by Andrea Cremer
Nightshade series; book I
I felt so incredibly lucky to be reading this because my local library hasn’t gotten it and I’ve been dying to read it. Have you seen the marketing campaign for this book?? Without a doubt, in my opinion, the best yet, so original and cool.
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
My Expectations: I hoped it would be good but after finding about the love-centred-ness, I thought it might bug me a bit if it wasn’t handled the right way.
Delivery: The triangle wasn’t too big an issue, I had more issues with the characters. Other than that, it was a good book :)
Put-down-ability: low. One thing I can say, it was SO addictive! Two very very late nights (think 4am) finishing this baby. 1.5/10!
Nightshade was in many ways a very solid book. It had strong sense of plot and characters, interesting mythology premise, conflict of various kinds, strong writing and plenty of romance. I loved the fact that I couldn’t put it down for no other reason than that I wanted to find out how it ended :)
I didn’t think I would buy into the idea of Guardians (werewolves) but to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed this element. The backstory of their origins with the Keepers and other fun stuff was well presented and believable; I haven’t read many paranormal books but this one was above average on my own scale.
However, when it came to characters I felt quite underwhelmed. Calla Tor is the alpha. She’s the leader. She’s betrothed to the alpha of another pack. I have reread this statement worded differently plenty times throughout the novel yet I can honestly only believe that 1/3 is true.
Throughout the whole novel, the fact that Calla is the alpha basically becomes the mantra, but it doesn’t show. At all. I don’t even understand how she can be considered strong, every time she is near either Ren or Shay (which is 90% of the book) she becomes a spineless hormonal teenage girl leading two boys on which is, of course, fine because it is… ‘realistic’ but it doesn’t work very well for me.
I also don’t feel she’s much of a leader. Why? Well, she doesn’t know anything about her precious pack; her brother knows more than she does and she’s supposed to be ‘the alpha’. She’s also stupidly naïve, I mean did she honestly not know who was gonna get together? I always wondered if her pack would still follow her if not for the traditions. Then in spite of all these faults, is it strange that I liked her? I liked the intense internal struggle she had to dealt with, her insecurities about the boys, and the doubt about her future destiny.
I guess the big question is Team Shay or Team Ren? For me, this choice is by default because there is no way I could ever favour Ren despite his attractive qualities. This is because of a single action of his that made me lose complete and utter respect for him. At a point in the novel, he gets answers from Calla using pain and brute force. No. Just no, no, no.
His “I had to do it” speech was total bullshit, there should NEVER be a time where a boy physically hurts a girl for his own stupid gains. It pisses me and I personally find it as unredeemable as domestic violence. The fact that Calla ended up being ‘okay’ about it and brushing it off made me lose some respect for her as well, she’s the strong alpha? Whatever. Go Shay!
My final comments are positive ones, the writing was very good and kept me engaged. I liked the way the plot unfolded although the ending twist was too easy, I wanted to be surprised but I figured out pretty much as early as I could even without the hints and clues. The twist in the middle totally took me by surprise though! Overall, one and a half thumbs up. xD
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: Paranormal YA fans, people looking for a good romance and action book, people who aren’t the biggest fans of paranormal might still like this one :)
8/10 – because there are many good parts about this novel and I loved being so enticed. I had character issues but I think the writing and the plot is quite strong. Shay’s character was original so I am quite pleased by the way the love triangle avoided clichés and such… It’s no surprise that this one has been a big hit, and I do think I will be reading the sequel, Wolfsbane!
author website / blog / twitter
Shay Doran YouTube / Nightshade website
Read Chapter 1 of Nightshade!