STOLEN is the second book in Kelley Armstrong’s-Women of the Otherworld series. Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf in existence, wants to lead a normal life ( or as close to normal as a ‘made’ female werewolf is able) with her mate and family, but a group of ‘researchers’ and the billionaire who heads the institute, have other plans for Elena and the world of supernatural beings.
Following a lead on a story about werewolf sightings, Elena is introduced to Paige and Ruth Winterbourne, mother and daughter witches who sit on the Council for Supernatural Beings. As surprised as Elena is, that such a council exists (let alone witches), she is more surprised to find out that the ‘supernatural’ are hunted by billionaire Ty Winsloe, and then experimented upon and held in custody for his own personal collection.
After a failed kidnapping attempt by Winsloe’s men, Elena and the Pack make a decision-it is time to meet the Council of Supernatural Beings and find out what they know about Winsloe and his compound of vigilante hunters. Jeremy Danvers (Pack alpha) and his adopted son Clayton (Elena’s mate) make an appearance alongside Elena at the emergency Council meeting, where we are introduced to Adam Vasic (a half-demon whose powers involve fire) and Cassandra, a vampire who has eyes for Clay. The reader knows, we will see these characters at a future date, with stories of their own.
When Elena is abducted and held prisoner at the compound, she realizes she isn’t alone. Ruth Winterbourne and an assortment of other supernatural beings are already imprisoned, trying desperately to communicate with one another. But it isn’t until Ruth dies under mysterious circumstances, and Elena is introduced to Savannah Levine, a young and powerful 12 year old witch, that she makes the decision to attempt freedom.
Meanwhile, following several ‘physical exams’ and a threat against her mate, Elena becomes aware of one of the true reasons behind her abduction-to ‘make’ another werewolf. Sondra Bauer, a compound examiner and scientist, has injected herself with saliva, procured from one of the physical exams. Without the aid of a Pack, Sondra’s change to werewolf is anything but successful-her body is unable to handle the many changes and when attempting to escape, she is killed by the very guards-she once controlled.
We are introduced to several supernatural characters including demons Xavier Reese and Leah O’Donnell, a chameleon shifter Armen Haig, and vampire Aaron Darnell, someone from Cassandra’s past and recent present. Using Paige’s witch powers and an attempt at telepathic communication, Jeremy and Clay are able to contact Elena, but Clay refuses to believe that Paige has any telepathic powers, beyond her ability to irritate. When the connection is broken, Elena becomes distraught and through dreams, she is able to connect with Clay, only to see, he too, is suffering without his mate and lover.
Ty Winsloe, is a sadistic collector of the supernatural, and when his ‘projects’ no longer serve any purpose, his pits Elena against a few of the failures. Hoping to learn more about the werewolf physiology, and her ability to shift, Winsloe continues to antagonize Elena with pictures of an injured werewolf and talk of her ‘dead’ mate. She soon realizes that Clay and the others have tried unsuccessfully to rescue her, and she is now determined, to free herself from the compound and its’ band of vigilante warriors.
Following her bid for freedom, Clay and Elena must return to the compound to rescue Savannah and the others. Savannah is a powerful witch and they soon realize she is one ‘being’ that could very well, control many of the people with a few words and a look. We see the introduction of Adam to Savannah, a foreshadowing of many storylines, and the escape of Leah O’Donnell, a demon that will surface again in a future book. But, all is not lost, when Clay and Elena make the final move against Winsloe and his crew at the compound. One by one, each member of Winsloe’s team is ‘removed’ from duty and meets his demise at the hands or ‘paws’ of either a demon or wolf.
I can’t say enough about Kelley Armstrong’s-Women of the Otherworld series. I found this series, purely by accident, while looking for something in the paranormal genre. As a fellow Canadian, I was excited and thrilled to read such an exciting series of novels and characters, and one that didn’t follow the usual vampire/werewolf storylines. I am saddened that Kelley is ending her Otherworld series in 2012, but with her continued novellas and anthologies, Elena, Clay and the other werewolves, will continue to be some of my favorite characters and Kelley one of my favorite authors.
Review by Sandy