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
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.