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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stolen


***** Stolen by Kelley Armstrong. Contemporary fantasy.









I read
Bitten five years ago and loved it. And I'd intended to look for this one when it came out, but that was before I started keeping a calendar list of what's coming out when, and I ended up forgetting about it. Argh.

Elena Michaels is the only female werewolf. Her job for the pack is to help keep the werewolves' secrecy by investigating anything online that might indicate a mutt (non-pack werewolf) getting himself noticed.

She's following a lead when she agrees to meet with Ruth and Paige Winterbourne, aunt and niece, who are selling proof that werewolves exist. When she meets them, she finds out that not only do they have proof--they know all about her, personally, and that they'd placed the ad specifically in order to meet her. The women explain that they are witches and they wanted to meet her to invite the pack to a meeting of representatives of supernatural races, convening to discuss the disappearance of supernaturals of all sorts, kidnapped by billionaire Ty Winsloe.

Elena is disbelieving, but when a stalker in fatigues who seems to know she's a wolf tries to grab her, she's a little more willing to listen. So she, the alpha Jeremy, and Clay, her lover, attend the meeting along with the witches, a vampire, a shaman, and a half-demon.

Then she's, well, Stolen--abducted after the meeting when her vehicle gets separated from the one carrying Clay and Jeremy. She's taken to an underground facility with cells housing other supernaturals who are being experimented on. Think Season 4 of Buffy, and The Initiative (which, by the way, is mentioned, making me laugh).

That's why the scientists and doctors are there, anyway. Winsloe just wants his own extreme LARP.

Stolen opens up the series by introducing other supernatural races. Witches are pretty much what you'd expect, but vampires are a little different from what I've seen elsewhere, and the half-demons, who have a variety of powers depending on their demon parentage, are quite unusual.

There's a lot of worldbuilding in this story, and the plot facilitates that--first by Ruth and Paige explaining things to a disbelieving Elena, and then by the experiments and observations of Winsloe's scientific team.

Even though the story is told from Elena's first person POV, the various characters are all unique and well-developed, including the villains, who aren't just cardboard cut-outs of Evil, and are all the more chilling because of that.

The suspense kept me turning pages, and I particularly appreciated that Armstrong skipped the cliche of the stupid villains--that most of the ways Elena tried to escape had been anticipated and prevented, and that she kept having to stretch her ingenuity.

There is, of course, less of the werewolf pack and Elena's relationship with Clay--that was done superbly in Bitten, and kudos to Armstrong again for not simply rehashing the first book. There's a bit, though, enough to keep fans happy.

I'm glad I finally remembered to get this. The third book is already in my TBR pile.

...more

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Comments:
I really enjoy reading this series! I am waiting for the fifth book to come into the library so I can keep reading!
 
I noticed you reviewed this exactly a year ago! And I'd said then that I was going to move it up in my TBR pile. Took me long enough, didn't it? Sheesh. :)
 
Have you checked out Armstrong's recent excursion into suspense without creatures? Exit Strategy is quite good IMO. And I'm looking forward to her Men of the Otherworld anthology, which will see print publication of several novellas that were posted online originally.
 
Not yet, but I'm sure I will, once I get caught up with this series.
 
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