Sunday, January 4, 2009

Review - "Men of the Otherworld" by Kelley Armstrong

As a curious six-year-old, Clayton didn’t resist the bite—he asked for it. But surviving as a lone child-werewolf was more than he could manage—until Jeremy came along and taught him how to straddle the human-werewolf worlds, gave him a home…and introduced him to the Pack. So begins this tantalizing volume, featuring three of the most intriguing members of the American Pack—a hierarchical founding family where bloodlines mean everything and each day presents a new, thrilling, and often deadly challenge. For as Clayton grows from a wild child to a clever teen who tests his beloved mentor at every turn, he must learn not only to control his animal instincts but to navigate Pack politics—including showing his brutal archnemesis, Malcolm, who the real Alpha is....
Men of the Otherworld is the tenth volume in Kelley Armstrong’s popular Otherworld urban fantasy series and the first featuring just the men from the werewolf novels. As the author explains in her Introduction, the book is a collection of stories that first appeared online on her website and includes Infusion, Savage, Ascension and a new story narrated by Jeremy. Originally intended as a free gift to her readers, she is now “re-gifting” all profits from the book to World Literary of Canada. Another volume planned for 2010 called Tales of the Otherworld will also donate its profits.

Men of the Otherworld could be considered Clay’s pre-Elena biography - growing up with his mentor Jeremy. It is also a fascinating study of the Otherworld werewolf culture. If you prefer novels, don’t let the fact that it is a collection of stories dissuade you because it reads seamlessly as a novel. The book is constructed of two long sections; the first, Savage is set in 1967 when Jeremy first encounters the feral child Clay and adopts him, and the second, Ascension recounts Clay's adolescent life from 1972 through to adulthood. These sections are nicely book-ended by Infusion set in 1947 which introduces Jeremy’s father Malcolm and the mysterious circumstances surrounding Jeremy’s birth and concludes with the Jeremy/Jaime story Kitsunegari, set in 2007 where Jeremy learns the truth about his origins and special non-werewolf abilities.

Armstrong explores both the larger events and powerplays of Pack politics as they evolve over the years, but also provides an intimate look at the life of werewolves and their essential non-human nature as reflected here by Clay -
At school, our classroom had a small rodent zoo consisting of two rabbits, three hamsters, a litter of baby gerbils and a guinea pig. At first, I'd thought the teacher was raising snack food, which impressed me, being the first sign of intelligence she'd shown, Soon, though, I'd figured out the animals' true purpose and left them alone, though I would never understand the appeal of petting and coddling perfectly good food.
As you might expect Men of the Otherworld is loaded with testosterone as much of the story recounts the ongoing rivalry and plotting for the position of alpha. These are the events that shaped Clay and Jeremy into the complex and beloved characters that we see in the earlier novels. The concluding Jeremy/Jaime story adds a welcome softening of the harsher tale that comes before and nicely reconnects us with the present Otherworld universe. Men of the Otherworld is a must read for fans of the Otherworld series providing fresh insights while delivering exciting action. New readers can pick up and enjoy this without prior experience with the series and returning readers will appreciate the richly expanded Otherworld history.

Author and Book Showcase
Official Kelley Armstrong Website

Bantam Books
Published: January 27, 2009
ISBN #: 9780553807097
Pages: 384

Women (and Men) of the Otherworld Series

  1. Bitten (Elena)
  2. Stolen (Elena)
  3. Dime Store Magic (Paige)
  4. Industrial Magic (Paige)
  5. Haunted (Eve)
  6. Broken (Elena)
  7. No Humans Involved (Jaime)
  8. Personal Demon (Hope & Lucas)
  9. Living with the Dead (Hope&Lucas, Robyn&Finn)
  10. Men of the Otherworld (Clay & Jeremy)
  11. Frostbitten (Elena & Clay) Nov 2009
  12. Tales of the Otherworld (2010)

Frostbitten [2009]


  1. Thanks for the review.

    It seems like this series has exploded in the past year, even though she's been writing it for quite some time. I read Dime Store and Industrial magic and wasn't totally in love with them.

    I do really like how multi-dimensional she's made her universe though.

    Bitten is sitting on my shelf though, and I've been told that I will enjoy it. If it invigorates, I might check out some of the other titles.

  2. I haven't had a chance to get hold of this yet but I love Kelley Armstrong. My favourite book of hers is Broken. I was actually afraid of that one! The whole Jack The Ripper thing made it seem more real to me but I thought it was a fantastic read. Can't wait to get my hands on this one. Clayton is a wonderful character.

    Georgia xx

  3. Georgia it's been awhile since I read Broken (several years) but I always like the werewolf stories. I like how Kelley has a whole cast of characters in her universe and different books feature different perspectives.


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