“NIGHTSHADE,” by Andrea Cremer, Philomel, $17.99 (young adult)
The first time I saw Andrea Cremer’s “Nightshade” I didn’t want to read it. There. I said it. I’m sorry. I’m not sure why. I put it in my stack of “to-be-read” books, and there it sat until my world blew up.
In January, I was looking for something to read, and it caught my attention. I pulled it out of my closet “pile” and almost immediately found myself hooked. I guess it just goes to show that I should have followed my own rule of giving every book 20 pages, no matter my first impression.
When I met Andrea in February, I didn’t dare admit to my faux pas — it was bad enough I spoke over her answer to a question during the Breathless Reads panel. But I’ve finally built up the courage to admit my error. It turns out, I was wrong. “Nightshade” is definitely worth reading.
Calla Tor is a werewolf. She’s always been one and she knows her destiny. Some kids go to school in preparation to become doctors or lawyers. She goes to school and trains to be what she’s meant to be: the mate of alpha wolf Ren Laroche. Together the two will lead a new pack, guarding sites sacred to the Keepers.
So why then does Calla violate the Keepers’ law by saving a human who befalls danger while hiking? Calla hasn’t questioned her fate before, but now she wonders if maybe it’s time to. But Calla’s actions could have lead to dire effects for the whole pack. She could lose everything.
Since the advent of the Twilight series werewolves have become a popular topic in the world of young adult books. Many have felt like dry regurgitations, seeking to ride the coattails of someone else’s fame.
That’s not the case with “Nightshade,” It’s nice to see that Andrea has created a world unlike any other and rather than relying on genre alone, she has actual content to carry her forward.
Andrea focuses equally on plot and character development, helping the reader grow along with the story. It’s nice, too that the climax isn’t rushed or overly contrived. I wish more people would follow her pacing.
It was nice, too, to have a strong group of supporting characters that are more than props. Kudos to Andrea for weaving them in. On the whole, it made for a more complex and enjoyable read.
Andrea, like her main character, is a strong independent woman. She has an awesome sense of humor and an infectious laugh. I can’t wait to see how the second book in her trilogy, “Wolfsbane” turns out.
Note: These are the original covers for Andrea’s first two books. Check out the new ones.
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