Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade (Nightshade Series #1)
Author: Andrea Cremer
Source: Purchased; Hardcover 452 pages
Challenges: 50 States, 2011 Blogger Recommendation, Shifters
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 Rating: 5 stars ★★★★★
My Thoughts: 
This is a novel that starts in media res; on the very first page we are hit with major plot points and crucial action! I’ll admit, being immediately thrown into a world of witches and wolf-shifters (aka Keepers and Guardians) with no explanation was a bit confusing for me at first, but after a few chapters that feeling faded and I very much enjoyed finding out the rules and secrets of Calla’s world along with her and the other characters – mainly Shay, who starts out just as clueless as the reader does.

When I was at the Breathless Reads Tour, Cremer stated in response to one of the interview questions that she likes to think of Nightshade as a “wolf book” rather than a “werewolf book”. At the time, I had not read Nightshade and thought to myself, “Well… it’s a book about humans that shape-shift into wolves… How is that not a werewolf book? It sounds like a werewolf book...” Well, I was wrong. After reading Nightshade, I totally understand what she means. This really isn’t a “werewolf book”; I think a more accurate description would be ‘a book about wolves that have the power to take human forms due to very old magic – like, centuries old.’ This fact is one of the things I enjoyed most about the novel. If you’ve read some of my past reviews, you may know that as much as I love werewolf books, what I love even more is when an author is able to take a popular topic (such as werewolves or wolf-shifters) and turn it into something new and original.  Cremer does exactly this. The concept of the Keepers and Guardians was super-interesting and different than anything I’ve read before.

Aside from loving the concept/plot as a whole, I also particularly enjoyed the romance aspect of the book. For some reason, the Ren/Calla/Shay conflict didn’t strike me as the “average” love triangle. Usually I dislike love triangles, but I didn’t mind this one at all… perhaps that’s because I was so busy gushing over Ren. Ohhhh Ren. *LE SWOON* He’s definitely up there at the top of my Book Boyfriends list - right after Marc Ramos from Rachel Vincent’s Shifters series – I’m all about the protective-and-badass-yet-still-sweet alpha males ♥. He seems like such a complex person; I can't wait to get to know him better in the next two books!

I also loved Ansel, Brynn, Shay, and (of course!) Calla ... just not in the obsessive way that I love Ren LOL. Cremer does an amazing job at creating intriguing characters; I even liked many of the characters that were "bad guys" or people that I didn't necessarily agree with, because they were still so interesting!

Overall, I thought this book was excellent, and I wish I had read it sooner!!

Cover musings: LOVE this cover!! The color is fabulous (purple is one of my favorites!) and I adore the metallic glittery finish. Also, I like that Calla is holding calla lilies; it’s pretty clever.

Why is July so far away?! 

Next in Series: Wolfsbane (July 26, 2011)

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