Sunday, January 23, 2011

YA book review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (June 8, 2010)

Summary: 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?

Our review: "I got bit." Three little words which set off something deep inside Bronwyn's mind, her psyche, her soul. Three words which will set her on a journey and change her life forever. I have never been a fan of werewolves before. Yes, I've read books about them but as fantastical creatures they didn't grab me like vampires or fairies had. Barnes' Raised by Wolves has certainly changed my mind.

From the opening chapter when I met Bryn and her legal guardian, Callum, leader of the Stone River pack, I was intrigued. Bryn knew how to push his buttons and her rebellious acts usually set him off. Their relationship--she's a normal teen girl, he's a thousand year old alpha male steeped in the ancient rules and laws of the pack--came across as real, grounded, and loving. Barnes' writing was smooth, Bryn's voice grabbed me and so many of the secondary characters throughout this story were well crafted and clearly stood out as individuals.

Bryn may look normal but being raised amongst weres has impacted her. She has a deep seeded fear of the beasts from witnessing her own parent's attack when she was a child. Callum saved her from the Rabid and took her in. It isn't until she comes across Chase, another human changed by a Rabid's bite locked in a basement cell inside Callum's house, and hears his three words to her, that triggers something hidden in her memory. Chase is the first human she's encountered who is like her and she hopes to spend time with him and find her answers. That is if he can resist the urge to kill and eat her.

The story was layered and was a quick read but I deliberately took my time so I could fully enjoy this story. I was taken in by Bryn's world and her encounters. Her circle of friends, best buds musical theater loving Dev and rare female wolf Lake, her foster mom, Ali, the enigmatic Chase, and Callum only enrich this story. I liked them all. Bryn was a realistic teen living in a paranormal world. Her desire for truth, her growing attraction to Chase and the hurtful betrayal by someone she trusted only make her stronger and more determined. In order to face the future she has to understand what happened in her past and Bryn's journey was well plotted and suspenseful. 

There was so much to like in this book--the author created her own unique world and filled it with enough twists to make me an instant fan. If Raised By Wolves made this vampire lover a werewolf fan, imagine what it could do for you. Check this book. NOW. The second in the series, Trial by Fire, will be released in June. I can't wait.

Rating: ++++

Favorite excerpt: (from pages 242-243)

"I couldn't smell him. I couldn't smell anything. A sluggish worry wrapped its way slowly around the base of my spine, and like a snake, it slithered up my back, one vertebra at a time. I couldn't smell anything. It was worse than being blindfolded, worse than small spaces, worse than opening my mouth to scream, knowing the sound would never make it from my throat.

I couldn't smell.

I hugged my knees to my chest, unable to rise into a crouch, unable to ready my fists or reach for my blade. And then the world around me folded in on itself, like someone was making origami. Like I was a test paper and someone had crumpled me up and thrown me away.

And then the world was being uncrumpled, and the forest unfolded into something new.

Something small.

Something that smelled like wet cardboard and drain cleaner. I would have taken comfort in the fact that I could smell again but for the memories that combination brought with it.

Teeth ripping into flesh. Skin tearing like Velcro. Blood splattering. Again and again, vicious, relentless, thorough. Blood-blood-blood-blood-blood..."

Cover comment: I liked the blue midnight color, the side view of Bryn and the cool font. Combined together, these factors drew me to the book.

Book source: Library


  1. looking forward to reading this one :D

  2. This actually sounds amazing! Love the quotes you picked!

  3. Great review! I think I'll get this when the second book comes out, then I won't have to wait to read the second:)

  4. Barmybex and Brizmus-hope you get to read this and enjoy it!
    Danna-I sometimes like to do that too so I don't have to wait!