Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Nightshade

528 Pages
Published in 2010
By Andrea Cremer

" His hands moved beneath my shirt, his body pressing hard against mine. I could smell his rising desire mixing with my own, our feverish need infusing the air like lightning about to strike." (p.212)

"Another minute passed, and then another. My eyes were open, but I couldn't see anything or move. Breathing had become difficult; dark waters rose up to swallow me. The silence of oblivion pooled in the cave. It's too late. I let my heavy eyelids close." (p.299)


Calla and her family are members of the Guardian race, beings who can shift easily between a wolf and human form. Their function is to serve the Keepers, powerful witches that rule the Guardian society.

The two major packs of the Guardian race are the Nightshades and the Banes. As an Alpha female, Calla is destined to mate with the Bane Alpha male, Ren, in order to create a new, stronger pack. They will continue the Guardian mission of protecting the wealthy human teens that attend the high school, and their land against the enemy Searchers.

Calla does not question her world until she encounters Shay, a human boy whose life she had saved on a whim. When she is ordered to guard Shay, their friendship and attraction deepen. Calla struggles between her forbidden attraction to Shay and her loyalty and feelings for her destined mate, Ren.

Adding to that, Calla becomes caught up in the mystery of Shay's true origins and his reasons for being cared for by a Keeper. She begins to question and risk all that she has ever known in the pursuance of the truth.


Here's what I liked about this novel. The premise was original, and although based on the werewolf idea, here the author gets rid of that awkward shifting issue where the wolf in human form either ends up with shredded clothes or naked. Instead, the wolves in this novel are essentially two souls inhabiting one body.

Second, Ren is mmmm delicious. I suppose I have a thing for the whole Alpha male concept, but apart from that I still loved this character. So of course sometimes he is a bit domineering, but hey, that's just his nature. He doesn't want to control Calla and does not want to follow the example of depravity that the other Alpha males practice. He extends his support and is honest with Calla about what he wants. I feel that he also seems to truly love Calla (he doesn't have to give up playa lifestyle but says he will) and will not turn out like his father (which Calla worries about).

Also, this author is very adept at creating intense moments of chemistry. Whew - many were hot, indeedy.

Lastly, I thought the plot was original, maintained an okay pace, and definately left me wanting more at the end.

Now onto the negative...first of all at times I was sometimes disappointed by Calla's character. I understand that she has never questioned her world previous to meeting Shay, but at times she is the strong Alpha female, and at other times she seems selfish and wishy washy.

Also, the author does not explain her world too well. The readers are mainly confused about everyone's roles until one point when Calla spells it all out for us, via Shay's introduction into her world. That information was necessary, but provided very dryly (read: boring).

Lastly, I didn't really like Shay that much. It's nice that he likes to read and because of his thirst for knowledge, Calla's eyes are opened, but at the same time he also does not seem to respect her boundaries. Granted her world is a bit archaic, but all the same I felt that because he despised her traditions so much, he didn't have enough repect for them, especially regarding physical ...interaction...

That said, I did enjoy this book and I did enjoy Ren. :) I hope Calla ends up with him although I suppose I'm supposed to be Team Shay. Maybe in the second book Ren will do something horrible and I'll have to stop myself from supporting him.

♥ ♥ ♥ = really liked it