Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.
So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.
It is not relevant to the actual story, but whatever font the publisher went with is dreadful, making reading uncomfortable. It looks terrible both on my Kindle and on my computer. On my computer it’s all faded!
Bitten, first published back in 2001, kicked off a successful paranormal series and inspired a still-running television show.
A mix of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and a bit of everything in between, this reread showed me that my reading tastes have indeed changed: I enjoyed this book SO MUCH MORE this time around.
I don’t think it’s the best idea to approach this series as romance (and nor does the author, according to things I’ve heard her say), even though there is very much a romance in the book. The problem is that these characters don’t act the way heroes and heroines should, they do some – many – things we would find morally wrong, and so it’s better to see them as interesting characters rather than romance stars.
My favourite thing about Kelley Armstrong’s take on the werewolf world is that her creatures have a different mindset to humans. Though it has been toned down a lot in the show, the characters in the book live by different rules and have different ideas of right and wrong. They’re very loyal to each other, but to survive in the human world can be a struggle.
I’m not a fan of love triangles, but the way the relationships in this one work make it almost okay for me. There’s cheating, in more than one way (hence my instruction to not approach this as a romance!). However, I can’t help but feel really, really sorry for Elena’s human boyfriend. He’s such a decent guy, but he never stood a chance against Clay and the supernatural life Elena has had forced on her.
Most authors struggle with making their female characters tough. They usually get it so wrong, turning them into violent misogynists. It’s true that this book fails the Bechdel test miserably (after the first couple of chapters, Elena is literally the only female character in the book!), but I think there’s a good balance between vulnerability, strength and femininity in her character. She’s strong and she has her faults she’s well aware of, which stops her from being a Mary Sue.
This is not a perfect book, but it really got me thinking and really got me involved in the story. I’m glad I tried it again.