Kelley Armstrong,
Women of the Otherworld
#2: Stolen

(Viking, 2003; Plume, 2004)

Stolen is the sequel to Bitten -- but even if you did not read the first, do not hesitate to buy the second. It immediately brings you up to speed and puts you on the edge of your seat. From the chase and killing of a shaman in the first four pages, it is 399 pages of non-stop supernatural suspense!

Elena Michaels, a freelance journalist, is the only female werewolf known to exist. She was bitten by her lover, Clayton Danvers, and adopted by his pack. She is now one of the highest-ranking wolves in the pack and is their troubleshooter for situations that might bring attention to their existence.

When she comes across a website with questionable information, she had to check it out. What she found was beyond the scope of her comprehension -- two witches who were trying to warn her about a new danger and convince her to attend a meeting of supernatural races. One of their coven had been kidnapped and the persons responsible were looking for more specimens to add to their collection.

A computer magnate, Ty Winsloe, has built an underground compound for detaining abducted supernatural beings. Surrounded by wilderness, it is his ultimate hunting preserve with the most formidable prey.

Each person on staff at this compound has an ulterior motive. For example, the tough-as-nails, power-hungry woman Bauer has always had everything she wanted, but is bored with her life. She longs for extreme excitement and power. It is her dream to become a werewolf and unseat Elena as the only female of the species.

Matasumi hopes to make groundbreaking discoveries into the psychology of supernaturals and to lead the scientific world in information about the paranormal. Tucker is the hardcore head of security and kidnapper-in-charge. He is the jerk you will hate so much you keep reading just to see if he dies a horrible death.

The character development throughout this book is astounding. Kelley Armstrong has executed a brilliant gradual building of each character, providing insight into the psyche of each. The story is fantastic, but the character development just drives it right to the top of the ratings. It is a superb job and I have not seen it equaled in any book I have read this year.

Tossed into all this action is a love story to warm your heart. When Elena is abducted and locked in a cell in the compound, poor Clay is beside himself with worry and frantic to find her. After reading this book, you will believe that hell hath no fury like a werewolf searching for his kidnapped life partner. Remember that wolves mate for life and are monogamous. When they lose a partner, they will often grieve to death.

The pack does not hunt humans for sport or food. Only "mutts" do that -- the lone werewolves that have never been accepted into a pack. Clay might be a werewolf, but he is not a bad guy. But his duty within the pack is to protect the alpha male, his adopted father, Jeremy Danvers. With kidnappers backed by the finances of one of the world's richest men actively pursuing Jeremy, Clay's job gets more than a little tricky.

The best part of this book, for me, is Elena's sarcastic nature. Most of the book is written in her voice and I actually laughed out loud more than once at her caustic wit. Imagine a werewolf that does not believe in witches, demons or vampires. I adore the characters in this story, but especially love Elena. She is just too cool for words!

This book will make you want to read Bitten and will leave you longing for the next book in the series. Elena is a heroine with attitude we all can love. And what a love story! Aahhh, those seductive romps through the woods....

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 12 June 2004

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