Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a world where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her-her temper, her violence-but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.
So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.
Bitten is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series. This book is told from the perspective of Elena Michaels, the world’s only female werewolf. The reason that there are no female werewolves is that the werewolf gene is passed down through the males. But there’s a loophole: a person can become a werewolf if they’re bitten, which is exactly what happened to Elena ten years ago. Since being bitten, she’s been living with the Pack. There is only one Pack, and no other werewolves may form their own pack. They’re really picky about who they let in, and they make sure the other loner werewolves (referred to as “mutts”) toe the line and don’t expose the rest of them.
The person who bit her was her boyfriend, Clay. She and Clay were crazy in love before he turned her and she found out what he was. I think it’s a bit of an understatement to say that she was shocked. And, once the shock wore off, she was furious. I’m glad Armstrong didn’t gloss over that bit. Too many heroines just shrug that sort of life-altering bit of jackassery from their boyfriends. So, for a good long while, Elena hated Clay with a passion. But it’s been ten years, so she’s (mostly) gotten over it. But she and Clay have always had a tumultuous relationship, where they did that whole make-up-to-break-up thing. But Elena eventually decides that enough is enough, and she leaves the Pack to live a normal life. And she does. For a whole year, Elena rocks the Average Jane look and she meets a nice, normal Average Joe. They have a nice, calm, healthy relationship. But then the shit hits the fan when she gets a phone call from Jeremy, the Pack’s alpha. He needs her back in New York to help them take care of the threat being presented by a group of mutts who are making a power play. See, as well as being the only female werewolf, Elena is also an enforcer. This basically means that it’s her job to deal with any errant mutts, sometimes using lethal force if necessary. Elena is not happy about heading back to New York. She was hoping that she’d left that all behind her. It’s not that she doesn’t want to help, but her helping means she’ll have to be in close contact with Clay again.
I liked that Elena was a very no-nonsense female character. She was extremely capable, and didn’t hesitate when it came to doing what needed to be done. I liked that Clay acknowledged that Elena could take care of herself, and that he didn’t get all uber protective over her. I also like how action packed this book was. There was rarely a dull moment. But, with all that said, I struggled with this book. I didn’t really like Elena. I mean, I liked that she didn’t pull the wilting flower routine, but I found her willingness to engage in hanky-panky with Clay while she’s got someone waiting at home for her a bit… blegh. Infidelity in a book for any reason doesn’t really sit well with me, especially when the person being unfaithful barely gives their partner a second thought. Like, I understood to an extent. She and Clay had chemistry and a history, and still loved each other deep down, but some bloody common courtesy shouldn’t have been too much of a problem.
So, in short, this book isn’t going to go down as one of my all time favourites. But that’s okay because the second book in the series, Stolen, made up for it.