Tales of the Otherworld (Review)

Title: Tales of the Otherworld

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 496

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

Have you ever wondered how lone wolf Clayton Danvers finally got bitten by the last thing he ever expected: love? Or how the hot-blooded bad-girl witch Eve Levine managed to ensnare the cold, ruthless corporate sorcerer Kristof Nast in one of the Otherworld’s most unlikely pairings? Would you like to be a fly on the wall at the wedding of Lucas Cortez and Paige Winterbourne as their eminently practical plans are upended by their well-meaning friends? Or tag along with Lucas and Paige as they investigate a gruesome crime that looks to be the work of a rogue vampire?

Now devotees of the Otherworld can share these special moments with some of their favorite characters — as well as discovering deeper insights into the lives of some of the lesser-known players. But even readers new to the Otherworld universe will find much to love in these seven tales of friendship, adventure, and enduring romance. For when the superhuman men and women of the Otherworld set their minds to a task, they do so with fierce passion and an undivided sense of purpose that make them, in the end, very much human.

(This is a collection of short stories that accompanies the Women of the Otherworld series.)

By the time I got to the end of the Otherworld series, I wanted there to be more. And thankfully, there are tons of other stories about the characters out there. First, I went ahead and read Men of the Otherworld and this collection, but they were just the jumping of point for me to go on and read all the various short stories I could find.

What I liked in Tales of the Otherworld more than in the previous collection was that it was a mix of characters. Whereas MOTO was comprised of stories written only from the point of view of the werewolves, TOTO was a mix of stories from the male and female characters.

Though the adventure stories – like El Chupacabra – were interesting, I found myself drawn mostly to the stories of how the couples in the series had found each other. I loved the story of how Elena and Clayton met and fell in love, leading up to him biting her, and I felt like I finally understood more about the difficulties that Eve and Kristoff faced by reading about how they met as well.

Tales of the Otherworld is a great addition to the series.

Rating:

Men of the Otherworld (Review)

Title: Men of the Otherworld

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publication Year: 2009

Pages: 384

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

As a curious six-year-old, Clayton didn’t resist the bite — he asked for it. But surviving as a lone child-werewolf was more than he could manage — until Jeremy came along, taught Clayton how to straddle the human-werewolf worlds, and introduced him to the Pack. So begins this tantalizing volume featuring three of the most intriguing members of the American Pack — a hierarchical founding family where bloodlines mean everything and each day presents a new, thrilling, and often deadly challenge. For as he grows from a wild child to a clever teen who tests his mentor at every turn, Clayton must learn not only to control his animal instincts but to navigate Pack politics — including showing his brutal archnemesis who the real Alpha is.

(This is a collection of short stories that accompanies the Women of the Otherworld series.)

I absolutely loved the Women of the Otherworld series. One of the things I loved was that it was narrated by a string of strong, confident female narrators. I also liked the brief bits that were narrated by “their men”. And there were allusions to all kinds of interesting backstory bits – like Clay becoming a bitten werewolf as a child – that were never really explained in the series itself.

While the stories in Men of the Otherworld didn’t really encompass all of the men – just a few of those in the werewolf Pack – it gave some insight into important events in the backgrounds of Clay, Jeremy, and Malcolm (Jeremy’s father). It explained a lot of the context, and in the case of Clay, at least, helped me to understand and like him better in the rest of the series.

Definitely pick up this collection if you enjoyed the series overall. It’s a great addition.

Rating:

Thirteen (Review)

Title: Thirteen

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publication Year: 2012

Pages: 480

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

A war is brewing and the first battle has already been waged. After rescuing her half brother from supernatural medical testing, Savannah Levine — a young witch of remarkable power and a dangerous pedigree — is battered, but still standing. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a maniacal plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah is fighting to save her world as witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, half-demons, and all the forces of good and evil — including the genetically modified werewolves known as hell hounds — enter the fray. Uniting Savannah with Adam, Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other denizens of the Otherworld, Thirteen is a thrilling conclusion to this blockbuster series.

(This is the thirteenth and final book in the Women of the Otherworld series, after Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Chaotic (novella), Broken, No Humans Involved, Personal Demon, Living With the Dead, Angelic (novella), Frostbitten, Counterfeit Magic (novella), Waking the WitchHidden (novella), and Spell Bound.)

I feel like this was probably the best ending this series could have had.

First of all, at some point in the book, all of the major characters play a part. Nobody’s left out for too long, even including a lot of the more minor players. I loved the focus on magic and the fight to be on the “right side”, and I thought Armstrong did a really great job in designing the lead-up to the final big conflict.

Thirteen is exciting, fun, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, all in one. Some of the things that go on between the characters – for example, Eve, Kristoff, and the Nast higher-ups – almost made my jaw drop completely.

I also liked the way that things were left a bit open at the end. Yes, the “big” problem is resolved, but it’s never implied that everyone lives happily and peacefully ever after. Rather, it’s an ending and a projection for the future that I think is more realistic, and leaves the way open for future adventures. This is something that I’ve had a bit of a problem with when reading fantasy series in the past, and I’m glad that Women of the Otherworld has avoided it.

Rating:

Hidden (Review)

Title: Hidden

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publication Year: 2011

Pages: 193

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

Hiking through the snow, holiday baking and playing board games by the fire — what’s not to love about an old-fashioned family Christmas?

Werewolves Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers want to give their four-year-old twins, Kate and Logan, something their parents never had: a nice, normal holiday. No Pack responsibilities, no homicidal half-demons or power-hungry sorcerers to deal with — just the four of them, alone, at a chalet outside Ontario’s Algonquin Park. Then a strange werewolf shows up at their door…while the town is buzzing about a young man, back from college, found half-eaten in the woods. And there’s the missing little girl…

With all the signs pointing to a rogue mutt with a taste for human flesh, Elena and Clay have no choice but to investigate. But are they the hunters — or the hunted?

(This is a novella in the Women of the Otherworld series, after Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Chaotic (novella), Broken, No Humans Involved, Personal Demon, Living With the Dead, Angelic (novella), Frostbitten, Counterfeit Magic (novella), and Waking the Witch,)

The thing that I really love about the novellas in this series are that they’re a mix of shorter action-packed stories and character development. I particularly like the opportunities given to fleshing out more minor characters in the series, as well as showing different perspectives of the protagonists.

Hidden is a chance to see a side of Clay and Elena that isn’t shown much in the rest of the series: their roles as parents. Kate and Logan are given a much more central role in this novella than they are in any of the rest of the books. It also brings up a rather important question … what will Clay and Elena – and the Pack – tell the kids about what they are?

The mystery part of the story was really just a backdrop for the rest of the story for me. It was interesting enough, but it really wasn’t what I was focused on. Instead, I liked getting to see more of the interactions between the members of the Pack with Elena, Clay, and the kids, and even to see how the relationship between Clay and Elena has evolved since Bitten. It was a really fun read for me.

Rating:

Counterfeit Magic (Review)

Title: Counterfeit Magic

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 141

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

The first rule of a supernatural fight club? Don’t kill your opponent.

When the fighters come with lethal spells, werewolf strength and half-demon powers, that can be a lot tougher than it sounds. It’s hard to attract talent if they know they might not leave the ring alive. So when fighters at a California club start dying — it’s bad for business.

Witch detectives Paige Winterbourne and Savannah Levine take the case. Going undercover in the power-heavy arena of the fight club is a welcome change of pace for Paige, relegated to the role of The Wife as her husband struggles to find his place in his family’s Cabal — the corporate Mafia of the supernatural world.

As Paige is drawn deeper into new and dangerous corners of her world, she quickly discovers the greatest threat isn’t the killer in her sights. It’s something much, much closer to home. And this is one fight she can’t afford to lose.

(This is a novella in the Women of the Otherworld series, after Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Chaotic (novella), Broken, No Humans Involved, Personal Demon, Living With the Dead, Angelic (novella), and Frostbitten.)

This is probably my least favourite of the novellas in this series. The mystery behind the fight club is what drew me in – it just seemed interesting. Getting to see Savannah fighting in the ring was really the highlight, I think. It was fun watching her use her spells, and to see a bit of the clash between her hiding some of her magic and contacts, even while the reader knows that her “dark” side isn’t really a secret to Paige.

The subplot of the conflict in Paige and Lucas’ marriage, though, wasn’t really my spot of tea. I could get into it up to a certain point, but then beyond that, it just seemed contrived. Maybe it’s because they haven’t been the focus of the series in a few books, but it just felt like it was coming out of nowhere, to add conflict where there didn’t need to be any. But it definitely wasn’t my favourite part of the book.

In the end of Counterfeit Magic, it just felt like things were wrapped up too quickly. They weren’t even really resolved “on screen”. It’s almost as if Paige and Savannah figured things out, and it was written down just to tell the reader, but we didn’t get to see things happen. It wasn’t really that satisfying of an end.

Rating:

Related Posts with Thumbnails