Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn BarnesRaised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: Raised by Wolves #1
Published by Quercus Books
Pages: 418
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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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?

Thoughts: It took me a really long time to get into this book. I think I spent about a month slowly making my way through the first 70 pages. Although I could intellectually appreciate the writing, the plot did absolutely nothing for me. I couldn’t understand the main character’s motivations, and found the insta-romance that was both annoying and bland.

I was very tempted to put it down, but then re-read one of the many positive reviews that made me pick it up in the first place. I don’t know about you, but reviews tend to muddle in my brain to become either “Good, pick it up” or “Avoid avoid avoid”. I usually don’t to remember the details. So imagine my surprise to hear the book touted as one of the few truly feminist YA books out there, with a heroine I would love, and twists I would never see coming.

It really didn’t sound like I was reading the same book.

Turns out, I was. I so so was. I’d give the last half of this book five stars. The twists in this book really came out of left-field… and yet, like all good twists, when you re-read the book you can see the clues right in front of you. Suddenly, choices that had annoyed the hell out of me became logical, and characters with whom I had taken some issue suddenly made sense. It was a complete and utter paradigm shift. Fantastic stuff.

Bryn turned out to be quite the leader: this girl was one of the most fabulous, feminist alpha characters I’ve read in a while. Her fantastic support network was another one of the things that set this book apart – although adopted, she has a lot of people guarding her back.  It’s rare to see good parenting (scratch that, any parenting) in YA, so it was a refreshing change!  Alas, Bryn’s love-interest remained bland-as-hell.  Honestly have no idea what she sees in that plank of wood, but at least I didn’t completely hate him… probably because was I was easily distracted by the oh-so-amazing alpha-werewolf Callum (oh, Callum ♥), who completely stole my heart.  Loved him.  He seemed so calm and in control, and yet he could be utterly cold and ruthless when required.  And, GUH, his relationship with pseudo-daughter Bryn was a-mazing.

Bottom line: This book takes a very, very long time to like.  But once you get past the first 150-or-so pages, you’ll love it.  It’s well-worth the read and I – for one – cannot wait for Trial by Fire to come out!