Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: 10.19.2010
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?
This review was very hard to write, because there were so many things I enjoyed about it, and two things that I really did not enjoy about it that seemed to take the stage.
Let me start with the negative, so I can get that out of the way. *There could possibly be some minor spoilers, but I'm not talking about anything you couldn't already guess from the book's synopsis.*
The first thing that bothered me was the main character's handling of the love triangle. To put it frankly, I fell in love with the "wrong" guy, and didn't agree with most of the main character's actions throughout the book. This usually wouldn't be a problem, but this girl seemed very wishy-washy, and changed her mind about which guy she wanted multiple times a day. In fact, there were a few times where her decision changed by the hour, depending on who she was having a conversation with at the moment, and who was in the room.
The other thing that bothered me was that the main character, who is the chosen alpha female, did not act like an alpha. In fact, there were many times when her pack openly disobeyed or disrespected her, and she did nothing. I didn't see her as an alpha at all. Although, maybe I'm just accustomed to the fragile tension I see in other werewolf books and am being picky. *shrug*
Has anyone else read the book, who has thoughts on this? I would love to hear from you.
With that out of the way, I can concentrate on what I did love about this story, because there was so much TO love. Andrea Cremer's world is fantastic. I love the way it was structured, the different view we get of werewolves (they're called Guardians in this book), and the way their skills are being used. While they posses some of the same structure and skills as most werewolf stories, these aren't your average hunters-of-the-forest werewolves. They are just a little different, and I like it. There are also magical elements mixed in to make Nightshade a different take on werewolves, including a dark mystery behind the magic system, and the reason for the Guardians' current status.
In short: The writing was superb, the fantastical elements fantastic, and the dark and edgy feeling of the book made it even better. And aside from what I mentioned above, the romance is overall very sexy and enticing. I have no doubt that had it not been for the two things I didn't like, this would have been among my top favorite books. It was just that good.
So the hard part comes in actually assigning it a number on the fever meter. While I thoroughly enjoyed living in the Nightshade world while I read, I was very annoyed by the main character. But a lot of the other parts of the story made up for some of that annoyance, leaving me completely perplexed in how to rate this book. In that case, I am going off of the factor that will tip the scale: I for sure plan to read the sequel, and am looking forward to its release.
Here's the final verdict: 98.3, and rising.
...you want something sexy and edgy, you like a little mystery, and you love it when two guys fight over a girl.