Thursday, July 8, 2010
Review: 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? (YA, Paranormal)
Bryn is a 15 year old human girl raised by a pack of werewolves.
There are a lot of YA (and adult for that matter) books out there that say they have strong female characters but when push comes to shove they get weak kneed at some point, usually it’s because the new hot boy in school walks by or maybe because they are crippled by self-doubt. Not in Raised by Wolves – Bryn is tough. She saw her parents murdered by a rogue wolf when she was 4 years old then was rescued and marked by a pack alpha – Callum. He raised her among his pack, teaching her how to survive surrounded by mostly territorial male wolves. They are her family, yet she never feels like she fully belongs in their world or the human world anymore for that matter. She lives in a society that expects submission, particularly from its female members and Bryn just isn’t having any of that.
But when Bryn meets Chase – a teenage boy that survives an attack by a rogue werewolf, latent instincts kick in and she finds herself plunging deeper into werewolf society than she ever thought possible.
This is a girl meets boy story, but it’s so much more than that and that’s where its strengths lie. Barnes doesn’t make this about lust or obsession. She develops all of Bryn’s relationships. My favorite is the one between her and Callum – her pack alpha and father figure. It is so unusual for an author to delve that deep into any relationship that isn’t the main love interest never mind a parental relationship. Devon is the “metrosexual” best friend (who I adore!), Lake - her kick ass, weapon toting girlfriend, and Amy – her human mother figure and protector. All are perfect additions to the story.
Every character in Raised by Wolves has an interesting story to tell and could easily have a book of their own. In fact, although I’m not usually a fan of multiple POV’s, this is a story where I would have welcomed it. If the author ever ventures into the adult genre – I would like to put in a request for the first book to be about Callum.
In some ways Raised by Wolves made me think of Hunger Games. I hesitate to even say this because to me The Hunger Games trilogy is the holy grail of YA right now but it does remind me of that series in the sense that it’s completely original (to me anyway) and all the characters have such an innate sense of kindness and decency and tenacity that you can’t help but like and root for all of them, even when they are on different sides of an issue. I’m also sensing an epic “Peeta vs. Gale” type battle coming on.
If I have one complaint…if you even want to call it that, it would be that in the beginning Bryn’s mind wanders a lot – especially when people are talking to her. She evens calls it her “mind bunnies”. It was used as a way to introduce the reader to the pack mentality and backstory but I found myself getting a little distracted myself and the talk about “The Pack/ submission & dominance” got heavy handed and repetitive at times. It does have a purpose though and contributes to the overall story.
This book ends by solving one mystery and setting up more ominous threats in the future. The dynamics are so different at the end of this book vs the beginning that there is no way book two will just be a retread of the first which makes me so deliriously happy … I can’t even tell you how much!
Loved: There is an acutal story here! Not just lust/love and triangles.
Nitpick: Bryn's mind bunnies :-)
Rating 3.8 out of 4! The best YA Paranormal book I have read this year!
Author's website: http://www.jenniferlynnbarnes.com/
Buy the book! Raised by Wolves
Read the The Paperback Dolls! interview with Jennifer Lynn Barnes.