Monday, October 3, 2011

Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves, #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves, #2)

     "Most werewolves had at least one werewolf parent, but my pack--aside from Devon and Lake and a few others--was different. I was human, and the others had been at one point, too. The only difference was that they'd been bitten, and I hadn't.
     Most humans didn't have what it took to survive a major werewolf attack, but those of us who did had one thing in common--a knack for survival.
     We called it Resilience.
     I'd spent most of my life as the underdog (no pun intended), so supernaturally good survival instincts had come in handy more than once--and I was fairly certain they would again. Or at least, I hoped they would."

Bryn was the Cedar Ridge alpha. She didn't volunteer for the position, she was elected by her pack. She, with the help of her friends, helped to kill a Rabid who was going around kidnapping kids and making then into werewolves. Years ago, her family was attacked, and she had been the only survivor. Callum and his pack had found her and raised her as one of their own. Ironically, the Rabid werewolf she helped to take down was the same one who'd killed her family. He'd wanted to make Bryn a werewolf as well. As female werewolves were scarce, creating new female werewolves was a very attractive endeavor to some. Shay Macalister, the Snake Bend pack's alpha, had made a deal with the devil, so to speak. He was willing to overlook and even support the Rabid's actions in order to get more females. You see an alpha draws strength from it's pack and the stronger and bigger the pack the more power an alpha has and Shay wanted more power. When Bryn and her friends joined with the Rabid's victims to create their own pack, she instantly gained an enemy because she'd put an end to Shay's plans.

When one of Shay's werewolves shows up on Cedar Ridge land asking for help, Bryn doesn't know what to do. The boy was badly beaten and tortured. She doesn't want to send him back, but Pack Law prohibits one alpha to claim another pack's member without their alpha releasing his claim. Bryn, isn't stupid, she knows this means trouble. Shay's either looking to get his hands on one of her pack's females and/or hoping she'll make a wrong move thereby starting a fight, opening up the possibility that he might be able to gain control of her pack. She knows he'll fight dirty. She'll have to watch her and her packs backs because as Bryn realizes and Callum reinforces: 

     "I was alpha, and an alpha couldn't run and hide, couldn't send the pack off to fight, die on their  own. The pack needed me there, the same way the peripherals had needed to see me when they'd arrived at the Wayferer, the same way the others looked to me for the signal to run on the full moon.
     "In the end," Callum said, his voice soft, gentle, "it all comes back to you. You protect them, you love them, you live for them, and someday, you die. That's what it means, Bryn-girl, to be where we are. It's lonely. It's impossible. It's all-consuming.""
I'm really enjoying this series. I love the relationship between Callum and Bryn. I like the fact that Bryn doesn't just assume she can do it all by herself. She doesn't hesitate to seek Callum's guidance and wisdom. While he isn't allowed to tell Bryn what to do, due to pack politics, he does all he can to help her. For example, at the beginning of the book he foresees what will happen and sends her a miniature carved horse. While she doesn't know what the figure means, she knows it holds some significance.

I  also like the dynamics of the pack. It's sort of an all for one and one for all mentality. I love how they all put their trust in Bryn and their trust doesn't falter as she tries to find her way through the difficult situations set in front of her. I enjoyed the fact that Bryn's going through a learning process and we get to witness it. I'm still wondering what Callum sees in Bryn's future. Sounds like she's going to do something big. Plus, there were a couple of twists at the end I didn't see coming.

Why the name 'Trial by Fire'? I believe it's because she is attacked in her dream by someone who literally sets her skin burning:

     "My instincts returned full throttle, and I braced myself for a fight, but the man never blinked, his light eyes focused on mine, his head tilted slightly to one side. Slowly, he raised his right hand, the same way I'd beckoned forward the wolf. 
     I felt the fight drain out of me, like a tire going flat. Mesmerized, I walked toward the stranger with the diamond-hard eyes, and a serpentine smile spread over his face. Flames leapt to life at the ends of his fingertips, and I froze. 
     Eyes glittering, he lifted one flaming hand and waved.
     Just a dream, I told myself. It's just a dream.
     With the smell of smoke thick in my nostrils, I woke up."

I gave this one a 5 out of 5 roses. I feel this is an original take on an old genre and am thoroughly loving it. I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Order of series:

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