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March 2003
© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
Random House Canada Trade: 0679312420 PubDate Dec 02
Review by Asta Sinusas
399 pages List price CDN$24.95  
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Elena Michaels returns. In the first book, she became a werewolf by being Bitten by her lover, Clay Danvers. She’s the only female as the werewolf gene is passed only from father to son, and there aren’t many werewolves to begin with. In the vampire world, there are undead who suck enough to nourish themselves and not kill their victim. So it is true in the werewolf world. The difference between werewolves and mutts is that one avoids killing humans whenever possible, the other doesn’t discriminate its prey. Elena’s job is to search out information on werewolves and mutts gone bad, but ends up encountering two witches instead. They attempt to warn her about eccentric billionaire Ty Winsloe, but are ambushed. The three agree to meet up at a later time, and Elena brings the Alpha male of the pack, Jeremy, to what turns out to be a meeting of different species. It appears that Winsloe is capturing different supernatural species, but for what purpose?

However, Elena gets an inside look as she is trapped and brought to Winsloe’s jail, filled with paranormal humans, as she discovers as she is tested and evaluated. She learns that Winsloe is trying to find out how their powers work so he can harness them for his own evil purposes. She also learns that no one leaves alive. When a subject is no longer needed, they are given a head start in Winsloe’s game preserve, which is filled with enough technical gadgetry to stack the deck unfairly in the hunter’s favor, and then tracked down as an animal for the unique thrill of the chase. Elena begins to plan an escape by trying to find friends on the inside, both captors and captives, and also attempts to telepathically reach her friends on the outside, but will she make it in time?

Because Stolen is told in the first person from Elena’s point of view, the reader gets extra insight into her character, but relies on her as an observer and storyteller. Elena is a lot similar to Faith on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, a tough girl that is strong both physically and mentally and can handle five bad guys without a problem. She is sensitive and is caring of others. Her relationship with Clay is that of equals, and they fight and love with the same amount of passion. What makes the story unique is how the love as humans an animals, bringing both natures to their relationship.

Armstrong is poised to become a household name, and whispers have been made about comparing her to Ann Rice. However, their styles are completely different. It would be like trying to compare the literary prose of a Victorian Edith Wharton to the pulse-pounding adventure and sparse prose of Robert Ludlum. Stolen is very much in the mainstream and filled with adventure that doesn’t let up from the first sentence to the last. The subtitle on the cover “Women of the Otherworld” and industry gossip rumors lead to the speculation that the next novel may not star Elena, but another type of creature that inhabits Armstrong’s universe of the strange. It will be interesting to see how Armstrong’s voice and universe develops, but in the meantime, it’s fascinating to see a story about how a female werewolf is Stolen.

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