Kogiopsis’s review of Nightshade (Nightshade #1; Nightshade World #4) > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I was rather let down by Nightshade. I was fascinated by the set up of the world in the beginning but I was put off by the whole idea that one love interest owns her and she enjoys it and the other is just cheesy.

message 2: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy I haven't read this book but I was furiously annoyed by it just from reading your review. Can't I tell the book to go fuck itself too?

message 3: by Foz (new)

Foz Meadows Last week, I read a really fascinating book called The Man Who Lives With Wolves, which is basically about a guy who is a wolf-whisperer, as demonstrated by the fact that he actually lived with a wild pack for two years and revolutionised many pre-existing notions about wolf and dog behaviours. The very least of these was the fact that actually, alpha wolves are NOT, repeat NOT, the most aggressive members of the pack: rather, they are the most intelligent - the leaders - and it is the betas who are aggressive, the muscle used by the alphas to keep control of the pack. Plus and also - and this isn't even a revelation - it is the FEMALE alpha who rules the pack. Not the male.

So, not that I've written a werewolf novel (yet!), but if I can walk into a second hand shop and pick up a book that was published last year based on information about the behaviour of wolves that's been current for at least the past decade, and that information completely debunks all the UF/paranormal Alpha Male Wolves Are Dominant Aggro Blokes Especially In Werewolf Form logic that seems to be prevalent as a base standard Pack Behaviour Template for so many novels, my question becomes: did the writer actually do ANY research about wolves, ever? Or did they just want an excuse to write a story about Dominant Men Who We Secretly Find Hot Because All Women Really Want To Be Dominated?

Because, I mean. You take away the excuse that "I'm just projecting actual wolf behaviour onto werewolf society to see what happens", and suddenly the whole thing looks very, very suss.

message 4: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy It's always been an excuse. The shifter story I love best? Bitten because Jeremy was always the most reminiscent of pack leaders for me.

But I don't think PNR/UF authors really do any research. Isn't that the benefit of the genre? Research? What research? This is mythology recreated.

message 5: by Foz (new)

Foz Meadows Well, being as how I *am* a UF author, I'm not quite self-hating enough to declare that none of us do any research - although I do still love recreating mythology :) I really should check out Bitten, though, as people keep recommending it to me. *note to self*

message 6: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy I am a UF author as well. To be honest though the research difference between my scifi book and my UF book? Massive.

message 7: by Foz (new)

Foz Meadows Fair enough! I've got a couple of non-UF projects on the go, too, and I appreciate the distinction in style and content. But it's still nice to try and get things right.

What are your books called?

message 8: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis Kat- as far as I'm concerned, you are welcome to tell it to go fuck itself.

Foz- Wolves not being animals I'm particularly fond of, I was not aware of that. Very interesting. I'm going to have to find that book now.

I'd specify Kat's statement a little bit- the YA PNR writers who are just riding the Twilight wave aren't really bothering with research. Not that all UF or PNR writers are guilty of that, or even that everyone who writes YA is guilty, but I think there are a significant number of authors (especially in the US) who are writing books like this just because it's 'in' right now, and that's more important than the integrity of the mythology and the story.

message 9: by Foz (new)

Foz Meadows I take your point, Anila. Honestly, though, what bugs me more than the lack of wolf-research (which, honestly, had I tried to write a werewolf story not so long ago would've been true of me, too) is the lack of emotional research in copycat UF stories. The biggest problem with Twilight was the fact that none of the interactions/motivations made any real sense unless everyone involved was either an idiot, deeply selfish or both, never mind how unhealthy they clearly were, and yet THAT is the aspect being copied the most. It's shoddy people-writing that irks me, and when you try to cover that up by just saying, 'Oh, but the characters belong to a RACE of selfish magical idiots!' rather than still treating them as PEOPLE, I start to get very growly.

message 10: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy You know what I think would make an interesting plot point for a werewolf/shifter based novel? Intershifterspecies breeding.

Fact. The North American wolf was almost driven to extinction several years ago. Laws on their hunting were brought in and the left over wolves, desperate, began mating and breeding with coyotes. Why is this an issue?

Whilst the North American wolf is larger than the coyote and hunts in packs, it is also notoriously shy of humans and less likely to attack people.

Coyotes on the otherhand, have no fear of humans but this has never been a problem because not only are they smaller, but they hunt alone. Not much problem for a human to overpower one of them.

However, the combined affect has led to a severe and dramatic increase in wolf attacks and deaths over the last thirty years because the Coy-wolves have no fear of humans, are a similar size and weight class to the North American wolves, they hunt in packs and their superior genetics are causing them to take over the north american wilderness.

Now imagine if they were shifters as well!


message 11: by Miss Clark (new)

Miss Clark Great review, as always. Love the conclusion:)

message 12: by Foz (new)

Foz Meadows Kat - now THAT'S a story!

message 13: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy Tell me about it. My plot bunnies never stop!

message 14: by Lyndsey (new)

Lyndsey Hey, look! There's a couple of them now! Awwwww.

Maybe you should separate them, or they really will never stop.

message 15: by Paula (new)

Paula Great review, my sentiments exactly. I couldn't even finish this book...

TheFountainPenDiva I bought this book based on a glowing review in the L.A. Times Book Review. I have yet to finish it and seriously I don't think I will. Even the first few pages I read screamed EPIC FAIL. Why are so many female authors creating these TSTL girl characters and foisting them off on teens (and adult women)?

message 17: by Kogiopsis (last edited Apr 06, 2011 07:53AM) (new)

Kogiopsis Vixenne, it's not worth your time, really. Unless you're feeling particularly frustrated and need to take it out on a trashy novel, that is.

As for why we're getting so many TSTLs, I'm not sure, but in general it's a safe bet to blame Twilight.

message 18: by Katie(babs) (new)

Katie(babs) This was a major fail for me. Even the dark and emo weres were meh. I did like the very short secondary story with the two boys together, one of which was marked to belong to evil dude. But it went nowhere :(

message 19: by Katie(babs) (new)

Katie(babs) Lyndsey wrote: "Hey, look! There's a couple of them now! Awwwww.

Maybe you should separate them, or they really will never stop."

Maybe YA's should have more shirt changing fluffy bunnies to spruce things up?

message 20: by John (new)

John Egbert Wow. Another book I will never be reading.

message 21: by Ceilidh (new)

Ceilidh Great review.

What I find most interesting about everything going on with Nightshade recently, given your review and several others I've seen that comment on the imbalanced gender politics of the book, is how they've completely changed the cover for the 2nd book to make the heroine more of a sexual object than an empowered force of nature. The new cover is definitely very sexual, a bit uncomfortable for me since the book's aimed at teens. Tackling sexuality in YA is great but not if it's basic message to young women is to bow down to the men in their lives because they'll always be inferior in comparison.

message 22: by Ceilidh (new)

Ceilidh I'm not really sure. I know they pumped as lot of money into promoting the hell out of Nightshade before it was released - a lot of internet ad campaigns, Facebook videos, fan interaction, etc - and the advance was quite hefty too IIRC. The book did pretty well but I don't think it did as well as they were hoping. Maybe they think an image change will rack up some extra sales?

message 23: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis Theory: They're trying to use Calla to attract male readers. Because, you know, that's all she's good for. *eyeroll*

Spider the Doof Warrior Hurm. In my book the alpha is a bad ass woman who can throw cars through windows. Though techically her uncle should be alpha but he doesn't want to so she's alpha and very, very bad ass.
She's also a mother of 2 twin daughters, one of which is a lesbian in love with a were cougar.

message 25: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis Please please please please publish now.
Your alpha sounds absolutely amazing, and the were cougar remark makes me really curious about the world.
Seriously, I would buy that book.

Spider the Doof Warrior Really? Cool. It has a twist to it, but I'm trying to figure out how to work it in in a way that isn't hoaky, but I love these characters and have been making up their story for about a decade.

message 27: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis Really really really. And I think if you can come up with characters like that you should be able to manage a non-hokey twist.

TheFountainPenDiva Synesthesia wrote: "Hurm. In my book the alpha is a bad ass woman who can throw cars through windows. Though techically her uncle should be alpha but he doesn't want to so she's alpha and very, very bad ass.
She's als..."


Spider the Doof Warrior OK. As long as it doesn't suck and it's not terrible. I've got to tighten it because it goes through the character's lives for years and that part isn't as interesting as the werewolf living in the human world with a different thing going on.

TheFountainPenDiva It couldn't possibly suck any worse than the epic fail that is Nightshade.

message 31: by StefanieEmmy (new)

StefanieEmmy In this review you just said all the things I wanted to say. Thank you!

message 32: by Aletta (new)

Aletta I started reading this book..
And I stopped.. Skipped a bit.. Decided I didn't like it and picked up another book.
First; I didn't realize what made me stop reading. I just thought it was the plot or something. But when I read your review it was like a lightbulb in my head switched on (yes, that lightbulb is very useful so there's a switch, you know =D). GIRL POWER!

message 33: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis Girl Power!

I definitely don't blame you for not finishing it. There are much better things to spend your valuable time on.

message 34: by Hayden (new)

Hayden U can call it a stereotype if you want that degrades women and all that crap...but in face, it showed a girl who went against her pack, something she would have been punished for very harshly. That is a concept that has shown up through history about women! So yes, it is a stereotype, but that is how it has always been; women have always been concidered inferior to men, which is completely wrong, but it is fact. Why would a werewolf pack, something that is very in touch with nature as is, be any different? In wolf packs, males lead the pack. In the human world, men lead the group (normally). Why would this be any different!?

Spider the Doof Warrior Uh, actually with wolves males and females are kind of... well.
Equal. There's an alpha female after all. She has the same power as the male.

In my book, the males and females are BOTH strong. I hate that whole females have to be weak nonsense.
Dude. We GIVE BIRTH. That hurts a lot. And even when we don't give birth there's periods to consider. Us women are not wimps. Also, it bugged me the sexism in Rats of Nihm because in the world of animals, actually females are quite strong. You definitely would not want to mess with a female bear with cubs. And female wasps and spiders are sometimes the ones with the most venom. Some female spiders are huge compared to the male.

message 36: by Hayden (new)

Hayden I am not saying that I think that women are weak. I don't think that all, and I do think that women should be strong and independent. I hate to see a woman solely depend on a man for work or money or whatever. I am saying that in wolf packs the male is the leader, and in many cases in the human world men are and were the leaders. Why would this case be any different? It is the way of nature in a lot of ways. I know that some animals this is reversed, but not in a wolf's case. That is all I am saying.

TheFountainPenDiva Actually Hayden, it is the ALPHA FEMALE who rules the pack. I just discovered this myself. The Alpha male tends to be the more intelligent, if not always the strongest. However, because of his intelligence, he gathers the beta and omega wolves around him to protect him from others. Of course, there's a downside to this, because any of the beta wolves can turn on him in order to have a chance to mate with the alpha female. The Alpha female keeps the rest of the pack in line and it is her genes that keep the pack at top form, which is why she is so desired by all the other male wolves. It's amazing what one can learn with just a little research.

message 38: by Kogiopsis (last edited Jul 13, 2011 05:32PM) (new)

Kogiopsis Oh m'gawd, a troll. My day is complete.

Okay, Hayden, let's take a look at this comment of yours, shall we?

but in face, it showed a girl who went against her pack, something she would have been punished for very harshly.

Yes but no. And it's not a message of empowerment if the reason the girl in question goes against her society is because of a boy. What's the message there? Follow the crowd until some man shows you how to be independent? If Calla had been shown to be a strong, intelligent leader, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

In wolf packs, males lead the pack.

Fuck, this is not even really relevant, even if it were accurate. Again, CALLA SHOULD HAVE BEEN A STRONG LEADER. Instead, she allowed Ren to order her pack around despite the fact that he should have had no authority.

Don't use being 'in touch with nature' as an excuse for sexism either, as there are numerous natural examples of groups led by females. Orca whales, for instance, travel in maternal pods; the oldest female is the leader. IIRC, wild horses are similar. Sexism isn't natural. GET THIS OUT OF YOUR HEAD, EVERYONE, PLEASE.

message 39: by Cory (new)

Cory I'm with Anila. I'm not even majoring in biology and this is evident to me. A little wikipedia goes a long, long way.

message 40: by John (new)

John Egbert Please not the "sexism is in nature!" argument. As humans, haven't we moved past this? Like Cory said, wikipedia can very much go a long way. That and google. People need to brush up on their googlefu, that's the problem. I consider myself a green belt, but I still know I have much to learn. The statement above feels like it would be present in the naive mind of a white belt.

message 41: by Dominika (new)

Dominika this book is a rape on paper.

message 42: by J.S. (new)

J.S. McLean Ugh...I am really grateful for reviews like this because they keep me from reading things that will make me upset. So thank you for the honest review, and thanks to everyone who kept us updated on the biological inclinations of wolves and their fellows. Hopefully the author has some other books that don't make for such unhappiness?

message 43: by Carolyne (new)

Carolyne The sexism and the love triangle bothered me the most, that and the fact I liked some of world building and concepts of this story... and hell, two alpha's in a relationship was appealing to me until said sexism happened.

I believe that if Calla wasn't given the Alpha status, nothing of value would have been lost. The whole scene where the neighboring pack's alpha blatantly hits on Calla's mother, who then tells Calla afterwards it was okay because Alpha females are nothing in comparison to Alpha males, even if they aren't direct pack members.

I felt Shay was just a shoe in for 'Hey, now Calla can be Alpha over Shay and show him the way to become a leet hawt alpha himself.' Even though Ren was set up to be the jerk we don't like, I personally preferred him to Shay. The whole love triangle was just so botched to me and I hear it gets worse in book number two.

I'd rather see Calla fight for her Alpha status, go back for her pack, Ren and the Bane Pack included and march off into the wild doing fierce and awesome things. That will, however, not be the case, because there's always that free ride with Shay.

message 44: by KarenB (new)

KarenB Agreed. I really wanted to like this book but after listening to 5 discs of an excruciating 12 disc set, I threw up my hands in disgust. Apalling.

message 45: by Shellby (new)

Shellby You said exactly what I was thinking the whole time while reading this. Thank you!

message 46: by Katie (new)

Katie Haha, I just wanted to point out that "book" sounds like cleverbot in your review. It was very enlightening! :)

message 47: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis Audrey wrote: "Haha, I just wanted to point out that "book" sounds like cleverbot in your review. It was very enlightening! :)"

Hah, so it does! I definitely didn't do that on purpose, but you're right. The book was about as frustrating as Cleverbot can be, so it fits.

message 48: by Nyimah (new)

Nyimah Well I'm glad I'm not the only to find fault in this book. Like many have stated the world set up was interesting and I really tried to push through it but I just kept getting more and more frustrated. And when a book pisses you off it's probably best to move on.... How it maintains 4+ stars on goodreads I don't know but as a type A woman it freaking drove me crazy

message 49: by P. (new)

P. I just liked this review a second time because of the GIRL POWER!

I love it.

message 50: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis Got them all now. Cillian, I was at dinner trying to make conversation with newly arrived Japanese exchange students; as one of them is my new roommate that kind of has to take priority.

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