Kelley Armstrong: Stolen

Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2)
Kelley Armstrong
(paranormal romance, urban fantasy)

I’ve never really cared for STOLEN. It’s (I think) the 4th of the series that I read, even though it’s the 2nd book, and I am super glad that I was hooked on the series before I got to this book. If I’d started with BITTEN I might not have gotten past STOLEN.

I have never before tried to figure out why I don’t like STOLEN, however. And this time around – which is only the second time I’ve ever read it, for all that I’ve read some of the others dozens of times – I tried to focus on that aspect. Tried to convince myself that it was just prejudice because I like Paige the best of the narrators and she’s not presented in a very favorable light in this book.

But that’s not it. However, I figured out what it IS.

I don’t like the bad guy. Yes, I know, that’s the point. But I don’t like the way he’s presented. I don’t like how much screen time he gets compared to the good guys. I don’t like having Elena on her own for nearly the entire time, without the other core characters. My favorite part of the series is how well everyone works together. How they each have their own strengths and weaknesses and how all of it ties into the plot. In STOLEN, there is very little of that (visible). The book is more about how Elena deals with this problem, or that problem. Not a lot of collaboration. Not a lot of communication. (Yes, this working together stuff does happen more at the end than during the middle. But I nearly put the book down several times in the middle because of this, so it fixed my main complaint almost too late.)

Another thing I don’t like about the bad guy is his motivation. A rich guy who wants some excitement. Compared to the other bad guys in the series, I think he’s the weakest. (Series spoilers in the rest of this paragraph… you’ve been warned.) I mean, really. You have Winslow, who wants to play games, deadly though they are. On the other hand, you have Edward and Natasha, who want eternal love. You have Kristof, who wants his daughter. You have a group of humans who want to be paranormal. And you have werewolves who want revenge. If you ask me, no matter how deadly Ty’s games are, they are the most minor motivation on this list.

STOLEN does work as a book in the series, and it sets up some great parts of later books. And it introduces a much larger cast of characters than just the Pack, and in such a way that it seems logical and not to avoid getting bored of werewolves. But I still don’t like it.

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