It's a rare book that I feel the characters on a visceral level. Trial by Fire (2nd in the series which begins with Raised by Wolves) was one of those rare books. In fact, I can count on one hand the authors who have that affect on me: Lilith Saintcrow, Maggie Steifvater, Stacia Kane, Melissa Marr and Adrian Phoenix. (Oh wait, that requires two hands....lol)
The way this book hooked me and pulled me in is why I'm taking time out of my crazy schedule and blogging about it.
I've actually had the book for a while. I loved the first book so much, I wanted to make sure when I read Trial by Fire I had the attention span and time to devote to it. So this weekend was finally the weekend where I could read uninterrupted and appreciate what I was reading.
The story follows a teenage girl, Brynn, who was raised by Callum, a werewolf alpha, after a rogue werewolf killed her parents. In the first book, she discovers that everything she believes about Callum and her life is questionable, and makes some dangerous but necessary choices to save herself and other young wolves. Callum is manipulative, sees the future, and he has a plan (what that plan is still has yet to be revealed, but I'm extremely worried for Brynn). I don't want to say too much about the plot, though, because you have to read them!
What I want to talk about is why these books are good. Yes, this is a young adult book - but it doesn't assume that teenagers can't read with depth - and its a fantastic read for adults as well. The story is clever, action packed and emotional. What Jennifer Lynn Barnes does is pull you into Brynn's world - into her head - into her fears, hopes, wants, and needs - and makes you feel them in your gut. The emo in me LOVES that! I love getting so into a book that the world around me falls away. I love it when I FEEL a book like I felt this one. It is wonderfully done.
Brynn is an intelligent, strong character who stands up for those she loves no matter the cost to herself. She thinks things through. She's incredibly brave. And her loyalty is matched by the loyalty of her friends who rely on her and look up to her. In fact, all of the characters in the book are well written, brilliantly vivid and wonderful - whether they're the good guys or the bad guys.
The end of Trial by Fire is breath stopping...and I can't wait to read more. (There had better be more. Right, Ms. Barnes? There will be more?!?) That's why I say get to the store and buy these books. Add them to your shelves. Buy them for your teens. Awesome. Amazing. And the coveted 6 stars!