The book that made you fall in love with a subgenre
Last week we had such fun with our reader posts that we are going to try to continue them. If you have a suggestion, shoot me an email.
I’ve been reading the Anne Bishop Others series (against my better judgment because of how she ruined the entire Black Jewels series for me with the novella following the ending of the series). Despite my fear that she’s going to devastate me in the end, I am completely enthralled with the world she’s creating. It reminded me of when I first fell in love with shifter books.
For me, the iconic shifter book is Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten. When it was first released, it was marketed as literary fiction and had this evocative cover that I still remember today. A woman was dressed in a wispy orange dress and she was lying against a black background.
A review at All About Romance by Rachel Potter brought the book to my attention. It’s not a book I ordinarily would have purchased (and it was in hardcover) but the review sold me on it.
In the review, Rachel notes that Clayton is comfortable with his animal and embraces it. At the time, this presented a different hero archetype in paranormals. Many of the previous paranormals were about men who hated their natures–vampires who wanted to be human, shifters who hated their diseases. Clayton not only enjoyed being wolf, he openly acknowledged that he was a little off.
In a famous line, he tells a taxi cab driver who is trying to warn Elena that there are dangers in the neighborhood that he, Clayton, is the local psychopath. But within Bitten there is a fascinating look at pack dynamics.
Jeremy is the pack alpha and Clayton is his enforcer. Clayton’s strong and fearless but he’s driven by his emotions. Even Clay recognizes he’s not a good leader. Armstrong creates a believable and immersive world of werewolves on others.
Bitten jump started my love for the shifter subgenre. My favorites include the Patricia Briggs’ “Alpha & Omega” series as well as the Mercy Thompson series. Anne Bishop’s “Others” reminds me strongly of the Charles & Anna dynamic.
Bitten, Alpha & Omega, Others, all have a strong underlying romance and I would recommend them to anyone.
What book or books jumpstarted your love within a subgenre or trope?