Trial by Fire
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Summary: Bryn is now leader of the Cedar Ridge pack of werewolves and she's convinced that her pack is different - it's democratic and fair. Then Bryn finds a battered teenage Were, Connor, bleeding on her front porch. He begs Bryn to protect him from an abusive leader; Bryn takes him into her pack.I can't pin point exactly what it is about this series, but I absolutely love it. It's my favourite werewolf series/book and definitely one of my favourite book series.
But Bryn's Were partner Chase doesn't trust the new boy, and the more time she spends helping Connor, the more aggressive Chase becomes. Bryn is not sure if it's jealousy, or Were possessiveness but for the first time she starts to feel suffocated by the bond she and Chase share.
Filled with action, unlikely allies, and deadly conspiracies, Trial by Fire will change Bryn forever. She is soon to realise that to lead a pack of werewolves, she must give in to her animal instincts and become a little less human. And as hard as it's going to be, Bryn is going to have to do it alone.
There can only be one alpha.
The characters are just awesome and when Jennifer is writing about the connection between them, you really feel it as you're reading and I love that. That's probably the most interesting thing about this series -- the whole pack thing, the bond they share...that connection and it's like, more than love, it goes deeper than that and reading about it is addictive and made me wish werewolves existed like they do in the story and that I was one of them just so I could feel that intensity and sense of belonging.
I really adore the characters, all of them. Lake, Callum, Devon and Chase are my favourites and Bryn is a great protagonist -- she's not perfect; she's strong and she's weak, just the right balance. Even the bad guys are just awesomely bad and I find myself wanting to punch them in the face for being so...well, for lack of a better word: evil (but, alas, you cannot punch fiction in the face because it doesn't have a face -- damn).
I love the fact that there's romance in the book, but it doesn't really feel like romance. It's a subplot, but it doesn't even feel like that -- it's just something that is naturally there, so it's a big deal but at the same time it isn't and it's far from being the focus. The book gives me my romance fiction fix without being a romance book and that's one of my favourite types because then the plot flows more naturally -- in romance books, because the whole plot revolves around that relationship, certain things in the plot sometimes feel forced, like they're just there to create drama.
But back to the point of that: Bryn and Chase...their relationship is pretty much just "Awww!" to the max and makes me all melty inside to the point where I just want to go hug someone (I settle for clutching the pillow a little tighter while I read *facepalm*).
Moving on...the plot of these books are addictive. I have a love/hate relationship with that because when each book finished, I was left desperately wanting to read the sequel right away (especially with this book) and then I'm all gutted about the fact I need to wait another year to find out what happens next.
Sorry this review has been kind of vague and not very good -- the better the book is, the harder I find it is to talk about because explaining just what it was about the book that clicked with me is difficult (and I was trying to avoid spoilers). But I loved the book and I really recommend it/Raised by Wolves -- it's got me craving more werewolf books but I'm not sure I'll be able to find one any time soon that can compete with the awesomeness of this series.