Author: Andrea Cremer
Published: Philomel Books, 2010
How I Got It: Purchased myself
Rating: 4 stars
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice? (from the book jacket)
What caused this book to skyrocket to the top of my to-read list and also convinced me to pre-order the book (and I never pre-order books)? The ingenious marketing plan. When I first heard about this book I thought it sounded interesting and of course added it to my constantly growing TBR list. Then about a month before the book’s release one of the main characters, Shay Doran, started popping up all over the Internet. You could actually interact with Shay. He had his own Facebook page, a blog, and he’d post videos that addressed fans by name. I really enjoyed following Shay’s adventures through Rowan Estate and hearing all of the strange happenings.
Now onto the book!
First, the cover is so amazing. I fall hard for good book covers. The dust jacket feels pretty. I’m not sure how to describe it, but the texture is just...pretty! Side note #1: I love Calla’s makeup on the cover. Hey, maybe next Halloween I’ll dress up as Calla.
Nightshade starts off with Calla, the alpha female of the Nightshade pack, saving a human who was being attacked by a bear. She didn’t recognize the boy, she thought he was a lost tourist. Needless to say, Calla got a surprise when the human, Shay, shows up in one of her classes a couple weeks later.
This book has one of the most intense love triangles I’ve come across recently. Our alpha female is torn between two worthy (but completely different) suitors: Ren, the alpha male of the Bane pack and Shay, the new kid at school. All of her life Calla has known that she has been ‘arranged’ to marry Ren. Since they are both alphas their packs will combine to form one larger pack. Then just before the union Shay comes into the picture. This makes Calla question if she should just assume her role as Ren’s mate or if she should take a chance and make her own decisions. Side note #2: One thing that drove me crazy throughout the book was how Ren was allowed to date different girls but Calla had to stay ‘pure’ until the union.
I don't want to get too much into the paranormal aspect. It's too hard to not give away any major spoilers. The Keepers, Guardians and Searchers are all quite fascinating. The mystery that starts to unravel is riveting (but a little confusing, I had to reread some parts). The dynamic of the werewolf packs and their traditions is interesting.
Overall, I really enjoyed Nightshade! I loved how strong of a character Calla is, yet she still gets flustered by a cute boy. I'm looking forward to the next installment of the trilogy!
Side note #3: There is one part of the story that I did not like at all. It’s a pretty big twist and I did not see it coming. It takes place in a cave...if you read the book you probably know what I’m talking about.
*this review is also posted over at The Broke and the Bookish