Published: September 7th 2004
Details: Paperback, 436 pages
My rating: DNF
Book written in Sidney Sheldon style but involving werewolves. Flat characters and a stupid plot that had me alternating between frowning and cringing while reading it. I could not get through the book. And I’m still baffled by all the good reviews it got.
I have been navigating for a while in the paranormal jungle, generally avoiding the adult paranormal romance section – especially those with cheesy covers. But then, after having read a great deal of “best debut of the year!” type of reviews of Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten, I decided to give it a try (cheesy book cover or not).
I should not have bothered. It was so bad, I couldn’t finish it. And this is coming from someone who always – I mean always – finish books I’ve started. Sometimes I wonder why I need to finish books, it’s almost like a compulsive order, like I have to. Or I suppose it’s because I stay optimistic until the very end, thinking that maybe the book will redeem itself. You never know, right? Well, I’m getting sidetracked I know. Point is, me not finishing a book is an extremely bad rating.
That being said, the first chapter wasn’t that terrible. We get to know Elena, a young woman and journalist in Toronto, Canada who lives together with her wonderful boyfriend Phillip. All good there, except for the fact that Elena is a werewolf. She keeps this a secret, and tries to live a normal life as much as she can. Sometimes though, she can’t hide her werewolf instincts and shapeshifts to go for a run in the outskirts of Toronto. It’s on one of these runs that we are introduced to the story, and in that first chapter I thought the descriptions of her transformation as a werewolf were quite well drawn.
After that chapter though it goes downhill, in terms of everything – plot, characterization, descriptions. Her werewolf pack, where she used to live contact her as they are having problems with a rough mutt (a stranger werewolf killing humans). She flies to New York to meet up with them, shaking up memories at the same time seeing as this is the first time she meets her ex-lover, the werewolf Clay. Clay was the love of her life, yet he was also the one biting her, fully knowing that she may not survive the transition. Not surprisingly, Elena views this as a betrayal. Yet, not many chapters in, she goes and have sex with him, without having second thoughts about her loving boyfriend in Toronto.
I don’t know, the whole thing just oozed stupidity. Elena’s inner monologues, and there are many of them, don’t make much sense, or are just plain boring and whiny. The werewolf world-building with only 35 male werewolves and one female wolf didn’t make much sense either – I mean 35 wolves in the whole world – really? The dialogues seemed contrived, as if taken from a soap-opera series, and I couldn’t relate to Elena. She was trying to be all tough and witty but it just came out false sounding.
To me, this book wasn’t much better than any of the lesser Harlequin novels out there, and I honestly for my life can’t understand all the great reviews it has received. But I’ve learnt one thing and that is to be more careful regarding rave reviews, and not to forget that we all have different tastes.