I loved Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series – I think I had read some of the Sookie Stackhouse novels when I read this one but while I lost interest in Sookie, I kept coming back to Armstrong’s diverse (from a magical power perspective) cast of characters. Now, I may mostly talk about Toby Daye and Kate Daniels, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten about the Otherworld. These were really my starter series that got me interested in other women written urban fantasy series.
I have read a few of her other books as well, but don’t follow her religiously so I was very pleasantly surprised the other day when I discovered she had a written a spin off YA duology about Clay and Elena’s twins. Who are now 16. And off to an inaugural summer leadership camp for supernaturals.
This is a duology but it’s basically kind of pointless to talk about these two books separately – Wolf’s Bane ends on a cliff hanger, and while Wolf’s Bane gives some answers as far as the “what is going on,” the why’s aren’t revealed until Wolf’s Curse. Basically, if you only read the first book, you will end a fun, engaging ride on a cliffhanger but be completely unfulfilled. If you start with the second book, you will have no clue what is even going on as you receive a lot of answers to mysteries created in the previous novel.
It’s been such a long time since I had read the original novels that I had forgotten that the werewolves were the odd men out in this supernatural world – relatively rare, viewed suspiciously as predators, feared by the witches, sorcerers, necromancers and half demons who are all much more common (I blame the heavy shifter focus of the Kate Daniels novels for clouding my memory) – basically, the only thing they have in their favor in the prejudiced views of the majority of the supernatural community is that they aren’t vampires, the other supernatural predator species. Even though Elena is respected within the alliance she and Paige built, werewolves are still feared, and when this leadership camp idea takes off the ground, it is quickly filled with no spot left for the teen wolves. As the novel begins, two slots have opened, so Kate and Logan agree to go for their mother to represent the werewolves, and maybe help change some prejudices and misconceptions about their supernatural species.
As twins, Kate and Logan were incredibly close as children but now in their teens and in high school, they are feeling themselves drift. There is a distance between them. The two novels explore the twins as they reevaluate their own identities both as individuals and in relation to each other. Much like people view their parents as brains (Elena) and psychopathic brawn (Clay), the twins have also put these labels on themselves, with Logan taking after Elena and Kate taking after Clay (without the psychopath label; she is merely the weird girl – which worked well in middle school but is making high school hell). However, away from home, it gives them the chance to take a look at those labels and realize that they are reductive.
Of course, being set in the Otherworld universe, these discoveries aren’t made in a fun and normal camp environment during planned activities. Within only hours of arrival, Kate and Logan realize there is something decidedly odd. Being their mother’s children, they also quickly make friends and alliances with a group of more open minded campers (a witch, a sorcerer, a half demon with a secret and another mystery camper who is less friend but dislikes the other campers more than them) so when shit starts hitting the fan, their small group of 6 is left to figure out what is going on and hopefully save the day.
On Armstrong’s website, she has the series marked as complete so I am not sure if she plans to go back and write more about the next generation of the Otherworld. Kate and Logan are the oldest so the next children still have some time before Paige’s son might have a romantic interest but with the introduction of Holly, Allan and Mason, she has a few other characters to explore that are part of the new generation. I definitely won’t say no to more, especially if we continue to have a decent amount of adult cameos and references to some of the outcomes from the main series.