here and, given that I don't care two hoots for any of the characters, I can't be bothered. And why is there a headless woman on the cover? What's this fad for headless women on covers anyway?--Margaret (22 Jan 02)

I recommend this one. While it moved a little slower than I expected, it was a fascinating look into the life of werewolves. And this one had its own twist. The heroine being the only female werewolf.<g> I really enjoyed this though I think the heroine held a grudge against the hero a few years too long. :-) But I did enjoy the love story anyway.--Linda (25 Jan 02)

I thought BITTEN was a fascinating book but I read it with a rather horrified fascination. Armstrong's storytelling was great and I liked the first person narrative and the slow unfolding of the history between our main characters even if the past was pretty obvious. But hey, I read the ends of books so obviousness is not a death knell to a book's appeal, but the characters! Our hero is a psychotic killer with no morals or conscience and our heroine is a victim (yes, I know, she really suffered) who should have taken responsibility for her actions years ago. Not precisely likeable people even for werewolves. Despite all this, I enjoyed the book. Would I bother to reread it? No, but I would probably try the next one that Armstrong publishes. Slight
What is the big deal with being the only female werewolf? The mutts obviously can turn other humans into werewolves so why didn't they try it on a woman? Even better, our villain could have picked and turned a female killer and had the start to his evil empire right there.

This all reminded me of having to read JANE EYRE for English class. I started the book the day it was assigned, couldn't stand either Jane or Rochester but stayed up half the night to finish the novel in one gulp. I've never reread it.

Isabel, who is not implying that Armstrong is on the same level as Bronte. (04 Feb 02)

Loved the idea of the protagonist being the only female werewolf in the world, which understandably makes her rather, um, sought after. Elena (the werewolf) has a great voice, and Armstrong has fun with the frustrations of a wild thing trying to "pass" in a modern city. (The tone is very Buffy-ish, with lots of light quippage.)

I normally hate the dominant male type of romance hero, but I liked Clay. After all, he literally is an alpha wolf, so he has an excuse for behaving that way.--Danielle (8 Apr 04)

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