Nightshade by Andrea Cremer: Book Review

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Nightshade Book Cover

3 Stars

Calla Tor is the alpha of her teen Guardian (werewolf) pack. She knows the rules and she enforces them. So why does she break them multiple times in one day by saving a normal teenage boy and letting him see her shift? And why are her masters, the Keepers, so interested in this same guy?

Oh, I’m torn on rating this one! On the one hand, I tore through it, eagerly waiting to see what was going to happen with Calla, Shay, and Ren. On the other hand, I’m tired of teenage love triangles, and I’m really, really sick of cliffhangers.

I liked Calla as a protagonist, but I can’t say that I bought her as an alpha personality. We’re told that she’s an alpha, but we only see her at a time when she’s starting to question everything she knows about her life. That leaves her a little insecure. Maybe I’m just thinking that alpha=bitch (Hee hee! It should in a werewolf!), but she doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of control over her pack. She’s pretty clueless about what they get up to. Her younger brother knows more about their lives than she does. That’s not the sign of a great leader.

Shay and Ren were great, but they were almost interchangeable to me. Calla lusted after them both, they both lusted after her, they both constantly challenged her, but I didn’t see her offering a whole lot of challenge in return. They were both able to convince her to do what they wanted pretty easily. I liked them both, so I can’t come out as Team Ren or Team Shay. I’m kind of left thinking that if she feels so similarly about both of them, neither of them should be the guy for her.

I got really tired of being confused about what was going on with the wolves, the Keepers, and the Searchers. We finally read about the hierarchy and history as Shay learns what’s going on, which I guess is kind of the point, but that’s over 100 pages into the book! I don’t have a lot of patience for that kind of deliberate confusion. Meanwhile, there’s some supernatural stuff going on, but mostly it’s just kind of typical teen dynamics in their high school, and that’s not really my thing. I avoid realistic YA for a reason.

And then there’s the ending. Just when things start to click together, in a way that I had seen coming from pretty far away, and the real action starts to happen, the book just…stops. Just like that. There’s no resolution to anything at all. I feel manipulated into picking up the next book, and I’m a little tired of it. I can’t help but feel like this book could have been tightened up a lot (there’s only so much of the jealousy/rivalry between Ren and Shay that I need to see) and some sort of conclusion could have been reached. But no.

I’m being, much, much harder on this than I really intend to be. It’s definitely going to find a huge audience, and I probably will get to the sequels one day. I am curious about what’s going on and which boy Calla chooses, but I just feel like there was a lot of potential in the storyline that wasn’t quite met.

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  1. You can't see me right now, but I am nodding my head in unison with your thoughts.

    I hated being lost for the first 100 pages, still don't know what or who decided that Calla was the Alpha, and although I tore through the book to get to what I thought was the end, I was left hanging and frustrated.

    Like you, I was so torn when it came to reviewing it. Is it okay to love and hate a book at the same time? Is that even possible? Luckily, I didn't have to review it for my blog, just work. Therefore I was able to leave a lot of my personal opinion about it.

    I will read the next one when it comes out. I guess that means that my personal jury is still out:)

  2. +JMJ+

    Oh, dear. =S It doesn't sound promising at all. Change a few names and details, and it's Twilight all over again.

    Thanks for the review, Jen, but I think I'll pass on this one, unless I happen to win it in a giveaway. =P

  3. Excellent review. It sounds to me like you're ready to move on from the paranormal YA theme for a bit. It's not my pick at all, but I know a lot of readers love it. But sometimes these types of books are published only to make money, and it's very sad when it ends up being a let down. I hope you enjoy whatever you read next more than this one! And I didn't think you were being hard on the book at all; you were being honest, which is what all good reviewers should be. 🙂

    Alayne – The Crowded Leaf.

  4. I felt confused at the beginning of this too,but ended up really enjoying it and can't wait to see what will happen next. I liked that the world building included the Keepers and Searchers and was not totally just about the love triangle. But I not sure I agree with the how interchangeable Shay and Ren.

    Definitely enjoyed your review and honest insights!

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