Daily Archives: March 9, 2015

Review of 13 – Book 13 of the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

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Another Kelley Armstrong book in this well-established and popular series – but this is the finale. So has it sufficiently cranked up the tension so that fans feel it provides a fitting end?

13A sinister cult known as the Supernatural Liberation Movement is hell-bent on exposing the truth about supernaturals to the rest of the world. Their violent, ruthless plan has put everyone at risk, from werewolves to vampires, from witches to half-demons.

Savannah Levine – fiery and unpredictable – stands at the heart of the maelstrom. There is a new, dark magic inside her, granting her the power to summon spells of terrifying strength. But whether this magic is a gift or a curse, no one knows. On the eve of battle, all the major players must come together in a last, desperate fight for survival – Elena and Clay, Adam and Savannah, Paige and Lucas, Jeremy and Jaime, Hope, Eve and more… They are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for their loved ones. They are fighting for the Otherworld.

Firstly, if you have got hold of 13 without reading any of the other books in the series, then don’t. If I were you, I’d give myself the pleasure of going right back to the first book, Bitten, and start from there. However if you simply don’t have the time or stamina to undertake reading the first twelve books, then at the very least read Waking the Witch and Spell Bound. Because unlike Armstrong’s other books in this series – these final three are not standalone stories, they are effectively a trilogy told primarily in Savannah’s first person viewpoint and run on from one to the other. And while occasionally Armstrong tosses the reader a quick resume, it doesn’t happen all that often and you will spend far too much time floundering amid a welter of characters and events you know nothing about. Which would be a real shame.

Unlike the two previous books, 13 takes off right from the start in a whirl of action which doesn’t let up until the very end. Hardly surprising when Armstrong sets out to tie up each of her main characters’ narrative arcs by the end of the book, along with giving us an epic battle. As the blurb makes clear, Savannah is the nexus for most of the action, with occasional third person contributions from the other main protagonists in the series. Does it work? Hm. Not entirely sure… At the time I was so wrapped up in the story, that I was fine with it. But then the house could have fallen down around my ears and I’m not sure I could have pulled away from the book. Because whatever else Armstrong does, she produces books with page-turner appeal as the stakes were raised ever higher and every section of the Otherworld became embroiled in this mad scheme.

Apparently, I’m not the only person who was a tad disappointed that Savannah got to be the star of this final trilogy – many others, like me, wanted to see Elena slink through the action as the Alpha of her pack. However, what I couldn’t deny was that this trilogy gave Savannah the opportunity to mature and grow from the rather bratty, entitled teen she was, to a young woman who was more thoughtful – and above all, far more appreciative of her magic. We also got a resolution to the non-romance bubbling away between Savannah and Adam, although I found this a little rushed as it seemed to unfold in the rare lulls between various bomb explosions, kidnappings, home invasions and cold-blooded plotting.

I also enjoyed Hope’s story arc and the way in which Armstrong managed to braid all the various characters into this last novel and provide them with a fitting end. Any grizzles? Well… I think there should have been just a little more death and destruction – war is a pitiless, messy business and I personally like to end a long-running series with more of a lump in my throat. But that’s probably just the fact I’m a conflict junkie.

All credit to Armstrong, she certainly pulls off a climactic ending to the series – and that’s a whole lot harder to achieve than she makes it look. I’m very glad Himself spotted these books – reading episodes of Otherworld goodness has provided a welcome respite from a damp, gloomy winter.
9/10