Genre: urban fantasy
Sex scenes: not even mild
Otherworld Tales omnibus
SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD SERIES. BE WARNED.
The Hunter and The Hunted is a series of three short stories featuring Kelley Armstrong's heroines of her Women of the Otherworld series.
Story One is called Stalked and follows Elena and Clay on their honeymoon. After years of being together on-and-off, they have finally taken the plunge and got married; this is the first time that the proud parents have left their twins while they go and enjoy themselves. It's not quite the relaxing break that Clay had planned for his mate: there's a mutt trailing them and Clay is trying his damnedest to keep this fact away from Elena while he removes it from the equation.
Off-Duty Angel sees the return of Eve Levine, part time Angel. A powerful witch when she was alive, Eve works as an Angel for half the year and spends the other half with her equally dead lover, Kristof Nast. But Kristof is heavily involved in a big case and doesn’t have time to spend with Eve as he would like. Eve is practically begging her bosses to give her a task to do … until a task comes and finds her …
Lastly, we have a sneak peek from Thirteen, the thirteenth and final instalment in the Women of the Otherworld series. I’m somewhat behind on the series (see below) and so I knew nothing about the events that had led up to this book. The gist of it (if I remember correctly) is that the ‘veil’ separating the supernatural from regular humans has worn thin and the supernaturals have taken this opportunity to wreak havoc. Savannah has just escaped from an exploded building and has met up again with Jamie, Jeremy and two others. She’s split up from the boys and with Jamie, is on the run to make their group seem less conspicuous. That doesn’t work and they’re rounded up by the police only to face even worse horrors at the station. I don’t want to go into much more detail than that, partly because I’m a little hazy and secondly because since it’s a chapter excerpt from a bigger novel, there’s not much point anyway until I read the book itself. It might be a long time coming, but I’m determined to read it. An intriguing end to this trio of short stories.
It seems that recently, I’m continuously being proved wrong about my general dislike of short stories and novellas; this was another great one. They were all short enough to read in a single sitting and it did help that I was familiar with all the characters so that there wasn’t any need to fuss about with introducing the characters and character development.
I do love Kelley Armstrong. I’ve been reading her Women of the Otherworld series since the end of 2008, but I’ve still only read seven books; possibly the worst case of series procrastination that I’ve ever had. That may give the impression that I don’t like the series or have got bored if I’ve still yet to catch up over four years, but that’s not the case. The thirteen books cover at least half a dozen different protagonists and so far, Elena is by far my favourite. She’s the main character of Bitten, Stolen, Broken and Frost Bitten (books 1, 2, 6 and 10) and although I love that we meet a variety of different women and species over the series, there’s a part of me that wishes they were all about Elena because I would then finish them in a trice.
Stalked was trademark Armstrong funny. Clay and Elena are quite probably my favourite urban fantasy couple and I thrive on learning new tidbits of information about them. This was a really sweet story; you wouldn’t miss anything by foregoing it, but sweet nonetheless.
I’m always a bit iffy about Eve. She’s a brilliantly strong heroine and isn’t afraid to speak or act on what she believes in, but I just don’t love her as much as I do Elena or even Paige and I don’t even like Paige that much. Though, to be fair, I like different things about Paige and Eve. This again was a funny story. Only Eve would land herself in this much trouble as an Angel and have to fight her way out. She may not be my favourite, but she’s definitely a protagonist that a person could look up to and believe in and in my book, that makes her someone worth reading about.
I’m not too keen on Savannah, either. This is probably because I haven’t read enough of the series to get to know her, and do I plan on remedying this as soon as is practicable. Savannah features heavily in Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic where she is still a rebellious teenager, curious about dark magic and intent on giving Paige, her guardian, nightmares. I imagine she’s grown up a lot in Waking the Witch and Spellbound and we see glimpses of this in this teaser for Thirteen. I’m glad: the Savannah I first knew was bratty and a real terror and I would hate to have to read about her like that.
The Hunter and The Hunted has renewed my enthusiasm for the WotO series and I sincerely intend to act upon this and pick them up again. The best thing about Thirteen is that it reunites (I think) all of the protagonists of the entire series (it would be a shame if it didn’t) and so the reader gets to say goodbye to all those much-loved characters that drew us into the series in the first place. Though I’m only half-way through the series, I’m already looking forward to reaching the end after THaTH, and it would definitely be about time I did.
Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction