Sequel Review: Frostbitten

FrostbittenTitle: Frostbitten
Series: Women of the Otherworld #10
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Bantam Books (Random House)
Original publication in: 2009

This is U.S. mass market paperback edition.

Date read, first time: May 2011

Chasing a mutt recently immigrated from Australia – Reese Williams – across the United States has landed Elena Michaels in Alaska. There she and her mate, Clayton Danvers, find more pressing concerns than warning Reese against Liam and Ramon: Local girls have gone missing and there are wolf-killings in forests – at least they look like wolf-kills.
As Elena and Clay investigate, Elena also has to deal with the fact that Jeremy has elected her to be the future Alpha of the North American Pack and with dark memories from her past.

Frostbitten is the fourth Elena Michaels book in the Otherworld series and the most difficult one to read. Actually, it is the hardest one to get through in the whole series, I’d say.
I don’t mean the book is boring or ridiculously plotted or shallow or anything like that. It’s Kelley Armstrong. Such things don’t exist.

No, the reason why I found Frostbitten so difficult to get through is because the story is much more personal to the narrator – Elena – than the other books in the series. Those who have read Bitten and Stolen know that Elena has been placed in the foster system after her parents died, and that she has been molested by quite a few foster fathers and brothers.
She has dealt with her issues since then, and I’d like to think that after Bitten, Clay has helped more than anything or anyone could.
Then Elena gets a letter that brings those dark memories to surface. And what happens in Alaska – the missing girls, among other things – also brings the traumatic memories back.

Watching Elena fighting against her fears and dealing with those memories was heart-breaking. It also made me boiling mad – I have never been sexually assaulted before but what happened to Elena happens all the time to all sort of people, and I. Just. Don’t. Understand. How can a human being do such a thing? It’s vile. It’s evil.

Elena Michaels is strong, physically and mentally. And she has Clay at her side, Clay, who understands her better than anyone.
Elena isn’t perfect, and that’s why I like her and the other characters. It’s never a cookie-cutter good vs. evil in these books. The lines are blurred sometimes, and good guys also kill people.
Also, unlike in the previous three Elena books, she is also a mother on top of woman, werewolf, mate, enforcer, journalist and family member. Kate and Logan are adorable but not in an awww-you’re-so-cute! way. They are Clay and Elena’s kids, after all. But I find Kate’s temper and Logan’s stubbornness, and the way they both shout for their parents when they are away just endearing.

And… we have Nicholas and Antonio in Frostbitten! I missed those two so much, they are an integrated part of Elena and Clay, it feels weird not to have Nick and Tonio (and Jeremy) around.

Oh, I almost forgot: I loved the setting of Frostbitten. Yes, it’s Alaska, yes, it’s freaking cold and dark, but I loved how I could imagine the landscape and snowed-in forests and the icy wind cutting through the bones. Maybe it’s because it is so hot right now in Germany.

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