Catherine's Reviews > Bitten

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
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's review
Jul 24, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: pick-it-for-me-challenge, 2nd-chance-romance, contemporary, crime-police-mystery-private-invest, fantasy-paranormal-sci-fi, read-2010, series, were-shifter
Recommended to Catherine by: AH

I asked my GR friends to provide me books they loved as part of a personal pick it for me challenge. This one was provided to me by AH.

I wavered over my grade for this for a while. For most of the book I was pretty confident that I'd grade it four stars. But toward the end, something happened, a finally! moment of admission, that made me so happy I wondered if I should bump my grade up. I had to figure out if I could really justify (to myself) adding another star just because I was thrilled that the heroine had finally been brutally honest with herself and us, the readers. I finally decided that no, it was a great moment, but it was still just a strong four star read to me.

The beginning of this book was written in an extremely odd, distancing manner. I strongly felt that I was being told the story by Elena instead of watching Elena's story unfold. Luckily the style switched as soon as the prologue was over. I don't know if I could have gotten as into the story as I did if it had continued in the same style.

This book was...fascinating and frustrating and repulsive all at once. It's a combination you wouldn't think would work together, but this author managed to pull it off. You'll see what I mean by each description as I continue.

The otherness that the werewolves displayed in this book is not a characteristic I'm used to seeing in the books I read. A lot of the time vampires and werewolves and other supernatural creatures are portrayed as regular people with special abilities. Very rarely do you see an animal, more monster than human, peeking through their eyes. Sometimes I enjoy that style, but sometimes it can be frustrating. How can they be so much more than regular humans and not feel the slightest bit superior? I really find that unbelievable, especially the really old ones. I find the attitude displayed here more believable, even though it was kind of off putting at times.

The biological facts about werewolves we learned were very interesting. I wonder why the werewolf trait is inherited that way? I wasn't really impressed with the werewolf view of women. Sex or dinner, and possibly both. Nice. If I was Elena I wouldn't want to stick around with them either. I was curious about how Clay overcame his inbred disdain toward humans and women enough to get to know Elena well enough to fall in love with her. Did she pick up on his snobbery when she first met him?

It was very frustrating to have to so few facts about their past relationship. I felt like I was stumbling around in the dark and couldn't catch my bearings. Anytime Clay tried to talk with Elena and explain his actions she shut him down. She freely admitted (to herself at least) that she didn't ever want to understand his point of view. She didn't want to forgive and forget.

Elena was a complex character. She was so frustrating, but I found her fascinating too. I didn't like her a lot of the time, but I was compelled to read about her until I understood what made her tick. I was really surprised about her attitude toward her body. Well, I was surprised about a lot of her views, but her view of the use of her body was especially startling considering her childhood. The pragmatic ability to use her body as currency and not be upset by it is one I'm just not very used to. Also, her rationalizing and her lack of guilt over cheating on her boyfriend was pretty distasteful to me. I'm not a fan of cheating, and even though I liked Elena better with Clay I still felt horrible for Philip. Even though I was extremely turned off by Elena's cheating, and it is cheating, I was hooked by the strong writing and the compelling story being told.

Elena's most irritating habit was her ability to rationalize anything she didn't want to face. She avoided issues she didn't want to face, and the ones she couldn't avoid she rationalized. If I was frustrated by her, I don't know how the other people in the story avoided shaking sense into her. But, just when I was about to give up on Elena as a hopeless case something big happened. An event so harsh that Elena finally was honest with herself, and us, and admitted her true feelings about everything. They didn't just revolve around Clay and Philip, it also involved her view of herself as a human and her using her werewolf status as an excuse to avoid her true self. It was awesome! Finally I got to see a raw, unfiltered view into the core of Elena. It's not always a nice place, but it's a place I'd like to spend more time in. If you read the book and get frustrated, hold out hope! There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Before I finish this review I have to discuss Clay a little. He was one of my favorite characters. Just like Elena he wasn't a perfect character. He did something extremely wrong to Elena, and while he wants forgiveness, I can't help but feel he's ultimately satisfied with what he has wrought. The fact that Clay was more wolf than human was an interesting take. His actions and reasoning skills definitely fit the bill for more animal instinct than human rational. I felt so bad for him though. Elena left and he just thought it was another one of their breaks. He has a singular ability to ignore the truth if he doesn't want to hear it. When I saw the presents my heart broke for him.

I do, however, wonder how Clay was able to attract human Elena. He does not resemble any human male, and he has a really hard time faking it. Did she never sense anything different about him? Once again it would help if we were able to get more specific information about their past relationship...

One last thing: I thought the ending with Philip was a cop out. I didn't like that Elena never had to deal with any real blame. She hated Clay for hiding the truth from her, but she never seemed to realize that she was doing the same thing. It was really irritating.

I recommend this book if you're looking for something different than the usual fare. I'd also recommend it if you like a little more monster than man.

Thanks AH, it was great!!!
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Reading Progress

July 24, 2010 – Shelved
July 24, 2010 – Shelved as: pick-it-for-me-challenge
July 25, 2010 – Started Reading
July 25, 2010 –
page 13
2.98% "The tense it's written in is very weird for me. I'm having a hard time getting into it."
July 25, 2010 –
page 20
4.59% "Her thoughts seem extremely alien. It's...odd, but I think I like it."
July 25, 2010 –
page 28
6.42% "She lost her breath over a Southern voice and hung up. Did she lose her breath in fear or something sexier? I guess I'll find out soon enough."
July 25, 2010 –
page 36
8.26% "I think I just met the owner of the Southern accent, Clayton."
July 25, 2010 –
page 37
8.49% "Clay's behavior couldn't be measured by human standards of normalcy...or by any standards of normalcy at all."
July 25, 2010 –
page 55
12.61% "Whenever I had a bad day at Stonehaven, Clay spent the night staking out my possible escape venues. Like I'd ever be so cowardly as to sneak off in the night. Well, okay, I'd done it before, but that wasn't the point."
July 26, 2010 –
page 87
19.95% "The far wall was covered with pictures of me-a montage of photographs and sketches that reminded me of the "altars" found in the homes of obsessed psychopaths, which, all things considered, wasn't such a bad description of Clay."
July 26, 2010 –
page 114
26.15% "Wow, way to rationalize cheating..."
July 26, 2010 –
page 273
62.61% "Poor Clay. Elena just keeps sleeping with him and tossing him to the curb. The guy needs to get a clue and she needs to stop being such a b*tch."
July 26, 2010 –
page 283
64.91% ""What Marsten wanted, Marsten took...with no compunction and no rancor." - He sounds interesting..."
July 26, 2010 –
page 293
67.2% ""He glanced at me and started looking for Clay. It never failed. Mutts only quaked when I appeared because it usually meant Clayton wasn't far behind. I was nothing but a harbinger of doom.""
July 26, 2010 –
page 315
72.25% "Ouch! Clay didn't know she was living with him? What a harsh way to find out."
July 26, 2010 –
page 327
75.0% "Oh man, if Clay had to listen to them have sex I think he would have ripped someone's throat out. Literally."
July 26, 2010 –
page 348
79.82% "Clay is freakishly calm about Elena's relationship with Philip now. It's freaking me out. When did he get so mature? Also, what the hell is up with all the showers?"
July 26, 2010 –
page 360
82.57% "I did not expect that from Philip. Obviously Clay didn't either. By the way, that was a really lame way to do it."
July 26, 2010 –
page 375
86.01% "Wow...Elena had quite the reaction to that whole situation. If that wasn't a blatant indication of her true feelings, I don't know what is."
July 26, 2010 –
page 388
88.99% "I swear to God, Elena makes me want to scream! She just had this extreme reaction to a situation Clay found himself in, but denies it's because she loves him. No, it's only because she feels responsible. Must she rationalize everything to herself?"
July 26, 2010 –
page 395
90.6% ""This wasn't one of those fairy-tale romances where the heroine realizes her undying love for the hero after he's placed in mortal danger. There were no heroes or heroines in this story and there would be no happily ever after ending, even if we got Clay back." - Ain't that the truth."
July 27, 2010 –
page 402
92.2% ""Sorry, but this womb isn't for sale or rent." - Lol! Men always want womb rights in UF."
July 27, 2010 –
page 403
92.43% "Wow, that was quite the threat."
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: 2nd-chance-romance
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: contemporary
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: crime-police-mystery-private-invest
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: fantasy-paranormal-sci-fi
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: read-2010
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: series
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: were-shifter
July 27, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Katyana Ooooh, yay! I am interested to hear what you think!

Catherine I'll be posting as I go.

message 3: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Yah! You started reading it!

message 4: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH What a fantastic review. I'm so glad you liked it.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Excellent review, Catherine. I definitely agree with you on many points. Elena wasn't always likeable, but I found this to be a compelling read, and I loved Clay, despite his issues. :)

Catherine AH wrote: "What a fantastic review. I'm so glad you liked it."

Thanks, I'm glad you rec'ed it.

message 7: by Catherine (last edited Jul 28, 2010 04:17PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Catherine Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Excellent review, Catherine. I definitely agree with you on many points. Elena wasn't always likeable, but I found this to be a compelling read, and I loved Clay, despite his issues. :)"

Exactly. At times I hated Elena and her irritating avoidance, but the book as a whole was so compelling that I knew I'd read the second one.

MelissaB Great review Catherine! I have this book but in some ways am afraid to read it because I am not sure about the romance aspect.

Catherine It didn't fulfill my Romance Reader longings, but it was a good book for what it is. As long as you don't go into it expecting an in depth love story I think you'll be fine.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Melissa, I think you should read it. I have a feeling you'd love Clay.

message 11: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH It is a really good book and a great start to a series. Definitely Urban Fantasy.

MelissaB Oh I will read it, I just have to be in the right mood.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I know what you mean. It's all about the mood.

Arielka Now I understood why you said it was "fascinating and frustrating and repulsive all at once". Totally agreed!!

Catherine Arielka wrote: "Now I understood why you said it was "fascinating and frustrating and repulsive all at once". Totally agreed!!"

Did you just read it? Yeah, it was surprising to have such a confusing reaction to the book.

message 16: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Catherine, did you ever find her short story that fills in the gap on how Elena became a werewolf? After reading that, I understood why Elena behaved in that way. He never gave her a choice. He just bit her, knowing that she could die during the change.

Catherine AH wrote: "Catherine, did you ever find her short story that fills in the gap on how Elena became a werewolf? After reading that, I understood why Elena behaved in that way. He never gave her a choice. He jus..."

I have it but I haven't read it yet. *blush* So many others have gotten in the way!

I understood why she acted like she did, it just made it hard to like her. But Clay's previous actions made it hard to sympathize with him too. That's why I had such a conflicting reaction.

message 18: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH I think that's why I liked it so much. It was very different from anything I had ever read in the Urban Fantasy world.

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