Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review: Nightshade

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Penguin Group
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 528 
Release Date: October 2010
Series: none
Source: ARC
Challenge: 2011 A-Z Challenge & Breathless Reads Tour Mini Challenge 
Quick Rating: 3/5

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?
 I really, really wanted to fall in love with this book. I wanted a passionate, epic romance between me and this series, and all I got was…well...a pretty average one night stand. Don’t get me wrong, though, Nightshade had it’s really awesome moments, but as a whole, the book just fell a little flat for me.

I almost felt like this book was a little longer than it should have been, which is weird for me to say, since my usual policy is the longer the better. But I just felt like there was a lot of stuff that could have been removed or just skimmed over, and some details about more important stuff put in. I didn’t feel like there were necessarily any huge plot holes or anything, but I did feel like a few basic holes were left wide open - conversations that should have happened, details that should have been explained, etc. I also felt like it took way, way, way too long to actually get an explanation of anything in their world. Over 100 pages in, and nothing was explained! I don’t always just liked being tossed into a story and left to try and figure things out for myself until the characters feel up to doing some ‘splainin’.

I really liked that the author seemed to have wolf behavior down perfectly! The descriptions of their interactions while in wolf form were wonderful, and felt so real. That being said, I wish that the alpha females of the packs had been given a little more power. I’m no wolf expert, but I would assume the alpha female of one pack wouldn’t let just any other alpha male lay his paws all over her. I wanted more fight, and less subservience out of a certain character *cough*Naomi*cough*. Her character peeved me to no end.

Follow the jump for more!

As for the rest of the characters, I loved them! Calla as the main character was nice, though I felt she was a little shallow on the personality front. I kind of wish I’d found out more about her as a person, and not just her musings over which boy she should be in love with. In the beginning, we get a peek at her interests with a Harry Potter hoodie and a Pixies t-shirt, but then all that just disappeared. Ansel, her brother, was adorable though, and I loved all the young wolves. I hope we see more of the adult wolf pack members in later installments. The Keepers were delightfully snooty and sinister, and the creatures - especially at the end - were creeptastic.

But as for Shay and Ren…? I’m totally confused! Which one was I supposed to like? Usually in a love triangle, there’s a clear winner for me, but Shay and Ren almost just seemed like two sides of the same character. And if I had to chose, I’d probably pick Ren. I sympathized with him so much more throughout the book. Not to mention, that whole alpha male thing? Hot! Shay just kind of annoyed me a little. And, to be honest, I really didn’t feel the chemistry between Calla and either boy. It felt forced, and all physically based. Does no one just enjoy a conversation anymore in ya fiction? Is it all racing heartbeats and fireworks? I just felt like both boys were very underdeveloped and one dimensional. I’m hoping that changes throughout the series.

A lot of the concepts were amazingly unique though, and the world created in Nightshade has so much potential! Where this volume cuts off is a major cliffhanger, and I’m actually really excited to see where it goes from here.

Mad props go out for the ‘Republicans for Voldemort’ hoodie, and mention of ‘Buffy: Season 8’!

The Final Word: Read almost like a good sci-fi B-movie. There’s some really stellar moments, and some only okay ones, and some ones that just make you scratch your head too. If you are a werewolf fan at all, it’s a must read, because the world in Nightshade is amazing. However, without it, the book would definitely fall flat. I’m personally hoping that the series picks up after this.


Tea: I thought for it’s associations with mysterious caves and mountains, the Pu-erh tea from (appropriately enough) Golden Moon Tea.

Soundtrack Sampler:
Normally I post quotes that really stand out, but for Nightshade at least, I wanted to try something a little different. So, here’s my “Soundtrack Sampler” - just one or two songs that really capture the feel of the whole novel for me.

First up is “Awake, Alive” by Skillet. To me, this represents almost the entire book! It could totally be all about Calla’s struggle with her faith in the Keepers and her history, and her decision to finally break away.

I also chose “Two Weeks” by All That Remains. In my opinion, this should be Ren’s official theme song for the first book.


  1. I wish there were more YA relationships that aren't simply instant attraction without any real reason for it.

    "Does no one just enjoy a conversation anymore in ya fiction?" Amen to that! Also, I'm starting to dread cliffhanger endings... I can't stand the suspense xD

  2. @Linna: The cliffhanger is the worst! I hate waiting for the next installment. :-P But stand alone novels seem to be a rarity in YA.

  3. Hmmmm. i feel like most books these days are just development for the rest of the series. :/ I wish the romance was better developed in this book as well. Maybe I would have liked it more?

  4. I have this book on my shelf, but I keep putting off reading it... But now I want to read, you're review was awesome! =]
    By the way, your link to this review in your archive doesn't lead here, it goes to a Book Blogger Hop... ;)

    Happy reading!

  5. @Cialina: It definitely needed something in the romance department. Some real chemistry, not just physical. :P

    @Bella: Whoops, thanks! Fixed it. ;D And I hope you enjoy it when you read it!