76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Terrific debut novel!,
This review is from: Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, Book 1) (Hardcover)
Bitten is a terrific debut novel, and a great werewolf tale that sucks you in and keeps your attention. I'm a fan of Laurell K Hamilton, but Bitten gave me a new appreciation for the limitations of the lycanthrope portrayals in the Anita Blake series. Perhaps it's to be expected, since so many creatures and monsters exist in Anita's world, no one group can be fully developed and explored. One of my difficulties with Anita's tales is that it's hard to focus sometimes. She careens from one problem to the next so quickly you barely have time to assimilate the differences between the monstrous groups she's dealing with.
That problem doesn't exist in Bitten. To the contrary, Bitten is so focused on the werewolves, and on one small group of them in particular, you are able to get much more involved with them, their lives, their struggles. One of the things I really enjoyed about Bitten was Ms. Armstrong's attention to detail, including emotional detail. All of the characters rang true to me in their reactions and dealings with each other.
Elena is a wonderful character. She's not always likable, but she's real. She is a reluctant werewolf who just longs to be human, and her uncertainty and anger at her situation are palpable. It's a miracle she functions as well as she does in the human world, though we actually see her less there than you realize at first. Despite her longing to be human, she revels in her wolf characteristics and is continually troubled by the duality of her nature. She tries to delude herself, but she's rarely successful and I respected that even when I didn't particularly like her actions at times.
I appreciated the nature of the relationship between her and Clayton, the werewolf who bit her and still wants her, despite Elena's continued resentment toward him. Their bond is fascinating and multi-faceted -- in many ways they are reflections of each other. I was happy with the initial resolution of their conflict and hope to see more of them. Likewise, the relationships between Elena and Jeremy, and Clayton and Jeremy are well-drawn and fully realized. Antonio and Nick suffer a bit by comparison, but their roles are lesser, so it's not a fatal flaw. Philip was weak too, but I suppose he had to be.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Bitten and hope that it is the first of a series which will expand on the well-crafted themes and give us new insights into the absorbing characters. Great job, Ms. Armstrong!