Monday, 13 June 2011

Review: Trial By Fire - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, published by Quercus on 13th June 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
Bryn is now leader of the Cedar Ridge pack of werewolves and she's convinced that her pack is different - it's democratic and fair. Then Bryn finds a battered teenage Were, Connor, bleeding on her front porch. He begs Bryn to protect him from an abusive leader; Bryn takes him into her pack.

But Bryn's Were partner Chase doesn't trust the new boy, and the more time she spends helping Connor, the more aggressive Chase becomes. Bryn is not sure if it's jealousy, or Were possessiveness but for the first time she starts to feel suffocated by the bond she and Chase share.

The wolf pack is back...with even more bite than before!

I’m very new to this awesome series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes but already I’ve been sucked into her werewolf universe.  If you like your books packed full of action and you’re a fan of the paranormal genre then this is a series that you need to pick up.  I really enjoyed the first book ‘Raised By Wolves’ but Barnes has topped herself with ‘Trial By Fire’ which swiftly sucked me back into Bryn and her wolf pack’s world. 

Bryn is now the alpha of her own pack.  A situation complicated by the fact that she isn’t actually a werewolf - she’s human.  This means that the traditional rules don’t always apply to her and when she’s confronted by a threat to her pack, she has to figure out how to keep them safe without threatening the other alphas’ authority.  What makes her situation even more unique is that she's also female and this causes a whole new set of problems.  I enjoyed seeing how Bryn coped with this and how she balances being a democratic leader with sometimes having to exercise authority over the other werewolves in her charge. 

I loved the fact that the story got off to a bang from the word go and there wasn’t a long prelude leading into the main plot.  Sometimes several chapters are devoted to reminding you about everything that’s gone on before when most of the time I’d rather just get on with the story.  I was therefore pleased that the plot moved along swiftly from the very beginning.   

Barnes has written some fabulous characters who can all be distinguished by wonderfully individual and unique personalities.  There’s life-long friend Devon, who is dealing with brother issues, loyal sidekick and female Were Lake who isn’t afraid to point a shotgun at someone if the situation arises, rescued Maddy who is adjusting to life as part of the pack, mother-figure Ali and her two twins and a whole host more of fantastic secondary characters.  Of course, Bryn is one of my favourites as I love books which have a strong, feisty, no-nonsense female heroine.  She ticks all the boxes for me in the way in which she won’t back down from a fight and she’ll do anything to protect the people around her.  This is sometimes made harder for her by the fact that she's human and doesn't possess the same physical strength as other Weres.  However, she's intelligent, quick-witted and clever and this stands her in good stead for fighting off threats to the pack.

As well as finding out more about the dynamics of the wolf world, I also enjoyed the inclusion of a psychic coven that not only cause problems for Bryn but also lead to a secret being revealed about someone close to Bryn.  This added an interesting angle to the plot and is something that I'd like to hear more about in the future.

'Trial By Fire' has it all and is a welcome return to a superb series that keeps getting better all the time!

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