From Otherworlds to Fairytales: Kelley Armstrong

One of the hardest things for a compulsive reader to face is running out of good reading material. I very rarely experience this problem, since I am loyal fan of many authors and series which I frequently re-read from beginning to end. However, at the end of September I found myself with a new library card and in desperate need of new sci-fi/fantasy books. With some recommendations in hand, I stumbled upon the shelf with one of my current favorite authors, Kelley Armstrong. I’ve devoured two of her series, and found her newest one mixed in on the library shelf. So now I’m hooked on a third series.

My first introduction to Armstrong was her Otherworld series. This includes 13 books and numerous short stories and novellas. Here is a complex web of tales that blend the supernatural beings (werewolves, witches/spell casters, demons, vampires, and others) seamlessly into our modern world. Each class of supernatural has its own society, and rules; with most hiding in plain sight—which allows for lots of twists and story development. The TV series Bitten on Syfy Channel was loosely based on it. Many of the stories revolve around either:  Elena and Clay Michaels and the werewolves or Paige Winterbourne, Savanah Levine and Lucas Cortez—all spell casters. These books are a wonderful blend of magic, mystery and suspense which lead me to devour the whole series pretty quickly. I was heartbroken when it finished.

The second series I read and re-read is about Nadia Stafford. Now this three-books-and-a-novella series isn’t actually a sci-fi/fantasy series; however they are very well written mystery suspense books with a touch of romance tossed in. The series is all about an unlikely assassin and her hitman mentors. Nadia is a troubled ex-cop wilderness lodge owner who moonlights as a hit woman on the side to make ends meet. Throw in a couple serial killers, some PTSD and threats to our heroine’s life and these are a great read. If you like strong, but flawed main characters; definitely check this out.

My current favorite series by Kelley Armstrong is her Cainsville Series. These are four 400+ page books that I was compelled to attempt to devour in a single day (or some very late nights). In Cainsville, Olivia Taylor-Jones is thrown in to a world (and war) of Fae when she discovers that she’s adopted—and her birth parents are notorious serial killers with Fae blood. There are various factions of Fae vying for Olivia’s attention, some in good ways—most not. With this series, you are sent on the very unsettling journey of discovery along with the main characters.

Armstrong also has several Young Adult series out. Age of Legends explores family, death, evil, and tragedy through two sister’s journey to get home and the decisions they have to make along the way. Ultimately the girls learn about allegiances and the heartbreak of hard decisions. In the Darkest Powers trilogies and Darkness Rising trilogy, Armstrong explores her Otherworld with new unrelated characters through several different young adult’s eyes. What is it like growing up different, with powers that manifest suddenly in your teens?

What are you currently reading?  If you are currently looking for new books, I cannot recommend any of these series enough. Kelley Armstrong builds very believable worlds around unbelievable legends; and helps you have a good time traveling through. Her attention to details, whether it’s the setting or a character’s emotional reaction; really help her novels to be believable with enjoyable stories. Next time you are on the hunt for a new book check out one of these series openers: Bitten (Otherworld), Exit Strategy (Nadia Stafford) or Omens (Cainsville). Here’s to some good Reading.

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