The Women of the Otherworld have many tales to tell. Let’s gather ‘round and listen to some Tales of the Otherworld, by Kelley Armstrong.
Have you ever wondered how lone wolf Clayton Danvers finally got bitten by the last thing he ever expected: love? Or how the hot-blooded bad-girl witch Eve Levine managed to ensnare the cold, ruthless corporate sorcerer Kristof Nast in one of the Otherworld’s most unlikely pairings? Would you like to be a fly on the wall at the wedding of Lucas Cortez and Paige Winterbourne as their eminently practical plans are upended by their well-meaning friends? Or tag along with Lucas and Paige as they investigate a gruesome crime that looks to be the work of a rogue vampire?
Now devotees of the Otherworld can share these special moments with some of their favorite characters – as well as discovering deeper insights into the lives of some of the lesser-known players. But even readers new to the Otherworld universe will find much to love in these seven tales of friendship, adventure, and enduring romance. For when the superhuman men and women of the Otherworld set their minds to a task, they do so with fierce passion and an undivided sense of purpose that make them, in the end, very much human.
The central story of this collection is undoubtably “Beginnings”, the story which at long last tells of how Elena and Clay first met and began their romance. After ten whole volumes, it long past time that this important inciting incident in Elena’s life was revealed. And it doesn’t disappoint: despite the fact that the ending is predetermined, it keeps things interesting and engaging by alternating between the viewpoints of Elena and Clay and exploring their inner thoughts and emotions in depth.
The other lengthy story in the collection is “The Case of El Chupacabra”, a well-done supernatural mystery that centers on the tension between the sorcerer Cabals and vampires. It gives a nice character spotlight to the interactions between Savannah and Cassandra, two characters who I wouldn’t mind seeing more often.
The rest of the stories are much shorter, but a few of them still manage to stand out. “Rebirth” fills in some much-lacking information about how Otherworld vampires work, and “Bewitched” covers the relationship between Eve Levine and Kristof Nast. Both were well worth the read.
The remainder of the tales, however, didn’t impress me much. “Wedding Bell Hell” didn’t have any conflict worthy of the title, “Expectations” was too brief and inconsequential to build up much tension, and basically nothing at all happened in “Birthright” and “Ghosts”. There were also some notable omissions: after those fox maidens were introduced in the previous short story collection, I was expecting them to make a reappearance here; but no, they got nary a mention. And of course, with two stories featuring vampires, I am compelled to mention that Women of the Otherworld could really benefit from a vampire point-of-view character. Say, you know who would be a nice fit for that role? Zoe Takano. Just saying.
Yes, it is obvious by now that she was just a one-shot character who is never going to appear again. No, I am still not going to let it go. Not even for an instant. Even if the one who chooses the destiny of the world, Kelley Armstrong, has abandoned her among the souls that cycle through rebirth in the crevice between heaven and earth. The fragment of glory I must gain, more ephemeral and precious than love, is for Zoe to grace the page again. And so, even if I know that only three novels remain in the series and that a miracle will never occur, with certainty, I still cry to the heavens: oh gods, grant me one more appearance by this character now. Oh, powerless ones, oh tools, farewell, go on… Bon ~Karma~.
Whoops. Think I got my Takanos mixed up for a moment there. In any case, since “Beginnings” and “The Case of El Chupacabra” make up the bulk of the book and are both good, it gets a thumbs-up from me.
Final Rating: 3/5