Sunday, May 07, 2006

Title: Broken
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: 2006, Bantam
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 7/10

I seem to be going a little nuts with the supernatural novels. It's a genre that's really taken off lately and I do like them. They're great escape books--the best ones create a believable, yet imaginative, complete world (that are way cooler than our own). They have to be full of detail, but not boring. And they have to impose the supernatural elements onto reality in a way that makes the characters bigger and badder but still allows us to relate to them.

Kelley Armstrong does a fabulous job of this world-building. This is the 6th in her Otherworld series. The first one, Bitten, my favorite, introduces Elena Michaels, the world's only living female werewolf. The second in the series, Stolen, is also narrated by Elena and introduces a whole cast of other supernatural beings--witches and sorcerors, vampires, half-demons, even necromancers. The middle books are told by other characters, but Armstrong brings Elena back as the narrator of this installment.

Elena is pregnant with her first child and very nervous about it. Being the only female werewolf in the world, she doesn't really know what to expect. She is sick of being coddled by her husband and the rest of the Pack, so she's glad for the distraction when they start investigating the theif of a letter allegedly written by Jack the Ripper. The letter has somehow opened a dimensional portal, spewing zombies and 19th century serial killers.

This is a good story, but not my favorite. In my opinion, the best books in the series are those where she's introducing new narrators. Bitten introduces Elena, and Dime Store Magic introduces Paige (a witch). They're just more interesting than the sequels.

Armstrong has a website, with additional short stories and novellas that are very good.


Anonymous said...

How funny! Was at Borders this weekend and saw this book on the paperback stand. Picked it up immediately and looked it over--very interesting. Glad you liked it; I may swing back by and pick up a copy...


Anonymous said...

Amendment--I'm reading Bitten, not Broken, because I want to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start--cue Julie Andrews). I love it so far. The main character is engaging in her non-mainstream-ness (too tired to bother finding a better word), and who's complaining about getting to know all those lovely werewolf menfolk?

Jennie said...

Glad you're liking it. Bitten is my favorite. And I'm totally neurotic about starting series books from the beginning.

You're right about Elena being non-mainstream in a good way--so many of these paranormal heroines are kind of blah. I also think Clay is a very interesting character.

Anonymous said...

I've also started reading the Clay backstory novella... (I think it's called "Savage") from Armstrong's website. He's a very complex guy. Even for a werewolf. Does the pack eventually get any bigger? Because it's significantly reduced in numbers throughout the course of Bitten. At least, by pg. 248.