Review brought to you by OBS staff member Verushka
I first fell in love with Kelley Armstrong through Industrial Magic and Dime Store Magic, her novels featuring Paige Winterbourne. Paige was capable, strong, wielded magic and didn’t need leather to save the day. Don’t get me wrong, Armstrong is a fabulous writer and her Women of the Otherworld series is unique and engaging; but even as Paige led me to other books in the series, I found that I missed Paige, her voice and her life with Lucas and Savannah. Which means it’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a book with Armstrong’s name on the cover.
And that is a pre-requisite if you are going to pick up Tales of the Otherworld, you have to be a fan of Armstrong’s other books, and to know her stories and characters well if you want to enjoy this book. That is a pity, because from my experience with her writing, these are wonderful looks into well-drawn out characters, filling in the bits and pieces her readers might have been curious about. Considering the theme of much of these stories is to give some sort of background to where her characters are in her full-length novels, slightly altered and geared towards getting new readers, this would have been a collection of memorable, new characters each one unique and well drawn out thanks to Armstrong’s talent and her love for the Otherworld she has created.
There are stories of the “birth” of the supernatural aspects of some of her characters, i.e. being made into a vampire, or the literal birth of a werewolf character, for example. There is a mix of male and female characters from her series of novels, including Paige, whose I adored the most because I am terribly biased in my love for her. In that tale, we see Paige, Lucas and Savannah in the run up to their wedding, being beset upon by friends, relatives, in this case, Benicio and Maria Cortez, Lucas’ divorced parents. The story is laugh-out-loud funny, with an exasperated Lucas trying to control his father, and with Paige’s help finally succeeding in doing so with something very simple and very effective for Benicio. This story filled out Paige and Lucas’ story from the novels I’ve read so well, giving much also about Lucas and his own family life. Despite the supernatural nature of the characters, this was a tale of a very human wedding, which made it all the better.
Kelley Armstrong has, in her Otherworld series, given readers a unique, wonderful and fabulously drawn out list of characters to enjoy and fall in love with. This is a great supplement to those novels, but in the end, knowledge of those books is a necessity to enjoy this gem.