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?
Author: Andrea Cremer
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: October 19, 2010
Source: Received ARC from publicist. Many thanks goes to Vimala from Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 5/5
Calla Tor isn't your average high school student. She's an alpha werewolf destined to rule her pack with her soon to be mate, Ren Laroche. While out on patrol she breaks the rules and saves the life of a human boy. She doesn't think that she'll ever see him again, until he enrolls at her school and challenges everything she believes in. With both boys vying for her affection, it isn't long until Calla is forced to choose between them. Who will she choose, and at what cost to herself?
Nightshade is one of those books that I devoured slowly. The first half of the book seemed to go by at a slower pace for me, but by the middle I was completely enslaved within the pages, attentive to every detail. I love the world that Cremer has created. These werewolves are part of a true hierarchy, and it was interesting to see the pack dynamics play out. Nightshade is not a sappy love story, it has a cruel, domineering edge to it. One that, while pushing you away, will reel you in as well. I enjoy how Cremer stayed true to the pack hierarchy, especially when some characters overstepped their bounds. The cruel edge is subtly written in without being explicit. Things are alluded to, not quite put into words, which in my opinion, makes for a better read all around.
Though quite a bit of attention is focused on the love triangle as well, questions arise that move the plot forward, deepening the mystery surrounding the Guardians. I quite enjoyed the mysterious elements that came in to play within the different groups, and can't wait to see where Cremer takes the storyline next. I thoroughly enjoyed the tension between Calla and her two suitors. She is a strong main character, and is suitably flawed in some areas.
I found that the three main characters were all well detailed, and came to life within the pages of the book. The supporting characters were also skillfully integrated within the story, and I couldn't help but love most of them as well. My only complaint, is that for someone who is as well-read, and as avid an outdoorsman as Shay is, I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't know anything about wolves.
All in all, Nightshade was an excellent debut novel. Cremer's werewolves are unique, as is the world she has built for them. They add a freshness to the genre, and are depicted as a powerful, majestic and lethal race. The plot gained momentum in all the right places, hooking the reader successfully, then left us with a cliff-hanger ending. I know I'll be waiting impatiently for Wolfsbane's publication. What about you? This is a book that I'd definitely recommend to those looking for an edgier werewolf or supernatural read.