[REVIEW] Frostbitten – Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong
Frostbitten (Otherworld, Book 10)
Random House (US & CA: 29th September 2009); Hachette Orbit (UK: 1st October 2009; AU: November 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Elena Michaels and the American Pack know that recent emigrant Reese Williams is being framed by his allies. Running from Elena makes it hard to tell him, so she follows the Antipodean to Alaska, a state no stranger to wolves…and perhaps not to werewolves and other beasties, either. Soon Elena discovers traces of new scents – other breeds of animal. But tracking down who’s responsible for the missing girls, the dead Pack member, and who knows what else requires more than one wolfy investigator. It’s time to call in the Pack.

Elena and Clay Danvers are on this mission without their three-year-old twins, who are with their grandfather and his lady friend. And these are no ordinary kids – they jump out of a second-storey window and escape with nary a scratch. This examplifies why I generally don’t connect with mothers as lead characters – because the kids are always precocious. No child is average; they’re super-smart and physically gifted, too. Is there wish fulfillment going on? Of course no parent wants to admit that their kid is kind of stupid, but in fiction stupid children don’t exist…well, they don’t if their parents are the protags.

Also, no one in this series really seems to have a full-time paying career. Elena sometimes writes for Canadian Press. Clay sometimes gives anthropology lectures. Jeremy sometimes does art. Jaime sometimes tours. Really, Hope Adams seems to be the only person with an everyday job that she actually does. How the others can afford to keep a roof over their heads, bills paid and food on the table is beyond my tiny comprehension. Supernaturals are loaded? Well, bugger me.

Danya Podrova is minor, but his surname confuses me. If the Ukrainian naming system is anything like its Russian counterpart, his surname should be Podrov – without the A. If he had a sister, she’d be Podrova, but not a man. I may be wrong, but if I’m right, this mistake has passed over quite a few heads on the way to publication. Who’s the right person to contact to see about getting this changed in a future edition?

Frostbitten is definitely the best of the latter Otherworld novels released. The witches/sorcerors/demons books have never really grabbed me the way the werewolf ones have. And considering that the last Otherworld book I read was the disappointing Men of the Otherworld anthology, Frostbitten is the perfect book to re-engage readers who may have fallen off the wagon. Not only that, but the new species of animal featured here are bloody fascinating, and there are some fantastic new characters, too. Reese is Australian, and is keeping his past a secret. He’s a buff, blond, twenty-year-old who looks like a surfie and has a name to match. (Generally, his name should be spelled Rhys, the Welsh way, but you know what surfers and bogans and whatnot are like with their spelling…) And we meet another Canadian – Morgan Walsh is a Newfie. Also cool is news of a Russian Pack, and expect to see Noah Albright return.

And protag Elena is awesome. Okay, so I question her taste in men, because Clay’s always pissed me off, but other than that, she’s pretty darn cool. She’s Canadian, and so provides a refreshing viewpoint, though she spends most of her time in the US. However, sometimes it seems as if Canadians are looked down upon by their more popular neighbours: One advantage to being a Canadian journalist is that Americans don’t expect you to know the rules. Nah, I think journalism’s pretty the same internationally, except in some censored countries. Also, you know this is the US when Elena purchases a weapon, and… the leftist humanitarian in me was appalled, while the warrior in me, heading into battle, was happy that she didn’t need to fill out paperwork and wait six weeks for a license. Turns out she didn’t need the weapon after all, but like that’s ever stopped anybody purchasing one…

10 responses to “[REVIEW] Frostbitten – Kelley Armstrong

  1. What? Clay has always pissed you off? Okay, I have to get this one! So psyched to see this review. I love the Elena stories. OMG, I want it RIGHT NOW!!!

  2. I agree with parts of your review but not all.

    I think it was her best novel since Industrial Magic. It flowed well, it was gripping and the story held up.

    I do have a few quibbles about your review. Re the name Reese. I don’t know about in Australia or Canada but spelling it “Reese” rather than “Rhys” is more common here in the US. You see both spellings but the one Kelley used is more common here. Obviously, that may not be true in Australia.

    As for the salary and working thing, well, if you have read the first two books in the series and the anthology, then you have the explanation. I find it believable.

    As for the kids, well, I disagree with your perception of the ones in this series. I do agree with you overall though.

    Overall, I enjoyed Frostbitten. It moved the series along nicely, the new and returning characters were interesting and the developments have potential.

  3. For getting the last name changed, I’d try to e-mail something to the editor.

    I hope my library gets this one soon. I’m a little behind in this series; I just bought the newest paperback.

    (And as an American, I’ve never expected Canadians to be that different. Of course, I’m in Texas and don’t really have to worry what Canadians are like as I don’t have much contact with them.)

    I think for Clay and Jeremy at least it’s because of the extended life span. Like you have to work a normal life span, but then you can live off of your retirement and part time jobs.

    And Jaime may only tour periodically, but I’d think she makes good money considering the TV appearances and everything.

  4. I am looking forward to reading this one. Hopefully soon! Thanks for the review.

  5. I’ve asked a Russian lass here at work, and apparently, Ukrainian names don’t have a gender, unlike her native Russia. So technically, Armstrong is right.

    Speaking of names, I went to uni with a lass whose brother’s name was ‘Reese’. In this case, I don’t think spelling is overly important.

    Thanks for the review! Though I will be waiting for it to come out in paperback.

  6. Who gets the black cover? That one’s the best of the three.

    I haven’t read any of this series yet (shame on me). I have a few, though, so it’s just a matter of time.

  7. Too true, Tez. At least where book marketing is concerned. I usually prefer the UK covers to the US ones. Usually. We get some good ones sometimes, but the bleaker ones definitely draw me.

  8. I can see why Clay has always pissed you off, but I think he is a fanatastic well rounded character with a story, drop dead gorgeous (and doesnt know it!), and a book worm to boot *swoon*!!

    Have you checked out Armstrong’s free online fiction tho? Defiantly worth a read if you love the series. You can check out my blog post on it here: http://bit.ly/Jj1J8y

    Great post 🙂

    Love Rie x

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