Current Giveaways:

None :(

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (REVIEW)

Genre: YA paranormal - - - Publication date: June 14, 2011

 There can only be one alpha.

Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.

But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were.  With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.

Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves. (


Yay! This book has been on my wishlist since I finished Raised by Wolves, which is the first book in the series. I was so happy when I found this book at my library, I literally squealed. The librarian and some little boy looking for pokemon books both shot me very weird looks. Hmph!

I'll admit, I wasn't nearly as pleased with the cover of this book as I was with the first book. I feel like it was cool enough so that I would probably pick it up and read the summary (if I wasn't already looking for it), but it would probably be one of those books that I put on the bottom of my TBR pile. Good thing I was seriously looking forward to reading this book and moved it to the TOP of my TBR pile!

On the cover, Melissa Marr states that this book is "Quite simply, the most compelling YA werewolf series out there." Melissa Marr, you could NOT have said it better! This book is animalistic and feral in the best possible way. It deals with gender dominance, mental dominance, species dominance. Bryn spends most of the book fighting her inner-wolf. She has almost a dozen werewolves inside of her head, and even though she is human, how would she not struggle with her inner-wolf? She was raised her whole life to go with her instincts and to scrape away the ignorance that made her a human being. Foll intents and purposes, Bryn is a wolf, even if she is only human.

I think that the plot for this book is unique and original. The world that Jennifer Lynn Barnes built is strong and absolute. While reading, the wolves and psychics feel so real, like they could actually exist. The pacing isn't completely exhilarating, but Bryn's thought process keeps it interesting.

The whole book is in Bryn's mind, and the reader spends most of the time puzzling over the issues with Bryn, trying to figure out what certain little hints could mean. This book contains so many surprises that made me want to smack my forehead along with Bryn and think, "I should have seen that coming!" This book is literally a nail-biter. I have been working so hard for the past week to kick my nail-biting habit, but all of that work went to crap as I read this book.

For a sophomore in high school, Bryn faces some pretty unfathomable challenges. She has to deal with psychics and unravel devious plots that other werewolves have set in motion. As a human alpha of her pack, she is clearly the outsider, and she has to make that work for her. She has to deal with her vulnerabilities and accept that sometimes she is going to need help. The fact that she is human makes for some pretty sticky situations among other wolves and considering her pack contains females, which are a rarity amongst the wolves, she has a bright, flashing target on her back.

The journey with Bryn was one I took with immense pleasure as she conquered her weaknesses, honed her abilities as an alpha, and fought to protect her pack no matter what it took. Somewhere along the way, Bryn had to accept that one day she would die for her pack. That was what made her alpha.

One thing I could have used more of in this book was Chase. Their relationship is animalistic, sort of creepy, and just outright intriguing! I would have loved for Jennifer Lynn Barnes to have delved deeper into Bryn's feelings for him, but the plot didn't call for it.

The writing was fantastic, intelligent, and dry. There are clever synonyms and metaphors that really helped me recognize why Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a great writer. Plus, she mentioned Glee, which always elicits brownie points from me.

I loved this book, just as I loved Raised by Wolves, just as I'm sure I will love the next installment. It is a delightful twist on the classic werewolf tales we have grown accustomed to.

  • The protagonist. Bryn is the ultimate package in a heroine. She is tough, deviously skilled, willing to get her hands dirty, and makes smart decisions. Though she is known for being rash, in this book she thought everything through much more carefully. She did her best to decipher the subtle signs that Callum sent her and had to keep her cool when nobody else could. As the alpha she had to make decisions beyond her comprehension and she had to always put her pack first. She had to sacrifice herself, even when nobody else wanted her to. She had to analyze every word that came out of the potential threats' mouths. All the while she had the immaculate vulnerability of being a human amongst werewolves. She was technically the weakest, technically could have been dead at any second. I felt really connected to her, and just like the other elements in this story, I felt like she was a real person.
  • The secondary characters. Devon. Devon Devon Devon. I think that he is my favorite characters. He is goofy, attractive, kind of girly, but when it all comes down to it, he is one tough mammajamma and he will do anything to protect his friends. Lake. Lake is fun and entertaining. She is trigger-happy and damn proud of it. I love Ali as well. Because despite her being human as well, she is one tough cookie! I also love that we get to learn more about her past in this book.Some shocking things are revealed.


  1. Awesome review! I haven't read any of this series, but will add it to my library list for sure. I'm intrigued by the concept of a human girl as alpha of a werewolf pack...and the fact that the story deals with some tough issues is a definite bonus.

    New follower!

  2. Hmph. GFC is down. Am subscribing to RSS so I don't lose ya, and will be back to follow another day. :)
    - BJ


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I love to hear from my readers, whether they agree or disagree with my opinion :) I do my best to get back to every commenter, though I am not always successful. Heh...Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you have to say! :D

~ Gabbi