I've had Raised By Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes on my shelves unread for such a long time! Especially after I went to one of her events and heard her speak so interestingly about her writing inspirations. And as I was reading the book, I could see how well she had blended her experiences of growing up amongst older brothers and their friends with that of Bryn's life as a human girl surrounded by werewolves and also that of her psychological background.
Bryn is a girl in unusual circumstances. As a child, Bryn's parents were killed by a rogue werewolf and she was rescued and adopted into Callum's pack. Now, at 15, the pack is all Bryn knows. She's had to adjust to living with the pack who are all stronger and faster and bigger than she is. But Bryn has always stood on the outside, not letting the pack mind and their emotional and physical bonds affect her in the same way. She's always been determined to keep her own identity and her own thoughts and ideas separate from Callum's pack.
That is, until the day she sees Chase, a teenage boy locked in a cage in Callum's house. Seeing Chase and hearing his story changes everything for Bryn as she becomes obsessed with finding out the truth of what happened to Chase and if that is at all connected with the death of Bryn's parents so many years ago.
I really loved Raised By Wolves. I did worry at the beginning that this book would be very male-dominated, as I suppose most werewolf books are. But Jennifer Lynn Barnes really took this werewolf story in a new direction and surrounded Bryn with some great women. Bryn herself is one of my favourite characters that I've read recently. She's feisty and headstrong and stubborn and I really loved the connections she makes with the other characters in the book.
Her adoptive mom, Ali, is really great - supportive and protective. Despite some of his dubious decisions and actions and all the rules and restrictions that he places on her, I also really loved the relationship between Bryn and Callum, the alpha and Bryn's closest thing to a father-figure. There seems a lot more going on under the surface with this pair and you can tell that both of them have such strong feelings for each other. Bryn' s friends are also awesome - Devon and Lake. And while there is a rather strong emotional and romantic connection between Bryn and Chase, it isn't fully played out because of some of the things that occur within the course of the novel, so I'm really hoping that there will be more of that in the next book.
All in all, I really thought that Raised By Wolves was a hugely addictive read, one that was surprising and fun. It felt emotional and exciting and dangerous and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long before reading this book. I'm sure to dive straight into the sequel, Trial By Fire, as soon as I can and I'm really excited about it! I think werewolves might just be my thing.