Galla's Reviews > Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
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Dec 08, 2010

it was ok
Read from December 20 to 21, 2010

I like that this book offers a twist on werewolf lore. The idea of werewolves as Guardians with a sacred trust to protect a sect of witches known as Keepers was intriguing, especially as it becomes obvious that the Keepers are feeding select versions of history to the Guardians in order to keep them compliant. I think that storyline could have been more effective if it had been a little more subtle. The Keepers here are written to make your skin crawl from the very beginning. One Keeper considers it his right to rape a teenage girl from the Bane pack repeatedly (and he gives her drugs on at least one occasion); his son intends to follow in his father's footsteps by demanding sexual favors from a teenage boy in the Nightshade pack.

A lighter touch with the Keepers' depiction would have made several elements of the plot less predictable, and frankly, it just would have fit better with the version of their purpose and mission they've been serving up to the Guardians for so many years. We learn there have been rebellions in the past. If the Keepers don't want history to repeat itself, it makes a whole lot more sense to adopt a facade of benevolent control, not abusive ownership. However, given the degree of the Guardians' essential brainwashing in this novel, I suppose the Keepers would have to openly firebomb a Guardian's house and dance in the ashes before the pack members starting putting two and two together. Even then, characters like Calla's parents would probably find a way to remind her that it's her sacred duty not to rock the boat by being upset about charred corpses.

The love triangle in this book is a primary focus. I did not love this love triangle. Calla and Shay do that insta-connect thing, complete with electricity, that is all the rage these days. I'm fine with that kind of beginning if it develops into a more emotionally meaningful relationship, but until Calla and Shay actually start working together to learn more about the Keepers, they're mostly all about having really strong physical responses to each other. Ren, Calla's intended mate and the other point in this love triangle, grew on me by the end, but his habit of attempting to seduce Calla despite her protests was tiresome.

Calla's not without blame in that arena, either. She spends most of the book not knowing what she wants, and seems to decide that in the meantime, she'll make out with each boy, get herself worked up, realize she's crossing lines she doesn't want to cross, and then push him (whichever one it happens to be at the time) away. Sometimes this is accompanied by threats of violence and/or dismemberment. The pattern is repeated so often that it got frustrating for me.

Side notes: why do the Guardians insist on having most of their conversations about pack business in the middle of the high school cafeteria? Where do their clothes really go when they shift to wolf form? How does being obsessed with Indiana Jones comics give Shay badass proficiency with a whip? Did he practice, or was it comic osmosis? I'll probably never know, since I'm not terribly motivated to read more in this series.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Laura Lulu Same thoughts as you, loved the new werewolf ideas, wasn't crazy about the love triangle, or Calla's shivers, quivers & goosebumps.

In the beginning I thought, "Cool, cute human boy to make the Alpha werewolf girl see options other than mating with the Alpha werewolf boy." But the book made that feeling go away. I wanted to bitch slap Shay numerous times, and Ren grew on me. I felt like it was never a true triangle, because the author never truly gave Ren a chance, while she gave Shay chance after chance after chance.

And re: the Indy whip skillz. Shay is obviously something special, so I'm guessing his specialness gives him archaeological bad ass skills? Maybe?


Galla And re: the Indy whip skillz. Shay is obviously something special, so I'm guessing his specialness gives him archaeological bad ass skills? Maybe? "

Man, if I acquired awesome life and combat skills through reading, I would be SO FREAKING TALENTED. Too bad I'm not as special as Shay is!

Are you going to continue with this series? I'm undecided. I might just see how the reviews look after the second book comes out.


Missie Blahahahhahahaahaha!

I'll be back when I can breathe!


Missie Okay back, and full supporter of Team Ren, even if his antics are too showy and tiresome. I believe it is a sort of misplaced shield he uses to try to comfort himself in light of the horrors his pack has to abide by. Misguided youths. What are you gonna do?

Shay was so boring, and I didn't care for him at all. But envisioning him dancing around in Indy PJs helps. Thanks for that.

That whole scene where Ren's dad is openly coming on to Calla's mom, and she did nothing to stop it completely disgusted me, as did the Keepers. What is really so hard for the packs to see that they are filth. I guess if they buy you a big house and bling filled cars, it's okay that they rape your children?

Still, I'm a sucker for bad romances, so I'll keep reading.


Galla The representation of the Keepers was definitely one of my biggest problems with the book. It was too much, to the point where the Guardians come across as idiotic for not picking up on the fact that something's really wrong.

I'll just give this teenager drugs and rape her repeatedly. Don't complain. Sacred trust. My son's gonna claim a boy toy from your pack. Sacred trust, y'all! We have a tough job, mandated by deities, and we deal with it by being sexually and emotionally abusive. Support us, or the world will fall!

(Sacred trust.)

I'll let you be my taste-tester for the next book in the series, Missie! ;)


Missie Yeah, it didn't add up, and I think your point that they are seemingly brainwashed in the only way to explain it, which is very shallow and sad. Perhaps more will be revealed in the next book, like maybe a spell has been cast on them?

Gah! Now the more I think about it, the less I like book one. Especially because I hated the whole their clothes stay in tact business. I had to open myself up to the 'a new take on the mythology' thing, and it was rather unpleasant.


Laura Lulu I'll probably continue with it, if only to find out about all the Guardian/Keeper/Searcher jazz. And she didn't completely close the door on Ren, so I'll read on to be disappointed when she finally does close the door on him.

Did you read the sneak peek for Wolfsbane? I read Nightshade in ebook, and at the end there was a link to check out a sneak peek of the next book at www.NightshadeBook.com .

This was better than most of the YA paranormal rubbish out there, so it's got that going for it. Just more cold showers for Calla, please.


message 8: by Laura Lulu (last edited Feb 08, 2011 10:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura Lulu And re: the Guardian acceptance, I think it's just one of those things that has carried on from generation to generation, and they're just accepting of it--it's just a part of their life. They've been lied to about the past, and the Keepers just remind them enough of how important their job is to keep them in line. They take pride in their oppression.

And then every once in awhile, you get some uppity Guardians who aren't fans of the status quo, and poof, they're dead. That does a great job of keeping things how you want them. ;)


Missie I haven't read Wolfsbane yet, but I have heard there is going to be a whole new prequel that centers around Shay. *snore*

Maybe Galla would enjoy it better to try to decipher the whole comic osmosis thing Shay has going on. ;)


Galla I haven't read the sneak peek yet--maybe I'll track it down later today.

LOL Missie! I wonder if Shay hates snakes... does he absorb the phobia with the whip skills? Can he teach archaeology? That might make me more likely to pick up that prequel.


Laura Lulu Missie wrote: "I haven't read Wolfsbane yet, but I have heard there is going to be a whole new prequel that centers around Shay. *snore*"

Lol. My thoughts exactly.


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