Ladies and gents, we have a hit on our hands.
Penguin thinks so, too. They pulled out all the stops for NIGHTSHADE's marketing campaign. Truly brilliant, and truly deserved.
Andrea Cremer's writing is tight and her worldbuilding is impeccable. She applied her knowledge as a historian to build certain elements of the story, and the strength lies in the things you don't notice. Her take on wolves is fresh rather than familiar. And her witches ... SCARY.
No one will question Calla's power - she's most definitely an alpha. The sexual tension between her and her intended, Ren, leaps off the page. What's different about this book, and truly refreshing, is that Calla owns her sexuality. She acknowledges it. And Ren isn't the only man in Calla's life. Shay is unexpected, but sweet and strong at the same time. I expect this "team" debate to have lots of passionate opinions.
It moves fast. Lots of suspense and uncertainty about who is right and who is wrong will keep the pages turning.
Five stars for certain to this very strong debut, and lots of anxious wishing for the sequel, due in 2011.
The Guardians serve the Keepers, powerful merciless witches, in every way. The Keepers control every aspect of their servants' lives, even who they can love. If anyone doesn't do what they're ordered they and the ones they love will be punished swiftly and without mercy. Everyone in the town is afraid of the Keepers' power and will do anything to stay on their good side, giving them complete control of the community.
The Keepers have decided to unite the Nightshade and the Bane packs through the union of the seventeen-year-olds Calla Nightshade and Ren Laroche. Even their conception was planned, along with the births of their pack mates, in order to create a third pack which will serve Logan Bane, a young Keeper and son of the master of the Bane pack. But Calla's feelings for Shane put all of these plans at risk.
Together Calla and Shane must work together to unravel the secrets of Calla's world and why Shane, a supposedly normal human boy, is so important to the Keepers and why they have ordered the Guardians to protect him. They learn that her world is even more dangerous than Calla had ever thought.
This was a fun book with a great mysteries, mythology and character development. The servitude of the Guardians made for a great struggle and had the potential for a powerful rebellion. It took a love triangle to a more dangerous and conflicted place which added another layer of intrigue to the story. The mythology of this world is very absorbing and interesting.
I loved this book and am excited to read the next in the series.
Anyways, I really enjoyed reading this one. Maybe because I don’t read a lot of werewolf stories, but I liked Andrea’s take on it, how it’s more spiritual and magical, rather than painful and obligatory. The characters don’t even consider themselves as “werewolves” but call themselves “Guardians”, sworn protectors of the “Keepers” who are basically witches and warlocks. Their relationship has a very mysterious and questionable history that Calla and Shay, the human boy, slowly uncover.
My favorite parts would have to be anything with Ren in it, as I’m pretty much Team Ren. He’s the typical pretty boy, alpha male kind of guy, but he’s just so sexy and smooth, I can’t help but smile when I think of him. I mean, Andrea wrote some pretty steamy scenes between Ren and Calla that I just devoured. Shay is the typical nice guy who does have his moments, but I’m rooting for Ren. Luckily, Calla isn’t an annoying female lead and she’s very determined and strong-willed, which is important because she’s the leader of her pack. I think Andrea did a great job at taking the werewolf folklore and turning it into her own and I can’t wait to see where she goes with it and she was able to balance the paranormal with the romance just right. Granted, I was more interested in the romance than the paranormal parts and I flipped pages hoping to see more of Ren, but overall, I really liked it.
You’ll definitely want to try this series if you like werewolves and hot, steamy scenes with sexy guys. Can’t wait to read Wolfsbane!
Calla, alpha female for the Nightshade pack, has been preparing to form a new pack through her union to the alpha male of the Bane pack, Ren, for her entire life. She has grown up believing that hers is a sacred duty, and that her Masters, the Keepers, provide for her and her family in exchange for her devout loyalty and protection. Then she meets Shay. As he starts to question her Keepers' motives, her own doubts begin to shadow her once iron-clad beliefs.
The choices Calla makes in response to Shay left me wanting to shake her. Even after Shay learned how dangerous the Keepers were, he continued to ask Calla to go against their laws in his quest for knowledge (which is my only real beef with this book; if you loved someone, would you risk their life in the search for the truth?). She jeopardized the safety of her friends and family to soothe his curiosity, due to some unexplainable attraction. It was painful to see Calla's doubts begin to surface, as I genuinely cared about Calla, her brother Ansel, her second Bryn, and her betrothed Ren. I wanted to see them safe and happy, and I knew that that meant Calla needed to follow the path laid out for her by her Keepers. But, the longer I read, the more I realized exactly what was at stake for Calla - her freedom. While she may have feelings for Ren, given the choice, would she still choose to be with him? Can you put a price on personal autonomy? Is risking everything you've ever known wrong, if it means you might end up being in control of your own destiny?
That being said, I think a lot of my reluctance to accept Calla's choice to help Shay came from my inability to really connect to him or understand Calla's attraction to him. I loved the playful banter between them, but it didn't add up to anything much deeper then that for me. On the other hand, I loved Ren. He was strong and protective of his pack (and of Calla) but he was still able to show vulnerability, and his background story (a murdered mother and a jackass of a father) really helped to explain certain aspects of his character. And then there was his ability to make me blush during some of his moments with Calla! So fuelled by sexual tension and desire, I almost felt like I had to avert my eyes during one or two of their scenes.
I loved the constant presence of the wolf and Cremer's ability to make me understand that Calla is neither a wolf nor a human: she is a Guardian. Unlike your typical werewolf, a Guardian has two souls: the wolf and the human. Because its a choice to show the skin of one or the other, it done with ease (and without pain) and is also why humans are able to keep their clothes between transitions. It's not an actual shift of matter, of human to wolf, its allowing the other half of your soul to be the dominant side for a period of time.
And I loved Calla. She is strong and independent (as one would expect an Alpha to be), but she has moments of weakness where she really shines. Her frustration with tradition, where she will only ever be second because she is female, is easily relatable, and the familiarity you feel between her and her pack is completely natural. I did question how easily she forgot her pack when it came to Shay, but she made decisions to keep them safe in the end, so I was able to (mostly) forgive her.
The ever-increasing danger, the steamy moments between Calla and both Shay and Ren, and the ease with which Cremer has made the characters be both wolves and humans makes Nightshade a passionate and delightful (if, at times, frustrating) read. I disliked the ending (I can't quit the feeling that she made some wrong choices) and how it left nothing resolved - I don't like being forced to buy the sequel. But in this case, I will most definitely be picking up Wolfsbane to find out what happens next.
This book made my day, well i should say week as I had to read it in between classes and homework, but I got so stuck to it that I stayed up way to late just to finish it. It was a school day as well! When I had finished it I immediately passed it on to my friend who then couldn't stop.
My favourite character was Shay. I don't know why, I don't have any good reasons except that I I just fell in love with him. I often do that with male characters. I loved how Calla changed her own destiny and went off with Shay instead of being a good puppy. I thought she had a strong nature that made her able to do that.
I love this book and straight after I had finished I went and bought the next ones. I think this is definitely worth the time and sleep to read.
I was definitely on Team Shay. I hated Ren for a bit for trying to get between Calla and Shay, but I always knew that she would go to Shay in the end. Its hard to imagine just how much saving Shay at the very start changed her life
I absolutely loved the writing style, I think it was perfect for me. Fantasy is my favourite, and this is definitely a top-mark fantasy book!
I really loved the way Andrea Cremer described the way of feeling like a wolf and the way she twisted the story so she had a beautiful balance between a magical setting, a romantic dilemma and fighting for life (and love). She really made things interesting when Calla turned Shay and I was practically feeling everything that happened as if I was there! I was holding my breath the entire way through, I couldn't put it down!
Calla was also a great protagonist. I could feel her struggles being an alpha female and her disconnect with the prospect of being in an arranged marriage. She was a strong female authority figure to all her packmates and I loved that about her. What I was ambivalent about was her relationship with Shay, the human boy she saves at the very beginning of the book. There was something missing in Shay for me. He's a strong character for being a human among wolves, but when he was sarcastic or witty I didn't much get it. And I felt like he made Calla weak and dishonest, bringing out some bad qualities in her. Their relationship was also very much insta-love, not my favorite thing in the world.
So if you haven't guessed, I'm on Team Ren!
I'm excited to learn more about the world Cremer has created. She has infused magic with werewolves, which is a creative take on the mythology. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series and hope to see more of Ren!
I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves wolves, great sub-characters, and love triangles!
Calla, a Guardian, the female alpha of the teen Nightshades, and a 17 year old girl who is engaged. She is a werewolf, but will growl at you if you call her that. She has a very tough personality, one that you wouldn't want to get in the way of! She has followed the laws the Keepers have given her, and never second guessed them. Then why do things change when Shay comes to town? Calla knows her duties, but can't help but think there's more when Shay uncovers more of the truth.
Then there's Ren, also a Guardian, male alpha of the teen Bane's, and a 17 year old boy who is engaged. He's the type of boy who can get any girl and loves it. He is, for lack of a better word, a player. Ren loves Calla, who he calls Lily, but she doesn't know if she loves him back. Ren dislikes Shay from the beginning. He thinks he's a human who doesn't know his place. Yet, he puts on a smiling face and accepts Shay begrudgingly.
I truly enjoyed this book! It was well written, and the plot made sense. Plus any book is good with a steamy love triangle!!! Instantly I was hooked, and I couldn't put this book down! 49 out of 51 tacos!! Check out Wolfsbane coming out July 26Th!!!
~~ Sam :)
Andrea Cremer is a talented writer. Throwing in some twists, adding a love triangle, it was all done impeccably. Shay was the lovable best-friend guy who is dependable and you secretly want to date, while Ren was the sexy out-of-reach brooding hot guy who everybody wants and is passionate.
I’ll be interested to read the second book because there was a major cliffhanger at the end of this. I love Calla’s character because I thought that she expressed herself very well and I loved her beginning to explore the line between love and loyalty, and duty and desire.
I thought that this book was fascinating and I loved the format. It had those ruffled pages that everybody loves (I know that I do), the cover was gorgeous (it has that pearl finish and reminds me of frost), and it was a good thick read. While I’ve only read it once (the climax didn’t have very much suspense or wow-factor to it) but it was satisfying and refreshing.