This second volume in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series continues the story of Elena, the only known female werewolf, who was introduced in the first book, Bitten. Elena is a headstrong young woman who is slowly learning to accept her life as a werewolf, along with everything that entails, along with her relationship with the Clay, the man who changed her into a wolf - without giving her a choice in the matter - in the first place.
While the first book falls more in to the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre, this one is more an action/adventure novel. A very wealthy sociopath has come to learn of the existence of supernatural beings, and he is using his not inconsiderable resources to kidnap and collect various people, from vampires and shamans to witches and demons. He has set up science labs and has recruited doctors and scientists in an attempt to isolate and take advantage of those biological properties that give the supernatural beings their powers. Elena is approached by two witches who would like the werewolf pack to become involved in locating and stopping this man, but Elena - who hadn't considered the existence of other supernaturals beyond werewolves, is surprised and suspicious. It's not long, however, before she is on the inside of the supernatural menagerie, and it soon becomes obvious that the extra strength of one lone werewolf won't be terribly helpful in the face of armed guards, strong cells, sedatives and security cameras.
While I wasn't entirely captivated by the first book in this series, I found this second book to be much stronger, with greater character development and tighter pacing. Now that Elena is not railing against her personal situation and is focused on something outside herself, I find her a much more compelling character. There were a few issues that stretched my suspension of disbelief (e.g. - and possible spoiler here - if it is such an extremely rare situation for her to have survived the change as a female werewolf, it seems just a little too convenient that the one other woman who is infected with the virus should also survive).
I like the fact that this series does not focus on the same protagonist with each book, and that the next one will be branching out to different woman who are supernaturals in this fascinating world that Armstrong has created. I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds.
Books in the Women of the Otherworld series:
3. Dime Store Magic
4. Industrial Magic
7. No Humans Involved
8. Personal Demon
9. Living with the Dead
Stolen (#2 in the Women of the Otherworld series) by Kelley Armstrong (Viking, 2002)
Also reviewed at:
Reading Adventures: "When I first read Bitten, it took me a long while to get really drawn into the story, and in the end I enjoyed it, but I have to say that this book was so much better."
Queen of Happy Endings: "There are some pretty evil characters in this story and with such a high level of suspense maintained throughout the book it's very hard to put down with an end that was evil yet so delicious."
The Written World: "Vampires, demons, shamans, witches -- in Stolen they all exist, and they’re all under attack."