Bitten, Kelley Armstrong #50BookPledge

I read this book after about half a dozen people recommended it to me on Twitter. I also learned that she was doing a book signing in Indigo Yorkdale on April 3rd, so I wanted to find out if I liked her books in time to still have the opportunity to get my book signed. Final verdict: count me in on the Kelley Armstrong bandwagon.

Bitten is the story of Elena Forbes, the only female werewolf in existence, who tries to live a normal human life in Toronto (love that detail, actually, especially since Armstrong really uses Toronto landmarks and streets in her book). Her human boyfriend, Philip, is remarkably understanding of Elena’s late-night walks, where, unbeknownst to him, she turns into a werewolf and runs around the city (where was your partner last night, eh?). Pack Alpha Jeremy (my newest literary crush) summons her back to deal with a mutt crisis. Mutts are Pack-less werewolves, and in Bitten, unknown mutts are killing humans in Pack territory, putting the Pack in danger of discovery. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, for Elena, reuniting with the Pack means living with Clay again, the hot werewolf who was once engaged to Elena, and who clearly still has sparks with her. While reading the book, I called the experience “good wolfy fun,” but in all seriousness, even putting hormones aside, Bitten is such an enjoyable read.

Armstrong has created some fascinating characters, and put them in difficult situations. Elena is a strong, independent woman. In a twist from the ordinary, love interest Clay uses her as bait to draw out the bad guys. While quite understandably pissed off, she admits she would’ve been more pissed off if he’d thought her too weak to take care of herself. Smaller and physically weaker than the other, all-male werewolves, Elena nevertheless gives as good as she gets, and makes for some action-packed fight scenes. Clay is also a compelling character – physically attractive, hot-tempered, total bad boy type who obviously loves Elena. He is overall a bit too aggressive to be my literary crush in this book, but towards the end, he shows a very appealing vulnerability. Jeremy as the Pack is a strong leader who commands respect, but also gets overwhelmed by the mutt attack. Even the bad guys are interesting – each has his own motivations and long-term schemes behind their actions, and just watching them interact is like watching politicians try to negotiate for the best deal.

Bitten has compelling characters and an exciting story with emotional pull. It’s the first of Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of it.