"At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn's been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.
But the pack's been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum's direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It's Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences."
Raised by Wolves was just released today in the US, but Book Depository had imported copies in early, so I actually had this a little early and read it yesterday. I'd seen it around on Amazon a while ago, but being a hardback release from an author I'd not read before I pretty much ignored it, until several author I follow online started saying that it was fantastic. From the blurb I thought it sounded okay, but I was expecting a bit of a cliched girl meets boy, they instantly fall in love and fight the establishment and save the world type thing. Happily, I was wrong. I so did not expect this book to be what it was, and I loved it.
Bryn is smart, tough and a rebel. It took all of about a page for me to really like her and think she was a character I'd get on really well with. She's grown up human in a wolf world, and as such is in many ways a wolf who can't shift. She plays by their rules (well, maybe not exactly by the rules she's meant to, but she does play by wolf rules more than human ones), she lives how they live and she's learnt to survive in their world despite the violent way she came in to it. Meeting Chase, a teen wolf the alpha, Callum, has tried to keep hidden from her, changes things though. Once she meets him, all bets are off.
I was hooked on this story very quickly and ended up reading it in a day. I'm not sure I can even explain why the book is as compelling as it is. I may, like Bryn, rebel at some of the basics in the werewolf world (like, say, how females are to be protected at all costs. Over protectiveness is not so attractive), but there is no denying the world is well crafted and thought out. The way different packs interact and work with each other (or don't, as the case may be). How they deal with problems within the pack, how they treat outsiders, and how they treat their own. Bryn is an outsider as much as she's not. She's marked by Callum, making her pack. She shares in the same mental pack bonds everyone else in the pack has, but she doesn't shift. She's one of only two humans who do. The other is Ali. Ali is in effect Bryn's mom. She was a 21 year old human who came to the pack looking for her sister right around when Bryn was orphaned, so Callum marked her as well and gave her 4 year old Bryn to take care of. It makes for some interesting battles throughout the book because Ali isn't tied to the pack as a wolf either.
I couldn't ever really see what was going to happen next for Bryn, and I couldn't put it down until I found out. The way the story unfolds and grows with Bryn and Chase is sweet and fun and intense. There are a couple of great side characters in Bryn's best friends, Lake and Devon, and Ali as well. There are a couple others I loved, but for spoilers sake I'm not going to mention them. Bryn in particular though, is a good, well rounded character and I found her really easy to relate to. My favourite thing about this book? It's not about Bryn and Chase, it's about Bryn. It's her story, her growing up and the pains it causes. Something I think any teen or adult can relate to.
I pretty much just loved every aspect of this book, and I can't fully understand why. I'm a wolf girl more than any other paranormal creature, but I often read werewolf books and find I don't like how they're depicted, the lore involved. But here, I couldn't fault it. It was something I could get and made sense, and just...worked. The pack bonds, the hierarchy, the knacks some had and some didn't. Add in a great story with great characters and I just fell for it. There a couple big surprises throughout the book, but it all wrapped up really nicely at the end. But even so, I was left wanting more. More of Bryn, more of Chase and more of their world, so I was very, very happy to discover there will at least be a sequel next summer titled, Trial by Fire. Can't wait!! In the mean time, if you like YA UF books, this is a must read!