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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer 5 of 5 stars.
To be released October 19 by Philomel.

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? (Synopsis from book)

Nightshade for Calla is a steamy world, full of conflicting desires and difficult choices. Where succubi, incubi, and wraiths roam, powerful sorcerers control a tight band of werewolf warriors known as the Guardians. The greedy and often times lecherous Keepers have power over every aspect in the Guardians life, in return they offer them every luxury imaginable. But as the Keepers continue to spoon-feed their own propaganda to the Guardians, another battle is brewing deep below the surface.

When a strange young man arrives in town bearing a cross tattoo, Calla's world falls to pieces. Despite being promised to the sexy alpha wolf Renier, she can't deny the pull she feels toward Shay. As her world and his tangle together she learns shocking secrets about her past and future, all of it seeming to surround this alluring boy. But can her feelings for Shay outweigh her instincts to protect her pack?

Andrea Cremer has redefined werewolves in young adult literature. Her mythology and history of this world is beautiful, mesmerizing, and complete. Nothing is impossible in Nightshade, from werewolves to a mammoth brown recluse. She has created a story worth reading again and again.

The thing I like most about this story is its unpredictability. Just when I think I have Calla and the other characters figured out, they throw me for a loop adding twists and turns to an already complex story. Calla's feeling and personality change drastically from the beginning of the story to the end, but she still doesn't seem to have completely figured herself out.

Another very dynamic character is alpha wolf Renier. In the beginning of the story he seems like a shallow playboy, but after a while you see other sides of him; his love for Calla, his need to be a different kind of leader than his father, and his deep-seated grief for his mother. I certainly felt for him throughout the story.

Andrea Cremer's prose pulled it all together nicely, giving Calla personality while still being almost objective even from a first person POV. I was able to see the feeling and struggles of the other characters clearly without them being completely transparent. My biggest problem with the story is the cliff-hanger ending that is sure to leave me on the edge of my seat until the sequel.

Overall, I have to say that Nightshade by Andrea Cremer is definitely on my top-ten list of werewolf stories. Lust, danger, and rebellion are all common themes for coming of age tales, but somehow they have set this particular story apart from the rest of the pack creating something truly special.

To pre-order Nightshad by Andrea Cremer on Amazon.com please click here.


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