Wolf’s Bane by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 5/5 stars Wolf's Bane.jpg

Pages: 260

Series: Otherworld: Kate and Logan, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifters

 

Warning: there are spoilers in this review for the series that take place in Armstrong’s Otherworld universe. 

 

“Human legends are very important,” I say. “They give us insight into the myriad ways supernaturals unintentionally reveal themselves, forcing humans to invent personal folklore to explain these encounters while also revealing themselves through their fears and desires” (Kate, Ch. 4, p. 33).

I have to admit, my expectations for this novel were pretty high. Thankfully, Armstrong blew all of these expectations out of the water. I loved getting to see one of my favourite worlds from a new look. In this case, it’s from the next generation.

I loved almost everything that went on in this book – whether we’re talking about the supernatural discrimination, the “camping” that’s lacking the outdoors aspect, or the actual supernatural twist to the story. The only thing I didn’t love was the fact that the story ended on such a cliffhanger. (Thankfully Wolf’s Curse comes out in March of 2020!)

If you haven’t read Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series yet – starting with the first book Bitten (review here) – I’d highly recommend that you check these books out first. As well, you should read the Darkest Powers (beginning with The Summoning – review here) and Darkness Rising (beginning with The Gathering – review here) series as they take place in this world at the same time as the WotO series. However, once you’ve read these books, you should definitely jump into Logan and Kate’s story.

 

*Spoilers ahead*

Before getting into the meat of the story, I just have to admit that I’m a nerd and I love all of the pop cultural references littered within this novel. Paige’s cyber coven being call the Sabrinas? Man, that got a chuckle from me right away. Mason making a reference to Scooby Doo and his gang got me reading the passage aloud to my family over Christmas preparations. Armstrong making it seem like Logan was Scooby in the situation was fantastic and I applaud her for it (and only partially because I made my dog dress up as Scooby for Halloween this year).

All in all, I really did enjoy seeing the way that the next generation interacted with each other. It was clear to see that the supernatural prejudices continued to be prevalent with their offspring, but it was nice to see that not everyone was affected. Holly’s a witch and yet she has no problem rooming with and hanging out with a werewolf. Sure most of the campers are still racist against them, but “most” is still better than “all”. It’ll take more than one generation for the prejudices to be dealt with in any meaningful way. I really enjoy the way Armstrong wrote this as it feels very similar to the way this would go in the real world.

I also enjoyed the way that the different Edison Group experiments played a role in this novel. Mason hails from the aftermath of Project Valhalla, and his parents getting out of there before all of the side effects were figured out meant that he didn’t know what to expect. None of the researchers could have possibly fathomed not wanting to have an eidetic memory during your hundreds of years of life so that you can never forget the people that you outlive. It makes Mason trying to hide the fact that he’s got a crush on Logan that much more endearing.

On a complete change of subject, I enjoy the fact that Logan and Kate are both trying to break the mold when it comes to stereotypes associated with the werewolves. Both of them get good grades at school and while Kate is always rearing to defend her pack, neither of them are psychotic like the world would like to believe. They definitely don’t go around wanting to mame others – though Clay doesn’t really like doing it, either. He just knows that it’s a necessary evil and does it so that no one else in his family needs to suffer. It’s also great that Kate wants to be a doctor, regardless of how other supernaturals view her.

I have to wonder whether in Wolf’s Curse it’s going to come out that Allan is actually a trans male. At first I thought that Holly just hadn’t seen his “Team Sorcerer” shirt when they first met, but now I have to wonder if her reaction was because she had no reaction to meeting his eyes. Witches are supposed to recognize sorcerers right away and vice versa, so not sensing this connection would also explain why Hayden calls Allan a witch. Hayden could have made eye contact with Allan and felt that strike of recognition, making the realization that Allan actually had witch blood. It would also explain why Allan tells Kate that he needs to talk to her about something… as soon as they’re not running for their lives.

Armstrong made it very realistic to flip between Kate and Logan’s perspectives and see how each party viewed their strained relationship. Kate felt betrayed because Logan continued to hang out with the boy who cheated on her and the girls who were trying to bully her. Heck, he didn’t even question why she cut herself off from their social circle, just believed that she was over reacting to the situation the way Kate usually does. He felt that she should have brought it up to him if something were really amiss whereas she believed that he should sense something wrong in his twin and ask her about it. It makes sense that she only actually went to Nick about it, the person who’s had a lot of experience in the dating world and never treated her like she was over reacting.

Quick tangent: I can’t tell you how much I loved the casual mention of Nick being married. The playboy who never wanted to settle down has become a real adult with a real relationship. It’s amazing to see the growth that Nick went through, and it all started with agreeing to watch the pups that were taken in by the Pack.

Okay, tangent over, back to Kate and Logan. It was refreshing to see Holly be able to get Kate to open up about her past. It was obvious that Kate was desperate for some female friendship after the catty “friends” she was dealing with at school, even if Holly wasn’t that open about her own life yet. She was also a great plot device in order to give Logan the information about what Brandon had done to his sister. Hopefully that’ll help bridge the chasm that’s slowly been growing between the two of them.

It was also great to see the way that the twins feel about their Pack dynamics. Logan might be the shy one while Kate seems to be more outgoing, but it’s clear that she’s more than happy to stay with her Pack and let others have fun without her. If Kate had it her way, her parents would be right there at the “camp” with them, allowing her the comforts of home with the experience of summer camp.

The final thing I plan on saying about the werewolves is how heartbreaking it was to realize that Elijah’s half brother was Elena’s best friend Logan. It must be really hard for Elijah, thinking he’s snuck into the camp for supernaturals where werewolves aren’t welcome, only to discover that the twins of the Pack Alpha are there as well. Add to that the fact that everything he’s heard about the Pack hasn’t been the greatest – they are responsible for the death of his half brother, after all – and it’s no wonder that Elijah tried to stay away from Logan and Kate as much as possible. Then throw into the mix a heady dose of demon induced hormones and Elijah is making out with Kate instead of trying to stay away from her. It can’t be more complicated than being attracted to the twin of the guy who was named after your dead brother while not even knowing that you exist and you know everything about them.

Thankfully, Elijah seemed to have gotten over that by the end of the novel. Instead, he realized that the right thing to do was to help the twins and Mason off of the pyres that the demon hazed and blood thirsty supernaturals had staked them to. Even if it meant running from Hell Hound and an actual demon. Even if it meant breaking into a seemingly abandoned witch’s cabin in order to escape them. Even if that cabin was littered with human bones.


 

I have to admit, Armstrong sure does write one heck of a cliffhanger! It’s going to be a long wait until Wolf’s Curse comes out, even if it is only 3 months away from now.


 

Related reviews by reviews published: (not initially published or intended read order)

  1. Bitten (Otherworld, Book 1)
  2. Stolen (Otherworld, Book 2)
  3. Dime Store Magic (Otherworld, Book 3)
  4. Industrial Magic (Otherworld, Book 4)
  5. The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1)
  6. The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2)
  7. The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3)
  8. Haunted (Otherworld, Book 5)
  9. The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1)
  10. The Calling (Darkness Rising, Book 2)
  11. The Rising (Darkness Rising, Book 3)

11 thoughts on “Wolf’s Bane by Kelley Armstrong

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