Stolen (Women of the Otherworld, Book 2), by Kelley Armstrong

Last week I reviewed Bitten, viagra here the first novel in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. While that novel could stand on its own, Stolen is the sequel. I don’t think it could particularly stand on its own, but I don’t consider that a detraction.

Elena, when we left her at the end of Bitten, had just come to terms with her status as a werewolf. She starts this novel investigating an offer someone has made, of information regarding werewolves. There is no information, but the women she meets, Paige and Ruth Winterborne, know she is a werewolf. Because, naturally, they’re witches. As it turns out, there are several supernatural races: witches, werewolves, vampires, sorcerers, and half-demons. At one point in the past, all were a member of a sort of council of super-beings, but the werewolves isolated themselves a few generations ago (hence Elena’s lack of knowledge). This contact with Elena was intended to get the werewolves back involved the council, because the other races are being hunted down by some odd scientists. Despite their unwillingness to get involved with outsiders, the werewolf Pack decides to hear out the others. While at the meeting, Elena is captured by the scientists and must escape.

Stolen feels like the first book in a series, more than anything else. Elena and Clay’s already-established pairing is the only element that isn’t consistent with a new series. There is, however, a slight attempt at making a love conflict between Elena and Clay. Although it’s very closely related to my least favorite type of conflict (I hate the Pointless Secret Being Kept; this is closer to a Pointless Misunderstanding Over Something Incredibly Minor), it’s not emphasized a lot and perhaps lasts 30 pages. However, it didn’t seem to be enough to make the book just a rehash of Elena and Clay’s issues. The two main aims of the story are the jailbreak plot and the setting up of the new, expanded world to provide for more sequels.

As sequel bait, it seems interesting. We’re introduced to Paige, a twenty-two year old witch; Adam, a half-demon with fire powers and an interesting temper; Savannah, who’s all of twelve but frighteningly powerful; and Cassandra, a vampire who can see her reflection and go out in the sunlight. All of these — and their genetics and powers — could easily rate an entire novel; considering that the series is called Women of the Otherworld, I’m guessing Adam might not be the first choice. I found him equally as interesting as the rest of the new characters and races, and I look forward to learning more about half-demons in all their guises.

The jailbreak plot is pretty good; she starts off with the impossible-to-escape fortress and eventually finds the cracks in the program and the building itself. The uneasy coalition of scientists, businessmen, security experts, and schemers are seemingly seamless, but Elena’s got problem-solving skills and a lot of talented friends. It also wasn’t the entirety of the book; had it gone on much longer, it might have gotten boring. I felt Armstrong paced the book well; no single section overstayed its welcome.

Stolen had a similar feel to its predecessor; there is much graphic violence and death. Sympathetic characters die. Elena kills a few people. I lost track of the number of people who died, frankly; after a while, they all blur together. There’s also graphic sex. I wouldn’t recommend this book for children any more than I’d recommend Bitten. However, I enjoyed the pacing and the new world-building, as well as Elena’s character, so I’d recommend this for someone who was a fan of the first book. Anita Blake fans would probably enjoy this series, although the writing style isn’t that similar and the supernatural races are different. I’ll give it 4/5 stars.

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