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Stolen: Women of the Otherworld #2    by Kelley Armstrong order for
by Kelley Armstrong
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After dealing with an 'unfriendly take-over' attempt by Mutts, Pack werewolf Elena Michaels is back on the job keeping tabs on anything that might alert humans and other enemies to the existence of werewolves. This time she's on her way to Pittsburgh to check out a suspicious ad that's 'selling information' about werewolves.

Paige and Ruth Winterbourne are two witches desperate to alert Elena and her Pack to a danger that not only threatens werewolves but all supernatural beings living among the human race. Placing the bogus ad was the only way they could gain the elusive werewolves' attention, since all other overtures had been ignored. Initially Elena is highly skeptical about their claims of other supernatural beings. But that skepticism is short lived when Ruth provides a small demonstration of her skills and reminds Elena that she'd never believed werewolves existed either -- until she was Bitten and Changed.

The witches reveal that various species of supernatural beings have been imprisoned in a privately funded and secret compound in Maine, where their individual powers are being studied in an attempt to 'bottle' the results for human consumption. Some of the 'specimens' who outlived their purpose, have been hunted to death by the facility's financier, Ty Winsloe. He's particularly interested in capturing Elena. As the only female werewolf in existence, he believes she'd provide ultimate hunt.

A group of commandos, led by a turncoat half-demon, have followed the women to their rendezvous point. They close in, but not before Elena gets word to Pack Alpha Jeremy, and her mate Clayton, who would rather die than see her fall into the hands of humans. While Jeremy and Clayton devise a way to rescue Elena, she learns first hand the full scope of what's going on at the secret facility, while at the same time discovering much more about the other prisoners and their particular talents.

This is newcomer Kelley Armstrong's very strong second entry in her Women of the Otherworld series. The plot - including an evil Bill Gates clone who thinks money can buy anything - isn't new. What makes this story outstanding are the characters, particularly Elena and her no holds barred attitude. Armstrong introduces plenty of new characters in Stolen, most of them supernatural and all of them compelling (even the minor walk-ons) and gives these beings an equally engaging mythology.

Fortunately, the author has deliberately left plenty of dangling plot threads, ones that should see this highly original new Women of the Otherworld series continue for a good long time, and gain many followers.

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