Review: Trial by fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.
But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.
Seriously, I’ve said it before but I cannot stress this enough – YA readers today are lucky. Not only are the genres being explored by writers expanding but the writing itself is just out of this world and Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Raised by Wolves series is the perfect example.
I loved the first book in the series, Raised by Wolves – Bryn’s story – a human girl being raised among werewolves was completely intriguing and had me waiting with little patience for Trial by Fire. Well, Trial by fire was most definitely worth the wait!
In Raised by Wolves we saw Bryn try to live a life separate from the Cedar Ridge Pack, now in Trial by Fire while her life is separate from the Cedar Ridge Pack, she is right at the center of pack life – as an Alpha herself. A strange position to be in when you’re not actually a werewolf.
Yet Bryn seems to be accepting her role – and one of my favorite things in this series is reading about the inner workings of ‘pack mentality’ – how Bryn feels with the pack, how the pack responds to her, Ms. Lynn Barnes descriptions are exquisite and make reading these books feel like some kind of three dimensional experience :)
The relative peace and quiet of pack life is broken when Lucas, a teenage werewolf from another pack ends up bloodied and bruised on Bryn’s doorstep. He wants her protection but being a member of someone else’s pack means helping him could cause all hell to break loose for Bryn and her family – especially considering the pack Lucas comes from. Then Bryn senses another disturbance – and really, the threats to the pack just keep on coming.
As Bryn tries to unravel the mystery behind the threats she also gets to show the pack and us, the readers joining the ride that she has the chops needed to lead.
Not that her pack doubts her or anything, it’s just that on many levels they see her as someone in need of protection – being weak and human and all. This was another wonderful aspect of the book, seeing Bryn deal with her unique situation and seeing the other characters deal with it as well.
The character development in Trial by Fire is exquisite. Dev, Lake, Chase are all back, and now part of Bryn’s pack which means the dynamics are different. Then we have Bryn’s adoptive mom who has a major role to play in Trial by Fire as well as a guest appearance from Callum, the alpha of the Cedar Ridge pack. He was one character I wish we saw more of in Trial by Fire but I can quite understand why that wasn’t possible (which reminds me – I loved finding out the meaning of the gift Callum gave Bryn. Brilliant.)
Bryn’s relationship with each of the characters shifts (forgive the pun) in one way or another by the end of Trial by Fire and in some cases that will have major consequences for the future but there isn’t a lot of time for romance and in some way I felt that there just wasn’t enough time to focus on the various friendships and relationships. I hope we get more of that in the next book.
Trial by Fire changes things for Bryn and those around her forever. In the final chapters Bryn has to make heartbreaking choices, ones that most adults would find hard to make, let alone a teenager and reading about the results and consequences of these decisions is something I am looking forward to.
Trial by Fire was an un-putdownable addition to a series now firmly ensconced on my ‘Favorites’ shelf. Bring on book #3!