Hidden: Armstrong packs a lot into this novella

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Kelley Armstrong Women of the Otherworld HiddenHidden by Kelley Armstrong

Upon receiving a review copy of Kelley Armstrong’s Hidden, I realized that I had only read a few books in her influential WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD series — and that the ones I had read weren’t the ones starring werewolf couple Elena and Clay. However, I had no trouble becoming engrossed in Hidden and understanding what was going on.

Elena is unusual in Armstrong’s universe; she’s the only known female werewolf. She and Clay are married and raising precocious four-year-old twins, Kate and Logan. The children show signs of potentially becoming werewolves as they mature. Elena and Clay both had troubled childhoods and have never really experienced a traditional family Christmas, and this year they’re determined to create one for the twins.

But their idyllic trip to rural Ontario is soon disrupted by a murder mystery. The dead man was savaged by a large canine, and there’s a werewolf sniffing around Elena and Clay’s vacation home who seems to be hiding something. This is a novella-length book, but Armstrong packs plenty of twists and red herrings into its short length.

The title, Hidden, can be taken as a reference to an aspect of the mystery’s solution… but it also applies to the secret of Elena and Clay’s lycanthropy. As Hidden begins, the kids don’t yet know that their parents are werewolves or that they too may become werewolves. It’s a subject of heated debate between the couple, and by story’s end, they reach a decision and implement it. The resolution of this plotline is sweet and heartwarming — and will probably be even more meaningful to readers who’ve been following Clay and Elena all along.

Hidden features six illustrations by artist Angilram. They’re all well-done, and some of them are simply adorable. I especially loved the one featuring Kate running to hug a particular wolf and the one where the two wolves are nuzzling in a snow-filled wilderness.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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  1. I’m surprised. I read one of her earlier books — I think it was Dimestore Magic— and I thought it was bad. Elena, however, seems to be one of her more successful characters.

  2. I didn’t dig Dime Store Magic either. I think the other one I read was Industrial Magic, though I don’t remember it well.

    I think I’d have gotten more out of Hidden if I were more familiar with Elena, but it was a fun diversion.

  3. Am a big fan of Clay and Elena, so looking forward to reading this one! Love Kelley’s books!

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