The Kick-butt Women (and Men) of the Otherworld

Since it’s nearly Halloween, let’s talk paranormal fiction.  I am a fan, but a picky one. I like strong female characters.  Not simpering victims or mooning lovers.  So, I was thrilled to discover Kelley Armstrong’s  books a few summers ago.

The Women of the Otherworld series and her YA series—The Darkest Powers—share the same universe. All the supernatural races—werewolves, vampires, witches, shamans, necromancers, etc.—exist secretly alongside our world.  The sorcerers have even organized themselves into family-run Cabals, something akin to a corporate mafia.

In the Otherworld series, each novel is told from the point of view of a strong female supernatural (No vampires, though.) as she kicks butt and/or sleuths her way through some mystery or intrigue.   Elena, the werewolf, is by far my favorite narrator. The others are no slouches, though. Paige, the witch. Jamie, the necromancer. Hope, the half-demon. The latest books of the Otherworld series are from Savannah, a witch, who has grown to young womanhood since the third book.  The 12th Otherworld novel comes out next year.

The first three books of Armstrong’s YA series are told from 15- year-old Chloe’s perspective. Because of their budding powers, she and several other teen supers find themselves in a half-way house for kids with psychiatric problems. I won’t spoil the plot if you haven’t read any of the books. The fourth—the Gathering—comes out next Spring.

What I love about Armstrong is that she doesn’t sacrifice strong men for the sake of strong female characters.  Although there may be a few chauvinistic holdouts, her male and female supers are on equal footing.  Armstrong has written several short stories about the Otherworld men, which were anthologized in Men of Otherworld. 

Any Armstrong fans out there? Who are some of your favorite paranormal authors or series?


Summer Frey said...

Yes, I love Kelley Armstrong! The Darkest Powers is my favorite YA series. I didn't realize there would be a fourth book, but thank goodness! I was really let down with the third's ending. I love Derek has a love interest/MMC--he's such a pleasant diversion from your typical YA guy.

I'm also a bit fan of Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton, and especially Patricia Briggs.

Anonymous said...

Kelley Armstrong is fantastic. Love the world that she's built. I LOVE Lilith Saintcrow (who also writes YA under Lili St. Crow). She's very gritty with awesome fight scenes.

Angie Smibert said...

Thanks, Mary. I'll have to check her out.

Tez Miller said...

I distinctly remember reading BITTEN on the bus to a school excursion in eleventh grade. That was 2003, so I'm a long-time KA fan :-)

Sophia Chang said...

Oooh thank you for the rec! I was looking for a contemporary women's fic so that I could make a final purchase with and get out of that club.

It is downloading now! I'll let you know how it goes...