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Kelley Armstrong
Bantam Spectra, 464 pages

Kelley Armstrong
Kelley Armstrong is married with three children and lives in rural Ontario, Canada. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in psychology, she moved on to study computer programming. She is now a full-time writer and parent.

Kelley Armstrong Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Haunted
SF Site Review: Industrial Magic
SF Site Review: Dime Store Magic
SF Site Review: Dime Store Magic
SF Site Interview: Kelley Armstrong
SF Site Review: Stolen
SF Site Review: Bitten

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Donna McMahon

Elena Michaels used to think she had problems when a wolf bit her and she started turning into a werewolf. But that was nothing. Now she's a pregnant werewolf -- something even other werewolves have never heard of before. And the simple job her pack has agreed to -- stealing a letter from a sorcerer -- has backfired badly. It's hard to plan a nursery when you're being chased by unkillable zombies and investigating whether Jack the Ripper is roaming the streets of Toronto.

Broken gets off to a strong start as Kelley Armstrong introduces her protagonist, Elena, who is experiencing all the normal anxieties of any pregnant woman, ratcheted up several notches because she has no idea what to expect from a supernatural pregnancy. Can a werewolf carry a child to term? Will changing into her wolf shape trigger a miscarriage?

This is a very strong theme, but unfortunately Armstrong fails to exploit it. Elena accidentally opens a dimensional portal from Jack the Ripper's Victorian England, but there's nothing about this problem that's especially relevant to either werewolves or pregnant women. Any heroine could be chased by zombies, and the pregnancy only makes for a handicap in a fight and a lot of arguments with her snarly, overprotective mate.

So I found the story growing tedious as it devolved into a cycle: the heroes discuss their options, attempt a strategy, discover something that makes the problem more complicated, fight for their lives, eat, have sex, sleep, then discuss their options again, and so forth. It soon seemed inevitable that our protagonist would end up alone and in peril, and sure enough, Armstrong eventually contrives to extricate Elena from her pack of werewolf bodyguards so she can fight alone.

The biggest strength of Broken lies in the secondary characters who populate Armstrong's underground of demons, sorcerers and other supernatural creatures. Standouts include Zoe (who really puts the "vamp" in vampire), Anita, a grandmotherly witch, and the crazed necromancer, Tee. Armstrong also has some fun introducing cholera to a city that has just lived through SARS, and it's likely that Torontonians will enjoy the local scenery.

Fans of action may also enjoy this book -- there are lots of fights and chases. And Armstrong provides some candid pointers on how to have hot sex in the third trimester, which some readers will no doubt delight in and others are liable to find a turn-off. I found that all the action was plot-driven and none of the characters engaged me enough to keep me interested in the outcome.

I stuck out this book mainly to see if a pregnant werewolf might hatch some really offbeat surprise, but ultimately I was disappointed there, too.

Copyright © 2006 Donna McMahon

Donna McMahon discovered science fiction in high school and fandom in 1977, and never recovered. Dance of Knives, her first novel, was published by Tor in May, 2001, and her book reviews won an Aurora Award the same month. She likes to review books first as a reader (Was this a Good Read? Did I get my money's worth?) and second as a writer (What makes this book succeed/fail as a genre novel?). You can visit her website at

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