Monday, June 25, 2012

Taken by Storm ~ Jennifer Lynn Barnes review

Taken by Storm
EgmontUSA
May 22, 2012
314 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

** Contains Spoilers for Raised by Wolves and Trial by Fire -- even if they weren't amazing reads (they are), this book alone would dictate reading them just so you could read it; it's that good **

Bryn has more to deal with than most teenage girls. There are the parental problems, boy issues and having to protect her friends that most girls would deal with. Only in Bryn's life those usually translate to Ali disagree with some crazy plan Bryn has, the boy is Chase a werewolf and protecting her friends is something Bryn has to do literally as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack.

As the only human alpha, Bryn knows she's vulnerable - and that makes her pack vulnerable. Willing to do anything to protect them, she's willing even to give up her humanity.

While she waits for the wolf who promised to make that change possible for her, a Senate meeting is called. This meeting, however, is not in the (relatively) friendly territory of Bryn's former pack, Stone River. It's been called by Shay.

Human bodies are turning up again. And again the Senate believes it to be the work of a Rabid.

A Rabid, Something Bryn and those in her pack never wanted - or expected - to have to face again. Even worse, this time they feel they may already know who they're facing. One of their own.


This has to be one of the best werewolf series. Period. It's also one of the best series. Period.

I loved the first two books but this book - and Jennifer Lynn Barnes - broke me. I don't even know what to do with the . . . everything in my head that needs to come out as words for a review. But I will try.

While I feel this way about all books, it's especially true about Taken by Storm: Please don't read the ending first!


Plot:


Trial by Fire seemed like it made it obvious where Taken by Storm would go. Bryn wanted to be strong enough to protect her pack, even if that meant not being human . . . and it seemed like that change would happen right away for Taken by Storm - and be the basis for this third novel. It's not, however.

This third (and I please don't let it be final or I will break even more) book is about a Rabid but in such a different way than the second book was.

A lot of things that weren't brought up, discussed, mentioned, or explained in the previous two books about werewolf lore in the Raised by Wolves universe are in this book. We learn more about how things operate and what it means.

Without revealing too much - or much of anything at all, really (*mwah ha ha*  - really, though, spoilers = bad) I love the twists Barnes can put on things. I'll think I have things figured out. That things can only go one way or that it's obvious X or Y has to happen . . . and then 34 will. She deserves a whole other PhD for writing craftiness.


Characters:


So I'm madly in love with most of these characters. This series is my favorite kind of paranormal/supernatural read: The paranormal aspects are incredibly strong (the werewolf world is incredibly well built/established) and the relationships between the characters are just as strong - if not stronger. In fact, they add to the paranormal side of the story.


The tension between Shay and Devon and Devon and his mother, between Bryn and Sora is so pitch perfect because there is that familial (or almost familial) bond there but then also that real, deep cutting pain that wouldn't be possible if this weren't a werewolf tale. If Sora had just beaten Bryn, after the relationship they'd had, and they'd both been human, she'd be a completely callous, forever irredeemable character--and even including her in the story would seem pointless.


Barnes uses both her characters 'other' and their humanity to perfection. Nowhere more so than in Taken by Storm.

Then she balances that with Devon's freaking adorable love of showtunes. (Do you see why I heart her?) The friendship between Devon and Bryn (and Lake but mostly Devon and Bryn) is one of my absolute favorites EVER. I love them. Love them.


Overall:


The intricacies that Jennifer Lynn Barnes is able to work into her novels - and not only not lose anything, but seemingly gain things sometimes - with remembering tiny things and bringing them back into play, makes the novels such a joy to read. 

That the characters relationships have grown so much since Raised by Wolves and we've seen new characters introduced, literally to the pack, who have only added to the awesomeness, is just brilliant.

While this book did break me, it made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me cry and then it left me speechless (at least as to how to convey how amazing I found it), so I'm hoping this review I finally managed to write made some sense. This book reminded me what a 10+ stars book really is.

Please go read it (but read Raised by Wolves and Taken by Storm first!!)

Rating: 10+/10

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