I loved, loved, loved Hope Adams! She is chaotic (literally) and sweet. I didn’t know what to expect from a story about a half-demon with powers over chaos and a jewellery-thief werewolf… certainly not the story that unfolded. But, honestly, this was a novel that was better than anything I could have imagined. It is not only a story about coming to terms with oneself, but also finding a way to work around someone else’s issues and insecurities.
I’d always wondered how Jeremy became Alpha. It’s obvious that although he is capable of fighting, he often choices not to pursue the past time. It was also difficult to understand how such a reportedly horrifying and devious character, such as Malcolm, ever had a chance of claiming power over a group that I very quickly fell in love with throughout Bitten. Ascension tells that story, alongside more tales of Clay’s teenage years and, even, the creation of his terrifying reputation amongst the Mutts.
I just LOVED finding out the story behind Clayton’s transformation into a werewolf. The dry wit and humour that characterises him throughout Elena’s tales in The Women of the Otherworld series shines beautifully from the pages of this novella. Clay’s voice shows us that our preconceptions of people can be wrong – from the very moment he is intelligent and cunning, combining this childish mind with that of a wolf made him a slightly awkward and successful predator from the age of seven. Even if he was unable to physically show his prowess to others who were far bigger and more terrifying.
I never quite understood throughout the Women of the Otherworld stories just why Jeremy’s father was so horrific – what it was that could turn a father so completely against his child. Yes, it sets up the character and storyline beautifully, but the rationale behind such a horrid creature has long fascinated me. And, finally, parts of Jeremy’s heritage and Malcolm’s rage are bought to light in this stunning short story. Although it is guaranteed to leave a sour taste in your mouth.
It took me a little while to place exactly who Aaron was in the Women of the Otherworld universe. However, after two pages, I was able to finally understand who this illusive do-gooder was. The appearance of Cassandra helps to further the identification of this character – a vampire member of the supernatural council.
These four short stories may be centred upon the North American werewolf pack, but for me, it was mostly about Jeremy. With the first short story telling of his origins, and the last explaining them and his quirks to his adult (and fully realised) self. Whilst Clay’s story is also outlined throughout this, it is also told in the light of his devotion to Jeremy – after all, until Elena, Jeremy is also the centre of Clayton’s world.
When there were first hints of Jamie’s crush on Jeremy in Industrial Magic, I really wasn’t sure what to think. The werewolf alpha and a woman that is flighty and enjoys numerous flings… it seemed like a bit of a weird combination of characters in a romantic entanglement. However, truly learning more about Jamie from her point of view in No Humans Involved completely removed these misgivings. Within the first two chapters, I went from wondering how they would work together to keeping my fingers crossed for such a relationship to develop.
I loved, loved, loved revisiting Elena after three books in which she only had a passing role. The fact that she begins the story pregnant and actually enjoying her life with Clay just made everything better. Their unique blend of violence, sarcasm and passion still managing to burn brightly in spite of all they had been through in their relationship. Plus, Elena is one of the most unique and prickly heroines that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting – her non-traditional relationship with Clay helps to further echo this.
In the previous Women of the Otherworld books, Eve Levine is painted as a woman of questionable morals and motives, it was nice to finally get to know a little more about the elusive black witch, half demon woman. Although I expected it from Armstrong’s past writing, Eve’s sass and lack of respect for the rules were thoroughly enjoyable. Her motherly instincts and love however were a lot more softening and warm than I expected.
2016 was a good year for me - I got to read a lot of books, both new and old. So here is a list of my favourite fifteen reads for this year.