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8.15.2010

Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Raised by Wolves (Series #) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Hardcover (EGMONTUSA, 432 pages, $17.99)
ISBN# 1606840592
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?

Author Site: jenniferlynnbarnes.com

Fresh YA Werewolf Fiction Minus the Romantic Wangst (4 stars)

Being raised as a human among werewolves hasn't been easy for Bryn. It's hard work keeping up with your peers when you're too fragile in comparison. Having the pack Alpha as your father figure doesn't make it any easier. But Callum saved her all those years ago, making the "big bad wolf" go away even if he was too late to save her parents. Bryn tries very hard to follow the rules of the pack even though there's no wolf crawling under her skin but it's hard to submit when there's obviously a big, fat secret being kept from her.

Breaking the rules proves to be both her damnation and her salvation when she discovers Chase, a newly turned werewolf she's intensely drawn to. Chase survived an attack just as she did and if she can just talk to him again she might find the answers to her own past. Any loyalties she had to her pack protectors mean nothing now that she has Chase. As secrets are unraveled and past meets present Bryn will find herself tested and challenged in a world where being human is her greatest weakness.

I could almost say I loved Raised by Wolves. Almost. Being the token human is nothing new in this kind of young adult fiction so any new twist on the concept can be really refreshing. I don't want to spoil anything but I feel safe in saying that by the end of the book I was really pleased with Bryn's story arc as a whole. As a character she grated my nerves more than I usually can tolerate but she is supported by an enjoyable cast of companions that help break up the bratty factor. And that is what bugged me most about Bryn. I found her a little bit bratty and being an adult reader I tend to like teen characters that don't make me start thinking of how I would punish them if I was their parent (hehe!). That said I do think younger readers may find that side of her to be relatable which is a good thing.

What I think makes this book stand out among a lot of other urban fantasy for teens right now is the minimal wangsting. Okay, maybe that's not a real word but I think most readers can get what I'm trying to say... there's more of a suck-it-up-and-deal attitude to these teen characters and I LOVED that. There's not really much of a romantic element to this either. I expected there to be a big thing between Chase and Bryn but their connection is a lot more complex and made a weird sense to me by the end. I actually liked it a lot more than I would have if they spent the entire book longing for one another and having love conflicts. So if you're one who is looking for a romance factor there really isn't one to be had.

I'm not quite certain who to suggest this book to. Definitely for werewolf fiction fans looking for something a little fresh. If you like a strong heroine who is human in a world of non-humans you'll probably like this too. Sick of whining Romeo and Juliet reincarnations? Check out Raised by Wolves if you dig urban fantasy.

Other Reviews:

Katie of Sophistikatied Reviews
Adele @ Persnickety Snark
Brooke Reviews



Notes: I received this ARC via Amazon's Vine Program.

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