on May 9, 2003
In this second installment of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, events focus once again on our heroine, Elena Michaels. Elena is a highly perceptive, intelligent and attractive Canadian journalist who also happens to be a werewolf and a member of the exclusive werewolf group known as the Pack.
Elena's responsibilities include investigating rumors and information about werewolves that seem to come close to the truth. One of these investigations turns out to be a lure set for her by a couple of witches. They are seeking to enlist the aid of the werewolves in helping them thwart a threat caused by a wealthy technogeek who has been kidnapping supernaturals. After a preternatural summit meeting, Elena herself is kidnapped and held in a seemingly inpenetrable secret prison where she becomes the subject of both scientific study and the twisted desires of the technocrat ubervillain.
Armstrong skillfully introduces us to new characters whose varying talents complement the physical skills of Elena and her highly-focused werewolf lover/partner/mate Clayton Danvers. The author wantonly reinvents witches, shamans, vampires, demons, and other supernaturals in her story; all of which work remarkably well. As in the author's debut novel 'Bitten', pack werewolves are neither repulsive or evil but change into completely natural and beautiful animals.
Elena's eventual escape and the subsequent assault on the prison by the supernaturals provide a satisfying build-up to the climax. When the werewolves begin to take care of business, they go through bad guys like a chainsaw through wood.
Humor and subtle nuance spice the novel like a beautifully prepared gourmet meal. The repartee between young witch Paige Winterbourne and the delightfully energetic half-demon Adam Vasic can't help but make the reader smile. The sprinklings of nuance throughout the novel give the reader the feeling of plausibility to the characters. We feel that Elena really is Canadian, the villain really is a computer mogul, and each of the characters really are who they are supposed to be. Most of all, the intense bond and romance between Elena and Clayton is really something special.
Although 'Stolen' is an excellent and skillfully written novel on it's own, readers will enjoy it much more if they read 'Bitten' first. The development of the main characters is so much more satisfying having first been introduced to them in Armstrong's outstanding first novel.
It is not possible for me to rate this novel highly enough. Readers will revel not only in the story but also in the artful way in which it is presented. Of course, I'm a complete sucker for a happy ending which the author serves up to us like dessert and coffee. Top ratings are well-deserved.
on January 25, 2010
After discover the world of Elena and the Stonehaven werewolves in Bitten, book one of in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into Stolen, the second Elena story in the series.
In this second novel, Armstrong smartly takes the characters out of their home setting allowing a completely new type of mystery to take place. Instead of having another plot center around Stonehaven and keeping Elena's secret, the events in Stolen allow for a much broader story to develop. By creating the mystery around a new set of characters and in a new location, the universe that has been created in Bitten expands to include a greater assortment of supernatural beings, and the central mystery is much more interesting for it. We're also introduced to some of the other Women of the Underworld as Elena discovers new beings that are populating her universe. Ironically, Elena (the werewolf!) has a hard time believing in witches, vampires, shamans and demons when she first encounters them, but this actually adds to the realism of this series, as it allows you to be convinced of their existence along with Elena. Throughout Stolen, we're never quite sure who to trust and who is actually good or bad, which of course makes for a great story!
Overall I found Stolen to be a gripping and fast paced read, filled with interesting characters. I kind of missed getting know more about Clayton, Jeremy and the other werewolves, but I loved getting to know Paige, Ruth, Savanah, Adam & Leah. And even though Elena won't be the narrator of the next book in the Women of the Otherworld series, I'm looking forward to reading Dime Store Magic which is told from Paige's point of view.
on April 18, 2006
I started with "Bitten", and traded it with a friend who started with "Stolen"; I think I got the better end of the trade <g>.
This book is an excellent sequel to a series that already had a strong start. The elements missing in the first book are fully present here, with a great plot, excitement, adventure, and some great mayhem. More than fulfilled the promise of the previous book, I am buying this so I don't have to trade something to re-read it!
on August 25, 2014
Armstrong's writing style continues to be rather mediocre. The story was as much weighed down by excessive dialogue over the first half as it was buoyed by frenetic action towards the end. I didn't mind the introduction of witches and vampires. Those characters play to Armstrong's strength which is character development. My main interest, of course, continues to be Elena, who is portrayed so marvellously by Laura Vandervoort in the TV series. In "Bitten", Elena is both trying to have a conscience (a sense of morality about killing) and trying to distance herself from the werewolf pack by living exclusively among humans in the human world (her relationship with Philip). However, in "Stolen", once again the real Elena turns up when she and Clay decide to return to Winsloe's compound to rescue Savannah and the other captives. The "real" Elena is a cold-blooded killer. The more she accepts herself for who she really is, that animal part of her, the more she is able to find her inner strength and calm. Forget all those moral quibbles. She kills and kills. And that's the Elena I want to see.
This book review can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca).
Book Description: Elena Michaels may be the world's only female werewolf, but she's just a regular girl at heart - and she certainly doesn't believe in witches. At least not until a forceful encounter with two small, ridiculously feminine women who lure her into a carefully laid trap ...
Vampires, demons, shamans, witches - in Stolen they all exist, and they're all under attack. An obsessed tycoon with a sick curiosity is well on his way to amassing a private collection of supernaturals, and plans to harness their powers for himself - even if it means killing them. For Elena, kidnapped and imprisoned deep underground, separated from her Pack, unable to tell her friends from her enemies, choosing the right allies is a matter of life and death."
My Thoughts: Any regular readers of my blog know that I adore author Kelley Armstrong's 'Women of the Underworld' series. She's not only Canadian but the woman can write, people!! With 'Bitten' being such an amazing start to the series did I love 'Stolen' as much (even if this was the second time I'd read it?) Oh yes. Most definitely yes.
Armstrong continues her series with yet another edge-of-your-seat read with strong female characters. Stolen is also the book where Armstrong begins to introduce her readers to other supernatural races which makes the title of the series, Women of the Underworld, make much more sense. These other races will eventually take over the storylines for several books. I adore this idea of changing the protagonist every book or so. It's not that we never see past main characters but when a new protagonist picks up the reigns it keeps things fresh. While I luuurve Clay and Elena, putting them in the background for a few books makes me (without sounding too book geeky) miss them and gives the reader a fresh look into other 'races', namely witches, demons, vampires, shaman etc.
If I'm being honest I think that I enjoyed this book more than Bitten and one of the reasons is that we get a better picture of who Elena really is. Sure, she shows us her tougher side as she has to defend herself without the help of her mate, Clay. But we also see a more fragile side to her as she begins to view her bond with Clay differently.
But what really makes Elena's character more relatable and 'real' is how she reacts and feels when she's at her lowest -- dealing with the ruthless, power hungry and sadistic Ty Winslowe. Ty's dehumanizing treatment of Elena reminds her of the horrible experiences that she had as a child. The reader sees that Elena isn't always the tough werewolf and this acknowledgement makes her seem like a more believable and endearing character. You want to root for her.
If I had any negative things to say about this book is that I didn't get a strong feeling for some of the other supernaturals. Knowing that the next book is taken over by Paige I was hoping to get to know her (and like her) a lot more in Stolen. She was OK but not overly memorable or even all that likeable.
Kelley Armstrong remains one of my favourite authors and the fact that she is a fellow Canadian is the icing on the proverbial ... maple glazed donut. She is an author who expertly understands how to balance all aspects of her books: romance, action, suspense, mystery ... You cannot ask for more than that in a 'unputdownable' book. I look forward to re-reading this series over the summer and getting reacquainted with all of the Women of the Underworld.
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
STOLEN by Kelley Armstrong
STOLEN is the second book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. Elena Michaels, the only known female werewolf in existence, wants to lead a normal life with her mate and family, but a group of 'researchers' and the billionaire who heads the institute, have other plans for Elena and the world of supernatural beings.
Following a lead on a story about werewolf sightings, Elena is introduced to Paige and Ruth Winterbourne, mother and daughter witches who sit on the Council for Supernatural beings. As surprised as Elena is, that such a council exists, let alone witches, she is more surprised to find out that the 'supernatural' are hunted by billionaire Ty Winsloe, and then experimented upon and held in custody for his own personal collection.
After a failed kidnapping attempt by Winsloe's men, Elena and some of the pack make a decision.-it is time to meet the Council of Supernatural Beings and find out, what they know about Winsloe and his compound of vigilante hunters. Jeremy (Pack alpha) and Clayton (Elena's mate) make an appearance alongside Elena at the emergency Council meeting, where we are introduced to Adam Vasic, a half demon whose powers involve fire, and Cassandra, a vampire who has eyes for Clay. Without a doubt, the reader knows, we will see these characters at a future date, with stories of their own.
When Elena is abducted and held prisoner at the compound, she realizes she isn't alone. Ruth Winterbourne and an assortment of other supernatural beings are already held in custody, trying desperately to communicate with one another. But it isn't until Ruth dies under mysterious circumstances, and Elena is introduced to Savannah Levine, a young and powerful 12 year old witch, that she makes the decision to attempt freedom.
Meanwhile, following several 'physical exams' and a threat against her mate, Elena becomes aware of one of the true reasons behind her abduction-to 'make' another werewolf. Sondra Bauer, a compound examiner and scientist, has injected herself with saliva she procured from one of the physical exams. Without the aid of a Pack, Sondra's change to werewolf is anything but successful-her body is unable to handle the many changes and when attempting to escape, she is killed by the very guards, she once controlled.
We are introduced to several supernatural characters including demons Xavier Reese and Leah O'Donnell, a chameleon shifter Armen Haig, and vampire Aaron Darnell, someone from Cassandra's past and recent present. With an attempt at telepathic communication, Jeremy and Clay are able to contact Elena through Paige, but Clay refuses to believe that Paige has any ability beyond her ability to irritate. When the connection is broken, Elena becomes distraught and through dreams, she is able to connect once again with Clay, only to see that he too is suffering without his mate and lover.
Ty Winsloe, is a sadistic collector of the supernatural, and when his 'projects' no longer serve any purpose, he pits Elena against a few of the failures. Hoping to learn more about the werewolf's physiology and her ability to shift, Winsloe continues to antagonize Elena with pictures of an injured werewolf and talk of her 'dead' mate. She soon realizes that Clay and the others have tried unsuccessfully to rescue her, and she is now determined, to free herself from the compound and its' band of vigilante warriors.
Following her bid for freedom, Elena and Clay must return to the compound to rescue Savannah and the others. Without a doubt, Savannah is a powerful witch and they soon realize she is one being, that could very well, control many of the people with a few words and a look. We see the introduction of Adam to Savannah, a foreshadowing of many storylines, and the escape of Leah O'Donnell, a demon that will surface again in a future book. But, all is not lost, when Clay and Elena make the final move against Winsloe and his crew at the compound. One by one, each member of Winsloe's team is 'removed' from duty and meets his demise at the hands or 'paws' of either a demon or wolf.
Again, I can't say enough about Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. I found this series, purely by accident, while looking for something in the paranormal genre. As a fellow Canadian, I was excited and thrilled to read such an exciting series of novels and characters, and one that didn't follow the usual vampire/werewolf storylines. I am saddened that Kelley is ending her Otherworld series in 2012, but with her continued novellas and anthologies, Elena, Clay and the other werewolves, will continue to be some of my favorite characters and Kelley one of my favorite authors.
on June 20, 2003
Elena Michaels is a werewolf, in fact, the only female of her kind. She is part of the Pack, and is responsible for sniffing out troublesome mortals who threaten to expose their race - like Tyrone Winsloe. He's a mad billionaire with an obsession of performing scientific experiments on the "supernatural" races: witches, vampires, werewolves, demons, etc. He's a threat, and a big one. Big enough that the Pack of werewolves team up with those witches, vampires, and demons to stop him. Yet while trying to stop him he gets his hands on Elena.
This was generally a good book. A small disappointment after reading Bitten, Kelley Armstrong's first book in this series, but a good book nonetheless. It's extremely detailed and it seems as if you are actually inside the story. Elena Michaels is strong and has no hesitation in "biting back." She's a heroine for all women in the real world. This is an action packed book and was humourous as well as exciting. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Bitten and even books by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.
on January 19, 2003
"Stolen" by Kelley Armstrong is the second instalment in the "Women of the Otherworld" series that started with the utterly exceptional "Bitten". If you have not yet read "Bitten", do so! It is a novel that will appeal to fans of any genre and has become one of my favourite novels of all time. Because of this, I knew that "Stolen" would have a very tough act to follow. Well, I am thrilled to report that Kelley Armstrong has succeeded in creating yet another riveting and unputdownable tale, proving what a talented novelist she truly is and that she is here to stay. "Stolen" is an enchanting and hugely suspenseful tale that continues the captivating story of werewolf Elena Michaels. It is guaranteed to grab and hold your attention from start to finish, and leave you applauding the amazing Ms. Armstrong!
"Stolen" begins where "Bitten" left off. Elena Michaels has finally come to terms with what she is and has found a happy and fulfilling life living with her ultra sexy, intense, and often infuriating lover, soul mate, and fellow werewolf Clayton Danvers. Elena and Clayton (who by the way compose perhaps my favourite couple of all time, and trust me, you'll love them too) live in New York State at Stonehaven, the estate of their pack alpha Jeremy.
One of Elena's roles in the pack is to police all werewolf information circulating throughout the country, and to deal with anyone who comes too close to discovering the truth of their existence. So when Elena finds an article on the internet with information that is disturbingly close to the truth, and with more for sale, she immediately heads out to investigate. But she is shocked to discover that the two diminutive women who are selling this information posses powers that rival Elena's supergirl strength, powers she doesn't begin to understand. Especially when they explain that they are witches, which Elena knows don't exist. But the fact is that Ruth Winterbourne and her niece Paige really are witches, who save Elena from the nasty hunters on her tail and then introduce Elena and her pack to a clandestine world of half-demons, vampires, sorcerers, and shamans.
And Armstrong describes this remarkable supernatural world and its inhabitants with incredible originality and verve. She gleefully thumbs her nose at all the conventions associated with vampires and other paranormals, creating a fresh and intriguing new set of rules where almost everything we thought we knew about the supernatural is no longer true.
But then Elena is kidnapped by a sociopathic business magnate and a team of scientists who have amassed an entire collection of supernaturals, determined to harness their powers even if it means killing them. And now Elena is in their hands, helpless and imprisoned deep within the earth. Completely cut off from her pack, Elena must rely on her own wits to see her out of this situation alive. Unsure of who she can trust, it's essential that Elena choose her allies carefully, for one wrong move will mean the difference between life and death.
Armstrong has crafted a truly thrilling story that had me tearing through the pages all night long. The suspense builds as the book progresses until your adrenaline is pumping furiously. The plot is taut and wonderfully innovative and the story flows smoothly from beginning to end. And amidst all the danger, intrigue, and nail-biting suspense is the continuing story of Elena and Clayton's romance. The love these two share is truly beautiful, and their scenes together are always passionate, highly arousing, and really manage to touch my heart.
Kelley Armstrong has penned a winning tale in "Stolen" that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone and everyone, along with its predecessor, "Bitten". Whether you're a man or woman, romance, mystery, or science fiction fan, it does not matter, this book is just plain great. "Stolen" is a fabulous novel that is guaranteed to entertain and satisfy. And I believe that the characters of Elena, Clayton, and Jeremy are the real magic of Armstrong's books. They are vivid, complex, flawed, and fascinating, and they have completely captured my heart. I fell in love with these three extraordinary individuals from the first, and they have become unbelievably real to me. So do yourself a huge favor and buy Kelley Armstrong's "Stolen" today!
on May 3, 2003
After reading Bitten, it was impossible to wait for Stolen to come out in the U.S., so I popped over to Amazon Canada and bought it. In Canadian currency it will cost around [$$$], which roughly translates to around [$$$] American coin. It arrived in a week and it was well worth it!! The two reviewers ahead of me give a great caption of the book, so I will simply say - If you like J.D. Robb, Laurell K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, etc., you will LOVE Kelly Armstrong. Her central female character - Elena Michaels - is a strong, independent and resourceful female. The fact that she is werewolf in a fantasy world is icing on the cake. The great thing about Elena is she isn't weighed down with all those nasty little character issues like Anita Blake. Problems - both mental and plot - are worked out within the book. They don't carry over ad nauseum for six books.
on January 20, 2004
i have to say this is the best sequal to a book i have ever read
i bought the first book bitten when i was in a local airport and loved reading every bit of it the tension the attention to detail was amazing it had me waiting to see what happen's next it took me all of five hours to read this book thats how good i found it i just couldn't put it down after reading the first book i just had to have the second and i'm even more delighted to hear that the third book is out in the uk this year although it isn't following the main werewolf pack which i would of liked it to i still look forward to reading it and i hope kelley armstrong writes many more novels to do with elena and clay and her pack i would recamend this book to anyone who is intrested in the idea of werewolves and also anyone who enjoys a good story