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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trial by Fire (book 2) - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

If you haven't yet read Raised by Wolves you should not be reading this review. This is the second book in the series!

Being a werewolf alpha is not easy. It is especially tough for Bryn, as the only female human teenage werewolf alpha in existence. The other alphas were not going to respect a puny human girl. The alpha's also had another reason to hate her: Bryn had walked away with a whole handful of what all male Weres wanted - female Weres, and formed the Ceder Ridge Pack. The alpha that hated her the most was Shay's, the older brother of Bryn's best friend Devon and the alpha of  Snake Bend Pack. This was why Bryn immediately knew that it was trouble when one of Shay's wolves, Lucas, ended up battered and beaten at her doorstep. He had came to her to ask her to claim him into her pack, because not only was Shay using him as a punching bag to expel his pent-up frustration, he also loaned him to a coven of psychics for some unknown reason to be tortured. The other alphas, except Callum, were at a hair's trigger to attack her pack and forcefully claim her female Weres. Other than Shay, there was also a strong psychic coven wanting to get Lucas back.. Bryn was given seven days to return Lucas to them, or the coven will attack Bryn's pack with full force.
The only one she can get advice to help her out of this sticky situation was Callum, but he cannot directly help her because an alliance between alphas will also trigger the other alphas to fight them. However, this was achieved especially by forbidding Bryn to do something, because whatever Callum forbids her to do, she will purposely do it.

I had loved the first novel of the series, Raised by Wolves. I like this series because other than the exciting plot and intriguing, fun characters, the lead character, Bronwyn. Her temperament was also amazingly like mine. We are both stubborn, have problems obeying parental authorities, and dripping with sarcasm. I'm still totally in love with this series. The only bone I have to pick with it was that this book was a bit thinner than the previous one. I just can't get enough of it. Also, I really missed Callum. Despite what Ali and Bryn thinks, I still think Callum thought of Bryn as his own daughter, even though he always have the heart to let Bryn get hurt on the way for the sake of the greater good. I really miss the Bryn-defying-Callum scenes that had filled most of the previous book, but now it only got a few pages of it since they now have their own territories and Were's don't make it a habit to cross each other's. Luckily, there was still enough Bryn-defying-Ali scenes. This book was also filled with more tension than the previous one because the threat showed itself immediately after the book started, while the previous one had dragged with Bryn's training in the middle part. The memories of Callum and Bryn of their time together when he raised her was quite sweet.

Five hearts for a second round!! Another change that I liked was that this book had a lot more mystery than the previous one. When you think about it, Shay is a real genius, and a real evil mastermind. His plots to getting Bryn's head on a platter had layers and layers and layers, just like an onion (or an emotionally complicated ogre), and with every layer, there's a fail-safe that ensures that with every layer of the plan that Bryn managed to come out unscathed, there will still be some way he can benefit from it. It makes my blood boil just thinking about him. I'm really hoping that it was Devon who managed to kill him at the end of the series and replace him as alpha. It would hurt Devon to kill his own brother, but Shay totally deserved to be kicked in the a** by his little brother. Plus, I really think other than Callum, Devon was the one with the potential to defeat Shay in a hands-on battle. Callum won't do it, so it had to be Devon. I'm just hoping that Devon won't turn into a second Shay for Bryn to deal with.
It warms my heart how Ali loved Bryn much more than her husband, insufferable as she is. In the first book, it was Bryn who caused their divorce, and Casey still hated her for it. In this book, there seemed to be some subtle suggestions that Ali may be moving on to Lake's father, Mitch. Will this cause Casey to team up with Shay to get to Bryn, just for maximum angst? Probably not, but you can't deny there's the possibility.

Thanks for listening to my opinions!

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