Jillian -always aspiring-'s Reviews > Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
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Nov 18, 10

bookshelves: best-characters, paranormal-supernatural-books, covers-i-love, 2010-reads, reviewed
Recommended for: People who like good love triangles, intriguing characters, and a dash of conspiracy and intrigue
Read from July 10 to 13, 2010

(Actual Rating: 3.5 stars)

Okay, I stayed up late to finish this book, and it's saying something that I am taking time out of my sleeping schedule (or whatever else I may be doing at just after midnight on a weeknight) just to write a review about my feelings for this book. And you know what I thought?


Yes, books dealing with the supernatural are cramming up the young adult shelves in bookstores and libraries everywhere nowadays -- but Nightshade offered enough of a difference from the norm that I actually was enthralled.

Now, I could skirt around the plot as I usually do with my reviews, BUT I will instead give you a list to ponder why I -- a reader who has read so many paranormal/supernatural books in recent years that she is tiring of the genre a bit -- fell head over heels for this book.

Top ten things that I loved about Nightshade:

(10) THE HEROINE. Calla is not just a bump-on-the-log heroine. No, not at all. She is STRONG -- refreshingly so. I was worried that she would be on par with Vivian from Annette Curtis Klause's Blood and Chocolate -- but sexy alpha female, always on the prowl for males, Calla is NOT. You know who Calla is? Calla is a girl with a strong sense of loyalty towards her family ("her pack," mostly) and someone who prides herself on being someone who cannot be called weak. She's the girl who prefers to bottle up her tears than sob them out on someone's shoulder. (I would compare Calla almost to Katniss from Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games. Calla has that same vibe to her -- and even her innocence when it comes to love is similar. She's confused about her romantic feelings much like that.)

(9) THE PLOT. There is the sense of CONSPIRACY in the plot. You think this is just about wolves, witches, and warlocks? Oh-ho-ho, not so at all! I will not spoil anything, however, so you'll just have to trust me on this one.

(8) ACTION AND SUSPENSE. Yup, there are oodles and oodles of both, and there are intense scenes. There are some very unpredictable moments scattered here and there. . . .

(7) THE HIERARCHY. I have to admit that the Guardian and Keeper world is very interesting. I would love to learn more about it in the books to come. It's very fascinating. (UPDATE: Oh, Andrea Cremer is coming out with a Nightshade prequel following the Witches' Wars, due out after the original trilogy is over. Interesting.)

(6) THE WOLF NATURE. The Guardians -- the wolves -- actually have their moments of acting like wolves. That was so very refreshing to me. I mean, if they have wolf-like natures, they have to feel comfortable in that skin, right? Then why don't more books dealing with werewolves/shifters have characters with that sense of feeling free in that other form? Well, it was present in this book, and I was happy for it.

(5) THE UNDERTONES AND MESSAGES. Lest you think this book is all supernatural same-old, same-old, it isn't. There are actually underlying messages about feminism, supremacy, censorship, and choice versus free will. They aren't thrown in your face, but they are there and all relate to Calla and the decisions she may have to make in the future.

(4) THE CHARACTERS. Characters are a big thing for me -- and chances are that, if I love the cast of characters in a book, I will likely love said book very much. That was exactly the case here with Nightshade. I loved the Nightshade and Bane packs. They were characterized very well. It is a sign of a good book when I actually feel that these characters could be real people. I could see why Calla cared so much about her pack and why Ren cared for his. They are just people you would like to know if you ever had the chance.

(3) THE LOVE TRIANGLE. The love triangle in this book is so balanced, it's maddening. Don't you get tired of the Bella-Edward-Jacob-esque triangles where you KNOW one boy is the front-runner and the other is the underdog? Well, that is not the case here. Both boys have their chances to vie for the heroine's affections -- and need I even say that BOTH of them are very swoon-worthy individuals? Oh, yes, indeed. I'm even a little bit in love with both of them myself -- though I must say I have a soft spot for Ren, the "bad boy" who is not so bad as he may act. Either way, though, it's a love triangle that will definitely keep us readers guessing in the two books to come. (However -- I'm Team Ren all the way. ;) )

(2) HEART-POUNDING MOMENTS. I nearly cried a few times during the last fifty or so pages. I was just sighing at the book longingly. (Chapter 33 was especially hard to read -- especially towards the end of it.)

(1) THE ENDING. It's one of those endings where you're longing for more. By the end, you'll actually WANT to pick up the sequel. You won't feel just an "eh, I'll read it when I get to it" vibe. No, you will WANT TO READ IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN. You will be LONGING for the sequel, Wolfsbane. This book is that good, and it leaves on just the right note to leave you wanting, wanting, WANTING for more.

(My only gripes are these: this book has a lot of 'sexual energy/tension' in it -- but it's mostly along the lines of what Holly Black and Melissa Marr do with their writing. Also -- the plot twist about 3/4 of the way through the book had me rolling my eyes. . .mostly because I did not want that to happen.)

I would recommend this book for people who are tiring of the paranormal genre and wanting a kick of something a bit more refreshing. The book is long (my ARC was 453 pages), but it will engross you slowly but surely. You know that feeling that some of us got when we were first reading Twilight all those years back? Yes, well, this book has that same "draw you into the world and capture you like a moth to a flame" feel. I'm not saying that the series is going to be the next Twilight -- but it could be. It has that potential, that feel. . .that possibility.

All I have to say is that it will be a long wait for 2011 when Wolfsbane is set to hit bookstores. I can't wait to read it myself, that's for certain.
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Reading Progress

07/11/2010 page 32
7.0% "Here's hoping that this will be more on the "I-loved-it" scale than simply the "I-liked-it" scale."

Comments (showing 1-49 of 49) (49 new)

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message 1: by Jamie (new) - added it

Jamie I heard you won the contest congrats

message 2: by Khy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Khy Did you get my email? (:

message 3: by Jillian -always aspiring- (last edited Jun 25, 2010 08:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jillian -always aspiring- Yes, I finally did -- and I'm so shocked. (I haven't been checking my e-mails at all! I'm so, so sorry about that!!!)

I'm uber, uber, UBER excited.

Thank you for the opportunity to win the ARC copy, Khy!

Kat Kennedy Congratulations! You must tell us how it is right away!

message 5: by Jillian -always aspiring- (last edited Jul 11, 2010 08:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jillian -always aspiring- Thanks! I've just started it -- and so far, so good. :) I'll probably finish it sometime tomorrow or the next day, so you won't have long to wait for a review!

Kat Kennedy Great review! Can't wait to read this book for myself.

Jillian -always aspiring- Well, I hope you enjoy it come October, Kat. I really do. :)

Ashley Brooke I loved this book, too. I'm glad its getting into more peoples hands!!!

Katie Yay! I'm team Ren too! Ren for the win, man! Ren for the win! :D

Jillian -always aspiring- Awesome, another for Team Ren! Honestly, he made me see the appeal of 'bad boys' in YA books again. :)

Katie He's delectable! And I just can't see Shay with Calla. She's a very strong character and I don't think he can handle her. He's too sweet.

Jillian -always aspiring- I know what you mean. I can't see Calla with Shay either. :/

Katie Idk, but maybe Shay will grow into himself more. Maybe he'll learn how to take charge lol. I'm still Team Ren though! All the way! :D

Heidi Ok, so I've seen this book on goodreads for a while now, didn't have enough interest at first just from the little details they give you on here, so I continued to pass it up. After reading your review, you have just convinced me to read it! Great job!

message 16: by ♥Xeni♥ (new) - added it

♥Xeni♥ I just saw the cover of this book and I had to read what it was about. It sounded so boring and like 50 other werewolf books that I was not even willing to add it to my to-read list.

Then I took a glance at the reviews, and since yours was at the top, just finished reading it. And all I can say is WOW, I really want to read this book now!

Werewolves and love triangles both aren't really my thing, but I did enjoy Blood and Chocolote and Mercy Thompson, so maybe I will give this one a try. Especially with your raving review! Thanks!

message 17: by Anny (new) - rated it 4 stars


im in love with REN !!!

Bianca Oh Im glad im not the only one who is Team REN!!!! I just cant seem to like Shay. He is probably the better person (Ren can be a bit sleazy and pushy) but he has his moments. :P

Jillian -always aspiring- I like Ren better because he can relate to Calla the best. They're both in the same situation as alphas trying to be the best leaders for their packs -- but then Shay waltzed in and mucked up everything by putting doubts in Calla's head about her future. In the end, though, I have to hope that Calla will realize Ren is better for her than Shay.

Arlene Wow! Awesome review! Your top 10 is spot on. Completely agree. Didn't know about #7. Thanks for the heads up! :)

Jillian -always aspiring- Sure! (I believe Andrea Cremer is even writing the prequel at this time, so it should be out by 2013, I would think.) And thank you for the praise! :)

Bianca Jillian -always aspiring- wrote: "I like Ren better because he can relate to Calla the best. They're both in the same situation as alphas trying to be the best leaders for their packs -- but then Shay waltzed in and mucked up ever..."

Thats how I feel. They are better suited for one another. Ren isnt that bad. Shay has made her doubt herself.

message 23: by Abbey (new) - added it

Abbey ok i have seen this book at the book store so many times but just couldnt get myself to read it, so i looked it up here on goodeads and still wasnt sure so i scolled down to the reviews and BAM heres your review and now i just HAVE to buy it the next time I see it. Thanks for giving me that extra push to this book :)

Jillian -always aspiring- Glad to help you out, Abby, and I hope you enjoy it! :)

Thomas Reynolds I havent seen this book anywhere :P but it looks really interesting. i hope i find it soon.

Bianca :D

message 27: by Krem (new) - added it

Krem Your review hooked me up! I must read it now...

Bianca You should!


message 29: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa Castro Okay I am absolutely in love with Ren, though towards the begining of the book I felt the need to like Shay because she wasn't supposed to be with him and it was somewhat scandelous (Rebel. I think Ren has a very haunting back ground and a sowewhat renegade personanlity. He tries to make it seem like he is some sleeze but i think he just does that so then people won't see he's actually in deep pain and he really is in love with Calla... Shay is too I suppose but he just keeps messing things up for her and he's kind of a know it all. Hehehe:)

Bianca Exactly!!! Clarissa I agree.

:) REN!

 Kendall [Kenny] I definitely liked Ren. More than Shay in some ways, but I liked both boys.

Bianca :D as long as you like Ren best! jokes.

Hannah Kay I’m glad you like Ren too!

Bianca I deducted a star from my rating purely because I like Ren better than Shay haha. :)

Daphne Delacroix TEAM REN ALL THE WAY!!!!!

Bianca :D

Daphne Delacroix Actually Ren is the underdog...I hate Calla now! How can she do that to Ren, thinking only about Shay during the ceremony! REEENNNNNNN.....I <3 u!

Bianca hahahah Daphne I share your pain. The whole time I was screaming on the inside. How can she not like Ren? Shay is okay but he is just lame comapared to Ren. (Thats just my opinion. Not slamming anyone who likes shay :D)

Linda I'm team shay all the wayy!! I love him. Shay is different and he's just amazing

message 40: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Okay I loved your review. I haven't read this yet but I really want to but if you loved it so much why did you only give it 3.5 stars

Misty If you liked the book so much why did you rate it 3.5?

message 42: by Kiah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kiah I don't suppose you have heard of the shifter series by Rachel Vincent. If not check them out, there are six books in total and they just totally blew...moreI don't suppose you have heard of the shifter series by Rachel Vincent. If not check them out, there are six books in total and they just totally blew me away because they are just so different and interesting. Anyway, after reading your review I thought I would suggest it, happy reading :D P.S - There are a quite a few sexual scenes but it just adds to the tension !

message 43: by Sasha (new) - added it

Sasha  Mizaree (Reviews) I will admit, I trust your opinion so much that I will read this book because you liked it. I've been seeing it and eyeing the covers at the library for a while, but I was afraid it would be another cliche story. This review finally tipped the scale for me to actually go out and read it.

Cheyenne I agree with you 150%! I just finished Nightshade this evening and I was thoroughly impressed. Calla is a GREAT heroine.
I have to admit that I'm with you on Team Ren :)

Bianca :D yay, more Ren fans. :D

Kamila Andazola-Pena I absolutely loved this book and qim with u on tea Ren

Bianca :D

Sarah Yup, "Team Ren" for sure, lol.

message 49: by Erin (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erin I definitely understand what you are saying about Ren's appeal, but I can't get over how pushy he is, and that he doesn't care about Calla's consent 80% of the time. (I just want a love interest who doesn't remind me of a rapist! Is that too much to ask?!) But it would be a heck of a lot easier to be "Team Shay" if he were an actually compelling character. :/

Love your review!

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