Review: Living With The Dead by Kelley Armstrong

Posted November 15, 2012 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 13 Comments

Living With The Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Title: Living With The Dead
Series: Women of the Otherworld #9
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Format: Trade Paperpack, 464 pages
Published: August 25, 2009
ISBN #: 9780307358042 / 0307358046
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Copy: bought
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The men and women of the Otherworld – witches, werewolves, demons, vampires – live unseen among us. Only now a reckless killer has torn down the wall, trapping one very human woman in the supernatural crossfire.

Robyn moved to LA after her husband died to try to put some distance between herself and the life they had together. And the challenges of her job as the PR consultant to a Paris Hilton wannabe are pretty distracting. But then her celebutante is gunned down in a night club, and Robyn is suddenly the prime suspect. The two people most determined to clear her are her old friend, the half-demon tabloid reporter Hope Adams, and a homicide detective with an uncanny affinity for the dead.

Soon Robyn finds herself in the heart of a world she never even knew existed – and which she was safer knowing nothing about . . .



This book is the least Otherworld-ly out of the bunch and, as a result, also the one that I only passably enjoyed. Kelley Armstrong switches up her tried and true format in Living with the Dead and that was a big mistake in my opinion. Instead of sticking with her enthralling first person point of views she opts for that of the third person and gives the lead role to a previously unknown, human character. This installment also focuses on clairvoyants which are not a breed of supernaturals that readers have seen overly much up until this point and the story casts them in a pretty unfavourable light. I didn’t particularly enjoy this book the first time around and I liked it even less upon the second read. I guess that after 9 novels even someone as talented as Kelley Armstrong can struggle with writing an amazing story.

Living with the Dead is very, very dark and not in a good way. Adele, the main villain, is beyond nasty. She’s a sociopath and a cold blooded killer. Clairvoyants’ abilities are as much a curse as they are a gift because they pretty much have a 99.99% chance of eventually going insane. Definitely not good odds. I think that Adele has been a wackjob since birth; her upbringing and powers are contributing factors but there’s just something inherently wrong with her. She doesn’t just kill people; she toys with them and does things that are beyond twisted. Adele has sex with a mentally disabled boy in order to manipulate him into using his powers to her benefit and then gets pregnant and uses her baby to barter her way into a cabal. She then seduces his teenage brother in an attempt to hide her child’s paternity. This is just one example of what lengths she’s willing to go to; everything’s just a means to an end to Adele. She’s truly one of the most heinous characters that I’ve ever encountered which made this book very difficult to read.

I was confused as to why Robyn, a human PR rep, was cast as the lead character. There’s been no mention of her up until this point and, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that this is her one and only appearance in this entire series. One of the reasons why I enjoy the Women of the Otherworld series so much is because it follows the same characters over a twelve year span. I’ve grown to love all of Armstrong’s creations and have a vested interest in their well-being while as Robyn came out of left field only to never be heard from again. I didn’t dislike her, she’s a grieving widower trying to move on with her life and I felt sorry for her, but I just didn’t understand why the heck she was in this novel to begin with. Finn’s another new character who’s introduced in this installment; at least he’s a supernatural but he too all but disappears after this book. Other than Hope and Karl, the overall story, writing style and protagonists just didn’t fit in the Otherworld universe.

Living with the Dead wasn’t what I expected and I’d even go so far as to say that I was disappointed with this book which is a first for me where Kelley Armstrong is concerned. The story did nothing to advance the overall plot line of this series, most of the characters are strangers and I was beyond disgusted by Adele. Reading this novel a second time actually made me like it even less; I’m glad that the other 12 installments are phenomenal because if this book would have been one of the earlier ones I might not have continued with this series.

Books in this series:

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Recommendation: If you like dark and twisted, and have been craving a glimpse into the mind of a sociopathic killer then give this book a try.
Like this, like that: The Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price and the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Kelley Armstrong Reading Challenge



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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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13 responses to “Review: Living With The Dead by Kelley Armstrong

  1. Great review, I been contemplating of adding this series to my TBR 2013 pile but I don’t know yet how I feel about it yet, it looks like it might be an interesting read and it never hurts to try at least two books to test the waters 🙂

  2. Whaaaa? How did I miss this one? I thought I read all of the books in this series lol Oops.

    I think I’m going to keep it that way though. Who the heck is Robin? I don’t recall her mentioned previously or in any of the later books.

  3. I agree about Adele, she was a twisted sociopath! I was never sure where Robyn fit in except to give another view on supernaturals as well as further background on Hope. She offered another type of perspective but not much else. For me the main reasons I read this book over when doing a re-read of the series are the supernaturals we know and love like Hope, Karl and the cameo’s from Lucas, Sean, Paige and Savannah.Otherwise it’s bottom of my list for the series!

  4. I never knew about this book!!! If it wasn’t for the 3 stars rating I would be running to read it, I get all your points, and since you are as big a fan as me, I can understand the disappointment.
    I’ll guess I just leave it for a rainy day.
    Thanks Carmel 🙂

  5. This is my least favourite of the Otherworld series, but I found that from Personal Demon onwards that the series seems to loose its edge, probably because the author starts to have loads of other projects to work on at the same time, and even Frostbitten was not as good as the earlier books in the series (there seemed to me parts missing from it which turned up in her twitter account and short stories….) Some people mentioned that Robyn seemed to come out of nowhere and I had that feeling with Hope because the first story that featured her was a short story in an anthology and she wasn’t really introduced into the series like Paige, Eve, Savannah and Jamie were. But in comparison to some of the other UF and PR series out there, it is worth sticking with, even if I don’t consider the books beyond Personal Demon to be her best.

  6. Great review hun! Sorry for not commenting sooner!!! Been going through a lot of personal things over the last month.

    This would have to be my least favorite in the series (anything with Clay and Elena are my favorites of course so perhaps im being bias 😛 lol)