Saturday, 19 March 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

January 2011, Atom 
453 pages, Paperback
Review copy received courtesy of UK Book Tours 

Young Adult, Paranormal 

Life in a wolf pack, teen relations (sometimes intense), having to obey authority, disobedience & flouting the rules, school life, creepy monsters, a little bit of humour, some violence and gore. 

Summary from Little Brown 

Forbidden flowers can be deadly. . .
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. . .
Nayuleska's thoughts

I'm on a mixed view with this book. I'll start with what I did like. I think the cover is pretty awesome! The ARC has something completely different, so I had forgotten what this book was about until I looked it up online. It's a book that I've heard lots of other bloggers chat about. I'm enjoying books about pack animals who are also humans, and Nightshade doesn't disappoint me in that area. There's a distinctive pecking order in the packs, although it's odd how the packs aren't in charge of society - it's the Keepers. Somehow I think they could be renamed The Kreepers because they wigged me out. They don't have a lot of authority & power, they are the Authority & Power. Whatever they say, goes. Shame that Calla doesn't listen to them. 

I enjoyed the different friendships that are in Nightshade. I think my favourite character is Bryn. She's stylish, she likes a laugh, she cares for Calla a lot. I liked all the mystery an anticipation leading up to the union between Calla & Ren. I really liked Ren. He knew exactly was what at stake. I guessed when he suspected things. Because he's a good alpha, he doesn't openly accuse of Calla of the crimes she is guilty of. He asks her separately. There were several points throughout the story where Calla could have stopped what she was doing, and return to Ren. Ren was more than reasonable to her. He understood how hard it was for Calla. He did push her boundaries a fair amount, but I guess that's part of being an alpha male. He always protected her, even when he didn't understand why he was doing it. 

As for Calla...I know she is the protagonist, but I'm still not keen on her. I think its because I don't follow her logic. Sure, I understand the lure of the forbidden, and she wanted to know the truth. But I feel that she wasn't acting like a true alpha. She wasn't thinking about the future of her pack (although she says at the end she was, which I can vaguely see, but personally I disagree with the choices she made). By lying and keeping secrets, when the Keepers found out her friends lives would be in danger (originally I put forfeit, which is how the situation felt even though it isn't true). Who would be mental enough to go ahead with that? Calla. There wasn't (or else I missed it) a compelling reasons for her to keep ignoring all the stop signs & red traffic lights. Of course I'd be interested in Shay and the mystery surrounding him. But when more than your own life is at stake you have to think things through and keep people safe. (As you can tell, I wasn't keen on what she did throughout the story). 

I freely admit that with the final plot twist, I relented on Calla a little. That was until she ignored the carrot dangled in front of her and raced off in the opposite direction. The stupid girl! She should have listened to what was being said. I can't say more than that without spoiling the story. She might have been forgiven then. But no, she follows her heart and head, which most definitely are not in alignment with mine. 

Strangely this won't stop me from re-reading the book :) Or reading more in the series. Up until I wrote this review I thought 'won't read it'. But, putting all my thoughts down has made me realise that I love Calla because I think her actions are foolish. Which is now making me laugh at all the unflattering comments I had about her. 

Final conclusion
Definitely a book about human/wolves to check out, with the eerie concepts and huge plot twist at the end. 

Check out more about Nightshade and the other books on Andrea's website.

Suggested reads (where I actually liked the protagonist with only minor, rather than major, reservations). 
 Alpha, by Rachel Vincent (I still haven't read the rest of the series, but I think of the book and get quite a happy expression)
Wereworld: The Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling, which focuses on a male werewolf but the details and politics are brilliant! 
Hearts Sentinel by PJ Schnyder (This is an awesome book about a pack and I adore it. Shamefully I somehow never reviewed this week I plan to re-read it and write the review. I rate it along with Alpha)

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