Aug 15, 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer review

Calla Tor doesn’t know how to be anything other than the female alpha she was born to be in the Nightshade pack. Things have always been understood: she would compose herself with finesse, marry Renier Laroche (the Bane pack alpha), & serve the Keepers in their quest to fight off the Searchers. And everything was going swimmingly… until Shay showed up.

Just a simple human, Shay is caught in the midst of a centuries-long struggle that he’s not really supposed to know about. Despite her senses telling her to stay away, Calla finds herself drawn to this boy & all that his existence promises. She finds him even more interesting when she is charged with his safety & has an excuse to spend inordinate amounts of time alone with Shay. For the most part, Calla manages to balance her duties to her pack (like getting both packs to hang out without shedding blood), Ren’s ever-encroaching presence, & Shay’s need for understanding; until she & Shay stumble upon more information than they are supposed to know.

It’s now a life or death race as the clock ticks down to, not only Calla & Ren’s union, but to a hidden prophecy that changes everything for everyone. Is there any way for Calla to protect herself & those she cares about, while following her own heart? Or is she simply doomed to follow orders?

What a dexterous read! Andrea Cremer takes some of the best parts of several different mythologies & combines them all into one seamless story. There are so many different facets to the Keeper/Searcher/Guardian dynamic that it is almost impossible to explain it all without becoming tedious & technical. Suffice it to say that they have some unique interactions throughout their histories.

It was refreshing to have such a strong female lead in this book. While I do enjoy the protagonists who are still developing their sense of self & finding their place in the world, it was rather enjoyable to be able to slip into the skin of someone who already knew who they were & what they’re meant to do & be in this life. It was just as equally enjoyable to watch her squirm when her whole world is threatened. The “fight or flight” instinct is strong & it was refreshing to see her fight so hard for what she hadn’t even thought she could have.

Even better than the protagonist was the rest of the cast. There is a wide variety of personalities represented by not only the 2 opposing packs, but within the packs themselves. I felt like I could pick out who was going to be what kind of person & why, but I must admit that the “why” of their demeanors was rather unique. I can’t give any of that away because I think it is an integral part of the overall storyline, but I will tell you that each person is wholly themselves & nothing less.

The plot development took a little bit at the beginning just because you have to settle into a newer understanding, but once I got my bearings it was a fast-paced read. Truly magnificent, Nightshade promises to be the beginning of one heck of a trilogy.

No comments: