Monthly Archives: November 2011

“YA Comes of Age” by Sue Corbett

‘A few concerns are voiced consistently: YA’s transcendence may have come at the expense of middle-grade, which most believe is undersold. Picture books have yet to rebound. And within the YA category, there’s an industrywide case of paranormal fatigue.

“I was at a writer’s conference a few weeks ago and got four different pitches for an angel series in one day,” says Curtis Brown agent Ginger Clark, who was in London last month to shop her agency’s list to British publishers. “Almost all the editors I saw said they are not buying new paranormal. There was some agreement that readers might not yet have paranormal fatigue, but a lot of editors do.”

“Everything in my in-box is paranormal, but the problem is, I’m not interested,” Laughran says. “It can’t be just two shiny guys and a girl anymore.” Instead, the books that are going to be successful, she believes, are the ones that do something different with the paranormal elements. She cites Maureen Johnson’s just-released The Name of the Star (Putnam) as an example. “There’s a paranormal element, yes, but it’s super funny on one page and super scary on the next.”

But just as you’re about to classify paranormal as “done,” a press release from Sourcebooks announces Embrace, “the first in a multibook, paranormal romance saga debuting March 2012.” Another, from Bloomsbury, announces Diabolical (winter 2013), a paranormal thriller trilogy with “a dash of the creepy and supernatural on the side,” set at a premier ballet academy. Goldblatt teases that he can’t yet release the details of a sale he made recently (“waiting on the press release,” he says), but it involved a vampire novel that should have been “absolutely unsellable” these days. “And yet it did.”

With the forecast calling for hardcover YA fiction to continue selling strong, everybody’s on the hunt for the next book with potential to crack the toughest nut: the New York Times chapter book bestseller list.

Many believe (hope?) it will come from outer space; Clark of Curtis Brown has high hopes for a “straight-up science fiction” series she’s shopping titled The Julian Path by Washington Post writer Monica Hesse. But she gushes, too, over Code Name Verite by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion, 2012), a historical novel about two girls working in Britain’s Royal Air Force during WWII. “Oh, it will make you weep,” she promises.

Historical fiction as the next big thing? Who knows?

“Who would have thought that the next big thing after Harry Potter would be Twilight?” Goldblatt asks. “Followed by… Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Followed by… The Hunger Games? All it takes is one book to start a new trend and no one will see it coming. That’s the fun of what we do.”’

Extracted from “YA Comes of Age” by Sue Corbett [bolding mine]

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Why We Can’t Have Great Movies

Universal Studios chief Ron Meyer recently made a startling admission:

“We make a lot of shitty movies.”




In a speech made at the Savannah Film Festival Meyer made some very candid remarks regarding past and future movies. Here’s a summary of what he said:

Less 3-D

3-D is only suitable for a small number of movies where it can add to the viewing experience.

Who cares about winning awards when there’s money to be made

“It’s great to win awards and make films that you’re proud of and make money, but your first obligation is to make money and then worry about being proud of what you do.” “But we did A Beautiful Mind, and I don’t know that we’d do A Beautiful Mind again. That’s the sad part.”

Low risk, medium budgets and average movies

“None of us would be able to do, or afford, what Jim Cameron was able to do with Avatar,” that kind of project is just too high risk which is why he recently turned down Ron Howard’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. For such a huge budget ($200m) he was worried about what they could make back on that investment. Clearly, from the past 5 years only Fast Five, Despicable Me and The Bourne Ultimatum grossed over $200m at the Box Office so it’s a legitimate worry despite interest from King fans.

Humanity on screen

Interested in making movies which show how great the human spirit is in the face of adversity.

New sources of revenue?

  • Meyer would like to see if he can make money from Video-on-demand -making the movie available to download only a couple of weeks after they are released in theaters for a premium price of say $59.99. Unfortunately his attempt to do this with Tower Heist did not succeed due to fierce opposition from theater owners.
  • There are plans to build more Harry Potter-themed amusement parks to capitalize on its success.



So, really in these hard economic times, Meyer is saying he hates the fact that he’s made crappy movies in the past but he can’t afford to take huge risks by spending enormous amounts of money on a project, not even if he believes it would be a multi-award winner because that doesn’t bring in the big bucks. Instead he’s looking to spend the least amount of money on using readily available techniques showing middle of the road fare aimed at family (or teenaged, at the oldest) audiences. He’s not willing to reach for the stars or develop innovative movies which could put them on the map.

If other production companies take Universal’s view, then perhaps this is why there are so few great movies these days. Few are willing to take a risk.

Battle of 2012: Snow White vs. Snow White

Mirror, Mirror

MARCH 2012

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.

Julia Roberts – Evil Queen
Lily Collins – Snow White
Sean Bean – The King
Also starring: Nathan Lane

vs.

Snow White and the Huntsman

JUNE 2012

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Kristen Stewart – Snow White
Chris Hemsworth – The Huntsman
Charlize Theron – Queen Ravenna
Also starring: Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Lily Cole, Bob Hoskins


The Winner?

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

For me, this is the one I want to watch. Gothic, action-packed, exciting plus fantastic actors make this a must-watch movie. I can’t wait!

Game of Thrones Season Two Sneak Peek

A behind-the-scenes look at season 2 which premieres April 2012.

Neil Gaiman appearing in “The Simpsons”


Well-known fantasy author Neil Gaiman famous for Coraline and Stardust will be appearing in “The Simpsons” episode titled “The Book Job” to premiere this Sunday. The English author’s role required “a bad American accent”. According to FOX the synopsis of this episode is as follows:

“Lisa becomes disheartened when she learns the shocking truth behind the ‘tween lit’ industry and her beloved fantasy novel characters. But Homer decides to cash in on the craze and forms a team to group-write the next ‘tween lit’ hit, with the king of fantasy, Neil Gaiman (guest-voicing as himself), lending his expertise to the effort. After catching the eye of a slick industry publisher (guest-voice Andy Garcia) at the Springfield Book Fair, the team gets an advanced copy of their work and discovers that the corporate lit business is a bigger operation than they imagined.”


Review: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

The island Republic has emerged from a ruined world. Its citizens are safe but not free. Until a man named Adam Forde rescues a girl from the sea. Fourteen-year-old Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s sat facing three Examiners and her five-hour examination has just begun. The subject is close to her heart: Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. In a series of startling twists, Anax discovers new things about Adam and her people that question everything she holds sacred. But why is the Academy allowing her to open up the enigma at its heart? Bernard Beckett has written a strikingly original novel that weaves dazzling ideas into a truly moving story about a young girl on the brink of her future.

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Release Date: 24 March 2009
Read Date: 18 November 2011
Rating:

Holy fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.

Firstly, I owe a huge thank you to Lyndsey’s review for inspiring me to read this because HOLY CRAP, HOOOOLY CRAP! This is the dystopian book to end all dystopian books. Doesn’t matter if you think this sort of thing isn’t for you, or if you’re disillusioned with the genre.

At the very least this book will make you THINK. Think about the state of humanity, its limitations and where it is heading. Think about the pursuit of happiness, our curiosity, our technological advances. If the world ended as we know it tomorrow and we had a chance to start again from scratch, could we truly create a utopian society? Could we succeed in creating something we could be proud of? Or are we a doomed species hopelessly cursed to repeat the same mistakes?

Brain power is needed to read this, especially for the Third Hour chapter because damn if that wasn’t a mind-bending philosophical debate regarding what it is to be human. I had to take a break to recharge the old batteries and when I returned to it…the jaw dropped and I had to re-read a paragraph because OH…MY…GOD I did not see That coming, That was a game changer, It brought a whole new meaning to what I had read.

Genesis is a small book, an expensive one, so expensive I decided to borrow it from the library but I must have a copy. It’s absolutely worth the money. This book may be less than 200 pages but you could write a dissertation on it. Seriously.

Don’t read up on this book, don’t research it, just find a copy and read the hell out of it. Go in blind and discover for yourself the reason why I have given this the highest possible rating.

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Review: Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn’t quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new “friend,” Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever rub the genie’s lamp.

If you love Sookie Stackhouse, then you’ll want to dive into Nicole Peeler’s enchanting debut novel.

Tempest Rising (Jane True #1) by Nicole Peeler

Release Date: 27 October 2009
Read Date: 18 August 2011
Rating: [Did Not Finish]

Pages read: 110/359.
Conclusion: Life is too damn short.

I knew early on that I was never going to finish this book. The death knell went off every few pages.

It failed to suck me in. It was not funny even though it tried to be. There was a stereotypical lesbian couple (the butch one and the pretty one). Odd behaviour concerning a corpse -not necrophilia, though that would’ve been 1000x more interesting. The strange supernatural reveal and Jane’s reaction to her mother’s secret. I didn’t feel anything for Jane. And the list goes on and on.

Ryu, the vampire love interest. I’m not sure what it was about him but he was a complete turn-off, which is probably to be expected since this has been compared to Sookie Stackhouse, meaning Ryu = Bill. This comparison is also an insult to the Sookie series which was actually entertaining.

Anyon – He caught my eye. I know he’s a shifter even though we haven’t been told but I expected him to be Jane’s love interest. And for some reason, I sense a love triangle forming at some point. I detest love triangles.

Although my overall perception of this book was negative there were a few things I liked: the beautiful cover art to lure unsuspecting readers, the name of the bookstore “Read It and Weep”, and Jane as her father’s carer feeling trapped in a town that hates her.

Reading Tempest Rising was a struggle which I’m not prepared to continue. I know they say “no pain, no gain” but I think I’ll gain little from finishing this so I’m not prepared to even try.

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Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis

Release Date: 11 January 2011
Read Date: 26 September 2011
Rating:

Lessons learned:

Never trust HISTORY.
Never trust DOCTORS.
Never trust SCIENTISTS.
Never trust TECHNOLOGY.
Never trust BLANKET MEDICATION.

Overall my experience with this book was like meeting and falling in love, being excited and happy, then slowly finding out that he’s not perfect. He drinks out of the milk carton, he ignores you in favour of sports events and when you finally get his clothes off he’s as smooth as a Ken doll but insists he can still have children. Then finding out he’s right he can make babies, just not the same enjoyable way everyone else does, which is confusing and unsatisfying.

If you’re going to write science fiction, could you at least research the science? Please, please get your facts right, if you don’t then you must sell this as fantasy not SF.

I assumed, not even 50% in, that I was reading unscientific science fiction i.e. fantasy. As far as I was concerned the author had made little attempt to research certain aspects of her story so why was I wasting my time reading it? I was THIS close to giving up. It was almost as disastrous as my experience with the scientifically unsound I am Number Four. Little did I know that if I had given up, I would’ve missed out on the explanations which magically fixed many of the obstacles that I’d previously believed were unquestionably insurmountable because science told me so, and therefore the cure-all bandage Revis slaps on the problems didn’t sit right with me. They were hard to accept in the face of catastrophically fatal situations. There is a lesson in this: if it reads like unintelligent drivel some readers may give up on your work before you make the big reveal that attempts to explain the drivel.

Amy’s character is well-drawn and her memories and emotions are brilliantly portrayed. I had some difficulty with Elder’s character but his personality was a result of Eldest’s manipulation and his awakening is caused by Amy’s inquisitiveness and tenaciousness. I was glad he was finally able to see the truth of things.

Harley and his girlfriend were an excellent examples of people not being able to cope under the pressure of living on the claustrophobic ship surrounded by fakery (there is no substitute for the real thing) because despite his mood swings and obsession problem they were both perfectly sane, despite being labelled crazy.

It was completely understandable the almost absurd lengths Eldest went to to impose and maintain the many methods of manipulation in order for everyone to survive. Survival was imperative. Quality of life means nothing in the face of that. Or does it? And that’s what this questions.

This society may not believe in any religion as we know it but they do have religion: hope. Hope is their “opium of the masses” (a Marxist philosophy on the merits of religion) which is a method of control. By giving the people hope that their sacrifices will ensure that their children will be the ones to one day see real sky above their heads and feel earth beneath their feet, keeps them going, keeps them working, living, breathing. Without hope what is there?

There are moments, scenes, words of wisdom -that are pure genius and others where I felt baffled, confused and angry when I think I’m reading utter crap. Ideas have been stolen from movies like Serenity (Phydus is Pax) and the less popular Demolition Man (being conscious in cryo) which makes me wonder how much of this book is original. There is no romance despite the cover (Elder is interested in Amy but not vice versa), and we know who the killer is before the search even begins. Bevis gets the human element right but the science and mystery completely wrong. It’s a real mixed bag and it’s difficult for me to determine my position on this book, positive or negative. A five star beginning graduating to a one star ending?

Timeline of my reading experience (i.e. like status updates)

**SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!**

~ Hooked by page 10 and in love by page 11. I am in love. And I am not a cheap date. But why don’t they knock ’em out before starting the freezing process? Much less painful and traumatising. This is not something I’d want to go through.

~ I’d want my extra year on Earth back too, honey, but life ain’t fair. Best you learn that now. You chose this, I wouldn’t have. Deal with it.

~ Reminded of the movie Demolition Man (and a little of The Matrix) here. They’re both conscious during their cryo state. How does she not go crazy?

~ Jarred by the second POV, Amy is more than enough for me. I like her. I like her a lot. I want her to live. So why does she never get her blood back during reanimation? She’s literally blue-blooded now. She IS a freak!

~ Frexing? Brilly? Chutz? Are there only three new words in 250 years? That’s unrealistic. Language in the 1760s was different to today. The author probably should’ve left these out instead of calling attention to it.

~ Why do they repeatedly say the generational Elder between Elder Jnr and Eldest is dead? He’s obviously not. And he’s probably the killer.

~ I’ve noticed a small thing and it’s got me thinking about the science in this science fiction. The plague killed off many, decreasing the on-board free-range population to the 700s -this is where I couldn’t help but question the MVP (minimum viable population). Taking into consideration the 100 frozen battery humans, I do a quick Google search and the result is not good. Extinction, a foregone conclusion. In theory you need more than 3,000 individuals for a species to survive. So why read the rest? Because I’m in lurve and this will be amazing. Nothing will spoil this. Nothing!

~ I like fresh air. *opens window*

~ That old man. He’s going to heaven sooner than he thinks, isn’t he? I just know it. Well, that solves the pensions crisis.

~ Um, if incest is an issue with such a small population, why is everyone indiscriminately bonking? Be ready for the possibility of birth defects in the next generation. Also, why are those in their twenties the only ones to go through their Season? Shouldn’t everyone older as well as the supposed crazies plus Amy, Elder, Eldest, Doc etc. be bonking their brains out?

~ Halfway in and we’ve turned away from a possible romance as advertised on the cover and we’re ignoring Elder’s boner around Amy’s red hair. No, now we’re solving a murder. Whaaaaat? Elder is all talk. I thought he was going to use that boner to show Eldest who’s boss. Er, that didn’t come out right. I meant, he was going defy Eldest by making love to that (girl with the) beautiful red hair and then usurp/depose Eldest. Oh, and quietly but quickly solve the whodunnit. Elder is a disappointing hero.

~ I liked my priorities. Why aren’t my priorities Amy’s priorities. Look, love, you’ve been frozen for centuries, without boys, there’s a cute muscley one in front of you, you have hormones, go get ‘im!

~ She refuses to listen. We must find clues to who likes to unplug frozen people. Yawn. We, the reader, all ready know who it is, why bother? There is no mystery to solve for us but we have to watch and wait for the characters slowly put things together. Tedious.

~ Let’s get rid of the Hitler-worshipping Nazi instead, shall we? Anything but crime-solving. Anything! A threesome with Harley? It promises to be colourful and sticky. Well, more sticky. No? *whines*

~ CSI:Godspeed is on the job!

~ Those fingerprints tell me the Eldest/Elders are clones. I wonder how this came to be and how they’re brought to term if they have no mothers.

~ Soon there’ll be no frozens left to help colonise Centauri. This ship is doomed.

~ Dragggggging. Not much happening.

*flips to the back*

Oh, a map. I didn’t know there was one.

*reads the last 40 pages*

That’s it?! That’s how it ends?! But…but that was too easy. No mystery to it, and I was right all along. No surprises, no realisation that they’re on a failed mission.

Amy should’ve stayed on Earth, run the New York marathon and married Jason. That was obviously her heart’s desire. Her father knew that, it’s a shame she didn’t. Mind you, it wasn’t fair of him to give her the choice at the last minute. She made a decision under pressure and panic had her following her parents.

*back to reading, well, skimming…*

~ Attempted rape. I thought Elder said there was no crime now. Hormones are no excuse.

‘And I know without being told that she killed herself. And I totally understand why.’ Me too. I don’t envy their lives.

~ Incest and MVP problem solved but not in a way I completely accept although I’m feeling very wary of medicine and scientists right now.

~ They’ve been travelling for more than 300 years. The Plague –suicide, murder, riots, chaos. A never-ending journey. 250 years behind schedule. I was right, they are doomed!

”People will survive anything for their children.”

p336 ~ The seasons, the generations and other methods of manipulation all make more sense now.

“We’re just pawns. A means to an end. Toys you manufacture to keep playing your game.”

The 3 main causes of discord:

1) Difference

2) Lack of leadership

3) Individual thought

~ SERENITY! – A big whopping dose of the movie, Serenity. Pax = Phydus. No reavers but the other effect of the Pax in varying doses is exactly the same as Phydus. Small doses = calm, large does = death)

~ Recycling. They recycle EVERYTHING. People are treated like things. *gulp*

‘[…] I realize the simple truth is that power isn’t control at all-power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to stand on their own.’ p344.

I’ve read the end so…THE END.

*******I apologise for the extra long review but it was the only way to illustrate my frustrations.*******

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Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Release Date: 4 January 2011
Read Date: 13 November 2011
Rating:

The best YA angel book I’ve read. Fully-fledged characters with no self-respect issues and solid, healthy relationships. No insta-love here, and no plot holes plus, there’s a truly mysterious mystery…but I won’t be reading the sequel.

Clara is one quarter angel who has just received her Purpose, the one thing she was born to do as an angel. Her vision of her Purpose implies she will be rescuing a boy from a forest fire. Small details show her he is somewhere in Wyoming so the whole family moves from California so she can fulfil her destiny. She finds the boy, Christian, is the most popular guy in school with a possessive girlfriend. Clara studies him to the point of obsession in order to understand the where, when and why she is to save him. She comes to believe she has quasi-romantic feelings for him until he manages to completely embarrass her at the school dance and sees Tucker, Clara’s best friend’s twin brother, step in to save the day.

Previously Tucker had acted like a child, calling Clara “Carrots” due to the shade of her dyed hair and picking on her. It isn’t until a school break when all her friends, including Christian and her mother, leave town and she’s alone on her 17th birthday when Wendy sends Tucker to be her present. He takes her on a nature tour over a number of days, always setting up another appointment to spend the day together. It’s during this time they grow closer. Unfortunately, when they first kiss, her angel powers activate and his love turns to fear…I absolutely loved this aspect of the story. It’s so well written I was right there experiencing the wilderness with them, wishing I could be doing the same activities. I was pleased to see Tucker and Clara gradually fall for each other. Tucker was a true gentleman cowboy with an easy smile and a loveable character. I was disappointed in Clara’s mother’s reaction though. Any mother would be happy for her daughter to be dating someone like him. And it’s not like it was against the rules to date a human. All work and no play…

Clara’s mother is a half-angel with secrets. She holds so much back to the point of putting her children in danger but as a mother she’s loving and caring and fully involved in their lives, always knowing how and what they’re doing. I do wonder what her Purpose is/was and whether it has something to do with her children. On the other hand, Clara has a long-distance, almost non-existent relationship with her human father who sends guilt presents.

Jeffrey, Clara’s younger brother, is practically an open book at first, struggling to balance his need to compete in sports, wanting to be the best but also needing to hold back to ensure he’s not accused of cheating. He feels like a fraud. At some point I believe he receives his Purpose but tells no one, he becomes pensive and broody. I’m assuming his Purpose isn’t a particularly “good” deed.

I liked these angels and the concept of White Wings (the good) and Black Wings (the bad, who don’t fulfil their Purpose and are unable to love). However, I found it strange there were so many angels in one small town, albeit a tourist one. Angela came across as not just intense but I kept expecting her to turn on Clara because she’s so enthusiastically helpful when it came to anything angel-related.

My only problem I have with this book is the serious implication that the reason Clara must save Christian is because they are meant to be together, romantically-speaking. I abhor love triangles. I hate them, I do. In this case, it really makes me mad because the love Clara has for Tucker, and vice-versa, is genuine. I fell for Tucker right along with Clara. Why must Hand go the route of so many other authors and implement a love triangle? It feels like a huge insult to have these characters form a strong relationship we rarely see in YA paranormals and then basically say “Nope, he’s not for you. This one is.” For a moment there I really thought “Yay! We have an honest to god healthy teen relationship.” And now, I’m pretty sure that will be ruined in a sequel, for a character I never cared about. I don’t want to see this happen so I doubt I’ll be continuing with this series.

ETA: I will, however, be interested in watching the TV show of the same name based on this book, announced in October.

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Review: Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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.

Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Release Date: 2 August 2011
Read Date: 8 October 2011
Rating:

I’m disappointed by this sequel. I don’t feel I should be. Objectively speaking, the plot is a good one. It’s based on an ethical dilemma with no obvious answer and where gaining advice is problematic. The struggle, Bryn’s journey as alpha is what this is about but I just couldn’t seem to care. It was slow for the most part and I became bored.

Despite Lucas’s situation being a sympathetic one, I didn’t like him. I didn’t necessarily want to see him dead but I needed a reason other than his ultimate death to care about Bryn helping him at the possible detriment of her pack.

I’m also disappointed that Barnes didn’t use this sequel as an opportunity to bring depth to certain characters, Chase in particular. He was the main reason I didn’t give Raised By Wolves a higher rating i.e. 5 stars, simply because he was an unknown. We knew nothing about him and I was hoping his story would unfold here. It didn’t. I know little time has passed between books and Bryn is busy caring for the pack but they still spend time together, mostly in silence which was maddening.

The part of the book that I found intriguing was the ending simply because it meant Bryn was forced to make a life and death decision, and she chose death. It was the right choice but it was a painful one which resulted in the loss of a valuable pack member.

Callum’s warning in the form of a horse carving meant nothing until the end so I understood Bryn’s frustration with him even though his hands were tied by fate and politics to do more than he did to help.

I am glad the Bryn has acknowledged the need to one day become wolf because even though she is strong as human, she’s vulnerable, too.

Overall, I believe the writing lets this book down. Trial By Fire could’ve easily been a five star read if the writing had been tighter, faster paced with more character development. I’m not eager to read the next book but if my library order it I probably will in the vain hope these problems will be addressed.

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