Review: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

Posted October 27, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / 64 Comments

Review: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong
Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Otherworld Stories #3
Published by Plume
Published on: October 28, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: First to Read, NetGalley
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Rare and never-before published short stories featuring fan favorites from the New York Times bestselling series

It’s been more than ten years since Kelley Armstrong began the Otherworld series and drew legions of fans to a realm roamed by witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, and half-demons. Many of the novels have become bestselling favorites, but not all of the Otherworld adventures have been easy to find. At last, Otherworld Nights shares short stories that have previously been available only online or in obscure collections. Fans have long been clamoring for this anthology and they won’t be disappointed—they’ll find plenty of surprises are in store.

1) Demonology - Adam's mother discovers what he is
2) Stalked - Clay/Elena honeymoon story from "My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon"
3) Hidden - SubPress 2012 Elena/Clay novella
4) Twilight - a Cass story from "Many Bloody Returns"
5) Chivalrous - Reese's backstory from SubPress's long sold-out "Tales of Dark Fantasy 2" (the Dec'14 SubPress graphic novella picks up this storyline)
6) Lucifer's Daughter - Hope/Karl story from "Blood Lite II: Overbite"
7) From Russia with Love - Elena bonus story included with hardcover of "Thirteen"
8) Vanishing Act - brand-new Savannah/Adam novella set after "Thirteen"


howlinggood must-read REREADABLE

DEMONOLOGY – 4/5

In the WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD universe, mothers (witches are the exception) don’t play a large role in their children’s lives once their abilities start developing because in most cases they are human, and as a result can’t be let in on the secret. Robert Vasic has been a part of Adam’s world since he was eight years old, but this short shed some light on his mom who was no pushover. When confronted with a possible pyromaniac kid, instead of resorting to institutionalization or medication, Talia did everything in her power to help her son without labeling him, and eventually found what she was looking for in the most unlikely of places, a demonology professor. My favourite part of this tale was when Vasic insisted on keeping Adam’s mother in the dark, and she flat out refused by stating that her love is in fact unconditional, Exustio half-demon notwithstanding.


TWILIGHT – 4/5

After the werewolves, Cassandra is #2 on my top WOTO characters list. I’ve always loved her blasé attitude, and her advanced age makes her one of the most Other of them all. This was a quick read, but I really enjoyed witnessing DuCharme’s struggle to fulfill her annual kill requirement. Out of this series’ entire cast, she’s the one who never seemed to have any qualms about taking a life, however in TWILIGHT we get a glimpse of her inner conflict, and learn why she and Aaron had a falling out so many years ago. Cass does eventually do the deed, but she has to choke down the blood which made me wonder, would she have turned human had she delayed any longer?


STALKED – 5/5

I read THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED pretty recently, and this short appeared in that eSpecial, but I can never resist revisiting Clay & Elena when an opportunity presents itself. After eighteen years, my fav werewolf couple finally gets a honeymoon, no wedding bells for them though, so a trip to St. Louis is as good as it’s ever going to get. They both have their hearts set on making the other happy to the point that neither will admit to being bored out of their skulls, or to the fact that there’s a mutt on their tail. This leads to classic Clay & Elena miscommunication, a hunt, followed by their trademark romp in the woods after a kill. I love these two!


CHIVALROUS – 5/5

Reese was a latecomer to the WOTO series, and little is known about his past other than that it was traumatic. CHIVALROUS was essentially his back story in a nutshell, and in my opinion, the saddest short in this anthology. His first love was not a pleasant experience, and came at a high price. Readers learn why he fled his original pack in Australia, and the reasons behind his refusal to date no matter how many girls Nick throws at him. Werewolves traditionally don’t have pleasant childhoods, and Williams’ is a prime example of that. This tale also tied in nicely with HIDDEN, and I sincerely hope that one day Armstrong will grant Reese his revenge.


LUCIFER’S DAUGHTER – 4.5/5

This was a fun novella about Karl being Karl, and Hope trying to rein him in. Adams’ family has no clue of her true nature which made her gran’s museum exhibit dedication rather ironic. And, of course you can’t bring Marsten into a place with priceless jewels on display without expecting him to try to steal ’em. LUCIFER’S DAUGHTER did a great job of showcasing Hope’s chaotic nature, and her werewolf mate’s sticky fingers while also managing to add a romantic spin to the ordeal. These two are seriously perfect for each other, and I loved that the author gave them their own slice of HEA in this compilation because it’s been a long time coming.


HIDDEN – 5/5

The best and longest story out of the bunch! Armstrong is a Canadian author, but her werewolves’ home base is in New York, so I was pleased that the crew made a trip up North to Algonquin Park for Christmas. The twins played only minor roles in the later installments, and it was nice to see the whole family together for a change. I enjoyed witnessing the challenges of furry parenthood, and I liked how Elena started bringing Noah into the fold by introducing him to the ways of mutt hunting. The Big Bad in this tale not only made Michaels question her decision to keep Kate & Logan in the dark about their heritage, but also caused her unfortunate past to rear its ugly head. The author managed to throw a decent number of twists at readers while delivering a satisfying ending as well. I’ll probably re-read this one again in the near future because it was just so well-written.


FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE – 4.5/5

I bought a print copy of THIRTEEN, so this novella was a repeat, but it’s the story of how Elena challenged Jeremy for alpha which means that it was definitely worth a second read. Fans of this series know that there’s nothing traditional about Danvers’ Pack leadership methods, thus why would the passing of the torch be any different, right? I can’t really say more than that without giving anything away, however it was a cute spin on the classic fight to the death. Xavier also makes a brief appearance which was a fun bonus because we haven’t seen him since book 6, and he’s been known to pull one over on Elena in the past, so I got a kick out of watching her return the favour.


VANISHING ACT – 5/5

Savannah & Adam finally get their HEA! I’ve been waiting for this ever since I finished the final installment two years ago. Levine’s immaturity gets her into trouble AGAIN, but she actually learns from it this time, and undergoes a surprising amount of character growth for a short in both her personal and professional life. The young witch has been keeping secrets from Vasic, the Cabals are up to no good, and a young supe is in need of the kind of help only Cortez and Winterbourne Investigations can provide. VANISHING ACT was a great way to wrap-up this anthology because it introduced some new mythology to the WOTO universe, and ended on a high note with the conclusion to Savannah & Adam’s love story.


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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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64 responses to “Review: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

  1. Oooh! You’ve gotten new buttons while I was on hiatus 🙂 They’re so adorable and quirky. I LOVE THEM!!! <33 Looks like this anthology was brilliant! I'm not usually a fan of those, but it could totally work in some cases and yay for so many god ratings. LOL @ "unconditional, Exustio half-demon notwithstanding"! This is some heavy loving, not gonna lie 🙂 I wat to meet Clay and Elena! A honeymoon, regardless of a wedding or not, is all I want for my ships! I'm glad you got this story 🙂 Ooh! Lucifer's Daughter sounds intriguing! "I’ve been waiting for this ever since I finished the final installment two years ago." ??? :O you're patient, Carmel! I'm glad you got this story! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carmel! I need to get started with a KA book asap 🙂
    Siiri recently posted…Blog Tour and Giveaway: Addicted After All by Krista and Becca Ritchie

    • I’m always on the look-out for any excuse to dive back into this world, but Armstrong’s anthologies are among my absolute favs! Of course, you need to read the whole series in order to be able to appreciate them at their fullest, but yes, you MUST meet Clay & Elena.

    • That’s because most of the shorts revolved around the werewolves which are my absolutely favourite, had this anthology been mainly about the witches my rating probably wouldn’t have been nearly as high. Although admittedly, Paige & Savannah have grown on my over time.

    • Armstrong’s come straight-out and said that she prefers to write shorts over full length books, and I guess her anthologies are proof that she has a real knack for them.

  2. Ah!!!! I’ve fallen so far behind on this series Carmel! This series was one of the first I read when I got back into reading before starting the blog, and I just adore Clay and Elena. I only made it through the first 2 books before I got distracted though, so I have some catching up to do on this world and it inhabitants! Glad this was a winner of a collection!!

    • The third installment is about the witches, which are my least fav supe in this universe, so that wasn’t the worst place to stop reading. Clay & Elena do make several more appearances, and get another book, hopefully you’ll keep going soon.

  3. Amber Elise  

    I’m finally reading my first Kelley Armstrong novel, Omens! Hopefully I’ll be on the Kelley bandwagon soon as I hear nothing but great things about The Otherworld series. I love the idea of this anthology, so many great stories in one!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    • WOOOOHOOO! Omens is actually one of my least favourite Armstrong books, so if you don’t love it, please don’t give up on her. The second Cainsville installment is much better.

  4. I think I can honestly say that Clay and Elena are one of my favorite literary couples 🙂

    I love that you gave all the stories high ratings and rated it as re-readable!

    Kelley Armstrong has never written anything I didn’t like! Great review, Carmel!

    • Clay & Elena are my all time favourite werewolves! I’ve re-read the entire WOTO series twice, but I’ve checked-out her anthologies even more than that because they are just SO good!

  5. It sounds like all these short-stories were worth reading! I love when there are some shorter stories in my favorite series, especially if they shed some light either on a character or on a situation that was not fully explored in the novel.
    And wow – you seem to love this anthology, Carmel! I need to start this series. I don’t know why I haven’t yet. I guess time is a big part of it.
    Excellent review!
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: The Heart of Christmas – Brenda Novak

    • At least there are only thirteen installments, so you know what to expect going in. I was so upset when the ARC for this book was US-only on NG; they eventually approved me, but it took forever.

    • Oh yes, Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series is the gift that keeps on giving! It officially ended two years ago, but the shorts keep coming. It’s great!

  6. I love short stories based on a series, it gives the author a chance to flesh out some minor characters more and just have some fun. I’ve never read this series, but these stories sound good. I wish I could read a couple of them first, since Demonology sounds like something I’d like, but it probably doesn’t work that way. Nice reviews! 🙂
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Cipher By Aileen Erin

    • I don’t think this anthology can be read as a stand-alone, then again I’ve spent so much time in this universe that I have a difficult time looking at it with fresh eyes. Thanks for the review love!

    • Armstrong’s good a sneak attacking readers with shorts; I stalk her on Facebook & Twitter, and even I always miss a few. I hope she does more anthologies to help make readers’ lives easier.

  7. Ack. Unfortunately, I only ever had the patience for book one. Then I stopped (even though, I owned the first eight books!). When I started reading synopsis of the books in sequence, I realized that not all of them are about Clay and Elena. It sounds like I quit way ahead because there are other reasons why I should continue on.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…[449]: Push (The Game, #2) by Eve Silver

    • Admittedly, I’m slightly biased when it comes to this series, but I compared notes with other reviewers, and my rating is on par which makes me happy because that means even non crazed fan-girls liked this anthology. 🙂

  8. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    Those are pretty high marks for all the individual stories, which is pretty impressive. I’ve been…let’s just say, not too happy with a lot of UF anthologies. Usually there are a few good stories that stand out amid a whole bunch of mediocre ones, but this seems pretty solid all around.
    Mogsy recently posted…Panels: All-Star Superman

    • I find that reviewing each short is more accurate than the anthology as a whole, it’s more work, but I don’t feature very many anthologies, so I don’t mind. 🙂

    • It takes a looooog time for Savannah to grow-up, so that doesn’t really tell me much, you could be at book 1 or 7. I forgive you though because I know how it goes only too well.

    • OMG! I’m shocked that you missed this one! *pats herself on the back for a job well done.* Unfortunately, the audiobook isn’t even up for pre-order… what a drag! I’ll be interested in seeing who the narrator will be.

  9. I also need to post my review of this one but I really enjoyed it, it was so much fun to read these little stories. I haven’t finished the series yet I need to read book 7? 8? Don’t remember but I need to do that.

    • Young Adult is usually hit-or-miss with me, but Urban Fantasy is almost always a win. Come on over to the fun side of paranormal fiction, the water is nice!

  10. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you enjoyed this so much, Carmel! It makes me that much more excited about it. I, of course, am not caught up in this series but it’s one of my absolute favorites! I just love the world and the characters that Armstrong created. Great reviews!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Teaser Tuesday ~ #42**

  11. Darn I didn’t realize so many of these were reprints! But I guess that is usually the case with collections such as these. I Love it when they finally put them all together but I really wish more of them would be new original stories not already elsewhere because I have many of those collections already. Oh well it’s always nice to go back and revisit the shorts since they are so quick and easy and I always love them. Definitely reading this one.

    • That’s usually the way it goes with anthologies unfortunately which is the main reason I skip most of ’em, but if any shorts are worth a re-read, it’s Armstrong’s IMO. 🙂

  12. I completely agree, Hidden was the best of the bunch – I cannot resist the twins! They are completely freaking adorable and so well-written; I guess it helps to be a mom yourself when you’re writing about one! Chivalrous also really got to me…I legit didn’t see that ending coming at all. Poor guy. I was SO HAPPY that Cortez and Winterbourne Investigations played a role in this anthology since its owners are my favourite WoTO couple. I know, I know – I’m completely alone in that! The only thing that would’ve made this anthology better for me would have been the inclusion of a Paige and Lucas story.
    Danya recently posted…Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

    • HIDDEN has been on my to-read list forever, so I was happy that it was included in this short. Mind you, I still might buy a copy for the artwork. I agree that there should have been a Paige & Lucas short, but not about them being my fav WOTO couple. 😉