Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade #1
Published: Oct. 19, 2010
Publisher: Philomel
Pages: 452 (hardcover)
This book was purchased.

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?


I actually liked this book far more than I expected I would. Since Twilight was published, I’ve developed a love/loathe relationship with werewolf and/or vampire books, so it’s nice to know that there’s an author out there that can make werewolves sexy without making them take their shirts off every four seconds.

Nightshade starts off with a bang, and Cremer wastes no time before explaining the biology and “rules” of her werewolves, which I thought was one of the strongest elements of this book. The pack system was complicated--but not impossible to follow--and original. I even would go so far as to say that I felt bad for the wolves once I learned more about their culture, and the secrets surrounding their history and lore kept me curious up until the very end.

As for the characters...there were a lot of them, but Cremer made them diverse and multifaceted so it was easy to remember who was who. Calla was strong and responsible, but torn between tradition and freedom and was constantly questioning where to place her loyalty. Even though at times I felt she was sort of shallow, I still sympathized with her as she tried to remain a leader in a male-dominated society. The way she handled her struggles and looked out for her pack was admirable, even when she was dealing with her love triangle issues. As for Ren and Shay...meh, honestly, I was so caught up in the mystery surrounding the Guardians and their relationship to Shay that I didn’t really care who Calla ended up with in the end (especially since I didn’t really understand the initial attraction between Calla and Shay, but hey, at least they hung out and got to know one another throughout the book). Overall, I just think that Cremer did a nice job personifying a wolf pack. Even as humans, the werewolves acted like wolves, and it was interesting to watch the dynamics of the packs shift as new leaders came into power. Their problems felt very real to me, and even though I can’t say I had a favorite character, I was dying to know what was going to happen to them all in the end.

For me, Nightshade was one of those can’t-put-me-down books, and I had no problem finishing it in a day. The writing was easy to slip into, and the plot never really dragged even though not a whole lot happened before the end. As of right now, this is probably my favorite werewolf book, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next in the series. It's unlike any other werewolf book out there. Pick it up if you're looking to read a paranormal book with some kick butt and capable characters.