Review: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

5 Aug

Series: Women of the Otherworld, book #1

Published: September 7th 2004 by Plume

Details: Paperback, 436 pages

My rating: 1/5

My Summary:

Book written in Sidney Sheldon style but involving werewolves. Flat characters and a stupid plot that had me alternating between frowning and cringing while reading it. I could not get through the book. And I’m still baffled by all the good reviews it got.

My Review:

I have been navigating for a while in the paranormal jungle, generally avoiding the adult paranormal romance section – especially those with cheesy covers. But then, after having read a great deal of “best debut of the year!” type of reviews of Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten, I decided to give it a try (cheesy book cover or not).

I should not have bothered. It was so bad, I couldn’t finish it. And this is coming from someone who always – I mean always – finish books I’ve started. Sometimes I wonder why I need to finish books, it’s almost like a compulsive order, like I have to. Or I suppose it’s because I stay optimistic until the very end, thinking that maybe the book will redeem itself. You never know, right? Well, I’m getting sidetracked I know. Point is, me not finishing a book is an extremely bad rating.

That being said, the first chapter wasn’t that terrible. We get to know Elena, a young woman and journalist in Toronto, Canada who lives together with her wonderful boyfriend Phillip. All good there, except for the fact that Elena is a werewolf. She keeps this a secret, and tries to live a normal life as much as she can. Sometimes though, she can’t hide her werewolf instincts and shapeshifts to go for a run in the outskirts of Toronto. It’s on one of these runs that we are introduced to the story, and in that first chapter I thought the descriptions of her transformation as a werewolf  were quite well drawn.

After that chapter though it goes downhill, in terms of everything – plot, characterization, descriptions. Her werewolf pack, where she used to live contact her as they are having problems with a rough mutt (a stranger werewolf killing humans). She flies to New York to meet up with them, shaking up memories at the same time seeing as this is the first time she meets her ex-lover, the werewolf Clay. Clay was the love of her life, yet he was also the one biting her, fully knowing that she may not survive the transition. Not surprisingly, Elena views this as a betrayal. Yet, not many chapters in, she goes and have sex with him, without having second thoughts about her loving boyfriend in Toronto.

I don’t know, the whole thing just oozed stupidity. Elena’s inner monologues, and there are many of them, don’t make much sense, or are just plain boring and whiny. The werewolf world-building with only 35 male werewolves and one female wolf didn’t make much sense either – I mean 35 wolves in  the whole world – really? The dialogues seemed contrived, as if taken from a soap-opera series, and I couldn’t relate to Elena. She was trying to be all tough and witty but it just came out false sounding.

To me, this book wasn’t much better than any of the lesser Harlequin novels out there, and I honestly for my life can’t understand all the great reviews it has received. But I’ve learnt one thing and that is to be more careful regarding rave reviews, and not to forget that we all have different tastes.

7 Responses to “Review: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong”

  1. jenika May 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I read the sequel of Bitten ( I even don’t remember the title of the book) and I skipped many parts because it was a bit boring.
    Elena get kidnapped together with 2 witches, a vodoo priest, another werewolf and a half demon by a bunch of totally crazy people (a billionaire man with an hobby of hunting down not-human population), a spoiled rich researcher and so on.
    A few things were actually interesting but after a while I got bored and I went straight to the last 5 pages to know the ending and bring it back to the library…
    The book maybe was not so horrible but I wouldn’t recommend it either…

  2. jenika May 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I remembered the title of the book “Stolen”.
    In “Stolen” there is no Clay-Philip-Elena triangle, Philip was not even mentioned: Elena says that her only and true love is Clay, even if she will never forgive him for biting her… Clay was actually an interesting character but there was not so much of him for three quarter of the book, while Elena was kept prisoner… I saw that there are many other books of the series but I have no intention to read them.

    • tess May 21, 2011 at 7:11 am #

      Interesting to hear that you felt the same about that series. I was just so surprised because it had gotten quite a few 5-star reviews!! But I guess it wasn’t for me. Good to hear the sequel was just as bad, then I know I did the right thing to quit that series!

      • jenika May 24, 2011 at 9:18 am #

        5 star reviews??? I would give Stolen not more that a 2 star review…

      • tess May 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

        I know, hard to believe all those rave reviews isn’t it?


  1. Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead « After Twilight… - October 6, 2010

    […] energy), but also longing for what she can’t have, a true love. This was ok, not as bad as Bitten, but not great either. Good writing but a weak plot. I may read another one in the series to see if […]

  2. Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong « After Twilight… - October 6, 2010

    […] halfway through, and I’m wondering if this really is the same author as in Bitten, because seriously – this is pretty good. The plot moves along in a nice logical pace and I […]

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