Maja (The Nocturnal Library)'s Reviews > Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
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This is undoubtedly the worst YA novel I've read this year. I suffered through about 50% of the audiobook, i.e. 6 long, excruciating hours, waiting for it to start making sense, but it never did. Eventually I became too annoyed to continue.

Cremer rarely bothered to explain her world, but even when she did, the Keepers and Guardians made no sense to me. ‘Sink or swim’ is how I would describe her worldbuilding, at least in the first 40% or so - the story just goes on and you either get it or not. Not. I still don’t understand why these Guardians, werewolves, warriors, whatever you want to call them, would answer to a group of witches, allowing themselves to be controlled in such a horrible way. They can’t be dominant, Alpha, and submissive at the same time.

I love my shapeshifter books as long as they don’t break one simple rule: the author needs to explain clothes right away or I’m done. I don’t care what the explanation is: the clothes can magically appear, they can be hidden somewhere or people can just walk around naked, but I need to know. For the longest time in Nightshade, Calla kept changing forms in public without any mention of clothes. It was explained eventually, but by then I was too angry to even care.

You know how sometimes it seems, especially in books with a really strong plot (view spoiler), that the love triangle was thrown in afterwards, probably to satisfy the publisher’s demand? Well, in this case, I’m betting there was an editor somewhere along the line who said: “Wait just a second, Ms. Cremer. This book needs an actual plot! It can’t ALL be just Calla going from Ren to Shay and back.” And so she was forced to add this plot she probably deemed unnecessary and even damaging to her beautiful love triangle drama.

The love triangle was painful to endure. Calla is a terrible, selfish character with double standards, Shay is mostly just pathetic and Ren is blind to it all. Of course, if I had to choose, I’d choose Ren in a second because he has that sexy name going for him and he occasionally shows some backbone, which is more than I can say for either Calla or Shay.

As Lora pointed out in her comment, the ratings are all over the place. It’s quite possible that some of you will find this story interesting and enjoyable. Many of my friends did. But if you don’t like love triangles, stay far, far away from this series.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 64) (64 new)

message 1: by Jo (new)

Jo Haha I love your bookshelves!
I can't wait for this review :-p

message 2: by Lora (new) - added it

Lora Ooohhh . . . I've had this on my shelf forever. Can't wait for you review!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Jo, I forgot my 'creepy love triangle' shelf. There's a distinction between creepy LT and annoying LT in my head, but this book deserves both.

Lora, I'm not sure I'll write one. It would have to be very mean, and I don't do mean reviews. I stopped listening at about 50%, I don't even know what happens after that. But from what I understand, there's a cliffhanger on top of everything else.

message 4: by Lora (new) - added it

Lora Ah. That's fine:) I'm a little leery about this (the ratings/reviews are all over the place), but I'll read my copy eventually.

(view spoiler)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) You should try it, especially if you have it already. Some people I respect really loved it.

I am trying to write a review without beeing sarcastic or mean. I guess I have to finish and then decide if I want to publish it or not. But I'm doing my best.

message 6: by Catie (new)

Catie Agreed, Maja. I tried a few months ago and gave up.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Aaargh, all the love triangle drama will leave permanent scars. Still trying to write a polite review. :P

Wendy Darling I think you succeeded beautifully in writing a fair review. I had many of the same issues you did, and I agree that Ren was much more interesting than the sad little "good" boy the author kept trumpeting. I tend to think you're right about the story part, too--the wolfy business definitely took a back seat to to all the repetitive/mostly boring relationship drama.

This cover is SO beautiful, though. I think that's mostly why it still sticks out in my mind. Calla herself was pretty dull.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) I just couldn't get over the fact that Alpha wolves were behaving that way. Allowing someone else to decide every detail of their lives, even their mates, standing by and watching while these Keepers (view spoiler) Not likely.

I did my best. Other than the cover, I really don't have one nice thing to say about this book. But I'm glad that there are many who enjoyed it.

message 10: by Jo (last edited Jul 06, 2011 02:45PM) (new)

Jo Maja said: I love my shapeshifter books as long as they don’t break one simple rule: the author needs to explain clothes right away or I’m done. I don’t care what the explanation is: the clothes can magically appear, they can be hidden somewhere or people can just walk around naked, but I need to know.

Oh my gosh, I always think about stuff like that. But what annoys me, this applies to films more than books tbh, the most is when only some of their clothes rip (the ones covering rippling abs, obvs) but others don't. WHY?! What are his jean shorts made of? Adamantium?!
Excellent review though... it's safe to say I probably won't be picking this one up.

message 11: by Maja (The Nocturnal Library) (last edited Jul 06, 2011 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) That sort of thing can drive a person crazy! It's more obvious in films, but I don't have such high expectations so it doesn't bother me too much. I just hate it when those basic rules aren't followed in books.

LOL, that pic of Taylor is apparently quite popular. :D I've seen it around here many times.

Thank you, Jo. I seroiusly dislike writing negative reviews, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. But it can't always be avoided. :(

message 12: by Jo (new)

Jo Haha I've only ever seen the first half of the second Twilight film (I've never read the books, either) so I'm not sure if that is the 'best' picture to illustrate my point.
But you get the gist.
I always think as long as the review clearly explains why you didn't like it as opposed to "'cos it was crap" and not unecessarily callous then there's no problem with writing a negative review.
If you don't like a book you need to protect others from the horror, the horroooor have the right to have an opinion. :)

Wendy Darling Oh my goodness. I haven't been able to finish reading even the first Twilight book, but I SO enjoy watching the films for the MST3K pleasure of it all. And they MUST be watched in the theater, because the incredible experience of being surrounded by gasping, sobbing grown women while you try to restrain your hysterical laughter is priceless. It's seriously one of my favorite movie-going experiences. I cannot wait for the insane bed-breaking scene in the new film.

I have written a couple of sarcastic reviews that I sometimes feel a little bad about. But then I think about how horrendous those books are and I leave them up.

message 14: by Jo (new)

Jo My friend is obsessed with them. When the latest film came out she went to the cinema to watch the first three? four? ten? (It's seriously seems like the longest series ever) films so then she could watch it at midnight.
I don't think I could handle going to the cinema to watch something like Twilight. Although, I don't think Brit Twilight fans are as, um, vocal as Americans. Especially not in the cinema.
People who laugh too loudly at films (ie me) get glared at so I doubt people throwing themselves and declaring their undying love for a broody public school boy with gravity-defying hair in the aisles would be appreciated.
But yes, the bed-breaking scene. WHAT WAS THAT?!

But anyway, going slightly off point there, I believe if the author writes bad books then the least we well-meaning readers can do is tell them politely.... with a dollop of sarcasm. ;-)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Jo, I think you're right for the most part. I read a review just this morning that consisted entirely of insults. I hate that sort of thing so I tend to be a little too careful.

Wen, just when that innocent blue dress convinces me that you're an angel, you write something like that. Lol. You're so right! There were those Twilight Moms on Oprah once, I still laugh every time I think about them.

I actually liked the books, hated the movies. That Taylor kid is cute, but in a 'I want to make him a peanut butter sandwich' sort of way. You know? Cute, but you can't exactly call him a man.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, you know my feelings on this book. :) Then again, this is coming from the person who loves-loves-loves-loves (times a zillion, million, cazillion) the Twilight series. (lol)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Seriously, I liked the Twilight books too. Not loved, but I did like them.
And I do know that you liked this book! I'm really glad that you did! :)

message 18: by Jo (new)

Jo I can't judge Twilight because I've never read them or, like I said, watched the films.
I didn't mean to cause offense, 365andMe!
I just find the whole Twilight fanbase fascinating... it must be so strange for Stephenie Meyer to see it all. :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) We are so very different, 365andMe and I. (See? Way too many pronouns, lol. ) I think that's what she ment. She doesn't like UF and I don't read much else. She loves PNR while I try to avoid it at all costs. But we always find some common ground. :)

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

LOL, none taken, Jo. I totally freaked myself out with how obsessed I became over the series. I mean, not only am I a grown-ass woman, I'm an OLD one.

Anyway, I love the movies and will probably end up rereading the series again at some point.

message 21: by Jo (new)

Jo The world would be very dull if we all liked the same things :)

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Maja wrote: "I think that's what she ment..."

More like a reference point. This is what I've observed over the years. People who went crazy over the Twilight series (me) fall into a category that I'm not sure how to label or title. Maybe it's the kind of people who read That sort of fits me sometimes, right?

message 23: by Catie (new)

Catie Maja wrote: "That Taylor kid is cute, but in a 'I want to make him a peanut butter sandwich' sort of way. You know? Cute, but you can't exactly call him a man."

HAHAHAHA!! OMG, I think this exact thing about soooo many of the young male stars these days. Sometimes when I see my friends ogling them I'm like, you realize that he's just a few years away from feasibly being YOUR SON, right?

And Jo, I am a notoriously loud laugher theaters and everywhere else. It's odd because I am so quiet in every other instance.

Great review Maja!

Aphrodite Omg thank god somebody feels the same way I do too! I couldn't finish it so I just took a break from it. I mean its kinda pathetic.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Catie, haha, I know! He has nice abs, but look at his face! Does he look like he needs to shave every day to you?!? He looks like he needs help finding his Mommy.

Aphrodite, I'm sorry you couldn't finish either. We'll both choose better next time.

message 26: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jul 07, 2011 02:18AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wendy Darling I don't even think the Twilight movies are that bad, and I do like both boys. (Taylor Lautner reminds me of a shinier Wally Cleaver.) I just think the spectacle of being there to witness all the hysteria is amazing. I mean, I know I laugh at it, but I am kind of glad for people that they have something they love so much, too. I keep meaning to try to read the books again sometime,...I only ever skimmed my niece's copy of the first one, but it was before I got back into reading YA.

P.S., I laughed out loud at both the peanut butter sandwich comment and Jo's Adamantium jean shorts.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Well, it is kind of funny. All these grown women losing their heads over two boys. Also, Taylor is cute, but I don't like the other one at all. (view spoiler)

Come on! Hugh Jackman is hot. Taylor Lautner is cute. There is a huuuge difference.:-P
(view spoiler)

message 28: by Jo (new)

Jo I LOVE Adrien Brody!
Oh my Gosh.. I get judged so much when I profess my undying love for him and all his long limby limbs and sexy voice.
(view spoiler)
I have such a random taste in guys though. There is no pattern.
(view spoiler)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) I know! Life just isn't fair.

(view spoiler)

message 30: by Catie (new)

Catie Ah, I think that we three might have the exact same taste. I have such a huge thing for interesting & epic noses. Perfect and pretty faces are too boring! And I think that everyone who is under 25 looks like an infant.

RP...ugh. Tiniest nose ever. That's all I'm saying.

message 31: by Jo (new)

Jo Haha, Catie! He was on Graham Norton a couple of weeks ago and I was trying to decide what it was that made me not fancy him, because technically I should, but I decided it was his nose! He looks like he lost a battle with a frying pan.
I like him though, as a person. Because I know him so well, obvs.
My friends call me the Imperfectionist because I like guys with (their words, not mine) 'interesting' faces.

message 32: by Catie (new)

Catie Ditto, except I've never been given a cool nickname.

Except I do have one exception...the love of my life since age 14, because if nothing else, I am loyal!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) We really do have the exact same taste. It's great because everyone always made fun of me for liking Brody (by everyone I mean my sister), but I always knew I'm not the only one! :P

I just saw The Brothers Bloom again and it was so funny because I knew I should be looking at Mark Ruffalo - he's, you know, actually handsome, but my eyes kept going to Adrien.

message 34: by Jo (new)

Jo Oooh, good choice! I think my first crush was Pacey Witter/Joshua Jackson (I find it difficult to distinguish between them ;-) ) and my love for him as lasted up until this day (I'm waiting for Kruger to slip up so I can swoop, swoop I say!).
I know it sounds so cliche but I always love the funny guys.

You can be the Gnarly Imperfectionist and I'll be the Faffy Imperfectionist. Deal?

message 35: by Jo (last edited Jul 07, 2011 04:53AM) (new)

Jo My friend once said that Brody's nose is so big it has its own gravitational pull.
Needless to say I didn't speak to her for a week. :-p

message 36: by Catie (new)

Catie Deal! Some people just have boring taste...can't appreciate a good nose when they see one.

Wendy Darling Okay, anyone in the pale vamp role would not really appeal to me anyway. I really like the RP that I read about in interviews, though, he seems so funny and charming and humble, with his head screwed on straight.

That being said, I don't really have a thing for either boy. Though I am not a huge fan of the beaked individual you all are referring to, for a few different reasons. (Don't hurt me Jo!! I'll make it up to you by agreeing with you about Pacey. I'm glad that all ended the way it did.)

message 38: by Lora (new) - added it

Lora But if you don’t like love triangles, stay far, far away from this series.


Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Wendy, how did I miss this comment?!? This is getting pretty frustrating. Ok, listen, I need to know that reason asap. :)

Lora, I don't know you that long, but I think I understand what you appreciate in a book. Nightshade does not have it. Not even close.

message 40: by Jo (new)

Jo Though I am not a huge fan of the beaked individual you all are referring to, for a few different reasons.
I'm sorry... what was that Wendy? I must have misread you. :-|
But that's what I mean about RP coming across as a very well-rounded guy. When I see him in anything Twilight related he just seems really boring but then I see/read an interview I always find me being won over by him. (Then I realise what I have done and go and search for Pacey on Google.)
I don't think a lot of people realises that he is like that because most people either love him unconditionally or detest him unconditionally. Same goes for Kirsten actually. I love her (controversial I know!) and I thought she was great in every film I've seen her in.
I just feel a bit sorry for them... and all their money. *grumble*

message 41: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jul 07, 2011 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Wendy Darling Maja wrote: "Wendy, how did I miss this comment?!? This is getting pretty frustrating. Ok, listen, I need to know that reason asap. :)

Lora, I don't know you that long, but I think I understand what you appre..."

Lora, I don't think you'd enjoy this book either.

As for the other thing, I don't have personal knowledge first-hand, but one of my friends did. And she was not thrilled with the experience.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Again no notification! It's time to kick some Goodreads butt. What's going on?!

That makes me sad, but I'm also relieved. He's eye candy (sort of). He can be a Ken doll as far as I'm concerned. ;P

message 43: by Catie (new)

Catie Oh, insider knowledge! Well, I guess it was kind of a dick move to french Halle Berry like that at the Oscars. I agree, I'll just objectify him and forget that he's a real person. The perfect solution!

message 44: by Jo (new)

Jo Mmmm objectification.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Remind me again, how did this conversation happen in the first place?!? It's pretty surreal, hahaha.

message 46: by Jo (new)

Jo Maja said:Remind me again, how did this conversation happen in the first place?!?
I have no idea.. but it gave us an excuse to Google Brody... even if he's a douche.

message 47: by Catie (new)

Catie I think that it all started with the Twilight movies and derailed from there. I'm a notorious one for getting off topic.

Wendy Darling What book is this again? :P

message 49: by Catie (new)

Catie Who cares!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Wendy Darling wrote: "What book is this again? :P"

That's exactly what I thought five minutes after I stopped listening.

Catie: Who cares!
Yeah. That too. :D

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