Stolen (Women of the Otherworld, Book 2)

Stolen - Kelley Armstrong Elena has an important role in the werewolf pack. She hunts down Mutts that would threaten them all – and investigates humans who would expose them. And, if necessary, silence them. Which is what she was doing when she agreed to meet 2 women with proof that werewolves existed.What would have been routine is surprisingly derailed when the women turn out to be not human themselves – Witches with powers beyond the normal who introduce her to a world of vampires, shamans, sorcerers and half-demons. Suddenly the world isn’t nearly so simple or so easy any more.She – and her pack – have little time to adapt to this barely suspected new world when they have to deal with a threat that has brought the supernatural community together – an organised and heavily resourced gang of humans is hunting supernatural beings, capturing them and studying them. This goes far beyond a couple of humans risking their exposure.And it only gets more seriously when the group hunts for a werewolf – and end up capturing Elena. Elena now has to free herself, perhaps rescue her fellow captives, find out who is behind this whole mess and try to end it. A tall order for a werewolf separated from her packI do occasionally like a genuine villain – and Ty Winsloe is certainly that. There’s something wonderfully satisfying about seeing a hated, reviled villain built up through the book, page by page and then cut down so completely at the end of the book. It’s nice to see some bad guy vanquishing.It’s also impressive how ruthless and gritty the book ended. Now, high body counts are not uncommon on in Urban Fantasy (though often fluffier methods like memory wiping are used to cover their secrets) but it’s usually of a “ha-ha, I stand as a conquering hero over a pile of corpses of nameless extras!”. Here, not so much – some of the people killed had names and we’d seen them, some were relatively blameless and even with the nameless guards both Paige and Adam are disturbed by the killing – even Elena and Clay. The deaths are brutal and ruthless – yet at the same time not written off as just an extra-kill.I think you can definitely see by this book that the series is transitioning. I think Bitten was intended to be a stand alone novel, it took off and Kelley Armstrong had this brilliant, wide, varied world ready for it – but to get from a stand alone novel to the diverse world of the Otherworld series needs a bridge. And this book not only does it very well, but does it while not being boring. It’s an original and clever idea to introduce us to the greater world without resorting to reams and reams of info-dumping, convoluted revelations or dubious coincidences or discoveries. It lacks any kind of contrivance – these different supernatural groups come together naturally and understandably.The plot itself is interesting and tense. Now it’s hard to build tension for a protagonist because, usually, you’re pretty sure they’re going to survive. You can’t rest your tension on “will she get out of this?” because we know she will. But there is a lot of tension in how she will survive, how she will get out of it and – ultimately – how she will not only rescue everyone but properly extract revenge. This, coupled with the revelation of several very real, interesting characters (Paige, Cassandra and Adam were very real characters with pretty strong personalities) and whole new sections of the world opening up made it a good, well paced and interesting book.Read More