Wolfsbane is the second book of this series. The book after Nightshade.
After reading Nightshade, Wolfsbane has higher expectations. Did Wolfsbane meet its expectations?
Obviously, the answer isn't that simple. Yes, there are some parts that reach the expectation. No, other parts were not quite... brilliant.
The writing of Andrea Cremer is always amazing. It didn't really exceed expectations nor fail it. I wasn't really wowed by it. The plot was faired much better than the writing. Full of twist and turns, it will delight readers like you and me.
Calla is a strong and leading character. She isn't as ignorant as she used to be, but still frustrating and annoying. Focus on your pack's safety, not your love triangle! I like how Calla grieves for her lost teammates, but she doesn't clutch hold to the past. Instead, she lets go of it, refusing to stay behind like some other main characters. Calla is a little too obsessed into her little own world and the situation between Ren and Shay, and needs to focus on other people. Be like Tris from Divergent.
Shay is the awesome love interest of Calla. I like how protective he was of her throughout the series so far. He's the lone wolf, but is truly an alpha inside. I want more of Ren and Shay moments!
The ending was terrible. The cliffhanger left off at on a off-pitch tune. If I write a book, I would have pick a much better ending.
Too many people died. It's like half of the Searchers died. Too much like an Harry Potter death scene. Save the blood for the last battle.
Shay has a hidden weapon. Why don't you search for it right away? Don't wait for your pack. Search for those three pieces.
I loved Nightshade. It was fast-paced, romantic and had an independent and strong heroine. Unfortunately, Wolfsbane did not live up to any of those expectations. Where Nightshade almost cruelly leaked out clues about the Guardians origins, leaving me desperate for more information, Wolfsbane was one large info-dump about the Searchers and their intricately linked history with the Keepers. My mind is reeling with all of the information I have gained, so while I (mostly) have their history sorted out, the manner with which I was given the information was horribly executed.
For the first couple hundred pages, amidst the non-stop bickering which had me putting the book down several times, we are subjected to a Searcher making a vague statement about some historical fact, to which Calla or Shay would reply with some inane question in order to continue with the guise of this info dump as being an actual conversation. This made most exchanges feel forced as they lacked the fluidity of a natural conversation; I kept finding myself skimming sections which were just Calla or Shay saying something like "I don't understand", followed by some bickering between the Searchers, before the conversation was brought back to the subject at hand and more information was given. It got to be quite tedious.
Once I got used to the bickering and info-dumping, I was then left with the perplexing manner with which Calla reacted to being held captive by her once-feared enemies, and then her answer when asked to help them with a mission before being given any real information. The Calla from Nightshade would have resisted being told what to do (after all, she is an alpha) and would have put up a fight before agreeing to help people she once called enemies, especially when they refused to explain themselves or their side of the story. Instead she agrees to help them in their mission due to her eagerness to help her pack (her pack that she didn't think twice about abandoning), without thinking anything through, which ultimately leads her directly into a trap - a trap Shay recognized might be possible, but neglected to mention. I love Calla, I really do - but she made it hard for me to like her in Wolfsbane. She was selfish and overly-emotional and completely unable to ever make a rational decision. She swooned each time Shay forced himself on her, before her head could catch up to her hormones and remind her that she wasn't fully comfortable with being with him.
Speaking of Shay, I really don't like him. Finding out he is "the Chosen One" - the Scion - seemingly has gone to his head: he's arrogant and over-confident and completely unwilling to let Calla make any decisions for herself, including whether she wants to be with him. He forces himself on her repeatedly, and it's only when she physically pushes him away does he take her "no" for an answer. He is so selfish that he can't see how leaving Ren (and the rest of her pack) might be emotionally draining, and that the last thing she needs is for him to push sex on her. He's jealous of any other person even looking at Calla, but has no problem with the way in which Adne compliments him or uses any excuse she can find to be near him, touching him in some way. His presence is overwhelming, and I found myself constantly hoping for Ren's return. His ultimate betrayal (for me) though, was when he omitted telling the Searchers that he had entered Haldis and had retrieved the item being held there. Had the Searchers known this bit of information, they would have known that their plan to retrieve the members of Calla's pack was flawed and lives may have been saved - and Calla's life would never have been in danger. How he could choose to omit something that big, and then claim it was out of love for Calla, is beyond me.
Having said all of this, I must admit that the plot still moved quite quickly, and I was fascinated with learning more about the Guardians and their Keepers. And even though I was mentally picking apart several aspects of how Wolfsbane was written, I still found it to be an enjoyable read, and I can see why other people (those who emphasize with Shay perhaps) may have liked it even more then Nightshade. I had hoped there would be more of Ren, but I was sadly disappointed. The introduction of new supporting characters was poorly done, as I wasn't made to care for any of them as they all acted so secretive, and I still don't understand the dynamic between many of them. What's going on with Adne and Connor? Why does Ethan seemed so infatuated with Sabine, someone who he sees as an abomination? I did foresee the big twist concerning Munroe, which made a revelation towards the ending less shocking, but my investment in Calla and Ren has me interested in seeing what happens in Bloodrose.
I absolutely cannot stand Calla, Ren and Shay. This is unfortunate, given that they are the main characters and that I am probably supposed to like them. Here's the thing: they're supposed to be in this epic love triangle, wherein Calla really is supposed to be with both guys. Yeah, I just don't buy that. You can love both, but you can't love them the same. You either are in love with one of them and will let the other down as easily as possible, or you don't love either one and should start looking for someone better. All of them spend the whole book being completely jealous of any other person who looks at their beloved. Ugh!
Thankfully, the story is action-packed and exciting, which kept me moving through the book, even though I sometimes wanted to hurl it into the wall...or hurl on Calla. The other characters, too, are much more likable. I really loved Connor and Ethan, despite the fact that they're not the most charming folk. Sabine and Bryn both proved awesome. And, of course, Nev and Mason have always been the adorablest.
All in all, a solid follow up to Nightshade that leaves me ready for more, although preferably with less love triangle nonsense (though I doubt it). If you loved the first book, you'll love this one too. Those who think love triangle nonsense is incredibly irritating (even moreso than I do) should probably give the whole series a pass.