Women of the Otherworld #1
Release Date: May 1, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
Rating: 5 out of 5
This series was recommended to me by a friend ages ago and I finally got around to reading the first book in the series recently because she finally told me the title of the series she'd spent months yelling at me to read >.>
So the first book in the series introduces you to Elena, the only female werewolf in existence. Elena's main conflict throughout the book is related to how she was turned - bitten against her will, betrayed in the worst way by the one person she loved most. At the beginning of the book, Elena is living in Toronto away from her Pack, trying to live as normal life as possible but a series of murders draws Elena back into her old life when she's asked by the Pack to help. Elena is the best character, seriously. Girl has rage issues, a tragic past and is so effortlessly sympathetic while never falling into a stereotypical 'poor me' role. She fights tooth and nail for the ones she loves, never hesitating to hurt and kill anyone who threatens her or anyone she cares about.
As the book unfolds, more and more characters are introduced, all of them interesting in their own right but for Elena, the two most important characters are the ones she has the closest relationships with - Jeremy, the Pack Alpha, and Clay, her ex-boyfriend. GUH, I loved them both so muhuhuhuhuch. Jeremy serves as Elena's father figure and their relationship is so beautiful. One of my favourite things about this novel is how Armstrong creates these complex, layered relationships between every character - because of her tragic past, Elena is consistently confused and distrustful of Jeremy, not fully understanding why she is so drawn to him and why his approval of her matters so much. Jeremy, for his part, is endlessly patient and understanding with Elena; they both share the same interests and it's clear that her absence left a hole he couldn't fill.
Ohmygod, and Clay. Claaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay *gross sobbing* Elena's ex-boyfriend is one of the best characters in the book because he is just so well-written. Clay is more or less a wolf in human form, wild and unrestrained, loyal only to his Pack. Oh, and he's ENDLESSLY, RIDICULOUSLY, CRAZILY in love with Elena. The two of them ruined my life ;______________; Elena and Clay's relationship is layered with equal parts hate and love because the two of them hurt each other over and over again, and yet they can't stop loving each other. As Elena herself says, he's more than just an ex to her because normal terms just don't cover all that he is to her. They are the best romantic relationship I've read in a very, very long time and I literally adore them for everything they are. As fair warning, there is a lot of sex in this series. The characters are all adults with very adult relationships (still holding out for a threesome t b h). Clay and Elena's sex scenes are filthy sexy but they never feel unnecessary to the plot - the sex is many ways a deeper exploration of their relationship and their feelings for each other.
Another favourite part of the novel is how excellent the werewolves are - there is an actual Pack with a true Pack dynamic reminiscent of their wolf counterparts. The werewolves hunt and eat humans as well as animals, which plays into Elena's conflict between her human dreams and her truer wolf self. There is even a hierarchy, with Elena's Pack at the top and lone werewolves - known as 'Mutts' - near the bottom. It's just so complex and wonderfully written; it drew me in right from the very first page.
Bitten made me laugh and cry