GoodReads Summary: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?
My Thoughts: It's no secret that Nightshade was one of my most anticipated reads of 2010. I remember seeing it some IMMs several months back. Once I saw the cover, it was like someone had switched on a neon sign in my head that flashed and buzzed 24/7: MUST! HAVE! MUST! HAVE!
That color scheme!
Yes, I decided I needed to make Nightshade mine. So after months upon months of counting down and entering ARC contests (to no avail), I finally got my grubby little hands on a bright and shiny copy. I have to commend whoever orchestrated the brilliant marketing for Nightshade. The whole mystery game with Shay was phenomenal. Huge props on that.
Nightshade is narrated by leader of the pack, Calla. I liked being in Calla's head, but she tended to make me dizzy with her back-and-forth tendencies between love interests. After all, what would YA paranormal be without that love triangle business? However, Calla was nothing, if not loyal to her pack. I loved her devotion to her brother, Ansel, who was one of my favorite characters (and my sugar-to-coffee ratio is tooth-achingly similar to his.) Calla has a lot of soul-searching to do in coming books, and I can't wait to read about it. As Shay told her, "you belong to yourself." Loved that part. It brought the warm, fuzzy feeling.
Speaking of Shay, I was a bit conflicted on how I felt about him. On one hand, he was rather pushy and insistent with Calla, almost borderline disrespectful of her boundaries and traditions. On the other, he was at times sensitive and encouraged Calla to look beyond the little box she's lived in her entire life. I think I need a bit more exposure to Shay to form a well-rounded opinion. I'm so glad this is a series, because I cannot WAIT to find out more about Shay and the exact part he plays in the grand scheme of things.
At the beginning, I was not down with Calla's betrothed being a player while she has to remain virginal and pure. Do not want. I'm Team "Calla finding herself and rocking it out as a strong, self-sufficient chick." But as the story progressed, Ren's charming, faithful side emerged and I, too, was back-and-forth about who I was cheering for. Cremer has a way of presenting you with the characters' flaws and then offering a deeper, more meaningful look into their personalities, which were delightful distinct and diverse.
What an insane journey I've just concluded. I don't even know if I can use the term "concluded," because holy cliffhanger. It was a doozy.
The world-building, the lore, the intricacies of the precarious balance between the Keepers and the Guardians was exquisite. There were some issues with the Keepers and their power trips that made me slightly uncomfortable, so I'm hoping for retribution in future books. I'm so impressed by Cremer's ability to keep all of it straight in her head, let alone create this complex hierarchy. Reading about the Guardian's history was a infinitely more interesting and fun than any history book I've ever read. If only it were this much fun in real life.
Series: Book 2, Wolfsbane, will be released July 12, 2011 with book 3, Bloodrose, in 2012.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Philomel, 454 pages (October 19, 2010)
Learn more about Andrea: Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter