This is going to be a tough review for me to write. I have been reading this series since the first book, Bitten, was published in 2001. I was immediately drawn in by Kelley Armstrong's strong writing and unique voice, specifically how it related to shifters and the whole shifting process. I have always been very fond of strong female writers in the horror industry, and specifically it they are Canadian. Kelley Armstrong not only fit this bill, but she also lived in Toronto, which was almost like being my neighbor at that time (I lived in Hamilton). I felt an immediate kindred with her before even reading her books, but her writing hooked me from the first page.
My skin stretches. The sensation deepens and I try to block the pain. Pain. What a trivial word - agony is better. One doesn't call the sensation of being flayed alive "painful".
...and that's just a taste of her descriptive and engaging writing style.
The physical appeal of this new release is amazing! The cover is a stunning black and red artistic offering with a vellum type dust jacket overlay that I couldn't keep myself from stoking continuously once it was finally in my eager hands.
I have to be honest, when I first started reading 13 I was highly disappointed...it was clear very early on (from comments direct from the author) that 13 would not be told from Elena's point of view. I was really hoping the story would return to Elena, obviously so were many others. I thought for sure I was going to hate this final book and that the whole series was going to be ruined for me. I am one of "those fans" who was annoyed early on by the swapping of character viewpoints in books 3 and 4 and so on. It took me a long time to get to know these new characters and enjoy their stories, but eventually I got used to the way it was going and I think in the future a re-read of the series will help me enjoy everything in a more fulfilling way.
But I digress...
Upon seeing Savannah was going to be the star narrator I almost didn't read the book. Of all the characters I have had a hard time getting to know Savannah. To be fair...I haven't read the last 2 books in the series because they were Savannah books. I am going to have to rectify that soon.
13 is a FABULOUS ending to this wonderful series that has been such a big part of my life for just over a decade. Even though Savannah was the main narrator in the book, almost every important character (in my opinion) made some kind of appearance, and it was more than enough to keep me happy. And I actually enjoyed reading from Savannah's perspective. It is abundantly clear that she has grown and matured and takes things much more seriously than she did when she first appeared on the scene. And in usual Kelley Armstrong fashion, this book is a complete treat to read as her writing style is just as descriptive (maybe too descriptive) and witty as ever.
It was a little overwhelming in spots, so much going on, so many characters, I sometimes felt a little lost...but i guess that is to be expected when you are trying to tie all things together.
It's been a while since I read some of Kelley's adult fiction, so I forgot how brutal and gory her scenes came sometimes be. It was shocking at first, but then I started to remember how it often goes, and as is common in final installments, blood has to be spilled, and people need to die. It's just how it goes.
If you haven't read Kelley's Women of the Otherworld books yet your are truly missing out. I suggest you dig in now, and if you do, let me know. I would love a re-reading buddy!