Women of the Otherworld
Release Date - August 3, 2010
ARC - 309 pages
Kelley Armstrong has been one of my favorite authors ever since I picked up Dimestore Magic. After I read that novel, the next time I went to the bookstore I looked for other novels by her. I had seen the phrase "Women of the Otherworld" on the cover, and that gave me a clue that there might be other books....that, and the page with the other book titles lists. LOL. Of course, then I couldn't remember which section I had found her in, but after trolling around the sections I finally found Stolen, Bitten and Industrial Magic. I believe I read them out of order, but since two out of the first four books were about Clay and Elena, and the other two were of Paige and Lucas, it didn't seem to matter too much if I read one before the other. I know I read Stolen before Bitten, and I also read Dimestore Magic and Industrial Magic before Stolen. It all seemed to work out though, LOL.
I was fortunate to be offered an ARC of Waking the Witch for review, so of course I said YES! Please! I'm glad I read this, and so glad it was offered.
Because of all of this out of order reading, I first read about Savannah, this novel's main character in Dimestore Magic. I enjoyed the rather smartassed character of the teen-aged, very powerful young witch. Throughout a lot of the coming books we get to read about Savannah, but Waking the Witch is told from Savannah's point of view.
Savannah is now 21 years old, and is trying to remain a good person, but it's evident that she doesn't quite think like Paige. In fact, one of the things I like about this series is that Ms Armstrong seems to be able to write first person from a variety of character's POV, and each star of each book has her own "voice". Savannah's voice is sarcastic, young and assertive. She's not quite human either, and therefore doesn't have quite the same ethics or morals that humans are supposed to have, though she does work at maintaining some ethics.
In Waking the Witch, Paige and Lucas have finally taken a long vacation. They own an investigations company (Cortez-Winterbourne Investigations) and Savannah has worked as "executive assistant slave" to them for a few years. She's been more than ready to take on a case on her own and finally gets a chance when a half-demon PI named Jesse brings a case for Lucas to look over. Savannah ends up taking the case, agreeing to do the "legwork" while Jesse finishes up another case he's been working on. Savannah goes to a small town, driving there on her hog (a motorcycle, not a bespelled pig - LOL) which of course, brings her to the attention of the town sheriff.
What follows is an interesting mix of urban fantasy and an old-fashioned detective novel. Three women have been murdered in two separate incidents. There are questions about whether the murders are connected, though some are trying to make it seem that they aren't similar at all - though the women were all found in the same spot. There is no lack of suspects either. Suddenly, Savannah meets another man who is also trying to investigate, and the police chief at first wants nothing to do with either PIs. Someone also starts taking shots at Savannah - dangerous things keep happening to her. There are the beginnings of romantic feelings, without overwhelming the story - nicely handled. I find that I still enjoy Savannah's personality - both the grown-up personality in this book, and the previous books' teen-age Savannah.
The story is entertaining. There are some very colorful characters, some intense situations and some comical situations. The dialogue is good, with snarky bits between some of the characters and some touching dialogue with the youngest character in the book. It's been a while since I read a detective style novel - every urban fantasy always has a bit of mystery to them, but this one focused on the detecting of a mystery, with Savannah working out clues, motives, etc. Kind of reminded me of an up-to-date, rather dangerous magical Nancy Drew, but with edge. I liked the mix of urban fantasy and detective novel vibe.
For those who haven't read the novels by Kelley Armstrong yet:
The Women of the Otherworld series has something for every taste - werewolves, necromancers, ghosts, witches. There are 11 novels in the series with each character having more than one novel devoted to them - for example Paige and Lucas are featured in Dimestore Magic, Industrial Magic; Elena and Clay are featured in Bitten, Stolen, Broken; Savannah's mom Eve is featured in Haunted and Angelic; Jaime, a necromancer that is friend to Paige and Elena has a story with Jeremy, the pack leader of Clay and Elena's pack in No Humans Involved; and Hope, a demon has Personal Demon. Everyone is connected in some way. Kelley Armstrong has also published an anthology, Men of the Otherworld that has short stories of Jeremy, Clay and others. I haven't listed all 11 books, but close!
Kelley Armstrong also writes YA - with the series Darkest Powers, the first three have featured Chloe Saunders. The fourth book in the series I believe is going to feature a different character, Maya Delaney. Darkest Powers novels are set in the same world as the Otherworld novels, only they of course, deal with Young Adult characters. I read the first book, The Summoning (first 9 chapters are free under the link) and loved it. I plan to read the next three as soon as I get my hands on them.
The other series that Kelley Armstrong has out is a "straight" fiction series about a hitwomen named Nadia Stafford. I haven't read them, since my first love is urban fantasy - but I might give them a try. There are two books so far, Exit Strategy and Made to Be Broken.
Besides being so generous with excerpts of her novels, Kelley Armstrong also provides online fiction for her fans to read.
It's not necessary to have read all previous 10 novels to enjoy Waking the Witch. This novel stands well on it's own (without a lot of infodumping). It's a good place to start, and then when you find you enjoy this novel, go back and read Bitten - which is the beginning of the werewolves Elena and Clay - or Stolen, which features (if I remember right) Paige, Elena and Eve (Savannah's mom). Any of the novels that feature Paige, will have Savannah in them, as Paige was Savannah's guardian. I found all the novels entertaining, in different ways - some are more intense than others, some are a bit more humorous, some have a touch of romance - but they're all entertaining.