Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman. She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She's also a werewolf.
Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
It took me a while to get into Bitten, but when I did I was completely hooked. The first few chapters of the book were quite exposition heavy, with a lot of information about the werewolves, the Pack, Elena’s extended werewolf family and her relationship with each member. This can be quite a lot to take in, and at first I was a little confused by all the new names and exactly who was related to who. It doesn’t take long for the story to get going, however, and when it does it’s very well paced, with a lot of exciting action and the moments of down-time coming right when needed. I loved this book!
At first I wasn't too sure how I felt about Clay, Elena’s love interest, and it took some time for him to grow on me. I thought his past with Elena would be very hard to forgive. In fact, I didn’t want her to forgive him, and was rooting for her each time she gave him a piece of her mind. However, I didn’t necessarily want her to stay with Philip either; it was pretty obvious that they weren’t right for each other, and that Elena could not be herself around him (and not just the werewolf bits – her human self too). These kinds of love triangle stories can often be frustrating, but this one was utterly compelling. I understood the reasons why Elena was in too deep with both men, and I also completely understood why she was pulling away from both of them.
In the end, her story wasn’t so much about choosing between two men as learning to accept herself. She tries to deny her werewolf side so much that she doesn’t see she’s denying who she is. It’s not the werewolf in her that makes her argumentative, opinionated and a little wild; that's just Elena. By trying to deny the wolf in her, she also pushes away the home that she loves. It’s only when Elena realises all this that she finally picks a guy, and even then he has a lot of proving to do before she’ll forgive him. And prove himself he does! He's completely dedicated to her, and he won me round in the end too. I do love it when a book can make me change my mind.
The action in the novel is exciting and the story is incredibly addictive. It’s quite gory and graphic at points, and very sexy at others, giving the whole book a sense of wild freedom that suited the werewolf theme. I really believed that it would be both fun and liberating to run as a wolf, and to live as part of the Pack.
Aspects of the story did bother me a little. Paranormal creatures have a tendency to be rich recluses and these ones were no exception. One successful werewolf I can believe, but a huge corporation owner and his playboy son, a man who makes enough from selling one painting to keep an entire private estate going for a year, a successful magazine journalist, and a respected academic... it just struck me as unlikely that all the werewolves would have such enviable lives. I also didn’t understand why every single mutt (non-Pack werewolf) was a sly or half-rabid human-killer, when every Pack werewolf has no interest in killing humans for pleasure. We’re supposed to believe the latter is simply wolf nature, and that it is the human in a werewolf that will make him a murderer, but because there were equal numbers of mutt werewolves to Pack werewolves, this explanation didn't seem convincing. Mutts seemed to be either wolves who did not want to be part of the pack, or ones who were never given the chance because they were not born in the right place. Why these should necessarily be evil killers was beyond me, and it seemed like a slightly convenient ploy to make sure they were not sympathetic characters (as they might have been otherwise).
Still, these were minor points in an otherwise very entertaining novel. This book is fun, sexy and exciting, with characters you’ll want to punch one minute but adore the next, who you will be completely invested in, and who you cannot stop reading about, chapter after chapter, until it’s way past bedtime. Definitely recommended!