NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Philomel (October 19, 2010)
WOLFSBANE (Fall 2011)
BLOOD ROSE (TBA)
COVER: Stunningly Beautiful
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Andrea Cremer
BOOK TRAILER: click HERE
When I finished NIGHTSHADE I had to close the book and walk away for I was left stunned and filled with a myriad of emotions that I knew I could not accurately articulate into written form. A few days later I am still thinking "WOW!!! that was amazing!" NIGHTSHADE is a fascinating story that had my emotions on an mercurial roller coaster that I would gladly ride again.
With NIGHTSHADE, Andrea Cremer has created an new world that is well detailed and brutal while being conceivable and heartbreaking at the same time. With the first page you are immediately absorbed into its story and cannot stop until you reach the last.
Calla is the upcoming alpha of her Nightshade pack; a long line of lupine guardians slaves that protect The Keepers; a mysterious race with magical abilities. Calla's pack must share their guardianship duties with the Bane pack that is to be led by Ren. A new pack is to form with Calla and Ren's upcoming betrothal, one of which they will be solely in charge of. Yet, being in charge does not mean that they can save their pack members from certain abuse and privileges that the keepers feel that they are entitled to.
One night while on patrol Calla encounters a boy that is being attacked by a bear but instead of letting the boy die, she intervenes and saves his life. Calla knows that she preformed a serious violation against keeper rules but she should not help herself, she was drawn to the boy and did not want to see him perish. At school she encounters the boy again, he is a new transfer student named Shay and the pull that she felt for him before only grows stronger. This matter does not bode well for Shay because Calla is promised to Ren and he will stop at nothing to make sure that they are together. What ensues is a major struggle for Calla, while she feels obligated to Ren and her pack she cannot help what she feels for Shay. Calla is ordered to shadow Shay one night after he is attacked by a searcher and while together a scandalous discovery is made concerning the Keepers and Guardians and Calla will have to make a decision that could betray everything she has ever known and loved.
NIGHTSHADE is unlike anything you have read before. Andrea Cremer has done an excellent job of constructing an unbalanced and unjust hierarchy that is at the core of this story. The world that that is presented is well layered and filled with many surprises that made me gasp along the way. This story also has a more mature edge to it while maintaining it's Young Adult tone as it dealt with many subjects that were hard to face. Calla proved to be an honest and worthy character that had a very difficult situation conquer and her actions were authentic and relateable. Also, I could not helped being drawn into the love triangle that occurs and the indecisiveness to whom Calla should stay with. I began the story having a clear choice but in the end it got all murky :).
NIGHTSHADE is a dark and passionate tale full of wicked twists and turns that will keep you wholly engaged and guessing until the very last word. I highly recommend it to those seeking a new adventure that will consume you.