Nightshade Book Review

In a long string of dissapointments and average books, this one stood out as something unique: a book I throughly enjoyed. PS: ignore the cheesy subtitle; it doesn’t do the book justice.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Meet Calla Tor. She’s a total bad-ass. She’s alpha of her werwolf pack, assigned by the Keepers to guard sacred locations. She has a destined mate, equal BA Ren Laroche who is also an alpha and assigned by the Keepers to guard sacred locations. One day, after graduating Mountain School, they will join together to create a new pack that will continue their guardian work. Life for Calla is definite and predetermined.

Until one day, when she, on impulse, saves a hiker, Shay, in the mountains who turns out to be much more than meets the eye– although what does meet the eye right out isn’t disappointing: Shay is as handsome as Ren and a whole lot sweeter. With the addition of him into her life, everything changes. Suddenly, Calla has to question the things she always thought were right and try to figure out how to exactly to do what is.

Now I know this story sounds average. The whole new boy comes in and changes her destiny sounds like any other paranormal romance that crowds the shelves today. But trust me when I say it’s not. Because it’s not. And for one very good reason.

Calla is the main character and for once, she’s in the loop. Don’t quite understand? Think of it like this: Instead of Twilight being told from Bella, the outsider’s point of view, it’s told by Edward, the guy in the know. What does this mean for a story?

Well, for starters, it makes it about a hundred times more interesting, mostly because it’s different flow than all the other paranormal books which usual center around the average person. But also because it gives a new depth to the things Calla believes in. The story is told from her point of view, which means that we know the world only as she sees it. So if she thinks the Keepers are good, then we do to, because neither reader nor character knows any better.

This makes Calla’s arguments for the Keepers much stronger and more believable. And when Shay starts to question things about her life, it makes it harder to decide who is right and who is wrong. As Calla becomes more and more confused, so do you, which sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it’s not: it keeps you on your toes.

This uncertainty is refreshing because usually these plots are so predictable. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Girl turns out to be a non-human. Random action thrown in at the end. And…sequel. Not here. Here, there is a plot from page one and I kept flipping pages not simply because I was interested to see if my boy (Shay) won the love triangle, but because I was genuinely curious to find out whether or not all the things I was speculating about were true. And it was pretty exciting to see how right or wrong I was.

So in terms of story, I actually think this book gets full marks. And with characters? I’d say the same.

I loved Calla from the start. Not only was she a feisty female lead, but she was smart and not in a I-read-ancient-books-and-have-no-self-confidence way. But in genuinely smart way, as in, I don’t think she made dumb choices in this book. Also, she had a “Republicans for Voldemort” tee-shirt. Gotta love Calla.

Shay, my favorite of the boys, was also well done. I thought he was sweet, but not so docile as to make him wimpy. Just kind and caring with enough awesome to actually be a contender to the seemly perfect player Ren.

From side characters to the creepy Keepers, I found myself considering all aspects of these guys as I tried to make up my mind as to who was good and who was bad. Like I said, this book keep me on my toes. Every time I figured something out, something else would change it.

Now for the romance. The only complaint here was that I thought she fell for Shay just a little too quickly. But that’s about all. Other than that, Calla seemed torn between the characters for equally compelling reasons and both relationships seemed natural for the characters they involved.

One thing I really did like about this book was the emotions it invoked. The Keepers could be pretty nasty, and I was angry that Calla had to stand by and take some of the stuff she did. Also, the sexists views they kept up made me angry,  and I liked the that fact that they did irritate Calla too.

The only other complaint I have about this book would be that Calla has a certain set of rules she has to follow but then she starts breaking them and there seems to be no punishment. Which I thought was strange because at times her rule-breaking seemed public, like somebody would notice and report it but that never happened. My only thoughts on this are perhaps they are saving all the punishment for later.

I lied. I thought of one more complaint: There’s a part in the book where Calla and Shay are up to something and Calla gets hurt so to try and save her they have to do something forbidden and they do it and it seemed to me like it would be something really monumental but it sort of happens. I know that was really vague, but if you read the book you’ll understand. Hopefully.

In all, I definitely recommend this book. It was one of the best paranormal romances I’ve read. It was fresh and fun and has one heck of an ending. I honestly don’t know if I will make it until the sequel. Because I want to read it. Now.

Ri’s Rating

QQQ.5/QQQQQ

3.5/5

0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

 

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