Rating: 5/5 STARS
Smart, sexy, supernatural—the men and women of the Otherworld live and love, fight and die, among us. Unseen and unsuspected, this realm of witches, ghosts, and werewolves is now threatened with exposure by a brutal series of bizarre murders that has left even the supernatural world baffled—and cold with terror…. Being the world’s only female werewolf has its advantages, such as having her pick of the Otherworld’s most desirable males. And Elena Michaels couldn’t have picked a more dangerously sexy and undyingly loyal mate than Clayton Danvers. Now their bond will be put to the ultimate test as they follow a bloody trail of gruesome slayings deep into Alaska’s frozen wilderness. There’s nothing the werewolf community dislikes more than calling attention to itself. So when a pair of rogue man-eaters begins hunting humans, it’s up to Elena and Clayton to track down the predators. But any illusions their task would be simple are quickly dispelled. For even in werewolf terms, there’s something very disturbing taking place in the dark Alaskan forests. A werewolf more wolf than human and more unnatural than supernatural is on the hunt—a creature whose origins seem to spring from ancient legends of the shape-shifting Wendigo. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Clayton and Elena find themselves confronting painful ghosts from their pasts — and an issue neither of them is eager to discuss. For one of them has been chosen to become the new Pack leader, and as every wolf knows, there can be only one Alpha. They’ve always been equals in everything. Now, when their survival depends more than ever on perfect teamwork, will instinct allow one of them to lead…and the other to follow?
I love Kelley Armstrong. She is one of my all-time favourite Urban Fantasy authors and her ‘Women of the Otherworld’ series is one of the very best in the genre. ‘Frostbitten’ is the 10th novel in the series and is narrated by fan-favourite, Elena Michaels. I admit, as much as I love the other series characters and their respective narratives, Elena’s story remains my personal favourite – and I think ‘Frostbitten’ has become my favourite book in the series.
Armstrong has seamlessly intertwined past, present and future in ‘Frostbitten’.Fans will appreciate Armstrong’s reflection on past events in Elena’s life, especially fans that read the free PDF short-story ‘Beginnings’. There was a more in-depth explanation of Elena’s childhood than what was explained in the first series novel ‘Bitten’. In ‘Beginnings’ it was explained that Elena was abandoned at the age of 5 and put through foster care – and for as many hopeful mothers who saw Elena’s blonde hair and big blue eyes and had hopes of the perfect child, there were just as many ‘fathers’ who had a more predatory reason for wanting to welcome a little girl into their home. In ‘Frostbitten’ Elena receives a letter from one of those foster men from her past, a man who is in rehabilitation and begging forgiveness from his victims. This puts Elena in a strange frame of mind as she sets out to track down rapist mutts. As much as the letter unearths ghosts from Elena’s past, it’s also an opportunity for Elena to expunge those demons… and in ‘Frostbitten’ Armstrong articulates an incredibly powerful message to survivors of sexual abuse that is entirely heart wrenching and awe-inspiring.Fans will also appreciate Elena and Clay’s reflections on a subject matter that has been a pink elephant between them in previous books – the fact that Clay bit Elena, infecting her with lycanthropy. There isn’t a long drawn-out discussion (neither character is the type to naval-gaze and talk out such feelings) but there is a sense of foreclosure on a subject fans have been curious to read about for quite some time.Fans may be dismayed to find that ‘Frostbitten’ is set in Alaska, with Clay & Elena away from Stonehaven and their twins Logan & Kate. Fans who were hoping to read snatches of werewolf domesticity have no need to panic, Armstrong has artfully bypassed this disappointment by including a few phone-calls home that provide a wonderful glimpse into Elena & Clay’s family life. Armstrong, clever writer she is, has managed to imbue Logan & Kate with vivacious and distinct personalities, and fans will no doubt be looking forward to their appearance in future books. Through these glimpses of life back home, Armstrong has also managed to reveal what changes parenthood has had on our favourite werewolf pairing;
Clay was an amazing parent. The guy who couldn’t spare a few minutes to hear a mutt’s side of the story could listen to his kids talk all day. The guy who couldn’t sit still through a brief council meeting could spend hours building Lego castles with his kids. The guy who solved problems with his fists never even raised his voice with his kids.
And finally, Kelley Armstrong has done an incredible job of whetting our appetites for Elena’s next narrated book, by offering teasing future plots. In ‘Frostbitten’ Jeremy has recently revealed to Elena & Clay that he intends for Elena to take over his role as Alpha. Clay is perfectly happy with the promotion, admitting that he’s better as muscle than as a leader. It’s Elena who is hesitating over accepting the position – concerned by how her Alpha status will affect her and Clay’s relationship, and what problems it will cause trying to convince mutts that ‘female’ isn’t synonymous with ‘weak’. This is a truly fascinating element to Frostbitten’s plot, and a wonderful starting point for the next Elena book.
Armstrong also introduces three new intriguing characters in ‘Frostbitten’, all of whom I hope to see in future books, possibly in lead roles? With these three new characters the possibilities are endless, as they are each intriguing in their own way, with mysterious back-stories. Armstrong has definitely pricked my interest with these plot changes and character additions – and I cannot wait to see how they impact the entire ‘Women of the Otherworld’ series.
And finally, series fans will appreciate the many Clay & Elena interactions ‘Frostbitten’ has to offer. They are one of my favourite urban fantasy couples, and ‘Frostbitten’ reminds me why. Clay & Elena are the ultimate team – they trust one another implicitly, and have come a long way in their relationship since we first met them in ‘Bitten’. This book offers of a wonderful glimpse into the evolution of their mating, and excites the possibilities of where their relationship is heading.
I loved this book. I love this series, and I love Kelley Armstrong. All her series are amazing, ‘Women of the Otherworld’, its spin-off YA ‘Darkest Powers’ and the less popular but equally amazing ‘Nadia Stafford’ are all favourite’s of mine. If you haven’t yet read anything by Armstrong, then you are seriously depriving yourself!