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Raised by Wolves Hardcover – June 8, 2010
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Melissa Marr Reviews Raised by Wolves
In Raised by Wolves, Jennifer Lynn Barnes uses her real world knowledge of pack behavior as the basis of an action-packed, intense, romantic story.
Real wolves are pack animals: hierarchy and dominance matter. Whereas most of us have no access to untamed pack mammals, Jennifer is an exception. In her Ph.D. work at Yale in medical science and psychiatry, she journeys regularly to Cayo Santiago, an island populated solely by more than 1000 free ranging rhesus macaques to study their behavior.
Like wolves, rhesus monkeys are smart, potentially aggressive animals with a hierarchical structure within their troops. Like wolves, they can be both very beautiful and very dangerous. (Their fangs are the size of your pinkie finger.) On these research trips, Barnes and several other researchers co-exist with at least five troops of monkeys with their own hierarchies and territories. As such, Barnes has been a human living among pack animals who are stronger, who use non-verbal communication, who function on instinct rather than logic. She is, in essence, a young woman who has had to learn some of the same lessons as her protagonist, Bryn.
In Raised by Wolves, Bryn is a young woman who faces challenges every day as a human surrounded by male-dominated werewolves. She was taken under the care of the Pack Alpha, Callum, after her family was killed in front of her when she was a small child. Callum’s affection and over-protectiveness are both invaluable and stifling. Her life is teetering on that line between cherished and smothered, and while she logically understands the rules, her instinct is not to follow. She is a natural leader who is fiercely loyal, passionate, courageous, and willing to test the rules.
And testing the rules is exactly what Bryn must do when she finds out that the pack--her pack, her family--has been holding a prisoner: irresistible newly made teen werewolf, Chase. As Bryn risks everything with and for Chase, she finds her life in danger from those she thought she could trust, strangers from her past, and her own actions.
Despite the intense connection Chase and Bryn have, this isn’t only a romance. Bryn--with the help of Chase, Devon, and Lake (a very awesome female werewolf)--engages in a conflict that challenges Pack order. As is inevitable in such situations, there are consequences, injuries, and loss. The mature sensibility in both the chemistry between characters and the action-driven plot make this book a crossover for adult paranormal readers, especially fans of adult books by Rachel Vincent, Patricia Briggs, and Kelley Armstrong.
Jennifer has taken her experience with pack behavior and added a love of strong heroines (a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and her strong sense of romance. The result is a story that Raised by Wolves is, quite simply, the most compelling YA werewolf book out there.
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–For 15-year-old Bryn Clare, life has been anything but normal. At the age of four she witnesses her parents' gruesome murder by a rogue werewolf. Taken in and marked by the alpha male, Callum, she and her foster mother, Ali, are the only two humans accepted and protected by them. Even though she enjoys the connection to the pack, Bryn's human need to set herself apart and be independent has labeled her a rebel–something unheard of in the strict hierarchy of werewolf society. Her loyalty to Callum and the pack is put to the test with the discovery of newly turned werewolf named Chase. Bryn can not deny the bond she feels with him and begins to uncover information that sets off a chain reaction of events, changing her life forever. Barnes weaves a fantastic story line full of great plot twists and turns with a little romance sprinkled in. Revealing key pieces of the plot in bits and pieces allows the story to move quickly and effortlessly. Readers will definitely respond to gutsy Bryn, who, in being true to herself, must fight for her place in the world. A great read and a must-have for libraries with fans of the supernatural.–Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Top customer reviews
1. Bronwyn is a human girl (the name is a bit annoying to pronounce whenever it comes along in the story, but that's minor) is allowed several wolf like abilities and considering that she is JUST human and not wholly or even partially wolf seems a bit unbelievable. Believability is key!
2. The relationship she has with Chase (a young boy who is bitten and taken in by the pack as a member) seems way too rushed. It's almost as if his soul purpose was to provide Bronwyn with a love interest. Chase is a paper thin character who somehow develops this bond with Bronwyn just because they share vaguely similar experiences. Bronwyn's mother and father were killed by a rogue wolf when she was four, Chase was a wayward foster kid who was bitten by the same rogue wolf (as I write that it seems more and more far fetched)
3. Callum, the pack Alpha has a secret that he doesn't want exposed, mostly to Bronwyn, yet he Allows she and Chase to get together and "Talk" knowing full well that Chase could possibly divulge his secret considering that he was bitten by a rogue werewolf. Duh!
4. Bronwyn comes off as a little Bella-ish (twilight reference) she becomes selfish as a result of her far fetched relationship with chase and suddenly he's all that matters. Considering that Ali (her adopted mother) was the only true mother figure in her life and would have done anything for her, Bronwyn Disregards all of her concerns in search of the truth. A truth that she isn't herself sure of. I mean come on she's supposed to be so concerned with her parents killers and yet us as readers just don't really care about them or her for that matter. She even disregards her wolf family, the family she knew since she was 4 years old. I have no sympathy for Bronwyn and frankly I'm not sure if I'm supposed to.
The only characters I genuinely enjoyed were Devon and Ali because they had personalities beyond Bronwyn interpretation of them. Callum didn't much come off as a leader figure in my opinion and all the other character blended together personality wise. Overall, the book was a decent read and I look forward to reading the other installments.
Bryn is drawn to Chase and the mystery he represents. As the two get closer, they find out that they're more connected than they thought. Chase is everything Bryn might have been, had Callum not rescued her all those years ago. Now fighting to save the lives of others, Bryn and Chase dive into their own pasts and face the monsters that hid there.
I loved Raised by Wolves because Bryn is feisty, stubborn, and fierce. She doesn't take no for an answer, even when that might be the easier route. When her life is upended, she fights her feet fast and throws herself into the fight to save others. Because of her loyalty, her two best friends, Lake and Devon, fight by her side. Along with Chase, the four of them have a kind of unbreakable bond of friendship that lasts. Even the scary Rogue werewolf from her past can't break them.
As YA stories go, this was pretty well done. The angst was sometimes a bit much but Bryn, the main character didn't have me wishing for her to just shut up already, so that's a great thing. Also, I found that I really enjoyed the adults in the story. Ali & Callum especially & Mitch & Keely to a lesser extent, were more than just tertiary existences to Bryn & the story. Ali & Callum were real & had deep influence on her daily life. I found it so refreshing that Bryn had to deal with them & the author hadn't simply made adults these people who exist but have no import in the lives of the characters. Perhaps this was easier to do, as much of the story revolves around Pack life & hierarchy. Bryn & other age-mates don't have autonomy to just do what they want & when and sometimes it's claustrophobic.
I was most interested in the pack politics & the mystery surrounding The Rabid. The introduction of Chase as the newly bitten changed Were was fine. I mostly couldn't tell whether their bond was romantic or sibling (because they had both suffered & survived The Rabid) & that ultimately made me care less either way. His cryptic mention of having liked her before he was bitten though they had never met was never addressed so I wondered if he was a long lost sibling from when Bryn's family was slaughtered when she was four. That Bryn sort of extrapolates this bond thing into a kind of love thing hinted at romantic but I was never sure. By the time the kiss happens at the end, I don't think it mattered much as it wasn't really pivotal or relevant to anything going on. Chase is one of the least fleshed out characters in the story & often reverts to the monosyllabic (sometimes he gets two), so there's only so involved with his character one could get. He was ultimately needed to be the go to to get information for Bryn's mission & he serves his purpose to the plot well enough. Devon & Lake were much better characters but strangely stereotypical at times. They exist in different parts of the story as resident BFF to Bryn & near the end as part of her big plan.
**SPOILER** The epic beat down on Bryn by Sora at the order of Callum was likely the boldest move of the story. The aftermath of Bryn internalizing that it was okay because it was a pack-thing was also a bold way to go. **SPOILER** Ali is the saving grace to this part of the story because she does what most people would hope the adult would do should this happen to a 15 year-old girl. I wanted to know what Devon's perspective was for what happened & found it strange that even though Bryn had a laptop, he never sent her an email when she left town. I mean, really? He never once checked on how she was after she regained consciousness. Honestly, it felt like the author just dropped the Devon thread here & replaced him with Lake out at The Wayfarer.
The culmination of the story with Bryn, Chase, Devon, Lake, the Pack Senate & the Rabid was a bit pat for me. First, that Chase was even allowed to get away from his, up until then, severe lockdown by Callum & the Pack for his unpredictability being so new at being a Were, to go & meet up with Bryn & Lake, made no sense & was never explained. I also didn't buy Callum sort of being granted absolution for all that he'd done (the beating) & allowed to happen by chalking it up to basically having done all that he had for Bryn's own good. It sort of tainted the whole father-daughter relationship coming full circle, for me.
I liked this well enough to want to read the rest of the series. I'm most interested in the pack politics and how Bryn's new pack will come into its own (though it's populated by children, so I don't expect they'll be going all warlike with the other packs in the subsequent books). Still, I am interested in seeing how Bryn comes into her own as a leader & how she finds her way.
Most recent customer reviews
In Raised by Wolves, we meet a feisty "scrappy" fifteen year old human girl who has been raised by werewolves and now finds her loyalty...Read more