Author: Andrea Cremer
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Nightshade (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 452 Pages
ISBN-10: 039925482X (Penguin/Philomel)
ISBN-13: 9780399254826 (Penguin/Philomel)
Reviewed by: Michelle
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?
Quick & Dirty: A young alpha must make a choice between her past and her future.
Opening Sentence: I’d always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.
Andrea Cremer brings us into a world filled with detailed history, culture and folklore in Nightshade, the first of the Nightshade trilogy. Cremer introduces us to Calla, an alpha female of the Nightshade pack, destined to mate with Ren, an alpha male of the Bane pack. Together, they will lead their newly formed pack to blur the lines of animosity between the two packs. They will protect a part of their history from the Searchers, and be called the Haldis pack. Within a world of werewolves, Calla and her pack are called the Guardians, protecting humans and the world alike. Led and guided by the Keepers, Calla succumbs to the rules instilled within her and many generations before her.
Calla, meets a trespasser during a routine patrol, which changes her life forever. The trespasser, Shay, is of particular interest to the Keepers, and her pack is ordered to protect and watch over Shay. She must keep him safe from the Searchers. Everything within a blink of an eye has changed, her feelings for her upcoming mating, her thoughts about who she has become, and the way of her people.
Calla, a strong heroine who is torn between duty and personal thought. History, and what is taught, versus instinct. She rewrote the rules, changed her destiny, all for her personal beliefs and gut instincts. I thought that it was normal for Calla to listen to her instincts. Yes, she had internal battles about the choices she made in her book, but she grew so much within Nightshade. She seeked the truth, and while Shay helped her along, she had it in her to be curious.
Shay, the secret. Secret for the pack and secret for Calla. There is a sense of insta-love, but without being love. I guess an instant attraction would be the better word. I felt that Shay brought new life to Calla’s world, and with that a sense of freedom. Shay is smart and world-travelled, but he is also inhabited by the restrictions of duty. There is a lot unknown about Shay. He only recently moved into town with his Uncle, someone whom I didn’t expect to be important. But he’s knee deep into everyone’s life, and I want to know why.
Ren, I felt, was a tortured soul. I felt that he was a great leader, respected and just. He valued Calla as his mate and as an alpha. I’m weary of his feelings for her, but I think he has true feelings for her. Unrequited love? Possibly, well at least that’s what we see so far. But in his unease of his emotional feelings for Calla, he also comes off as an arrogant boy, too eager to make his claim on Calla.
I’m not a fan of love triangles, and Nightshade has a pretty strong one. Cremer makes it difficult by having both Ren and Shay be appealing. I saw great things in both of them, and I do not envy Calla. Not one bit at all.
History, folklore, a world built with history. It felt like everything truly existed, and not just a world created by Cremer. With classes like the Keepers, Guardians, and Searchers, Nightshade is filled with so much culture and so much history. It is amazing to see the influences that Cremer has instilled within Nightshade. The story is well written, filling the pages with one anticipated scene after the next.
“I’m not sure.” I was trying to be truthful, but every word I spoke seemed like a stray thread that could unravel my life.
“What exactly did he say?” Shay leaned forward, watching me intently.
“He asked where you were . . .” I said, pausing to dig up the memory. “And then he said: ‘He doesn’t know, does he? Who he is? That you took Tristan and Sarah? What you’re going to do?’”
Shay gripped the arms of his chair. “I thought the Searchers were trying to destroy the world. Aren’t they the bad guys?”
I nodded, not having any explanations to offer.
He rose, shutting his laptop and picking up his backpack. “I’m sorry, but I need to leave. There’s too much . . .” He shook his head. “I need some time alone. But I’ll be back here tomorrow.”
I stayed still as he moved past me, wanting to go with him.
“And Calla.” He bent down for a moment, whispering into my hair. “I don’t think I’m the only one who’s being lied to.”
The Nightshade Series:
FTC Advisory: Penguin Teen provided me with a copy of Nightshade. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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