Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nightshade - Book 1 - Nightshade

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well well well... What an unexpected read. I don't normally like werewolf books and I tend to start and stop them without ever finishing, but Nightshade was definitely an exception. I will not say that the book captured me from the beginning as it did take me a while to get into it, but I cannot blame the book or the writing or the story for that. I'm sure that was merely my werewolf prejudice coming through. Thinking about it now it may be the pack dynamic that bothers me the most about werewolves. I tend to lean towards strong female characters and the subjugation of females to an alpha male (because lets face it they inevitable tend to be male) just sits wrong with me. In the case of Nightshade however there was a change in the dynamic in that Calla herself was an alpha of her pack. And really reading the story the packs really lean toward shapeshifters more than werewolves if one compares it with the stereotypical werewolf lore.


I decided with this review to take a bit of a different route and am therefore not going to summarise the story of give up the plot, because I'm sure those who have not read it, really do want to hear what other readers though without having to close their eyes through those portions of the review that give up the story. This is also my first review that I am trying to follow a more structured approach and I hope anyone reading it will find some benefit from it. So for purposes of a summary of the story I will stick to saying merely that Nightshade is the story of Calla and her pack (of werewolves) who has been destined to join with Ren and his pack in a mating arranged by the Keepers who have always been their leaders and "caretakers". Her life however undergoes a drastical change through the arrival of Shay, a mere human, who dares to show her that her life can be very different from the life which she has always known, if she but dares to love and dares to question.


I liked the world that the author built in Nightshade and the story of the Keepers, Guardians and Searchers definitely drew me in. This book had everything I am binging on at the moment ie. magic, mystery, ancient rites and rituals, strange creatures, a pretty love story and characters facing seemingly insurmountable odds.

The characters were well described and easy to like. Ren, albeit that he was, through no fault of his own, painted as the losing party (for Calla's heart that is) I particularly liked. Despite his overbearing, arrogant self, I liked his playful and teasing nature and I loved that although he was jealous of Calla, had his own insecurities and I believe he really does yearn for a loving and lasting relationship with Calla. I also liked the underlying theme of the spirits inherent rebellion against slavery even if one doesn't really know that you are suffering enslavement and even if it goes against everything that you have ever known. Calla's dislike for the Guardian's position in relation the Keepers is evident from the onset and it is clear that she does not like to follow blindly even though she seems to do so.

The story was gripping and action packed and once I got into this book I really couldn't stop reading. I am sure that if I hadn't had the werewolf prejudice I would have read the book in one sitting.


I want to make it clear right now that even though I am listing my dislikes I am doing so simply to describe my experience of the book and not because I though that they would inhibit a readers enjoyment of the book in any way. I am convinced that the things that I list here were necessary to create the world and to inform the plot. So here goes...

As already explained above I have a knee jerk reaction to any story wherein women are in any way subjugated to males. In the present case Calla, however rebellious, independent and open minded she is, did defer to Ren in most cases, as well as to her father and the male Keeper figures. At Shay's prompting she also didn't have any problem in breaking all the rules that she knew she should not break. I know this sounds kind of contradictory in light of what was said above, but it does form part of the female willingness and tendency to submit to males. Don't get me wrong, I am not a die hard feminist and it is easy for me to understand that there can not always be two leaders, but I do believe in balance and balance inevitably sits easier with me than a female that mostly follows.

As with previous books and previous reviews I once again had a slight dislike of the way that the characters seem to find love at first sight. Call me a synic but in the real world this doesn't happen so easily. I must commend the author however for the relationship building that occured between Calla and Shay after the initial star struck, love at first sight reaction between Calla and Shay, which was refreshing and more realistic in my view.

I got a bit irritated by Calla's physical reactions to both Ren and Shay. In many ways I am a traditional girl and I would like to think that if you've fallen in love with someone your physical reactions to other men will be limited, if not eradicated. I respect that in the present matter Ren was always Calla's intended mate and that a strong bond does exist between them, but unless Calla loves both Ren and Shay in Twilightesque fashion, I don't think she would have had the physical reactions that she did towards Ren almost until the very end of the book when she had clearly already discovered that she loved Shay.


I seem to be saying this alot about books nowadays and I can't really explain my seemingly constant gushing about books in the last couple of months, but I really enjoyed Nightshade and cannot say anything less. It was an easy read that flowed well and gave you that feeling of well-being that really only comes from enjoying a book that you read. Therefore I can do nothing but give it a two thumbs up!


The next book in the Nightshade series is Wolfsbane and is set for release during July 2011. I would really like to know why the Searchers are called the Searchers, what Shay's mysterious destiny is and what the hell is up with Cosette?


Seeing as this is my first attempt at a more structured review, in keeping with some of my own bookish resolutions for this year, I would love to hear what you guys think, not only of the book but also about the style and format of the review. What is it that you like seeing in reviews and what not! Happy reading!


LOL Boost said...

Wow, this is beautiful. Imagine all the reading and writing you could do... Cold in the winter though.

LOL elo boost

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