Thursday, August 05, 2010

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.
But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.
But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

I’m not big on werewolf stories. They’re never the kind of books I pick up when I’m looking for something to curl up with. However, this book could make me a convert. Extremely well written, with a fantastic kick-butt main character, I enjoyed the first page, the last page, and everything in between.

I love characters like Bryn. She is independent, stubborn, courageous, flawed, and very smart. I found her truly likable and instantly related to her. Her strong will is good at getting her what she wants, but it’s also good at getting her into trouble.

Some reviewers have had a hard time with Bryn’s maturity level (as in, she’s too mature for a 15 year old), saying that she would have had to experience a harder life for it to be believable. Well, I have to disagree with that sentiment. First off, Bryn hasn’t had a life of rainbows and cupcakes. She witnessed her parents’ murder, then grew up in a pack of werewolves where she was jostled around in their fights for dominance. I’d say that qualifies. :) Second, I was that mature at 15. My life wasn’t rainbows and cupcakes, either, but it certainly wasn’t as hard as Bryn’s. So I had no trouble when Bryn was able to think on such a mature and clear-headed level.

Other reviewers have said that Bryn’s attraction to Chase was too superficial because it only stemmed from their similar experiences. Well, I think that’s an excellent place to start when it comes to attraction—as opposed to swooning over hotness. :) But there is so much more to their connection than experiences. Chase has a Knack for surviving, and so does Bryn. In this story, a Knack goes beyond human abilities. Bryn sees it in Chase first, but she also sees it in Wilson and his wolves. And, despite her revulsion, she feels a connection to Wilson. So I think it’s unfair to simplify Bryn’s connection to Chase as ‘similar experiences.’

That said, I do think their relationship could have been better developed. Meaning, I think Chase could have been more fully developed. He was a bit too single-minded in this story, and I’m hoping he’ll be more fleshed out in later books.

Also, at times, I didn’t quite understand Bryn’s relationship with Callum. She should have been furious with him a few times, but wasn’t. And I didn’t particularly like the ‘mind bunnies’ comments. But the end is very satisfying, leaving an opening for a sequel while concluding this book’s conflict well. Definitely recommended.

I’m really looking forward to the next book, TRIAL BY FIRE, and I hope it comes out soon!


Lenore Appelhans said...

I'm not one for werewolves much either, but I do have this in my pile and hope to get to it sometime this year!

Tabitha said...

And I'm looking forward to your reviews! (I may not be that vocal on your blog--or any blog these days--but I do read, and enjoy, your reviews). :)

Annie McElfresh said...

Thanks for the review!! I've picked this one up several times and put it back because of the age of the MC---I tend to gravitate to older MCs, but I will pick this up now.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the review. I'm not really into werewolves either, but since you liked it, I think I'll try it.