Source: ARC from Penguin
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Calla is the next alpha for the Nightshade family to be married off to the next alpha of the Bane family, a rivaling pack, to form a new pack. Calla has always known her path especially as a Guardian, a werewolf sworn to protect the Keepers. But that all changes when Calla recues a hiker from being killed by a bear…something that she should not do considering that she just exposed the biggest secret. However just soon after, the hiker transfers to Calla’s school and her world is turned upside down; has everything been lies? Now she’s torn between her current life with Ren—the alpha whom she is engaged to—or a new life of freedom with Shay, the hiker whom Calla cannot get enough of.Nightshade is an action packed novel of a forbidden romance. Andrea Cremer packs a showstopper with everything a reader can ask for: complex plot, sexy characters, and werewolves. Oh yeah. However, Nightshade has a problem with its execution.
When I first delved into the book the swarms of name had me begging for a family tree or a diagram of names; something that I still hope Philomel might consider before releasing the book. I found Calla a strong female lead when she is in a situation she is comfortable in: fighting against bad guys, dealing with her new pack, school. When she is taken out of that out of that zone she becomes this naïve child that had me irritated; love being one of those situations.
As for the plot I really enjoyed myself quite so in the beginning. Then I realized it went deeper than the surface level of Calla being torn by two loves. Which I thought was great! But then half way through I was getting concerned of the much needed background information: who were the Keepers? What did they do? Where did the werewolves come in? The dynamics of a shifting werewolf were questioned in my mind. Mid-way, starting really in the 150th page these questions and concerns were finally being answered. Super! I was a bit lost but managed to keep it all together to some form of coherency, but then it just kept coming and coming.
When the plot started to develop it would almost alternate between chapters of werewolf fighting action/ love swooning to history/ facts, which kept the reader from being fully bombarded with new information, but then as I said before the information just kept coming. I was miserable, very bored, and had a strong urge to skim (which I will admit I caved into, but just a page or two). It felt like they were repeating the same shocking truth over and over again and combined that with it being the high point of Calla’s emotional distress of Ren vs. Shay which irritated me, it threw me over an edge.
I stopped reading. Had a bite to eat. Escaped into the cyber world. Then went back at it.
The ending was unexpected, but then again this is a trilogy I believe so the ending I had perceived would not make much sense anyhow. It was not the strongest ending I have read, but it faired well with leaving enough suspense to read its sequel and pleasant enough to prevent the reader from screaming and shouting profanities at the book.
Purple is one of my favorite colors, but I am confused on who the girl is (I have a guess) and the flower. Below is what comes up when you Google image "nightshade". Is the one on the cover a variation from the same family?
P.S. There was one scene that pissed me off slightly so for those of who read Nightshade already I am talking about the one in the mountains. The first time, not the second.
Nightshade releases in October 2010. You can pre-order your own copy of Nightshade: Amazon / Indie Bound / Book Depository