JG (The Introverted Reader)'s Reviews > Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
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Aug 25, 2010

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bookshelves: 3_stars, arc, z_author_american, covers_i_like, fantasy, fiction, z_read_in_2010, reviewed, z_setting_us, paranormal, young_adult
Read from August 24 to 25, 2010

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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Reading Progress

08/25/2010 page 102
22.0% "Getting a little tired of not understanding the hierarcy. And another love triangle! *sigh*"
08/25/2010 page 341
73.0% "Too much focus on Calla's indecision between the two boys and the way they push her around are making her seem weak, especially since she's supposed to be an alpha wolf."

Comments (showing 1-2)




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Jenny Q Right on! I was just thinking that I wish more YA books could stand on their own as complete stories rather than stretching the story out over three books.

I liked this one, I thought it was a creative take on werewolves, but my biggest problem was not feeling the relationship between Calla and Shay. So I'd have to say I'm Team Ren. I thought that last scene between them was pretty heartbreaking. I'm so behind on reviews, but I'm going to try to get this one up soon!


JG (The Introverted Reader) You're right about that last scene with Ren. He was supposed to be a bad boy, but he seemed pretty decent to me. I wouldn't call him nice, but he wasn't mean. He was pretty patient with Calla for someone who's supposed to be "bad."


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