Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: Bitten

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has been on my to-read shelf as long as I've had bookshelves to call my own. I bought it soon after it came out, then other books just kept pushing it down on my to-read list. I don't know why it took me so long to get around to reading, but, now that I have, I'm going to have to add more of Kelley Armstrong's books to my to-read pile.

Bitten follows the story of Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf in the world, as she's pulled back to the pack to help deal with the non-pack member who's killing people in the pack's territory.

The premise is solid, and Armstrong doesn't ask the reader to wrap their minds around much more than the existence of werewolves in a world we can otherwise understand. This was published at the cusp of the urban fantasy trend, and so readers who have a hard time suspending their disbelief may have an easier time with this book than more recent publications.

Unfortunately, it's also clearly early Armstrong. It reads like an early novel, because the plot is uneven. Sometimes it hurtles along at breakneck speed, and others it tootles along while the characters have a leisurely breakfast. In the middle of the book, the plot nearly lost me, because there are three emergencies in a row, and one of them happens off-screen, so to speak.

I was also hoping for a better setup for the love triangle, but Elena's choice is obvious from the very start. She has to lie to her human boyfriend, and she's constantly steeling herself for how to tell him things without giving anything away. There's a comfort there, clearly, but I didn't feel a sense of attachment between her and Philip, or even a reason for her to be attracted to him in the first place. Clay, the other point in the triangle, is clearly problematic, but that doesn't make Philip any better of a match.

Armstrong also could've stood to pace the revelations about Elena's past a bit more. There's a lot of info dumping early in the book, when it could've been doled out more carefully throughout the story. There are also about four characters too many, in my opinion, and they bogged the narrative down with their deaths.

Otherwise, though, this book shows why Kelley Armstrong is a household name in the paranormal romance genre, and I plan on picking up more of her books in the future. It's a solid story with interesting characters and a fully-fleshed mythology, and I trust Armstrong to carry me through many more readable narratives.

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