February 23, 2012

Review: Nightshade

Book CoverBook CoverNightshade trilogy (Book 1)
By Andrea Cremer
Available now from Penguin Philomel (HC) and Speak (PB)
Review copy

Part of the Breathless Reads tour

Calla Tor can turn into a wolf, but that doesn't make her a werewolf. It makes her a Guardian. The Guardians fight against the Searchers, under the guidance of the Keepers. Now that she is seventeen, Calla will marry Renier Larouche and begin a new pack. Of course, there's plenty of tension between the Nightshade and Bane alphas as they try to determine who will top after the marriage.

I fell in love with the characters. Calla had my heart, if only because her favorite book is WATERSHIP DOWN. But there's so much to her. Even though she's young, she's in charge of the other teenage Nightshade wolves. She thinks about how her actions affect them. Ren is super sexy. He's clearly not going to get the girl, but I almost don't mind the obligatory love triangle since he has so much sizzle. The side characters are fantastic too. I particularly like Bryn, the love interest of Calla's brother. She can put two and two together about Calla and Shay, but she's there for her friend. Shay does veer close to being more of a plot point than a character. He's the love interest, he's somehow special, but there just isn't much to him. His geekiness is endearing, but he lacks spark.

NIGHTSHADE comes close to being a first book in which nothing much actually happens. As Shay and Calla investigate what makes Shay so important, mysteries upon mysteries pile up. I might've been less satisfied with the few answers revealed if the end weren't so action-packed. NIGHTSHADE ends with Calla, Shay, Ren, and the Nightshade pack in a precarious position. Luckily, anyone who reads NIGHTSHADE now can begin WOLFSBANE immediately.

Fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romance will enjoy NIGHTSHADE. Andrea Cremer plays just enough with werewolf tropes to make the Guardians and their world her own creation. I liked how much power women could have in the packs, even though the Keepers maintain ultimate control. (It's a good reason to be suspicious of them even before Calla begins poking around.) I also loved the setting of Vail, Colorado. It's a beautiful city and the mountains are a perfect place for the wolves.

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