Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.

Title/Author: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.

Genre: YA/Urban Fantasy.

Publisher: Philomel Books.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Shay.

Favorite quote: “I tempted fate and now it’s hunting me down.” ~Calla.

All in all: Intriguing! A page turner!


Synopsis:  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?  -From Goodreads.com

Thoughts: I have to say that when I heard about this book, I thought it would be a little different. A female alpha who was pledged to another “sexy alpha” and then saves a "beautiful human boy" seemed the stuff of romance novels. Not that there is anything wrong with romance novels, they just aren’t my cup of tea. However, the romance in this book is just one element. There is also a really strong plot, a realistic setting, and Calla’s strong voice. I felt that the story really moved and the book was hard for me to put down. The "werewolf" or "shapeshifter" lore had a very unique twist to it, which kept it interesting and fresh.  Although there were some plot elements that I predicted in the story there were more that I didn’t, which kept it fresh and exciting for me.  The language was also lovely, with descriptions like, “Her voice was sweet and dark like the first shadows of twilight” and “…wild scent of approaching storm clouds.”

The strong story is carried along by the characters. Calla, the female alpha of her pack has a duty and she knows her role in the world. Shay, the new kid, doesn’t really know his background at all, but he is someone who questions things and is always looking for answers. In turn, he has Calla questioning her own role. Shay feels that knowledge is power and he even references Eve and the tree of knowledge.  He says he would rather climb that tree than live in the Garden of Eden any day and he shows Calla that the Garden does not smell as sweet as she was led to believe. The more Calla learns, the more she questions and this is very difficult for her. Which road to take? The path of least resistance or the one that leads to the truth, no matter how difficult? Ren was another character who I liked. Well most of the time. I felt he was realistic. It was easy to see that he really cared for Calla, but was also devoted to the pack and the way things worked. When he showed his vulnerability it really made me hurt for him.  I'm still thinking about it! I also liked the way that Shay showed fear and awkwardness.

In some books when there is a supernatural element you really feel like you are transported to a different world.  However, with Nightshade I felt like I was still in this world, but also as if the Mountain School and the places the characters live in exist and I could visit if I just had directions.  Again, I feel this is due to the characters and story. The author made mixed elements work also. It’s not just werewolves who inhabit this story, but other creatures and supernatural beings. Sometimes it’s hard to make different creatures all co-exist in one book without seeming over the top but in Nightshade it not only worked, it was integral to the story.

The steamy scenes between Calla and the boys she is torn between are well done (well maybe she gasped just a little too much for my taste) and realistic. The author conveyed teen longing and hormones running wild very well. Calla is torn between her chosen mate, Ren, and Shay who she is definitely attracted to and is falling for but knows she can never be with. I like how the author doesn’t make either of her love interests the “bad guy” so it is easy to empathize with Calla and be torn right along with her. It was hard to know which relationship to root for.

I also loved how each chapter was separated by a picture of the moon in a different phase. It not only lent itself to the magical quality but also made the impending date of Samhain more ominous. The reader knew that when the moon completed it's cycle something big was going to happen.

This book is the first of a series (3 parts I think), so I knew the ending wasn’t going to be wrapped up with all the questions answered. Although I don’t usually like to be co-erced into reading more books to find out the end of a story, I’m starting to accept this trend and admittedly, I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens.

5 out of 5 stars.


5 comments:

Jenny said...

Fabulous review, I really enjoyed this one as well! I was torn between Ren and Shay, but I think Ren might be in the lead with my affections. Like you, I thought that despite the paranormal elements, the world felt real and it was easy to imagine myself right in the midst of everything. I'm looking forward to what happens in books 2 and 3 too:)

A Home Vintner said...

You make me want to read this book! Plus, the cover art is so stunning!

Smash Attack! said...

Nice review!! The world definitely felt very realistic, and I felt like I could be part of the pack. It was pretty fantastic. One of my favs of the year!

Vampires and Tofu said...

Great review, I'm reading this one next...that is, as soon as I am done with the two I am already reading lol!

I'm not big on books heavy with teen hormones but it sounds like there's enough story to keep me interested.

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Great review! I totally agree, this was an amazing book! The world was so rich and disturbing, and the characters were all so fantastic. There was a lot of gasping though lol =)

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