Monday, 8 February 2010

Review - Raised By Wolves (Jennifer Lynn Barnes)

At the age of four, Bryn watched a rabid werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by Callum, the alpha of his 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 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.

Review - Paranormal is a genre within YA that is swiftly getting played out with vapid romantic triangles, uninteresting protagonists and cliched depictions of fantastical beasts. It was with initial trepidation and then ecstatic relief that I read Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised By Wolves. Bryn is a complex character in her evolution. She starts out being one of only two humans in a werewolf pack, resenting every minute of it, and ends up somewhere completely different.

Deeply resentful of the restrictions placed upon her by her werewolf guardian, Callum, Bryn chafes at the bonds that tie her. She's the exception in her family in that she's normal. With the arrival of Chase onto the scene, a whole series of events start occurring like dominoes falling upon one another. While there is a mystical side to this novel's proceedings, I found the exploration of group mentality within the werewolves to be really intriguing. While it interested me and Barnes did a fantastic job at keeping the ideas coherent, it gets rather convoluted by the end. That being said, I enjoyed it regardless. The exploration of leadership, power struggles, the ways you can love are all deftly woven into this story which ultimately tells the tale of a father (albeit adopted) and his daughter. It's the social and psychological aspects that pull you in.

The middle section of the book does tend to lose steam, mainly due to the core characters being removed from Bryn's sphere (which is actually the point). The reader will meet an intriguing character at this juncture to whom I would have liked to have learnt more about. To be less vague....Annie Oakley crossed with a werewolf (bliss). The best friend figure is a great one, supportive, strong and a bit of a goofball. The love interest is molded traditionally, some more development about why he loves Bryn would have been nice. The chemistry and pull between them is constructed nicely.

The antagonist is one big embodiment of evil, both human and supernatural. He's like a cross between a rabid werewolf and a serial killer...he will give you the heebie jeebies on multiple fronts.

The commentary on democracy, the nature of leadership, the different shapes of disobedience, being true to one's self and instinct as well retaining independence in a group are all ably depicted. While I am not terribly sure I bought into all the paranormal elements, especially anything mind meldy or precognitive, I did enjoy the story quite a lot.

Barnes has a breezy way of writing this genre that makes it feel like a straight contemporary novel and I have to compliment her on her light touch. Despite its length, it rushes by with speed and urgency that works with the storyline. Raised by Wolves will go down a treat for those wanting a paranormal read with character depth and evolution. Bryn is a character to whom nothing comes easy and who chooses to fight in many ways throughout the story. She's a protagonist that I really responded to and I feel in some respect this was Barnes' rebuttal to Bella (if I may be so bold).

A rip roaring read.

Published: June 8, 2010
Format: PDF, 432 pages
Publisher: Egmont
Origin: USA


Anonymous said...

Sounds very interesting and one I am going to want to read.

Good review.


Shweta said...

Good to know it is a great book . I have read her book Tattoo and I think she writes fabulously. Don't read lots of paranormal but I will look forward to the release of this one :) Great review

April (BooksandWine) said...

To be honest, I took one look at the cover of this and thought -pass- but your review has really changed my mind. I like books which show group dynamics, and since you reference Annie Oakley well I just can't say no to checking out raised by wolves.

Lenore Appelhans said...

I, too, thought I might skip this, but you make a good argument for picking it up despite a great deal of paranormal ennui.

Angiegirl said...

Same here. Was ready to pass, but you've made me reconsider. A protag you really respond to--that's a precious thing.

Anonymous said...

I haven't ever heard of this book but I will now try and get it so I can read it!

Kristen said...

Just finished this one and LOVED it. It had everything I love in it.

Danielle said...

i think this was a great book, i also did a review of it on my blog, , ck it out :)

Danielle said...

It was a great book, but did it seem like Bryn and Chase's relationship developed way to fast?