Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised By Wolves
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont USA
Series: Raised by Wolves #1
Pages: 418
Genre: Paranormal, fantasy
Release Date: June 8, 2010
How Received: Library

Summary: At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn’s been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.

But the pack’s been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum’s direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It’s Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.

My Thoughts:
Everything you learned about werewolves in other novels, throw (most) of it out. In Raised by Wolves, werewolves don’t get bit – they’re born with the trait, and only the males. An occasional rare female is born into the pack, but always in a pair (twins). They have super speed, even in human form, and are allergic to silver.

Bronwyn (Bryn) was raised amongst these wolves, and she’s your typical rebellious teenager: angsty, back talker, and ruler breaker all rolled into one. She’s human, and adopted into the pack, which sets her out to be an outcast, a misfit. She struggles to maintain independence in a pack she’d lose herself in. For almost 9 years, she refrained from opening up her pack bond, which would have taken hold of her once she opened it up. While she retained most of her personality at the end of the book, she no longer annoyed me – she became headstrong and had to fight to keep a hold of what she loved and believed in. The back talk also receded (more or less, I guess).

Of course, where would a paranormal novel be without a hunky werewolf to come on a silver platter? (Okay well, maybe not, since Jennifer’s werewolves are allergic to silver =P). I had a difficult time with Chase. I obviously loved him from the beginning (he had a sort of “bad boy” pull on me), but I just couldn’t come to terms with his and Bryn’s relationship. A lot of it happened off-screen, such as their Markings (which binds them together). Most of the romance involved Bryn and Chase claiming over and over that their counterpart was theirs. It danced around the central plot of the book – everything was more focused on the werewolves than their romance. We get one kiss and a few wolfy nuzzles. So if you’re looking for fleshed out romance, just turn away.

I can’t tell you how much I loved so many of the characters. I usually don’t love as many characters as I did for this book. For one, Callum. Sure, he was portrayed as the “bad guy”, the betrayer. But I can’t shake off this love I felt for him since the beginning of the book. Devon was such a bad-ass friend – metrosexual werewolf? YES PLEASE. Lake was equally awesome – blunt, kick ass, and strong. She named her gun Matilda. If that doesn’t scream quirky to you, I dunno what will. I loved that there was a central adult figure in Bryn’s life – Ali, despite being human, was a strong woman who cared most about keeping her loved ones safe. I wanted to hug her for the sacrifices she had to go to just to save Bryn’s butt. Katie (she was so cute in her puppy werewolf form) and Alex were as adorable as any babies could be portrayed in a novel, and so was Lily. Just... SO much love for a lot of the characters.

The pacing was decent and rarely lagged. There wasn’t that much action, but rather everything was explained in concise details and without dragging things on. I had a bit of trouble with the format and the way the events played out – it isn’t done so conventionally. When Bryn basically starts up a new way of life at the 60% mark of the book, I had trouble accepting it – I was ready for rising action, not reverting back to a new intro!

The plot was slightly predictable – there was only one time that I was surprised (and it was a mild surprise, at that). Everything just flowed in such a way that Jennifer basically led up to certain events, and when you got to them, you knew what was going to go down. The constant presence of the Rabid – lone wolf that kills humans – was prevalent throughout the majority of the book. We never really got to forget about him.

Cover Musings: I actually really love the dark blue hue to this cover and I’m rather fond of the model (I had to picture Bryn like her, haha). It doesn’t really stand out in a line of books, but it has a certain charm.

Memorable Quotes:
"I glanced up at him, and his strong, Nordic features shuddered as he attempted something that resembled a smile the way that a great white shark resembles a goldfish." (pg. 43)

"‘I’m Chase,’ he said.
‘Kind of an ironic name for a werewolf.’ [...] ‘Werewolves do a lot of chasing,’ I explained. ‘And your name is Chase. Hee.’" (pg. 58-59)

"Baby #2 made what appeared to be a real effort at putting his left foot in his mouth. Reflexively, I reached my hand out and tickled his sole before catching his foot in my hand.
Alex (also known as Alexander, Little Guy, Big Guy, and Spot) wrinkled his baby brow.
‘Got your foot,’ I told him loftily. Alex wriggled. Clearly, he was unsure what to make of this development."  (pg. 65-66)

"In addition to having superstrength, accelerated healing, awesome senses, and an extended life span, werewolves, I had recently discovered, were also pretty much immune to the horrors of poop.’" (pg. 72)

"‘Senate,’ Ali scoffed, purely out of reflex. ‘There’s nothing democratic about werewolves. Nothing.
She was right. This meeting would be like throwing a bunch of champion gladiators into a ring and telling them to talk out their differences over tea." (pg 272)

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments:
I think out of all the werewolf novels I’ve been reading lately, this has to be my favorite by far. There are so many untold secrets, betrayals, and struggles that were dealt with in this novel. The characters were enjoyable, and the plot was refreshing and constantly in motion. A definite must-read. :)

Oh, and I gotta support an author with the same last name! We could be related! =P

Rating: 5/5


LupLun said...

Chase is a shallow love interest for a very good reason- this isn't a romance story. It's an adventure story, the story of Bryn's development to adulthood. Chase is really there to serve the plot more than anything else.

I think you misidentified Callum as the villain- he acts in a manner that's strange, but I never got the feeling he had anything other than his pack's best interests at heart.

Yeah, this was a good book. Awesome, even. ^_^

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

I didn't misidentify Callum at all. I said he was portrayed as the bad guy; I never said he was. He was always looking out for Bryn, saving her from harsher punishments that could have happened. But from Bryn's perspective, before her meet-up with Callum at the end, he did "betray" her and hold out his secrets from her; he WAS "the bad guy" in the same way a rebellious teenager thinks their parents are bad guys. :)

Felicity Grace Terry said...

oh i like the sound of this, it sounds just that bit different. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Steph said...

You have an award at my blog for being simply amazing!

Literature for Lunch said...

I absolutely agree with your assessment, Kristina. I do think, in the narrator's view, Callum did do some "bad guy" things. When he knew that Bryn was going to be beaten harshly - that was a pretty bad guy move. Necessary for the big picture, the future? Yes. But that part definitely made me uncomfortable with him.

I loved the secondary characters too! Devon was one of my favorites! Great review.

Karen said...

I loved this book - it was a nice detour from all the love traingle centric paranormals out there.
And I agree 100% about all the side characters! I loved them all. I have a bit of a crush on Callum I wish he would get his own series.
Great review.

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