Driven, by Kelley Armstrong
Published January 2016 by Subterranean Press
With Driven, Kelley Armstrong returns to her Women of the Otherworld series for the first time in four years. This entry in the series focuses on Elena, adjusting to her roles both of mother and of Alpha to a werewolf Pack, as she leads an investigation into a serial murderer that’s started to attack other lycanthropes. The Elena we see here is a far cry from the reluctant werewolf that Elena was when the series started, and it was really enjoyable to see her slide into these roles and perform them in a way that readers wouldn’t have expected from previous characters that have held that role.
Another family-related element of the story that was really striking was the interaction between Clay and Malcolm, the man who in many ways was a father to him. Malcolm’s shadow has hung over Clay since the series began, and seeing him come to terms with that made for a very interesting evolution of his character.
Beyond the family elements, the rest of the main plot was a little underwhelming. The Cain clan, the main victims of the killer, have appeared before in the series, but have always been a bit forgettable as antagonists. Ideally, they could have been – they’re organized in such a way that they almost form a dark mirror to the Pack, but none of the individuals in the family stand out as being as interesting as the Pack they seem to try to emulate. Because of this, it was a little hard to have regard for them as victims, which in turn made it difficult to see the killer as an actual threat to the Pack members.
Despite this, for fans of Armstrong’s long-running Women of the Otherworld series, this book will be an absolute delight – it provides for a chance to check in with their favourite wolf pack, and provides a good luck at how much the Pack has evolved since Bitten was released in 2004. If you’re new to the Otherworld book series (even if you’ve come to the characters through the Bitten TV show), you might be better served by jumping in at an earlier point – a new reader would be able to understand the plot of Driven well enough, but a lot of the interactions between Malcolm, Clay, and Elena would lack a lot of the emotional impact that it deserves. Then, once you have, come back for this one, because you’ll love it.
(Note: thanks to Subterranean Press for making a copy of this book available for review)