Title: Living with the Dead
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #9
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy, Strong women
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘But it looked as if Irving dreamed of more.
Robyn Peltier has never done anything out of the ordinary. So when her new boss is murdered and she is named prime suspect, she finds herself way out of her depth. As friends and colleagues abandon her, only two people remain loyal – best friend Hope Adams, and Hope’s spooky but charismatic boyfriend Karl.
What Robyn doesn’t realise is that she has accidentally stumbled into a bloody and escalating supernatural turf war. She’s also completely unaware that Hope is actually a half-demon, and her ‘spooky’ boyfriend is a powerful werewolf. Now the only way Hope can keep her friend alive is by introducing her into a world she’s safer knowing nothing about…
I’m honestly still not sure what my thoughts are on this story. But, in the most positive way I have ever experienced – nothing was as I expected, the ending caught me by surprise and the entire story has been rattling around in my head for hours. There is just something about Armstrong’s writing and her Women of the Otherworld series that tends to linger with me after I finish one of her books, but this novel more so than the rest. It just helped to tie in the greater story, which until now, I couldn’t actually envisage, and, more than that, showed a different, stronger side to Hope Adams than the previous stories.
There is always something sinister about cults in writing. I’m not sure if it’s the idea of someone being so completely brain washed; the total control of one’s every thought and action; or the often publicised mass killings and suicides that occur when these communities are infiltrated. And honestly, from this came Armstrong’s creation of a villain from the bosom of such a group who was not only enmeshed in the terrifying ideals of confinement, but also so twisted that every chapter which featured her story made me cringe in disgust. Which, considering how few words were sometimes used to describe her thoughts and actions, is quite a feat.
Although Hope starts out this story unsure and insecure in her own relationship, determined to help her friend, in the course of solving the overarching mystery and murder of this tale she also solves the key to her own unhappiness. The fact that the way in which she decides to fix this problem in her daily outlook on life was not what I would expect, especially after all of the romance present in the past stories, was a fantastic surprise. And a poignant reminder that although sometimes we really want our partner around, even feel that they are necessary, it can be their very absence and the space they are willing to give you that is truly helpful. Sometimes, even when we really want others around to hold us up, we need to take a deep breath, and step away to hold ourselves up.