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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 432 pages 
Publisher: EgmontUSA (June 8, 2010) 
Language: English
Purchase: Amazon | Indiebound |Barnes & Noble 

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?

Book Opening:  


Four names, five words, one pissed-off werewolf. The math in this particular equation never came out in my favor.

"Callum," I said, feigning surprise at his sudden appearance in my workshop. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Notable Scene: 

"He'd said it himself. I smelled like Pack, but I also smelled like meat. Now that he'd Shifted, it was anyone's guess as to which would matter more.

He's in a cage, I reminded myself, but the words meant nothing to me, because I just couldn't stop staring into his wild eyes and playing the last words he'd said before he Shifted, over and over again.

I got bit.

I got bit.

I got bit. "
-Page 60-61 "

"Come out, come out, wherever you are, little one. No sense hiding from the Big Bad Wolf. I’ll always find you in the end…" 

Fifteen-year-old Bryn remembers little about her life before the Pack.  But the rogue werewolf who slaughtered her parents still haunts her nightmares. Though Bryn has spent the last 11 years living in the Pack, she distances herself from the wolves—from their politics, their restrictive rules and their shared emotional Pack bond. When she meets Chase, a newly turned werewolf, Bryn's safe world tumbles down all around her. As new memories begin to bubble to the surface, Bryn realizes that until she uncovers the truth, she won't ever be able to move on. What really happened the night she was found? And why does it seem as if everyone is afraid of her uncovering the truth once and for all?

 Jennifer Lynn Barnes infuses new life into the werewolf genre with this fast-paced, engrossing novel.  With compelling characters and a well-written, unique take on wolves, this book is now officially my new favorite paranormal wolf saga. Headstrong and impulsive, Bryn was a fierce protagonist. I loved the way she let nothing stop her as she crusaded for the truth.  The rules of the Pack fascinated me—the bonds, the laws, the instinctual reactions of the wolves I devoured every last morsel and was still hungry for more. 

RAISED BY WOLVES has a primal, almost feral feel to it. In order to survive among wolves, Bryn had to harden herself. She had to be strong. If she didn't rebel, if she didn't maintain her independence, she would've lost a part of who she really was to the conformity of the Pack. I admired Bryn; I knew right from the start she was a special girl and I couldn't wait to discover where her story would take me next. She underwent a lot of growth throughout the course of this book and I literally could not tear myself away from it. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. When I was reading it, I didn't want it to end. Though largely underdeveloped, I adored Chase as well. My only complaint was that the two were separated for most of the book. I was dying for more interaction from the two of them. Then again, the focus of the book was not romance. It was about Bryn's journey for answers.

Another character important to note was Ali, Bryn's surrogate mother. Ali was AMAZING. Even now, this character still lingers on in my memory. Ali was one tough-as-nails lady. Even after everything she had been through, she possessed tremendous strength. Though Bryn wasn't her real daughter, Ali loved her with a ferocious protectiveness that  brought tears to my eyes.When the twins came along, I thought some of the most vivid, descriptive moments were in the depictions of Katie, thebaby wolf-girl who loved shifting into her puppy wolf form. I could just imagine her Baby Gap outfits ripping when she transformed into her wolf shape and  I could practically feel her puppy breath upon my face. Katie was a character to instantly fall in love with and added so much extra to the narrative.

RAISED BY WOLVES was a thrilling, suspenseful saga of a young girl's struggle to live among werewolves without losing her true human identity. As you can surmise from my review, I thought this was a kick-butt, fiery novel that truly separated itself "from the Pack." I am most anxiously awaiting TRIAL BY FIRE, due out the summer of 2011. 

I'd highly recommend RAISED BY WOLVES to paranormal fantasy fans, particular those of Patricia Briggs or Kelley Armstrong.

Books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 
Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes     Platinum by Jennifer Lynn Barnes     Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes     Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes     The Squad Perfect Cover by Jennifer Lynn Barnes     The Squad Killer Spirit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes     Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen. 

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Official Website and Blog


yllektra (force-oblique) said...

I am definitely going to grab this book as soon as my bank accoutn stops suffering!
I have read only good reviews about it! XD
Thank you!

toryaslim822 said...

I loved this book as well!

Great Review

Tabitha said...

I *loved* this book!!! Bryn is my favorite kind of character, and this is by far the best wolf-paranormal I've read. Ever.

Great review!!

justpeachy36 said...

Just added this one to my Wish List...

Thanks for the heads up...

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

You sold me at: feral :)

Bere said...

Wow! Brilliant review, Kim! It seems like I need to get this book ASAP. Ooooo, I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thank you for your review Kim. =)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A super review. Adding this book to my list. I've read a couple of Jennifer's books and love the way she writes.