Nightshade trilogy (Book 3)
By Andrea Cremer
Available now from Penguin Philomel
Read my reviews of NIGHTSHADE and WOLFSBANE
Part of the Breathless Reads tour
BLOODROSE is a polarizing novel. I've encountered many people who disliked the way Calla's story came to an end. I've met others who found it predictable but enjoyable. I've also encountered those who loved it as much as they loved NIGHTSHADE.
I can't help but think Andrea Cremer wrote herself into a corner with Renier Larouche. Ren was not your typical doesn't-have-a-chance leg of the love triangle. He might not have had a narrative chance of being with Calla, but he was a vibrant, charismatic character. I cared as much about him getting a happy ending as I did about Calla. But it's hard to end a love triangle without leaving the loser out in the cold. And Ren's ending was freezing cold.
The plot took until the final battle to really get going. There's plenty of action throughout BLOODROSE, but most of it is centered on retrieving pieces of the Elemental Cross, an artifact imbued with the soul of an ancient warrior. While the Nightshade series bears little resemblance to Harry Potter, it was difficult not to think of the Deathly Hallows.
I think I fall into the category of people who found BLOODROSE predictable but enjoyable. Most of my disappointment stems from feeling that Cremer possesses the talent to push beyond predictable. I absolutely love her characters, but couldn't help but feel they deserved better.
I found Calla's wavering between Shay and Ren to be somewhat annoying. She's excellent at asserting her authority and not allowing the boys to make choices for her. But it takes her a long time to accurately assess the difference in her response to Shay and Ren. As much as she cares for Ren and is attracted to him, she never allows him a chance to develop an emotional connection with her.
The side characters continue to be scene stealers in BLOODROSE. I am incredibly happy that Mason and Nev were back in full force. Sabine's maturity, confidence, and determination are awesome to behold. Adne continues to be clever and willing to take risks to do what is right.
BLOODROSE was not a bad novel. Anyone who has been reading the Nightshade series shouldn't be afraid to finish the story. (Unless you really, really, really liked Ren.)