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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Posted by Irish in Review0 Comments

Publisher: Plume
Publication Year: 2004
ISBN: 0452286034
Format: Paperback
Pages: 448
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Bitten is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Other World series. This is a series that I’ve been hearing a lot about over the years and have been encouraged to read. I’ve picked up the books several times while in the bookstore but for whatever reason never brought a book home until recently. And well, I wasn’t as thrilled as I thought that I would be. The story held promise. Elena Michaels is special. She is the only known female werewolf in existence. She was bitten and somehow managed to survive the changed….something that most people don’t do. For in this world, lycanthropy is an inherited thing passed from father to son through the ages. Elena is also different in that she has left the pack. She is trying to forge a new life for herself with new boyfriend Phillip when she is ‘called’ home to help the pack deal with a series of murders that have been occuring in their territory. Murders that threaten to expose their existence and end life as they know it.

Elena is a very inconsistent character. She’d rage internally about how much she hated one of the pack and yet every time she turned around she was sleeping with him. Then say it was a mistake and would never happen again. Until the next time. This got very old very fast. As I’ve said in previous reviews sex in a book isn’t bad. Sex is natural. But when sex is used as something to demean and detract from the people involved. When it adds nothing to the story but only serves as filler then I take exception to it. The fact that Elena was always falling into bed with a person she claimed to hate….a person which she found so hard to resist only took away from her character. It made her weak.

Elena was also VERY repetitive. yes there are times in which repeating a fact ONCE IN A WHILE is good. It refreshes the reader to some first thought to be minor event but in which isn’t very minor at all. Agatha Christie uses this technique in a supurb fash and Armstrong could really learn from her. Instead the reader hears over and over how special Elena is. How she survived various horrors that made her strong. Blah blah blah. Certain things when told, like how Elena is the only female werewolf, will stay with a reader right from the start. This isn’t a minor thing. The fact that Armstrong kept beating the reader over the head with it gave the impression that she didn’t have much faith in the reader’s recall ability. But if a reader can’t remember such an important plot point then they shouldn’t be reading mysteries in the first place. Mysteries by their very nature suggest that the reader have some bit of intelligence because they’ll want to figure things out before they are revealed. (Again something that Agatha Christie excels in.)

As a whole, the plot was weak and predictable. The characters were all pretty flat and cliched. There was no real mystery here. There was nothing to figure out. There was just a medicore plot covered up with the paranomal and sex scenes to distract the reader that the book just wasn’t all that good. I wasn’t impressed by this book. I give it 3 stars because it was a quick read….a book that I would call brain candy. And everyone needs a bit of candy sometimes. Will I check out the other books in the series? I’m not sure. I definately don’t see me buying them but I might check them out from the library at some point when my brain is need of a rest.