Armstrong, Kelley. Stolen. Toronto: Random House, 2002. 399pp.
What's the demographic for this novel? I really felt that this novel was squarely aimed at a certain type of fan, the fan of Laurel K. Hamilton & those other spooky sexy romance novels. But could it transcend its demographic and find interest for a 44 year old guy? (Or is a 44yog part and parcel of the demo for a sexy horror novel?)
When you get right down to it, it's all adolescent wish fulfillment, to have power in a world that doesn't recognize your specialness, to have secret powers, to be above the morals of mere humans. Even the good characters are more or less amoral killers, I find the Clay character particularly annoying and smug, even the main character, Elena, seemed a bit of an idealized awkward, gawky adolescent goth: tall, skinny, plain, poor fashion sense, not very accomplished in “real” life, snarky and sarcastic but somehow powerful, sexy, ultra-competent and poised. Not to mention, still somehow able to win the affections of the smartest, most competent, best-looking male character.
A quick outline of the plot: the secret werewolf society becomes aware of the larger world of supernatural beings, including witches, half-demons, vampires and others. The attend a meeting of leaders of these groups to assess the dangers of a group of humans that seems to be hunting and capturing various members of the races. Ultimately, Elena is captured and imprisoned by the humans, financed and lead by a rogue billionaire software geek. Eventually, she escapes with some of the other captured supernaturals, and, well, you can guess the rest.
There's some stuff that's wrong with this novel, mostly that it needed to grow up a bit, to get to adulthood, adult characters and adult situations. The series has a lot of potential, potential I would like to see fulfilled. I liked the first episode of the loose series quite a bit, but this one not quite as much. I do look forward to reading more installments to see how the series and the characters grow, even if the series shifts to the less interesting witches rather than the werewolves. A bit of a sophomore jinx is nothing to abandon the series for.