Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

The Women of the Otherworld Series

Bantam Spectra Books

Urban Fantasy

ISBN: (13) 978-0-553-80709-7; (10) 0-553-80709-9

Reviewed by Sabella

   

 

“Infusion (1946)”

Malcolm isn’t very happy with his lot in life – so far he’s had to get out from under the shadow of his father’s cowardice and he has yet to father a child.  To make up for this Malcolm has set out to make himself one of the most feared werewolves within the Pack, which he has achieved, but fatherhood still eludes him.  However, when a random encounter with a timid Japanese woman leads to a pregnancy, Malcolm isn’t sure whether to rejoice or be afraid of the humiliation that a mix breed child would bring him.  But when the child is born Malcolm discovers that this child is more than merely mix-race, but something other that scares him even more.

“Infusion” is a dramatic tale that tells the beginnings of Malcolm’s son and explains Malcolm’s constant anger and loathing for the Pack.  It also raises the question of what becomes of Malcolm’s son after Malcolm’s father takes him in.  As an introduction to the men of the Otherworld “Infusion” is a riveting hook that will keep you turning the pages.

 

“Savage (1967)”

When Jeremy found Clayton, he was a wild wolf in the Louisiana bayou.  Clay had gotten a werewolf to bite him and in the following years Clay became almost feral – to the point that he has forgotten what human behavior is like.  However, Jeremy’s patience slowly wins Clay over and Jeremy takes Clay home to Stonehaven and slowly tries, with different degrees of success, how to blend with other humans and how to behave within the werewolf society.

 

Savage” tells the tale of how Clayton came to be a werewolf and why Clay has such unshakeable loyalty to Jeremy.  While this story is told from the first person point of view, Clay is a powerful narrator – one who almost dispassionately tells of all the foibles, almost comical struggles and twisted perceptions of humans and other wolves that he experiences as he grows up under Jeremy’s care.  “Savage” also reveals whom Malcolm’s son grows up to become, although the reader has to be alert as Clay, the narrator, doesn’t know Malcolm’s past so the subject is never addressed directly.  “Savage” is a spectacularly insightful tale that reveals as much about Jeremy as it does about Clay and it’s not a story to be missed by Clay and Otherworld fans!

 

“Ascension (1972)”

Race for the Alpha position within the pack has always been subtle, but there nonetheless – with Malcolm campaigning in backrooms and Jeremy slowly becoming Dominic’s right hand man.  Still, when Dominic dies the question of who would ascend to become pack Alpha is unresolved, splitting the pack in two.  However, Jeremy wants the “contest” resolved in a peaceful manner, while Malcolm advocates a bloody battle for the title.  But as things progress they reach a point of no return and Jeremy needs to decide how much violence he is willing to tolerate in order to become the pack Alpha.

Once again “Ascension” is narrated by Clay in the first person format which gives a lot of insight as to how Clay’s brain operates and how Jeremy slowly comes to terms with the duties that an Alpha must shoulder that are distasteful at best.  This is a wonderful installment, Kelley Armstrong plainly demonstrates her talents as a storyteller and how well developed her characters are.

 

“Kitsunegari (2007)”

Jeremy is in New York with Jamie enjoying a rare weekend together, yet Jeremy is feeling prickly – like someone is watching.  As Jeremy sets out to investigate it leads to some startling discoveries regarding Jeremy’s parentage.  How will he and Jamie cope with this revelation?

“Kitsunegari” is a wonderful tale that finally gives a glimpse of Jeremy’s heritage and begins to explain his strange “instincts” at odd moments.  This story is told from Jeremy’s perspective, also in first person point of view, yet Jeremy turns out to be an entrancing narrator as Clay or any of the women in Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series.

Fans of the Women of the Otherworld series will find Men of the Otherworld to be a mesmerizing group of tales that not only give insight into the men that populate the series, but also gives valuable information on how they came to be who they are when we meet them in the different books of the series.  As a whole, Men of the Otherworld is a fantastic collection that clearly demonstrates the power Kelley Armstrong wields over the written word to the point of wrapping up the reader so completely in the story that is becomes impossible to put the book down until the entire book is read.  Get yourself Men of the Otherworld when you are in the mood for a gripping urban fantasy tale that will keep you reading well past your bedtime!

Note: Parts of the stories in this volume were once available on Kelley Armstrong’s web site as free reads, but have now been compiled and published in one volume with all author proceeds going to World Literacy of Canada.

     

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