Trial by Fire: A Raised by Wolves Novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Bronwyn knows a thing or two about survival, not fitting in, and werewolves. She’s alpha of the newly formed, rag tagged, Cedar Ridge Pack. And she’s human. They are more of the Breakfast Club than a Wolfe pack, the lot of them being mostly kids, but Byn has finally found the place where she fits. Specifically groomed by her former father figure Callum for the role. A new kind of alpha. A new kind of pack. Settling into her new life with her besties Dev, Lake, and new boyfriend Chase, is about to get a whole lot more difficult. Cedar Ridge may not have age and experience on their side, but they are rich where all others are not. Bryn’s is abundant in female weres, and the only thing keeping the other packs from invading her territory and divvying up the girls, is pack law. Unfortunately for Bryn and her clan someone has been putting a lot of thought into getting around the rules..
Bryn’s leadership and ability to protect her pack is put to the test when a beaten rogue ends up on her doorstep looking for sanctuary. He’s a member of a rival pack lead by Shay, Dev’s older brother, and all around arch nemesis. As it turns out the stray is also being hunted by a coven of “knacks”, humans with abilities that are described like more extreme amplifications of what would be normal human behavior. Bryn’s caught between her need to protect her wolves, and wanting to save the abused boy, Lucas, from the alpha who beat him and the coven who tortured him. Pack law forbids her from forcibly taking another alpha’s charge, so to except Lucas into the fold Shay would have to relinquish all rights over the runt. Bryn has to play things by the book, otherwise she risks losing everything. But Shay is playing the long game, and planning his moves. As her shortcomings become glaringly apparent, Bryn’s going to have to make some crucial decisions, not only for the present but the future as well. Her choices will tote the line between humane and beast. Is becoming the alpha she HAS to be, the kind of alpha she WANTS to be? Some things you can’t come back from. The safety of the pack could be her downfall. Being the only human amongst wolves you can’t forget it’s the enemy within that’s always the greatest threat.
Raised by Wolves the stunning prequel to Trial by Fire was slow to begin but wonderfully crafted, and multi layered. The sequel is just as rich but without the hindered pace to start. Barnes takes her story to unexpected places. Though they aren’t overly complex storylines (which wouldn’t make sense for YA), these aren’t transparent books. They are pleasantly unexpected, going further where other authors of this genre would naturally stop. The reoccurring theme I find in Barnes’ body of work is friendship. Her heroine always has a wonderfully diverse menagerie of besties. Lake, and Dev are no exceptions. JLB crafts some very interesting background characters as always. She weaves personalities into the story as much a part of the scenery or maybe even more so, since I remember more details of the character quirks than the setting. This is great sequel. A little light on the romance, Trial by Fire is more story driven. The core plot is a solid one with, some twists and interesting developments. Jennifer Lynn Barnes shows her growth and maturity in this series. Trial by Fire is another strong thoughtful addition to Barnes’ bibliography.
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