Title: Raised by Wolves
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont USA
May Contain Spoilers
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?
Though I enjoyed this book a lot, there were some pacing issues that bogged down the narrative a few times. During these lulls, my attention started to wander, and I started longing for pace to pick up again. The most significant one, for me, was right before the confrontation with the Rabid. In an effort to build suspense, I thought that some of the momentum of the story was lost with too much self introspection and too much set up.
I loved Bryn. If there’s one thing you can say about her, it’s that she’s a survivor. After her parents are brutally murdered by a rogue werewolf, she is taken in by Callum, the Alpha of a large and powerful pack. She is raised in safety and protected from outside threats, and Callum’s mark on her means that all of his wolves must watch over her as well. Bryn chafes at the restrictions in her life and keeps herself as distant from the pack as she can. She resists getting caught up in the pack mentality, which makes some of the werewolves suspicious of her. They can’t comprehend being apart, mentally and emotionally, from the others, and it makes for an uneasy relationship with many of Callum’s wolves.
It’s when Bryn discovers Chase, a young man who has survived a vicious attack by a Rabid, that the story picked up the pace and started to suck me in. Bryn is drawn to Chase; they have both survived an attack by a Rabid, though Chase was actually mauled by the wolf, and Bryn was saved by Callum before the wolf could physically attack her. Chase has been turned, and Bryn feels that by learning more about his ordeal, she will be able to put her horrific experience in the past. She is still haunted by the memories of the slaughter of her parents, and she just wants to find a way to make it make sense to her.
Forbidden to have contact with Chase unless she becomes a member of the pack, Bryn’s safe, sheltered life is about to change forever. I loved how convincingly Jennifer Lynn Barnes portrayed the weres and being part of a pack. There are mental bonds that connect the pack together, and once Bryn is forced to let down her guard and be a part of the collective mind set, she begins to lose herself in the pack. Her individuality begins to slip away, and she starts to think like the wolves. I loved how real the pack connection felt, and how Bryn’s outlook changed after submitting to Callum and the rest of the pack.
Raised by Wolves is an exciting and suspenseful read, with a very strong protagonist. Even though Bryn is dealing with so many issues from her past, she is determined that there will never be other victims like Chase and herself. To find closure from her nightmare past, she will put her life on the line and end the threat that still stalks those too weak and helpless to save themselves. The relationships between the characters were complex and felt so real, especially Bryn’s confused feelings for Callum and her attraction to Chase. This is one of the best werewolf books that I have ever read!
Review copy provided by publisher