Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, Book 1)

A human's-eye view

In essence, this book is yet another romance novel. It is also therefore a good example of one of the current themes running through modern romantic literature: in order for there to be politically correct sexual tension in stories such as this, the heroine must be strong willed and able to do what she wants. Consequently she must also be absolutely, annoyingly clueless as to what it is she truly wants and who it is she really loves.

In fact, despite our protagonist (I don't think she's a hero) huffily asserting several times to different folks that she's emphatically not saving her lover due to her finally discovering he's the one she truly loves — in the end that's precisely what she does. Methinks the lady doth protest too much? At least this time the author gives her protagonist a legitimate, in-story excuse for her over-emotional, often thoughtless reactions.

I'm not much of a fan of romances. Frankly, many of the genre's conventions irritate the heck out of me — and a whole bunch of them appear in this story. They're nicely hidden under the facade of the werewolf story, and they're not hammered on incessantly, thank goodness… but I can't help but wonder how much better the story would have been without them.

In retrospect, they're pretty obvious: the over-poweringly strong, virile, seductive male lover that sweeps the woman off her feet (in this case literally); the need to get away to find oneself, coupled with the assertion she may not be back — despite everyone knowing she can't help herself and will come back eventually; the (in this case supposedly genetic) helplessness and powerlessness of women compared to men; the last-minute rescue of the lover by the woman, due to figuring out he's the one she truly loves; and finally my least-favorite convention of all: the unintentionally cruel, unceremonious dumping of the previous lover — the one who's intelligent, undemanding, kind, non-obsessive, thoughtful, and straightforwardly honest about really loving her.

A plot's-eye view

Further, in a story where the protagonists are beautiful, powerful, fast-healing, extremely long-lived shape-changers… were the psionics really necessary? Wasn't just being werewolves sexy enough?

My final issue concerns simple tactical thinking. Consider: all the non-Pack werewolves are isolated and alone, living at the whim and mercy of the Pack. The supercilious Pack never allows them to establish a territory, but rather drives them out of their homes or kills them whenever any one of the mutts seems to be settling down. The poor mutts are forced to live very un-wolf-like existences — constantly destitute and solitary, always furtively looking over their shoulder, knowing they're condemned to death if they ever annoy a Pack member.

Thus the mutts end up with very difficult lives, and the Pack, for its own purposes, makes it even harder for them. That being the case, it seems extraordinarily shortsighted of the Pack's members to not realize a desperate revolution would eventually be inevitable.

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