Release Date: October 19, 2010Review: Maybe it's because the amount of stress I've been having lately, or maybe it's because some books just honestly aren't very good, but I've been really critical with books lately. Recently, I've either really liked a book (ex. Catching Jordan) or really hated a book (Shadow Hills). Nightshade happens to be on the unfortunate side.
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Number of Pages: 454
Synopsis: Calla is the alpha female of a shape-shifting wolf pack. She is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the pack's alpha male. Together, they would rule their pack together, guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But then, Calla saves a beautiful human boy, who captures her heart. Calla begins to question everything - her fate, her existence, and her world and the orders the Keepers have asked her to follow. She will have to make a choice. But will she follow her heart if it means losing everything, including her own life?
As usual with my "negative" reviews, I'll start off with my biggest problem, which is always the main character(s). Characters are just such a humongous deal for me. I either like them or I hate them. Calla was just annoying. She was so wishy-washy, it drove me bananas! Calla is the alpha of her wolf pack, and so I expected her to be a strong leader. Instead, she was passive--especially when it came to Shay. I felt like she let Shay walk all over her! Focusing back on Calla, her inner thoughts also bothered me. She was almost obsessed with boys touching her, whether it be Ren or Shay. It was almost laughable.
On to the boys and the love triangle... Ren is fine. He loves Calla, which was really sweet. On the other hand, Shay was the most annoying male lead I have ever read about. I do not see what Calla saw in him. He was whiny and obsessive. The love triangle in this book is a prime example of the kind of love triangle I hate in YA literature. The boys were just willing to kill for this girl. This girl who can't even take off her own dress. Also, it was far too much like Matched by Allie Condie: supposed to be with one guy, but another guy comes along who's actually not all that great, but somehow the main characters falls in love with him anyway. SPOILER from Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) (highlight to read): I'm Team Ren. ALL THE WAY. Unfortunately, I'm a loser and I read a spoiler for Bloodrose. Ren dies. No point in me continuing the series.
What I did really like about this book was the concept. I loved the werewolves and the witches, as well as the prophecy. Totally my type of thing in the book! Although the book kind of dragged throughout the middle portion, the last few chapters were just like, "WHAZZAM!" It was surprising with lots of twists and turns. I loved it! The book itself was also easy to read, because the chapters were short. Short chapters make me feel like I've accomplished more, so I prefer them, haha.
Now, because I was so bothered by the characters, I don't think I'll pick up the next book, even though there's a huge cliffhanger at the end of this book. Andrea Cremer crafts a layered paranormal story with dashes of originality and a romance I'm sure a lot of YA readers will love. It's a shame I wasn't one of them. It seemed to me that the negative aspects of this book eclipsed the positive ones.