Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynne Barnes

Title: Raised by Wolves

Author: Jennifer Lynne Barnes

Series: Raised by Wolves #1

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Quercus

Summary (from Goodreads)

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?

What’s Good About It

Ah yes, another YA paranormal romance. Who needs another one, right? There are hundreds. Well, I was worried this would be yet another average one, like the few I have lined up in my draft box, waiting to be typed up. I haven’t got round to them yet because I feel so indifferent about them. But this… This was fab.

There are a number of books out there that glamourise and soften the paranormal. (*cough* Twilight *cough*) Where some books remove all the threat from paranormal creatures, turning them into dream dates who aren’t believable as humans, let alone dangerous paranormal beings. While I don’t mind a bit of fluffy romance, part of me can never get past the idea that blood sucking vampires or shapeshifting werewolves, with animal instincts and sharp canines should be scary – and all the more alluring because they are.

Jennifer Lynne Barnes doesn’t skimp on the scary. Her wolves are animalistic, agressive, dominant. They fight for control, take a pound of flesh for wrongs done against them and live by violent rules. They are much closer to wolves than people, something that makes the story much more interesting and compelling than many of the other werewolf books out there.

The connection between Bryn and Chase is as instantaneous as paranormal romance stories have a tendency to be. However, there is a plausible reason offered. Bryn’s mental connection with her pack, and with Chase does make it seem possible that they could feel as connected as they do so quickly.

I also liked the complications that being a female werewolf brought, and the fact that Bryn was human, with no desire to be turned. The gender dynamics of the wolf pack added another level of intrigue and interest, without being too far feminist or anti-feminist (is that even a word??).

All in all, a lot of great stuff going on in what promises to be an excellent addition to the multitude of YA paranormal series, and a strong case for continuing to publish them. Is the market saturated? Not if there are more great books like this out there waiting to grace our shelves.

What Wasn’t So Good

The characters were generally good, but I felt some were a bit stereotyped. Particularly Devon. He was alright, but sometimes I feel characters are quirky for the sake of having a quirky character rather than because that sort of personality really adds something to the story.

Rating: 4/5

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