Monday, November 1, 2010

Review of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.

Well would you CHECK OUT the cover on this baby!

Needless to say, THAT'S why I picked up this book.

That's not to say the plot didn't lure me in, just that I was at the check out before it even occurred to me to look at the blurb, which reads:

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? -

Nightshade is Andrea Cremer's first novel, and an impressive one at that.

The main character, Calla, is fated to become an alpha of a new Guardian (werewolf, essentially) pack, with Ren as the other alpha. She's content with this, with all of her instincts being to obey the Keepers, which she and her family have done for as long as they can remember.

On a routine scout of the sacred areas the Guardians protect for the Keepers, Calla finds Shay, injured and on the brink of death. This is where I think the first seed of doubt about the Keepers starts to grow in Calla's mind, as it's where she first defies them: by saving Shay.

Naturally, she runs into Shay again, and finds out that he's inexplicably favored by the Keepers, who ordinarily wouldn't spare a thought for a human. She's drawn to Shay, and likewise him to her, and slowly they begin to trust each other and explore the Keepers' intentions for Shay.

Though, what they find out about the Keepers, the Guardians' leaders for what feels like forever, throws off the entire world in which Calla lives.

What I loved, first and foremost, about Nightshade, were the characters. Namely Calla. She noticeably developed over the course of the novel. She was at first innocent in her blindly following the rules set by the Keepers, but as the trust she has in the Keepers' breaks and her feelings for Shay and desires to neglect the union to Ren grow, she becomes more independent and strong-willed in order to cope with the shifting world around her.

What else I loved about Nightshade was the love triangle. Though an overused dynamic in YA novels, Cremer managed to make it feel completely different to the clichéd norm.

Upon reaching the cliffhanger of an ending, I was pleased to find there would be a sequel to settle it. Wolfsbane will be released at an as-yet-undecided date next year.

I rate Nightshade 5 out of 5.

In the comments, tell me, if you've read Nightshade, whether you're on Team Ren or Team Shay (I'm traditionally on the same team as the main character, so, Team Shay for me). If you haven't read Nightshade, tell me if you'd consider it after this review. And if you're not, tell me what you'd like to see me review next.

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