Book Review – Raised by Wolves

Posted June 15, 2010 by 1 Comment

Whew. Two Novel Novice reviews in one day!!

As an aspiring writer and middle school teacher, I read a lot of YA novels. A lot. Trust me. If I sat down and counted how much money I spent over the past year on YA books this year alone, I would probably die of shock. Somewhere I can hear my bank account weeping.

During the summer, I spend a lot of time at the beach and pool. So, it is essential I have something to read at all times. This weekend I picked up Raised by Wolves. Declared by Barnes and Noble to be a YA romance, Raised by Wolves follows in the tradition of a recent Novel Novice fav, The Sisters Red, presenting a kick-butt heroine.

Here is the official synopsis:

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it.  That doesn’t mean that she’s averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian’s basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents’ murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she’s shaped?

Review: There are so many great things about this book. Fans of the Twilight series, especially fans of the wolf pack, will find the novel’s explanation of pack life, pack hierarchies, and the pack connection simply mesmerizing.  Barnes describes pack life in a way I found lacking from Meyer’s novels.

Anyone still yearning for a Leah Clearwater novel?

Beyond the supernatural elements (and trust me…there’s a lot of that), Raised by Wolves is a story about family and friendships. Which is good.  Often too much focus on the supernatural elements and not enough focus on humanity leaves me disappointed and cheated as a reader. Raised by Wolves almost falls victim to this sad trend.

Love story it is not. Sure, the relationship between Bryn and Chase is really intriguing, and has all the workings of being the next compelling couple in YA, but the relationship is never fully realized. At first, I felt rather frustrated by this, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

This is  Bryn’s story. It’s about her journey, her strive for independence. The whole you can’t really be there for anyone / love someone until you know yourself. Once I looked back on the novel through this perspective, I enjoyed it.

And the novel’s supporting characters are some of the best written ones I have come across in a while.

I was disappointed with the novel’s ending. I am not sure what’s going on in YA novels as of late—but endings have left me feeling disjointed. They seem rushed or unrealistic.

Raised by Wolves is the first in a series, so maybe the payoff for the reader comes later. Despite my small complaints, I will certainly be picking up the next book when it comes out.


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