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Everyone who reads my reviews knows that I have a penchant for all things spooky and supernatural.
I esspecially love Kelley Armstrongs "Women of the Otherworld" series, for her fantastic storylines, and strong female characters.
I was a little disapointed with her second to last book (Personal Demon), so was a little wary when reading her new release "Living with dead".
I neednt have worried.
"Living With the Dead" (released this year) is part of Kelley Armstrongs "Women of the Otherworld" series.
Kelley Armstrong is a Canadian fiction writer, born in 1968, and is best known for her supernatural fiction, involving all things creepy (werewolves, vampires, witches, you name it.)
Other books in the series include;
~Dime store magic (2004)
~Industrial Magic (2004)
~No humans involved (2007)
~Personal demon (2008)
The "Women of the Otherworld" book are generally narrated by a different character in each book. This is part of what makes the series so enjoyable for me. I love the familiarity of the Otherworld universe, and adore the references to past characters, but I also like learning about new people, and seeing things from a different perspective.
"Living with the Dead" is slightly different to previous books in the series. Its narrated by four different characters, showing four different sides to the same story.
Robyn Peltier is very human, and very sad. Recently widowed after her lovely husband was tragically murdered, she ups sticks to LA to start a new life.
There, she works as a PA to Paris Hilton-alike Portia.
When Robyn is framed for a muder she definetly didnt commit, she runs to the only people who can possible help her-her best friend Hope Adams, and Hopes boyfriend Karl.
The plot thickens as Robyn is chased by the real murderer, as well as a cop who has links to Robyns past.
It was incredibly interesting to read the book from four different narrators (Robyn, Hope, a policeman named Finn, and a young girl named Adele). Rather than complicating the plot, or making the narrative disjointed, it bought the whole story together, and allowed fragments to be given bit by bit, so you piece the story together as you go.
This was one of those books where everything becomes clear at the end, which was incredibly satisfying.
Saying that, I was at no point confused by the plot. Its an enjoyable mystery. You arent left wondering what the hell is going on at any point. Everything is given away at exactly the right time.
The overall feeling that I got was that this was a really well planned novel. Like everything had been thought out really carefully, so that it came together like a puzzle at the end.
The characters were wonderful.
In my review of the previous book in the series "Personal Demon" I voiced some displeasure toward the character of Hope Adams. I didnt feel like the character was capable of carrying a book, and found her rather dull.
Not so in "Living with the dead". Hope becomes far more interesting, and I think its because we can see her through the eyes of her best friend Robyn.
Robyn herself was a wonderful character, and her plight really struck a chord with me. The murder of her husband, and the aching absence he left behind in her life was really poignant. I truly felt for her, and found myself rather choked up several times.
Its not very often that I have read about someone being widowed young in a book, and it really stuck me how terribly sad it would be.
The character Adele was pure genius. I felt really strongly about her, and found her motivations and choices incredibly interesting. She acted in a way that was completely alien to most social guidelines and morals, and I thought it was a really brave character to write.
Some of the things she did really left a nasty taste in my mouth, but I still admired the authors balls in delving into such contraversial subjects.
Im being purposefully vague here. If you want to know more, obviously, you have to read the book. Unfortunatly, I cant give too much away, as it would ruin it, and it would be a terrible shame.
The one character that I found fault with was Finn, the policeman. I never really learned enough about him to become interested or involved. He seemed a bit dull, and a bit one dimensional.
Pretty much how I felt about Hope in the previous novel. To be fair to the author, there really wasnt much more information that could be packed in the book without making it over wordy and too long, so perhaps thats why the character of Finn isnt particularly involved.
The plot was fanastic. As I said before, I loved the way that the book gives you info piece by piece, until the end when everything comes together. The plot had a definite beginning middle and end, and everything was tied up very nicely in the climax. I wasnt left wondering, or wanting more. I felt it was a good place to finish, and I was content to leave the story there.
As always with Kelley Armstrongs novels, there was a real sense of history and background as far as the *Otherworld* history was concerned.
I loved reading more about where certain supernatural races fit into the world. It was also very interesting to read a human perspective on the supernatural world. Robyn is a very normal human girl, and its lovely to read how she deals with learning about this whole other side to a world that she didnt really know anything about.
On the whole, this was a fantastic read. Incredibly enjoyable, pacy, interesting, exciting, sad, and ultimately satisfying.
The language is contemporary and funny, the relationships are realistic, the characters are well thought out, and the plot is incredible.
Definetly pick this up, even if you havent read any of the previous books in the series. I think it works just fine as a standalone novel, and the otherworld history is explained well enough so that it wouldnt be confusing.
Where can I buy it?
Here, for £9.89.
Visit Kelley Armstrongs website here.