Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont USA
Released: June 14, 2011
Format: Ebook, 368 pages
Genre: YA paranormal
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 hop.
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.
Trial by Fire picks up where Raised by Werewolves left off. Bryn is still the fiercely strong and independent character as she was in the first book. However, she faces some really difficult challenges being a new “human” alpha. She wants all “her” Weres to be independent as well. She won’t tell them what to do. She hated it under Callum and she won’t let that happen in the Cedar Ridge Pack. She is finding that the werewolf political atmosphere is not conducive to that kind of behavior. The Weres in her pack continually look to her for leadership and protection. She finds it hard to assume those roles. Ms. Barnes effectively portrays Bryn’s conflicts where you can empathize with her feelings.
However, Bryn has her inner circle that she can trust. Dev, Lake and Chase are right by her side. She relies on their loyalty and friendship when leading the Pack. However, when it is all said and done, she has to make her decisions alone. She learned from Callum how lonely it is to be alpha. What I find amazing about this character is that she has all this responsibility at a very young age. She still has to attend high school. But I guess that is what makes Bryn special. She is able to face each struggle with inner strength and courage. In the past, she has always been alone in her thoughts, but now she has her inner circle and the entire pack racing through her head.
There is more relationship development between Chase and Bryn. Chase is not consumed by the pack like Bryn is. As she grows in her alpha role, she starts to pull away from Chase. To him, the pack is Bryn and no one else. To Bryn, the pack is everyone under her protection. With their priorities in conflict, they struggle in the growth of their relationship.
Ms. Barnes has an interesting take on the werewolf world. In her world, Weres start to “change” at birth. Little babies change into little werewolf puppies. I think it makes the werewolf pack more of a family and something that has to be protected. Bryn would do anything to protect that family. Members of her pack/family include female Weres. She has more girls in her pack than any other. Other alphas want the girls to increase their numbers. In this society, werewolf numbers mean power. However, Bryn will not hand over any girl without a fight. This leads to an attack on her pack where Bryn rises as a true leader.
Besides the children and teens in Bryn’s pack, there are also a couple of adults who chose to accept her as alpha. Ali is human, Bryn’s adoptive mother and a member of the pack. She continually has struggles accepting the werewolf political structure. To her, the only thing that is important is to protect her children. She hates it that Bryn has so much responsibility on her shoulders. Ali wants to protect her (and her protect her she does!) but in the end she realizes that Bryn has to lead the pack. The other adult in the pack is Lake’s father, Mitch. His main priority is to protect Lake, one of the few female werewolves. The adults try to protect but have to take a step back to Bryn. This role reversal is very interesting in that Ali and Mitch, in the end, must accept Bryn as their leader and protector.
I have really enjoyed this series. I’m really looking forward to reading the next book, Taken By Storm, which was released on May 22, 2012.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars