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Stolen (Women of the Otherworld) Hardcover – May 26, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Elena Michaels, the only known female werewolf, cavorts on a more fully cultivated supernatural playing field in this sure-footed follow-up to Bitten (2001). While investigating a suspicious notice advertising information for sale about werewolves, Elena meets witches Paige and Ruth Winterbourne-and, to her misfortune, a team of mortal and supernatural commandos who abduct Elena and Ruth to a remote underground bunker in the wilds of Maine. There Ty Winsloe, "billionaire and computer geek extraordinaire," is collecting a menagerie representing all the supernatural species that coexist anonymously with humanity (vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.). While his scientists study such creatures in the hope of distilling their uncanny powers as salable commodities, Winsloe hunts those captives who have outlived their usefulness in cruel most-dangerous-game fashion. Elena's efforts to outsmart Winsloe long enough to apprise her Pack of her whereabouts are complicated by a werewolf wannabe among the captors. Though the tale is pretty much a prison-break story spiffed up with magic, Armstrong leavens the narrative with brisk action and intriguing dollops of werewolf culture that suggest a complex and richly imagined anthropologic backstory. The sassy, pumped-up Elena makes a perfect hardboiled horror heroine, with enough engaging attitude to compensate for the loose ends left untied to set up her next adventure.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When two desperate witches lure part-time journalist and full-time werewolf Elena Michaels into a carefully laid trap, she quickly learns that her perceptions about humanity are based on some fundamental flaws. In Kelley Armstrong's supernatural thriller, Stolen, the world is populated with vampires, demons, half-demons, magical shamans and other supernatural races living anonymously among the human population--a concept that Elena has a hard time accepting, just as she struggled with her own lupine identity in Armstrong's remarkable debut, Bitten. But when Elena returns to her werewolf pack in upstate New York, pack leader Jeremy reveals that the threat people pose to the supernatural races should not be taken lightly. When Jeremy, Elena and her lover Clay decide to take action to protect their pack, Elena gets kidnapped on the orders of a power-crazed billionaire. While being held captive she learns that while some magical beings are good and some evil, none are capable of more outright cruelty and savage betrayal than ordinary, non-magical human beings. Armstrong actively solicited reader input via her Web site while writing the second title of her Women of the Otherworld series. This unconventional creative strategy sheds light on Armstrong's justified literary confidence. Her large cast of characters i #NAME?
Top customer reviews
I don't know how but Kelley Armstrong somehow knows how to keep the readers interest through the entire story without losing it once. The scene that I thought was going to be boring and dragged out turned out to be eventful, exciting and kept me fully on my toes. Only an expert like Armstrong can make prison seem awesome, and that is really saying something. I mean, being contained in a cell with only some old books and your own mind, that can't be easy to turn into something enjoyable to read about and the author takes full advantage of that. She takes that scene to introduce new characters, give them life, personality and a purpose and agenda. She made it all fit together like puzzle pieces to the story and everything fit together perfectly. I don't know, maybe I've read to many bad books lately, but I was really impressed and amazed by this story. I even loved it more than the first book. That's expert work.
The one and only thing that I might have missed in this story that I was really hoping to see more of after finishing Bitten was more romance. There is of course moments with Clay and Elena and I absolutely loved that. However, being a big romance geek I wish there were more than it was. I understand though, that romance, although a big element, is not the only thing this series is about. I can see that the main focus is to show how strong, powerful and independent women can be. It is after all called women of the underworld and I really like the theme. It's just a personal wish from me that there would be more romance too.
I usually am not big on series with different main character for almost every book, but Stolen actually got me really interested to read the next book about Paige. Already introducing Paige and other characters I'm hopeful to read about in the future, is a great way to make the reader keep reading. I really want to know what's in store for Paige now and the Paige and Adam scenes in Stolen (although nothing romantic) made me hope for some romance between them. Please don't disappoint me Dime Store Magic!
What I liked about Bitten was the detail and the subtlety of the Pack's behavior and interactions, as well as the attention paid to the mythology of the werewolves. Bitten worked for me because I appreciate dogs and wolves and I saw a lot of humor in how Elena interacted with the all male Pack. I envisioned Elena not as a "sexy, strong, modern woman" but more like a cat in a house full of dogs. If a dog is raised correctly, it shouldn't be intimidated by a cat, but that doesn't stop the cat from trying to wrestle power away and be the dominant power in the house. My favorite parts of Bitten were the interactions between Elena and Jeremy...
Now with Stolen, there's no exploration of the characters relationships and the dialog is like something from an action movie. The little moments of Elena running through the woods as a wolf and thinking 'mine, mine, mine' at every trail, every tree, and every rabbit is gone. The exploration of the werewolf civilization is gone. The only Wolf/ Pack behavior is when Elena and Clay hunt someone down and have exhilirated sex afterwards. Why do so many people think that wolves get all horny after a kill?
So without all the little touches of Pack life, the story instead shifted to witches, demons, shamens, and vampires. These races are not at all fleshed out (at least not as far as I got in the series). The witches for instance, have all the depth and maturity of the coven in American Horror Story. There was a half demon named Adam who acted like a thirteen year old, and only the vampire seemed remotely interesting to me.
Despite the shift from wolves to generic supernatural entities, it was interesting and well written enough to be worth reading. Even the facility was interesting. But then two things happened that are making me take a hiatus from the book and the series. spoilers..
Dr. Bauer. She's one of those annoying women you hear on Oprah who utter the five most vile words a man can hear: "I deserve to be happy." So because Dr. Bauer is a multimillionaire heiress who hit a glass ceiling, she had to get her jollies from mountain climbing and downhill skiing and other dangerous activities. She's a thrill seeker who, after talking to Elena a total of three times decides to inject herself with werewolf saliva just so she can have the ultimate experience in her Type A, tightrope walking while looking up at the glass ceiling, existance. Lame. But okay, I kept reading anyway.
Then there's Winsloe. One of Kelley Armstrong's strengths is that she doesn't write like a girly author. She also seems to understand sociology and psychology and there's a realism to her characters. This guy is a sexual sadist, and humiliates Elena by forcing her to wear certain outfits and constantly belittles her breasts. But he doesn't rape her. He hunts supernatural creatures and keeps comparing it to a video game. Hey, Kelley Armstrong.. No person is that developmentally stunted! He's the kind of villain an angry sixteen year old girl would think up after watching her kid brother pick on the dog and play Call of Duty with his friends.
In the near future, I plan on reading Men of the Otherworld. I like Jeremy's character a lot. I also like Clay, but not through Elena's eyes. A Greek god with golden locks who turns the heads of everyone he passes by and yet he would rather look like an average Joe... Yeah, hopefully Jeremy's description of Clay won't be so.. what's the word? And I don't think I can do anything with witches, shamens, or half demons. They kinda suck.