Tag Archives: Tales of the Otherworld

The Case of El Chupacabra by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
tales-of-the-otherworld

Title: The Case of El Chupacabra
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #6.5
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Strong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: If he’s responsible for this death, then it’s a matter for the council.

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Synopsis

Paige and Lucas pursue a murderer who may be a vampire.

Thoughts

There were many, many parts of this story that I loved. There was truly getting to know Kristoff’s eldest, and Savannah’s brother, Sean; discovering how Paige and Lucas obtain their own headquarters; and the discovery of a prejudice so deep and wrong (though aren’t they all) that it is almost impossible to stomach. But, mostly I just loved getting to know the character of Sean better. He is idealistic like Lucas, yet he continues to attempt to work within the system to promote a better morality within his own family.

There aren’t many LGBTQ characters in many of the books that I read. I think it’s mostly because there aren’t that many LGBTQ characters in comparison to strong male (and female leads). So, even though Sean isn’t a centre piece of the Women of the Otherworld stories, it was really nice to meet a character that faces the issues of coming out and being accepted every day of his life. I loved that Sean’s insecurities and inability to be accepted by the man who has been like a father figure, let alone the rest of his family are a great reminder as to the difficulties that many of the LGBTQ people face on a daily basis.

The prejudice that vampires face from sorcerers is exactly what all prejudices are to me. A mix of fear and misunderstandings. Fear of another’s power and the other. Luckily, the way in which this was combatted was the politic, responsible and grown response that you would expect – removing stigma, calmly explaining away misconceptions, and facing such blatant bigotry face-on.

<- BrokenNo Humans Involved ->

Image source: Goodreads

Ghosts by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
Ghosts

Title: Ghosts
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #1.5
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Strong women
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Let me go with you.

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Synopsis

Jeremy is having flashbacks from the past while Clay and Elena are in Toronto (event in Bitten).

Thoughts

Jeremy’s role in protecting Elena after she was turned is something of an enigma. He banished Clay, and helped Elena through the change. But the impacts of this are only ever seen through Elena’s eyes, years after the fact. Thus, it is immensely difficult to understand the impact that it had upon Jeremy – after all, he is a quiet and withdrawn character. One who Elena admires and adores, but is often confused by. Ghosts helps to give insight into his thoughts and feelings on Elena’s turning, and the important place which she gains in his heart.

Ghosts is a very reflexive piece that takes place in the middle of Bitten. Although it takes place after Elena and Clay travel back to Toronto, he flashes back and forth between that decision and the one to banish Clay. The pain of Elena’s change and her vulnerability at the fact act as depressing counterpoints to an already difficult situation. As does Jeremy’s constant insecurity that he is making the right decision. That he made the right decision in the past, as he reflects upon the ghosts of his house.

<- BittenEscape ->

Image source: Goodreads

Expectations by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
expectations

Title: Expectations
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #0.11
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: I hid my jacket, helmet, and boots, and changed into flat shoes, then walked to the nearby strip mall, from which I purchased an oversized floral arrangement and affixed a large card with Congrats! scrawled across the front.

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Synopsis

A very short story around Lucas Cortez and Eve Levine.

Thoughts

It is impossible to imagine Lucas Cortez going up against Eve Levine when it is first mentioned in Dime Store Magic. He is such a sweet, geeky boy with a sense of justice. Eve on the other hand is tough, independent and not scared to make some tough choices when it comes to her own protection. The fact that Savannah is now an aspect of her life… she is an incredibly terrifying adversary for an untried young sorcerer.

Although this short story is primarily about Lucas and Eve’s first (and only) meeting, it was more so an insight into the drivers of Lucas’ removal from the Cortez Cabal. His motivations and drive to find justice lead to a constant war in his head – one which his father’s voice tends to intrude upon often. Even his act of breaking and entering was instigated by a wish to protect Eve from the rest of the Cabal – although even he has a moment of temptation throughout this episode.

Eve’s willingness to harm Lucas, yet, not kill him is yet another reminder that although she has an incredibly dark and terrifying reputation, she does have a moral system. Yes, it is amoral in some ways, but it still is a reminder that no character within the Women of the Otherworld universe is either good or bad.

<- The Case of the Half-Demon SpyTruth and Consequences ->

Image source: Ofearna

Beginnings by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
beginnings

Title: Beginnings
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #0.8
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Any holiday that revolved around family saw me sitting in my dorm room alone, keenly aware of the empty halls, afraid to even turn on the television, knowing I’d be confronted with images of the holiday, even the commercials leaping out to remind me that normal people were home with their families.

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Synopsis

It’s the story of how Clay and Elena met and the start of their relationship.

Thoughts

Elena and Clay’s romance is definitely not what I would call a typical literary romance. Clayton has some of the hallmarks which we are all warned against in a budding relationship (possessiveness, jealousy, inability to accept your significant others’ friends…). Yet, maybe because Armstrong is able to show his genuine care for Elena, it doesn’t seem like an unhealthy relationship. Just a very, very odd one. But it still begs the question – how do two such people find each other, meet, and eventually, fall in love? Beginnings finally answers those questions. It also helps to explain Clay’s rash selfishness in turning Elena into a werewolf and all of the subsequent drama and pain which followed. For both of them.

Reading about Clay and Elena’s slowly blossoming relationship, the loss of both of their virginities and the confusion that they both feel at the depth of their emotions was a sweet journey. Yet, it was also kind of frustrating, Clay is so incredibly stubborn and naïve to the intricacies of relationships. Constantly he puts his foot in it and finds a way to leave not only Elena, but the rest of the Pack isolated. Elena on the other hand, is so insecure about herself and her worth that it is only the inklings of her stubborn, sassy self that we first meet in Bitten which can be seen throughout the tale. Her willingness to go along with Clay’s many moods and attempts to make him happy are sweet, if not misguided. At least for me, who absolutely loved her constant pushing back when he becomes overbearing.

Logan’s demise in Bitten didn’t truly impact me when I read the story. After all, he was barely a presence within the story. Yet, after reading Beginnings (and even Birthright), his presence and downfall are so much more depressing. His friendship with Elena is the most genuine and caring relationship that she seems to have had in a long time. Yes, Clay loves her more than anything else in the world, but Logan tries to protect her from the very first moment. He stops and thinks about what she wants and needs, something that Clay may try to do, but is never quite fully capable of.

<- BirthrightBecoming ->

Image source: Goodreads

Birthright by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
birthright

Title: Birthright
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #0.7
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘But Clayton-‘

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Synopsis

How Logan ends up in Stonehaven.

Thoughts

Logan’s induction into the werewolf Pack was difficult, his acceptance of who he is was a big part of why he and Elena were so quickly bonded. Yet, I didn’t truly understand the difficulties of his birth into this world until I read Birthright. Reading this not only helped me to understand his relationship to the others, but also the idea of suddenly discovering a more sinister aspect to one’s heritage. Logan’s outlook and surprise at his father’s genetic lineage is a great parallel to taboo diseases such as AIDS – it is impossible to talk about, affects the rest of your life and is shrouded in a specific set of stereotypes which prevent education and acceptance in many circumstances.

This short story also helped to highlight the antagonism between Clay and Logan. From the very first moment, Clay is aggressive towards his soon-to-be Packmate, and Logan is confused by this. Likewise, Logan’s rage at Clay’s turning of Elena reflects his own frustration at never being told of his own genetic heritage. He never had a choice, and, ultimately, Clay removed that choice for Elean too.

<- DemonologyBeginnings ->

Image source: Goodreads

Bewitched by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
tales-of-the-otherworld

Title: Bewitched
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #0.5
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: It was the running-away part I hated.

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Synopsis

About how Kristof Nast and Eve Levine meet.

Thoughts

Although the creation of a half-witch, half-sorcerer child is great for the progression of the Women of the Otherworld series, it was difficult to understand just how a witch and sorcerer got involved. Even a witch as rebellious and with such a reputation as Eve Levine. Yet, Bewitched is about more than just Kristoff and Eve’s whirlwind, forbidden romance – it is about Eve finding out who she is to become and how to march to the beat of her own drum.

Haunted showed us that although Eve had a fearsome reputation in life, it was one that was carefully cultivated to shroud a caring individual. That’s not to say that she isn’t incredibly tough and intimidating, but young Eve, at the dawn of her bad-ass reputation is so wonderfully sweet. Her willingness to sacrifice her own wishes for the happiness of Kristoff just builds upon this much more vulnerable image which Armstrong is able to paint in this short story.

<- AscensionDemonology ->

Image source: Goodreads

Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
tales-of-the-otherworld

Title: Tales of the Otherworld
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld Companion
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Short story collectionsStrong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Collection
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Your nose is fine, though.

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Synopsis

A young vampire learns the heavy price of his new existence; black witch Eve Leving meets Kristof Nast, her soulmate and her nemesis; Lucas Cortez, lawyer, sorcerer and unwilling heir to his father’s Cabal, sets out on a case that will change his destiny; Paige Winterbourne discovers just how fraught a white (witch) wedding can be; and Elena Michaels begins her unwitting journey to a new life – as the only female werewolf in the world…

Thoughts

This was such an amazing collection of short stories. It combined sass and humour with comments on the politics and power of a number of supernaturally gifted human beings. Yet, it was more than that, Tales of the Otherworld imparted important humanitarian reminders upon me as a reader – a reminder that acceptance and attempting to understand others is integral to leading long and happy lives. At least, that’s the message that I got from this collection.

The eight stories in Tales of the Otherworld fit beautifully into the Women of the Otherworld series and they help to build upon tales mentioned throughout the books. Although it isn’t important to read them to understand the greater Women of the Otherworld plot line, if you’re like me, and love to know the background of all of your favourite characters, then this is definitely a collection that you will enjoy reading!

<- Men of the OtherworldOtherworld Nights ->

Image source: Goodreads

Rebirth by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
rebirth

Title: Rebirth
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #0.1
In: Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Strong women
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Always remember that it’s a gift, and gifts from God are to be used in his service.

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Synopsis

About Aaron and how he got reborn into a vampire.

Thoughts

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.

Armstrong’s use of vampirism in her stories takes yet another turn which I didn’t expect – it is not just a process which occurs through biting, but also an inherited trait for some. This different take on what is possibly a genetic mutation to enhance a member of society’s survival was a really nice new approach. As was Aaron’s approach to the required one death a year, and even those whom he fed off of. Although he feels guilt at the taking of another’s life force, he finds a way in which to do it in a conscientious way.

<- Otherworld ChillsInfusion ->

Image source: Goodreads