I don’t generally try to put my books in any kind of favorites order, but if I had to, I think ‘Brethren,’ the first book in the Raised by Wolves series, would probably be in second place‐ behind only ‘The Outsiders,’ because… ‘The Outsiders,’ man. And then the rest of the series would be pretty close behind. No matter how many other amazing things I’ve read since, Raised by Wolves just holds a special spot for me. I remember after I read ‘Brethren’ for the first time, I wandered around the house going, ‘It was so good,’ in a whispery little voice because I was so completely stunned by it. Because it really is that good.
So. Ok, get ready for another awesome synopsis from me: The series starts with Will, a kind of semi‐disgraced nobleman’s son who’s told by his father to go to Jamaica and manage is father’s plantation. So off Will goes, but when he get there, he meets the Brethren of the Coast‐ pirates, we’d say today, but more like kind‐of‐almost‐legal plunderers. Among them is Gaston, a Frenchman who is intelligent and strong and fantastic, but is also, sometimes, insane. And since Gaston is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread, despite the wobbly control he has of his mind, or maybe because of it, Will falls in love with him.
I think there’s nothing I don’t like about this series. I adore ‘Brethren,’ but I love ‘Matelots,’ ‘Treasure’ and ‘Wolves,’ the next three books in the series, just as much. I adored all of it, from beginning to end. I love Will and Gaston, and I’m absolutely crazy about the other characters, who are real and alive and interesting and complex and just everything you want in great characters.
And I love the writing. It’s so clean and straightforward and just very, very good. I’ve never, I don’t think, seen anyone so easily and perfectly present complex ideas‐ about love and life and family and friendships and loyalty. It just flowed so naturally and wonderfully… When I first read this series, I’d read a page, or a paragraph, or a sentence, then go back and read it again because it was so good. And I still do this, whenever I reread, because it never ends up being boring‐ it’s always so, so good.
And there’s just something about all these violent, rough, sometimes honestly scary men, out on the sea, doing things that are sometimes actually disturbing, but at the same time, caring for each other in the deepest ways‐ as friends and brothers and, sometimes, as lovers.
Like I said, the story is good from beginning to end, which, honestly, you don’t often find in a series. Or, I don’t. I tend to get bored. Not here, though. Sometimes I was so worried about what was going to happen to these characters, because I just loved them so much. But relationships were handled deftly and beautifully, and the story never dragged. This was one of these series that, after I was done with it, I was in a complete slump because I didn’t know what on earth I could read next, that could possibly compete in any way. Not much can. It’s just so good.
(Also, the artwork on the covers… I love it. Especially ‘Matelots.’ So there’s that, too.) -SEL