When I really think about Nightshade and what it was that made me love it so much, I don't think of the characters or the scene, or any of that, even though it was all amazing. It's the elaborately-entwined plot that springs to my mind. I can't explain to you how much I fell in love with this intense, gripping book.
Calla is seventeen years old, and she's the alpha wolf of the Nightshade pack. The time has nearly come for her to 'marry' the leader of their rival pack, Renier. Then, their two packs will merge together as one. Their job will be to protect a special site for the Keepers from their enemies, the Searchers. But then one day, while Calla is on patrol, she finds a human boy being attacked by a bear, and even though it's completely against the Keeper's rules, Calla saves his life.
The next day, at school, there's a new student. Shay Doran. Also known as the-boy-who-Calla-saved. They both know there's a connection between them…but as they spend more and more time together they realise just how wrong it is for them to be together, especially as Calla is already set to mate with Ren. Calla's risking everything for Shay and the things she's doing, which are forbidden, could end in not only her death, but Shay's too.
Calla, in my eyes, was an incredible heroine. Pretty easily she comes across as somebody you would instantly like, solely because of her strong ability as a leader. I love that even though she had two amazing boys fighting over her, she's not afraid to tell them both where to stick it if they dare to cross the line with her. She's fierce in battle and I'm so glad that her role as female alpha wasn't downgraded! She had as much power as her 'other half' Ren did and she was prepared to use it.
Even though most of the characters in the novel aren't exactly humans, but part wolf, Cremer has managed to give them all that special trait that makes them so likeable as well as them all being people you could relate to. There wasn't any trace of some other-worldy characteristic that made them seem a whole world away, somebody who is the furtherest away from being anything like you. I applaud Andrea loudly for successfully handling that!
Ren. What can I say about Ren? Shortly after I finished the book, I logged on to Twitter to converse with my fellow book bloggers to see what they though of Ren, because *I* didn't like him, and then they threatened me and made me read the book all over again (which I didn't protest at) and bribed me with sweets to rethink my impression of him and come back and tell them I loved him. Okay, so part of that wasn't true, but some of it was *grins*. At first, I hated Ren. I hated his cocky, arrogant attitude and the fact that he was so dominant at times. On my second read, I saw that Ren could be such a nice guy if he just toned himself down a bit! He's quite wild, and likes to get around, but the bad-boy image suits him. One thing that was weird was that, in this case, the bad boy is actually the 'right' boy..for once! Ren was very loyal to Calla, especially at the end, so he gets point for that I think. But err, let's talk about Shay. I warmed to Shay immediately. He's clever and likes to read (who would NOT like that?!). I thought the chemistry between Calla and him was so romantic and sweet. Plus, learning about his rebellious behaviour made him sound quite appealing.. At times he could be a bit annoying because he took a lot of risks, some that could have ended really badly, but I guess that comes with the package!
The relationship between Shay and Calla was like one of the really romantic stories where the girl and the boy are forbidden to 'go out', let alone fall in love with each other! Le sigh.
I usually have pretty high standards when it comes to love triangles in books, but the author manages to make it look easy! In the end, I decided that both male leads are equally great (although it doesn't seem that way *cough*Shay*cough*), and I'm not sure who I would want Calla to choose..
I have to give the pack members a mention too! They were great! The whole idea of them sticking together was fantastic and I loved the interactions between them! They were definitely one of my favourites parts of the book. Calla's younger brother Ansel was my favourite of all of them..he was just SO sweet! I wanted to hug him and never let go.
Nightshade is a perfect mixture of everything you could ever want in a novel; a fascinating, storyline, well-developed and extremely likeable characters, as well as the aspect of romance and supernatural creatures. Oh and it has a BEE-OO-TEE-FUL purple, shiny cover. I SWEAR IT'S A PIECE OF ART IN ITSELF!
I need Wolfsbane soonNOW!
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