Monday, June 28, 2010

CBR#48: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Elena Michaels is a thirty year old woman living in Toronto. She has a very patient boyfriend named Philip, a job as a journalist, and a big secret. Elena is the only female werewolf in existence. She was bitten when she was nineteen and was taken into the Pack. The Pack is the organized collection of hereditary werewolves that rules from their sanctuary in Stonehaven, located in New York state. Elena has left the pack and her past in an attempt to find what she thinks is a normal life with Philip. But how normal can you be when you have to sneak out of your bed at night to change into a werewolf and run through the streets of Toronto?

One day Elena gets a phone call from Jeremy, the Pack Alpha, telling her there is an emergency. Though she would rather ignore the call, she gives in at Philip's insistence. Unable to reach Jeremy, Elena flies to New York to find out what the emergency could be. She is greeted by her former fiance and fellow werewolf, Clay, at the gates to Stonehaven. Once reunited with all of the members of the Pack, Elena falls back into old habits with them. And with Clay.

Elena also falls back into her position as enforcer with the Pack as they all struggle to figure out which mutts, the werewolf term for those who are rogue and were bitten instead of born into this life, are trying to bring the Pack down. As they all try to save their lives and those of their Pack mates, Elena needs to figure out who she really is, where she really belongs, and who she really wants to be with.

Elena is a hard-headed and layered protagonist. She blames Clay for her life as a werewolf but she can't seem to let go of her love for him, though she tries to blame her feelings on her surroundings and situation. She lashes out at those who love her the most while hiding her true self from Philip, the person that she wants to make a life with, even though she isn't in love with him.

Clay is a hot-tempered protector of Elena and Jeremy. He and Elena had tough childhoods that gave them a lifetime of anger to be used in their lives as werewolves. The two are very much alike and perfectly complement each other, though Elena tries to deny this. They spar and fight, make up and test each other through out the book as the reader screams "JUST ADMIT YOU LOVE HIM ALREADY!" at Elena.

Armstrong has built a new werewolf mythology with Bitten and a world that I'm eager to further explore. This novel was more nuanced and drawn out than the young adult books written by Armstrong. There were far more layers to the characters and story, yet I could see all of the ties between the two series. I look forward to finishing out my 52 books with more Armstrong novels.

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