Nightshade (Nightshade series - Book 1) by Andrea Cremer
Publication Date: October 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Young Adult
(Received for review from Philomel/Penguin)
Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):
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 the 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?
Nightshade is a book I have greatly anticipated reading since I was given the opportunity to review it. Andrea Cremer's debut YA novel is a refreshing change in a genre that has become saturated with typical vampires and werewolves. Cremer's shape-shifters are passionate and engaging. Readers will be drawn in by the mysteriousness of the characters as well as the action that rockets through the book. Twists and turns keep those pages turning toward the cliffhanger ending, clearly setting up for the next book in the series.
Calla Tor has always known what was expected of her. On her eighteenth birthday she is to take her place as the alpha female of her pack alongside Ren. But, in a moment her life changes, when she makes a split second decision to save a human hiker. Shay is a boy about her age, with a secret. He is somehow involved with a prophecy that could change Calla's world forever. Calla is torn between Ren and Shay. They are so different from each other, yet she is attracted to them both. Calla begins to question things in her life that she never thought about before. Can she go back to being led blindly? Or will she choose to make her own path?
I loved Calla's character. Her strength is very evident when she decides go to against the laws of the Keepers and save Shay's life. I really liked the way the author showed her development throughout the novel. In the beginning she never questioned what her life was going to be like. She just accepted it blindly without thinking of how her life could be if she went another way. After meeting Shay she begins to see life in a new way. She see's how things could be if she had the ability to make her own choices.
The differences between Ren and Shay really make the love triangle aspect of the book very interesting. Ren is a very take charge kind of guy. Very sexy and very aware of it, LOL! He comes on a tornado full of passion and energy, while Shay is very different. He doesn't need gangbusters to make his point. He uses the slow and steady approach to build a fire within Calla that she can't seem to quench. I loved the witty banter between the characters and the way that they seemed to feed off each other.
The action and adventure within the book kept it moving at a fast pace and kept me wanting to see what happened next. It's one of those that will keep you up all night because there just isn't a good place to stop, you want to know what happens next....
This is a great YA debut novel and look forward to more great reads from Andrea Cremer. The second book in the series is due out in 2011 and I can't wait to see what happens next. This one might just make my top ten.
Nightshade is available TODAY from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Andrea Cremer spent her childhood daydreaming while roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Minnesota, but she thinks of her homeland as the "Canadian Shield" rather than the Midwest.
Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but she has only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional writing. When she's not writing, Andrea teaches history at a very nice liberal arts college in St. Paul.