I have an awesome husband. (I think meyoung, Jules, Lisa, and Tiffany would agree. Sarah and Beth have never met him so I suspect they don’t have an opinion on his awesomeness or lack thereof.) My awesome husband bought a 7 day Caribbean cruise for his mother, her significant other, and the two of us as a Christmas gift. We all met up in Miami on New Year’s Eve and left on the cruise Sunday. I just got back this week. I also spent 72 hours in London with my in-laws over Christmas, so I have had a lot of travel and vacation time to read. In my last post I was bemoaning the reading slump I was in, so I was, worried is too strong of a word – apprehensive maybe?, that I wouldn’t find anything I wanted to read while on vacation. Luckily I rekindled my love affair with Kelley Armstrong.
According to her website at www.kelleyarmstrong.com
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.
In January of 2010, I inhaled Bitten and Stolen the first two novels in Armstrong’s The Otherworld series. The Otherworld is an urban fantasy series with strong romance overtones. In the first two books the focus is on Elena, the only female werewolf in existence. They were great! I loved them. Elena is a kickass heroine. Tall and blonde, but not a barbie doll. She’s tough. She’s aloof. She loves the people she loves with all her heart and she’s cold as ice to those she hates. Clay her werewolf partner is alpha-walpha-woo. The strong silent type. But wildly in love with her and is desperate to give Elena whatever she needs to be happy.
The next two books focus on Paige a witch that was introduced in Stolen. When it comes to the world of paranormal fiction, I am not a huge fan of the witch. And if I am honest, I didn’t really like Paige much, so I didn’t feel any great rush to read Dimestore Magic and Industrial Magic (books 3 & 4 respectively) and I didn’t pick them up until 6 months later. Although I enjoyed both witch focused books, I didn’t love them the way I loved the werewolf books. Another 6 months goes by and it’s holiday time 2010. I’ve been in a reading slump. I decide to go back to The Otherworld and see if I can get engrossed again. Boy did I!
The 5th book, Haunted is about the Eve, a current ghost and former witch. I like Eve more than Paige, but also not wild about ghosts.
Then came Broken book 6 which was my plane book on the way home from London. SO GOOD. We’re back to the werewolves with some necromancer added in. I read books 7 – 11 and her two The Otherworld anthologies while on the cruise and Armstrong hits it out of the park from 6 on IMO. I love the necromancer storyline, she also introduces some new types of half-demons (my favorite is Hope, a half-demon who hungers for chaos), some new wolves, and continues to follow existing couples (Clay and Elena, Paige and Lucas, Jeremy and Jaime) through their relationship ups and downs.
I think Armstrong shines in the area of world building. Complex yet easy to track. Her characters have distinct voices, I never had difficulty remembering who was speaking in dialogue heavy passages. Armstrong is also adept at making her readers feel. For example, the end of book 11, Waking the Witch, was such a cliff hanger I gasped so loud that the person next to me on the Serenity Deck of my cruise gave me the evil eye. I read Tales of the Otherworld and laughed out loud often enough that the woman in the window seat asked for the name of the book.
If as a reader you like paranormal romance or romantic suspense I encourage you to consider The Otherworld series.
Armstrong has two additional series Darkest Powers (paranormal/YA) and Nadia Stafford (thrillers). I plan to pick up the two Nadia Stafford books as soon as I can.
A visit to Kelley Armstong’s website will give you access to a number of free stories set in The Otherworld, forums, book list, faq, and press kit. She doesn’t seem to blog but you can find her on Twitter, @kelleyarmstrong and facebook http://www.facebook.com/KelleyArmstrongAuthor.