Kelley Armstrong – An Author with Bite!
If ever there was an author forging a new path in fiction, it’s Kelley Armstrong; bringing a whole host of incredibly strong female characters to the fore in her Women of the Otherworld series. It’s rare to see such well-defined characters in books that really do span across several genres to create something entirely new and completely gripping.
Never one to follow the herd, Armstrong is more a wolf than a sheep, and, indeed, the first instalment WOTOW series focuses on wolves. Well, werewolves actually, but don’t let that put you off! Whether or not you’re a fan of horror, Bitten has far more to offer than a bit of a thrill, so you shouldn’t take it at face value – there’s a wonderful twist right there at the start in that the lead character is a woman. Not only that, but she’s unique – the only female werewolf in the entire world.
Then we get out of the horror genre and kick into a bit of chick-lit. This is a woman desperately trying to fit in. All she wants is to be normal; find someone who loves her and settle down. In short, she wants a family.
From there, we get into all kinds of other genres – murder and mayhem, and then, with Stolen, you get a bit of espionage thrown into the mix, along with a bit of myth and magic and the introduction of other “creatures of the night” (vampires and witches and demons, oh my!).
As the series progresses, the focus shifts, in Dime Store Magic, to the Magical community – that of Witches and Sorcerers, but we still have a strong, if flawed, female character in the hot-seat. This trend continues in Industrial Magic, where we get a tantalising glimpse of corporate politics and a mafia-style family (is there anything this writer cannot do?).
Haunted moves again and takes us into the afterlife, to a realm which isn’t all angels on clouds with harps, nor is it little devils with pitchforks. There are most definitely demons, but they’re firmly fixed in the world of the living and wreaking havoc.
Broken, is a welcome return to the werewolf Pack as they try to unravel the mystery surrounding the From Hell letter, supposedly written by the notorious Jack the Ripper, which just may have a supernatural aspect to it…
The most recent WotOW installment, No Humans Involved, stars necromancer Jaime Vegas – a glamourous, show-biz medium who really can talk to the dead. While shooting a spooky reality TV show, she gets involved in far more than she expected and needs help from a half demon and the werewolf Pack Alpha, Jeremey to put things right.
Of course, the Supernatural world isn’t the only string to Armstrong’s bow – Exit Strategy is set very firmly in the real world and features Nadia Stafford, a contract killer for a Mafia family, who is on the hunt for a serial killer with all the earmarks of a hitman who is killing innocent people. She has to head a band of ruthless hitmen and work with her mentor, Jack, in order to take on the murderer.
Whether or not any of this has piqued your interest, you should seriously consider taking a look at Kelley Armstrong’s official website as not only can you read info on the books (complete with character details and prologues), but you can also read the short stories she’d been writing in the meantime, which slot in between the various books and give even deeper insight into the backgrounds of the characters (it’s worth mentioning here that Armstrong takes the ideas of her fans into consideration on these!). There’s also an active discussion board and a journal to keep everyone up to date on her progress.
So, go along, have a look, and find yourself drawn into the Otherworld; a place populated by feisty women who know what they want and how to get it. It’s also worth signing up for the e-newsletter to keep you fully informed!
Written for The Book Club Forum by Kell Smurthwaite, 2006 ©
(edited 2007 ©)
The next installment of Kelley Armstrong’s WOTOW series, Personal Demon, is due to be published in Spring 2008 and is set to star Hope Adams, the half-demon introduced in No Humans Involved.