Note: this is book three in the Raised by Wolves series. Review is spoiler free but the summary obviously spoils the previous books if you haven't read them (why haven't you read them? Go!).
Taken by Storm
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Summary: Bryn knows first-hand that being the alpha of a werewolf pack means making hard decisions, and that being human makes things a thousand times worse. She's prepared to give up her humanity, but the wolf who promised to Change her is waiting - though for what, Bryn doesn't know.
Still human, she must take her place in the werewolf Senate, the precarious democracy that rules the North American packs. Standing side by side with werewolves who were ancient long before she was ever born is enough of a challenge, but Bryn soon learns that the Senate has been called to deal with a problem: the kind of problem that involves human bodies, a Rabid werewolf, and memories that Bryn, Chase, and the rest of their pack would rather forget. With bodies stacking up and political pressure closing in from all sides, Bryn and her pack are going to have to turn to old enemies and even older friends for help - especially when it starts to look like this time, the monster might be one of their own.
Take Two: I love this series. This book is probably my least favourite of the three--and I'll explain the reasons why in a second--but it was still really good and turned me into a quivering ball of emotion.
Now, the first half of the book was a bit slow. The plot didn't hook me in the way the others did, the characters I had loved before were just leaving me annoyed or underwhelmed or indifferent really - but then there was a moment almost halfway into the book where it all just clicked into place and I didn't want to stop turning pages and I felt emotionally invested in the story the way I had been with the first two and from that point, it was just really awesome and enjoyable to read.
The thing I love about Jennifer's books is that she isn't afraid to make her characters not likeable. She isn't afraid to make them make tough decisions or do things that will make the reader hate them or mad at them or frustrated with them - she takes risks to make her characters flawed and real and fleshed out and I love them so much for that.
And the plot...it's entertaining and it manages to pull twists that would seem cheesy or annoying in a lot of other books, I don't find it difficult to suspend disbelief the way she writes things and I love that too.
The ending of this book kind of... put me through a big giant emotional shredder. Things happened that I didn't want to happen, thingss that seemed so avoidable if just one thing was done differently, but then - by the end, even if some things happened that made me cry (yes, I cried like a baby - it's been a while since I've properly cried at a book and I'd forgotten how weirdly satisfying it is, when the author makes you care so much that she can make you hurt), I probably wouldn't change the ending. It ended in a different way than I would've expected it to or wanted it to but it left me wanting more but not needing more, if that makes sense.
And I think that's enough for one review. I'd probably rate it 4 out of 5 stars if I factor into it my reaction towards the first half (or lack of reaction) but closer to 5 if I'm rating it on overall impact and how much I adore this series as a whole.
One more thing: before I wrote this review, I couldn't think of what to write and so I messed around on photoshop for a while making crappy fan art for the book instead - yay procrastination (Bryn = Katie Findlay, because she's just who I pictured while reading this one and she's fab - click for full size):