In Review: Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

Released: 4/13/10  400 pages
Publisher: Bantam 
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0553807882

First time in print, but not the first time fans have seen the stories, the Tales of the Otherworld is a compilation of short stories previously published on Kelley Armstrong’s website.
Packaged together they work beautifully together. And if the reader was not familiar with the website they were an extra treat. Though none of the stories impact much of the series, they do give a little behind the scenes look at some of the lives of Ms. Armstrong’s beloved characters.  Most of the stories strengthened the love for the characters. The stories were originally written as a Thank you to her fans, and as fans kept requesting them in a book, she finally complied, making sales go towards World Literacy of Canada.
 The anthology includes: Rebirth (the story of how Aaron became a vampire), Bewitched (the story of how Eve and Kristof Nast coming together), Birthright (Logan’s discovery of his werewolf ancestry), Beginnings (how Elena and Clay got together), Expectations (an early investigation by Lucas), Ghosts (events during Bitten, when Jeremy sends Elena and Clay to Toronto and remains at Stonehaven), Wedding Bell Hell (Paige and Lucas's wedding), and The Case of El Chupacabra (a case Lucas and Paige investigate for Sean Nast).
In Rebirth we find Aaron working with Cassandra and not very happy about being a vampire. I have to admit that Cassandra has never really been a favorite character. But between this and The Case of El Chupacabra, she’s grown on me a little. My biggest complaint with this is that the story is a little too short, and needed to be fleshed out more.
Bewitched makes me long for more Kristof. He and Eve were quite the couple, lightning in a bottle, and we finally get a clue as to why he didn’t know about Savannah until after Eve’s death.
Birthright was a sad one, but we see how Logan came to be a part of the pack. He never knew his father, and then on his 18th birthday he receives a letter with Jeremy Danvers Address. Logan mistakens this to mean that Jeremy is his father, and as he goes through the changes to become a werewolf, which he has no clue about, but Jeremy is there to help.
Beginnings is up next. Readers familiar with the series know that Clay bit Elena turning her into a werewolf, but their relationship prior to the bite has never really been explored, it is here. The point of view flip flops between Clay and Elena, which is characteristic of some of Armstrong’s later novels. Clay is a visiting professor when he meets college student Elena. He’s prickly to others but not to her. They bond and fall in love, but he’s still got a couple of skeletons in his closets, really furry ones. And, when he tries to come lose all hell breaks loose. This one ends where Bitten begins.
Expectations brings us back before we met Lucas in Dime Store Magic, which is one of my least favorites in the series, where he meets Eve, and she teaches him a few things.
Ghosts brings Jeremy back to the forefront, but it’s a little confusing. The story is a mash up of events after Clay and Elena are married, and Jeremy’s memories after Elena is bitten. There is also the conflict of a challenger for Alpha, and regret over choices Jeremy has made in the position.
Wedding Bell Hell gives whole new meaning to disastrous wedding, and being supernaturals only make it worse. With the father of the groom hijacking the wedding trying to make it into what he envisions Paige and Lucas are lucky they end up hitched at all.
The Case of El Chupacabra is the first nonprequel. Sean Nast is trying to come to terms with his homosexuality, when he finds a body drained by vampires. He hires Lucas to investigate. Lucas and his father struggle with what they each want, but eventually find a compromise. Sean eventually does come out to his uncle, though the experience is not as positive as he hoped. It’s a great story that opens up many possibilities as Sean is determined to be his own man.
Overall it’s a great read. Very short, but it is a throw away book, as none of the stories are really impactful to the series. Sure there are holes in some of the plots, and the ending come a little fast, but that’s kind of the nature of shorts.


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