Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Bitten

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
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Jul 04, 11

bookshelves: urban-fantasy, signed-by-author
Read from June 11 to July 03, 2011 — I own a copy

"If a werewolf behaved like this psychopath it wouldn't be because he was part animal, but because he was still too human"

Elena Michaels seems to be your average 30-ish woman. She has a great job, great boyfriend, and great apartment. The problem is, she is also a werewolf and leads a secret double life of sorts. When Jeremy, the leader of the Pack she left over a year ago, calls her and asks her to return to Stonehaven, Elena has no choice but to follow his call. But the ghosts of why she left and the mysterious wolf-ish deaths in Bear Valley threaten to change everything.

I love urban fantasy, but, surprisingly, I'm not a huge fan of werewolf urban fantasy. I say "surprisingly", because, if you look at a list of my top favs in the Urban Fantasy genre, you would see Mercy Thompson and now Armstrong's "Bitten" at the top of the list.

However, I think it's easy to see why "Bitten" is on the top of that list. Kelley Armstrong, who wrote the Young Adult Urban Fantasy series, Darkest Powers (which I love, love, LOVE), has a lot going for her. She creates amazing, realistic characters and a great world.

The cast is fantastic. From our protagonists, Elena and Clay (and others), to our villains, Marsten and Daniel (and others), the characters feel real and unique. Elena was wonderful. I loved how she was a strong, independent woman, without losing her femininity. She didn't need to love pink to be a girl, but she also wasn't rushing headlong into situations, only to be saved by the brawny male at the end. She was more than capable of fighting on her own, using her brain, and generally, being bad @$$.

Often times, in first person novels, if the protagonist/viewpoint character is good, the others are generally blase. Not here. Jeremy was a great character, and I had a lot of respect for him. I may not have been a huge Clay fan, but I did understand how he behaved, how much he cared for Elena, and how he tried. And damn, were the scenes with Clay and Elena steamy!! WHEW! Summer has arrived! Philip, who wasn't a major character, garnered my sympathy, I was really hoping that the Pack wouldn't have to kill Marstens, and so on and so forth. The characters felt unique and not barely disguised clones.

The world that Armstrong has created in "Bitten" is absolutely fascinating. There is a quote on the book stating that Armstrong's "Bitten" does for werewolves as Rice's "Interview with a Vampire" did for vampires, and I have to agree. I love how Armstrong really made the wolfish tendencies prevalent, from how the werewolves rough-housed (really clever!) to their appetites and even to how they hunt and have hunter's instincts. I thought it was clever, well-thought out and very interesting, and, even though I am not a werewolf fan, I would definitely check into more of this series just to see more of this world that Armstrong has. (In fact, I plan on doing just that--I've bought the next three books in the series!)

The story itself is a bit generic/stereotypical. A werewolf is killing people near Stonehaven, and the Pack must discover who it is and root them out before it discloses their secret. For some reason, this really didn't bug me. I think it was a great introduction to a series/character, and it definitely led to some good world-building. I did think Jeremy's ability to speak to his Pack in their sleep via a telepathy of sorts was revealed too late in the story and felt like a patch to make the story come together. I also wasn't fond of how, in the end, Elena tended to throw herself into dangerous situations. But in Elena's and the author's defense, I will say it was appropriate given A) Elena's character and B) what was happening elsewhere in the story (no spoilers!). So yeah, I've seen it a lot, but Armstrong made it make sense and didn't make it so that Elena had to be saved by someone else.

This book was so much fun to read, that I eagerly look forward to continuing the series with Stolen and seeing what happens next in Elena and the Women of the Othereworld's life. If you like urban fantasy, werewolves, and smart women who are really smart and not just wrapped up in "smart" clothes, then pick this up!!

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence: Some f-bombs and milder swears. A few fairly discrete sex scenes. Lots of ripping of throats and chases and gun fights.
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Quotes Crystal Starr Light Liked

Kelley Armstrong
“The show's writers had peppered the piece with words like "savage," "wild," and "animalistic." What bullshit. Show me the animal that kills for the thrill of watching something die. Why does the stereotype of the animalistic killer persist?

Because humans like it. It neatly explains things for them, moving humans to the top of the evolutionary ladder and putting killers down among mythological man-beast monsters like werewolves.

The truth is, if a werewolf behaved like this psychopath it wouldn't be because he was part animal, but because he was still too human. Only humans kill for sport.”
Kelley Armstrong, Bitten

Kelley Armstrong
“It was awful. It was, like, walk out to the woods, Change, stand there until enough time passed, Change back. It was about as much fun as taking a shit."
"Nice analogy.”
Kelley Armstrong, Bitten

Kelley Armstrong
“You'd expect that as much as a samurai would expect a kick in the balls.”
Kelley Armstrong, Bitten

Kelley Armstrong
“What's the woman doing there?" he asked.

"Covering a scratch on the hood. She was cheaper than a new paint job."

He flipped through a few more pages of barely dressed women and classic cars. "Nick used to have magazines like this when we were kids. But without the cars." He rotated a photo sideways. "Or the bathing suits.”
Kelley Armstrong, Bitten

Kelley Armstrong
“Before we left town, Antonio pulled into a strip mall and went in to get subs and salads, leaving Clay and me half naked and bleeding in the car, and Cain unconscious in the trunk. No wonder I was anxious to get back to Toronto. Spend too much time around these guys and you become a little too nonchalent about blood-soaked clothes and bodies in the trunk”
Kelley Armstrong, Bitten


Reading Progress

06/11/2011 page 16
4.0%
06/12/2011 page 30
7.0% "Wow. I so liked Armstrong's YA books, but this is amazing!"
06/14/2011 page 61
14.0% "Wow, I am so impressed with how Armstrong really writes these guys!! I really feel a part of a pack of wolves!!"
06/17/2011 page 78
18.0% "I really need to stop taking nibbles--get out to the fitness center and read like 50 pages. This pace is killing me and the flow."
06/18/2011 page 92
21.0% "The history of the werewolves left me a bit lost at times, but I still think it was well done."
06/21/2011 page 159
36.0% "Yup, it's starting to pick up"
06/30/2011 page 329
75.0% "You know, I really feel sorry for poor Philip. I actually like him. :("
06/30/2011 page 374
86.0% "So sending Elena back to Toronto was kinda dumb and only really ended up blowing up her relationship with Philip...but I really can't hate it."
07/01/2011 page 398
91.0% "I do not think Elena's plan is smart, but I will see how it plays out."
07/02/2011 page 428
98.0% "ARGH! SO CLOSE!!" 1 comment
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An Odd1 I have relatives in Hespeler, hard to picture there as TV series setting.


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