Today's book review is Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.
The cover makes this out to be part of a series -- "Women of the Otherworld" -- but it appears to be a complete novel.
This book is definitely a paranormal romance. That is, it is a romance novel with werewolves. I do like werewolves, and while these aren't terribly original, they're somewhat interesting and less ridiculously portrayed than some. However, the standard romance plot, and the bizarre way the heroine behaves to drive that plot, just doesn't appeal to me. It's the sort of a book where you recognize the heroine's Twue Wuv from the first introduction because of the intensity of the heroine's hatred. It's hard to be in full sympathy with a heroine and viewpoint character who bears such a strong grudge against someone who was dishonest with her (in an important way) that it drives her whole character, and yet said heroine is herself dishonest with her live-in boyfriend that she's just about to marry. The supernatural powers of the werewolves seem to be a little bit inconsistent as well, depending on the needs of the plot.
The book did manage to hold onto me hard enough that I read all of it and cared somewhat about the characters. It would probably appeal much more to someone who actually likes romances, but I'm afraid it just wasn't the right book for me. 5 out of 10.
**** PLOT HIGHLIGHTS -- SPOILERS ****
Elena, a werewolf, is trying to live as a normal human in Toronto. She's found a boyfriend, Philip, who likes her in spite of the fact that she seems to think she's not worthy, but she hides her true nature from him and struggles to come up with explanations for why she goes out at night. She has forcefully rejected her place in the werewolf Pack; we find out after a bit that this is because she killed a man to protect the secret of the werewolves' existence and she can't live with herself, so she wants to deny her werewolf nature. Then Jeremy, the alpha, calls her and demands that she come to his estate Stonehaven. She makes excuses to Philip but eventually ends up going. It seems that some other werewolves are causing big trouble with the Pack, trying to out them. (There are only a couple of dozen werewolves in the whole world, a handful in the Pack and the rest loners the Pack calls "mutts".) A mutt has killed a couple of people and is leaving bodies lying around Stonehaven lands. Elena and co. soon deduce that they're facing a group of mutts, a couple of established troublemakers who have come up with the brilliant idea of springing serial killers from jail and biting them to turn them into werewolves. A couple of Pack members die. Clayton, Elena's love/hate interest ever since he bit her, on purpose, is captured and tortured by the nasties. Jeremy insists on pack discipline, and Elena goes back and forth between obeying orders to stay out of the way and being pissed off to acting on her own and pissing Jeremy off. She ends up taking matters into her own hands, playing the bad guys off against each other, and more or less sorting things out. Daniel, the ringleader, gets killed by one of his own serial killer werewolves; Karl, the other senior member of the cabal, gets bought off by being granted Wyoming as a territory (the Pack refuses to allow any of the mutts to establish their own territory anywhere in the world), and Elena kills the killer werewolf. At the end, Elena realizes that the reason she was attracted to Philip is that he reminders her of Jeremy, who is the father figure in her life. She also finally admits to herself that she loves Clayton after seeing how terrified she was of the idea that he would be killed and how desperately she fought to rescue him. Philip had seen Elena Change earlier, but apparently was so badly injured in the associated fracas that he has no memory of it at all, so they seem to be able to break up without her having to kill him to keep her secret safe. Elena and Clayton prepare to live happily ever after.