Trial by Fire is the second book in the YA paranormal series Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
I loved Raised by Wolves with my entire book-loving being, so I encourage you to read it before looking at my review of its sequel. You can read my review of the first book here, so would you now kindly avert your eyes if you don't wish to be assaulted with spoilers? Thank you muchly!
Alrighty, so Bryn went through a lot in Raised by Wolves - and it all led up to her becoming the alpha of a whole new pack. Even though she's human. And that's pretty much unheard of.
So, yeah, her pack is pretty different from the other ones out there. But they're happy, and Bryn feels like she's getting the hang of being an alpha.
But then a mangled, bloody teenage boy arrives at the doorstep with desperation in his eyes and announces that he is a Were and that he has come to Bryn - because Bryn helps Weres, and she is his only, and last, hope.
Yet the boy is part of a different pack, and Bryn has no right to claim him - as much as she wants to. Doing so would ignite a civil war, a war that could open the rules to other packs stealing her much sought after female Weres. And Bryn won't do that to her pack. Not even if the only other alternative of sending the boy back to his abusive alpha, as much as it horrifies her.
But Bryn being Bryn decides to see if there is a way around the rules to help him. However, more than his alpha may be looking for the boy - and be putting the entire Cedar Ridge Pack in danger of a new, foreign threat...
I'm telling you, I can never do justice to a book I adore with a synopsis - especially when I'm trying to skirt around spoilers! All I can say is, if you read Raised by Wolves and loved it like I did, you don't need any persuading to read Trial by Fire, right?! Right.
Well, Trial by Fire is intense and excellently written - again Jennifer Lynn Barnes blew my mind. It's gripping and suspenseful to the max, mixed with the vibrant, full-bodied, easily likable characters that we came to covet in Raised by Wolves, and their amazingly layered, deep relationships and bonds. This is one of those books that can't come even a tad close to being accused of superficiality. Nope. Nada.
Then there's the fact that Trial by Fire is also devastatingly romantic without even trying too hard. Jennifer's skill just makes it all feel natural and believable. And then there are the horrifying and heart-wrenching new twists. Wow. I mean, really. Wow.
Bryn is a protagonist to admire - strong, intelligent, loving, independent, unique, and protective. She also provides levity in her camaraderie with her oldest friends, especially the drama-stud Devon and the gun-happy Lake. And the hints of her vulnerability with Chase, the werewolf she has a connection with that is so full of depth that calling him her boyfriend feels cheap.
And I certainly didn't expect there to be any character bad enough to rival the terrifying Rabid from Raised by Wolves - yet Barnes delivers yet again. Its shocking how even in the midst of all the horrors she presents, she still manages to keep a haunting human element involved, making it all the more scary and heart-pounding.
Its impossible to not hang on to every word of Trial by Fire with bated breath, following the paths of these beloved characters I've become so invested in. Caring so much makes the nerve-wracking and frighteningly tense plots all the more nerve-wracking and tense!
As you can see my lovely readers, I was thrilled with Trial by Fire. Jennifer Lynn Barnes creates an experience that is unforgettable to me, and ripe for rereading. Its hard because I don't want to go into any spoiler-possible details as I rave and rave and rave, but I hope you get the gist of how phenomenally awesome it truly is.
Trial by Fire is a YA paranormal that puts many adult bestsellers to shame, being beautiful and stunning and a series worthy of immense praise. And I cannot wait for the next book in the series!!! I can't believe how this fantastic author can manage to keep me, who has read so many books over the years that I often see twists coming long before they occur, guessing and shocked from the beginning of a novel to the end! You're going to want to grab it up when it releases in June!
Which is why reading the sneak peak excerpt into her stand-alone demon slayer book Every Other Day (coming out in December) hardly matters. Because its Jennifer Lynn Barnes. And I'll be there.