Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Nightshade

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: Witches War #1
Publisher: Penguin
Published: October 19th 2010

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

Nightshade is a story about Calla, the strong werewolf leader of the Nightshade pack, who finds herself stuck between choosing sexy alpha-male, Renier Laroche, or human, Shay Doran. It was an enjoyable read, as it was fast-paced and interesting the whole way through. I also don't read werewolf stories very often so it was a nice change. In this novel, we not only get one hot male lead but two! ...Plus a whole heap of other interesting characters.

Calla meets Shay when she finds him being attacked by a grizzly bear on the land she's been assigned to protect. Laws are broken as she saves his life, and things only go downhill from there. Throughout the book, Calla makes stupid choices and risks, all in the name of Shay. She is fascinated by his way of thinking and is unable to resist. The world won't let her get her way easily though. On her 18th birthday she is set to marry Ren, the alpha male of the Bane pack. She has no choice in the matter as it was decided on by the Keepers, who take care of the wolves and their families, before she was even born. As a Guardian, her job is to protect the Keepers from the Searchers, and the rules she must follow are strict, with disloyalty resulting in fatal consequences.

I found all of the characters in this book interesting and unique. Shay is rebellious and convinces Calla that everything she has ever believed in and has been told by the Keepers is false, while Ren is, for the lack of a better word, an asshole. As a result of his wolf nature, he has a bad attitude and is controlling, pushing Calla further and further away from him with every word he utters and every move he makes. The male leads both evolve and end up quite different to what they are like at the beginning, and Cremer makes it hard to choose between the two as both have their pros and cons.
At first, Shay was the frontrunner for me. Ren was the sexy badboy but his attitude was a major turn off. Shay, on the other hand, was sweet and kind, and really seemed to like Calla from the very start! It took Ren a long time but he eventually straightens up and shows his true feelings for Calla, though it is difficult to fully trust him because of his constant and abrupt mood swings. Ren and Shay are equal for me at the moment, but i'm hoping that will change in the next book. Neither boy has trouble bringing on the sexy so i'm looking forward to more!
As well as the three mains, there is a large number of other characters. There are all of the Keepers, the Searchers, the wolves from both packs, family members and friends. All of them get significant page time too so it's a little difficult to keep track at times. Notepad and pen, anyone?

One thing that I disliked was that the twists weren't really twists. I correctly predicted almost all of what would happen - that never happens, by the way - and was a little let down by the lack of surprise. The ending did manage to stump me though. We are at a very exciting point of the novel when it suddenly ends, so the sequel can't come fast enough.

Despite it being predictable at times, I was still able to get into it and really love the characters. Nightshade is a thrilling and action-packed story, filled with romantic tension, adventure and excitement. There is a perfect balance between plot and romance, and the writing captures your attention from the very start. I'm very much so looking forward to seeing more of this strong female protagonist Andrea Cremer has created in Wolfsbane.

 

Wolfsbane is released on July 26th and unfortunately won't have the same gorgeous cover we were expecting. For an unknown reason, the covers are being changed and not for the better.

Nightshade (hardcover)
Nightshade (paperback)
Wolfsbane (all versions)
Wolfsbane (not being used)
Who else is immensely disappointed? I guess the new covers do look more like Calla but I just can't get over how gorgeous the original covers are *sigh*
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