Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title:  Raised by Wolves
Author:  Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre:  Paranormal YA Literature
Pages:  418
Publisher:  Egmont USA
Summary:  At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn's been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes here. But the pack's been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum's direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It's Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.

The Dish:  First and foremost... how could I have taken so long to read this amazing book?  With Barnes' take on the werewolf pack mentality along with well-developed characters and a nail-biting plot, it's very easy to see why so many readers were as thrilled as I was with the first of the Raised by Wolves books.  Bryn is a human girl that was Marked, basically claimed, by Callum, the alpha of a werewolf pack, at age four after a devastating attack upon her family.  She has known no other life beyond the rules and ways of the pack even while attending a "normal" school.  All that she's known to be truth is changed after meeting Chase, the victim of a werewolf attack that resulted in his being Changed into one.

Right from the beginning, I knew I'd love Bryn as one of my favorite characters.  Her voice is so very honest and real, and you can definitely tell from the change in her narration tone just how much she herself changes over the course of the story.  She has been through many ordeals not only at the beginning of when her parents were taken from her but of also what she had to endure as one of the few humans part of a werewolf pack.  That's definitely not an easy feat considering what was expected of her.  Being made to believe a lie by one of the people she trusted most was another contributing factor in how Bryn was different from others.  To see how she grew and developed as a person having discovered this truth was a gradual process, making it a believable process.  It wasn't as if the change was overnight, and I give my compliments to Barnes in how she was able to make such transitions in Bryn.

What really made me impressed and happy with Raised by Wolves was all of the characters.  Callum was a leader doing what he thought was best for his pack and for Bryn, and I definitely liked him throughout the book.  Sometimes I found myself questioning his motives, but perhaps that was partially due to Bryn's thought process and how she had been deceived.  Devon was the support system that Bryn needed in a best friend as well as one of the more powerful werewolves of the pack.  To have such an ally within a pack that wasn't always favorable towards a human had to mean something to the others.  I really look forward to seeing him more.  Lake was the most rambunctious, "let's get 'er done" girl, and as one of few female werewolves, I can see the motivations in her behavior... and I loved her as much as Bryn and Devon.  I was a little sad she wasn't more present in the book, but here's hoping for the next book.  I enjoyed getting to know those who were introduced, and I definitely look forward to seeing more of their development in the coming books, Trial by Fire and Taken by Storm.

This is one of the best werewolf books I've read and also one of the most insightful of how this particular pack dynamic works.  If you enjoy a paranormal mystery and female-empowering stories, I highly recommend Raised by Wolves.  There is an inkling of romantic intentions, but I would definitely classify it more as Young Adult Paranormal.  It's a lengthy story, but definitely worth the read.


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