I wanted to read Bitten for quite awhile but it wasn't until I heard that the series was being made into a TV show that I really got on top of reading the book. I feel, in some way, that I am scarred from supernatural series because of Laurell K Hamilton. As a side note, Laurell K Hamilton, in some ways, made the adult supernatural side of things relevant. She held her own in a world infused by Twilight lovers (although I'm pretty sure her books came out before Twilight...). But her books had a lot of dislikable characters and quickly devolved into smut with little plot. I was figuring that Bitten would be much of the same. I mean, it's about werewolves! Aren't werewolves known for being happy to have lots of sex? I wasn't so sure I was ready to read another place-yourself-here smut book as I was still recovering from my multiple-Anita-Blake-read-through from the year before.
I can't speak for the rest of this series, as this is only the first book in it, and I've learned they can always go downhill, but I immediately enjoyed Bitten much more than I enjoyed the first Anita Blake book. In comparison the characters were more likable and the plot much more interesting and not as gritty. So let's now move away from the comparison of both authors and focus solely on Armstrong's series.
Elena, our resident werewolf, is the only female werewolf in the world. Women becoming werewolves is unheard of and Elena certainly didn't ask to become one. We get snippets of the life she lived beforehand but some of the information is slow coming, left to surprise you further into the book, or maybe I'm just not that observant. Elena certainly hasn't accepted being a werewolf with grace and when we meet her it's as she has, for the past year, been attempting to appear as human as possible and live a normal life.
Further in we meet her werewolf "family" who I quickly grew to adore. The only let down with this is that Elena discusses, rather randomly, one particular werewolf whom she stayed close to while blocking out the rest of the pack from her life. This werewolf is brought up a few times and then, in my opinion, quickly forgotten. I feel as if the author might have last minute decided to add this character to the story and didn't take the time to put much emphasis into who he was or his relationship with Elena. The rest of the family who is present in the book I really enjoyed reading about. They were all different in their own ways and definitely stood out in their actions (except for Antonio and Nick, whom often had the same "voice" to me, but then again they are father and son so I suppose that makes sense).
The attention to detail when Elena was a wolf really thrilled me. Often, I feel, when authors write about werewolves in their wolf form it's vague and not all that thrilling. But with Armstrong she made the reader be a wolf, see through the eyes of a wolf, and understand the disconnect Elena felt from the human world when she became a wolf. Good, very good.
I found the start of the book a bit sluggish but once I got into the werewolf territory it became more fast paced and it pained me that I had to put it down when I got to work. Towards the end of the book it was horrendous. I was sitting at work, trying to concentrate on my job, but the entire time I knew my kindle was sitting in my bag. Waiting. It was like the torture of a wrapped present left to sit under a Christmas tree with the words "Don't open until December 25th." I wanted to know what happened in the end but I was stuck doing work, silly real world where you have to make money so you can afford these books, and couldn't just read to my heart's content.
I added the next book to my read list but the description doesn't sit well with me. It looks sort of boring, to be honest, but maybe I'm just gun-shy because I've experienced this before: where the first book is great and I love it and I want more only to be disappointed by the future books. I'm going to give it a go when I have the chance, read the next book and see how it works, but I'm not holding high hopes for it. If I dislike the second book at least I have the first that I can return to and reread in the future.