Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Penguin ~ Philomel
ISBN13: 9780399254826

Goodreads Synopsis:
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?

I'm not even sure I can properly express my affection for this book in a review; I was positively surprised by how much I enjoyed Nightshade, after all the hype it's received. But after receiving an ARC of Bloodrose, I knew I better get into these books and fast.

So, while I know this a series lots of people talk about and gush over, if you haven't read it. Please pick up the books! Give them a chance, because this is an excellent YA series and wonderfully enjoyable.

  1. The narrator's voice:
    Calla makes a fantastic narrator, and since she is a Guardian (shapeshifting wolf-human) everything is told from this perspective. I found this to be remarkable, as the Guardians play a rather interesting role in this world. And as the series progresses, it becomes more apparent how important this perspective is and exactly what it means for Calla and the other guardians... Ultimately, it means that Andrea succesfully weaves in some rather subtle elements in her storytelling which really propel the plot. And THAT is a sign of a talented storyteller.
  2. It raises important questions:
    There are THEMES, guys! I get really excited when I find books that want to make you question norms or ideas often taken for granted. But I don't like them overly preachy either. Thankfully, Nightshade isn't like that at all, while still managing to bring up ideas behind love and power. There's definitely a feminist idea behind it all too, but Andrea seems to realize that it can be better to bring these topics up delicately, and let the characters sort through them on their own time, rather than pushing across a message in one book. And in this way, many of the struggles experienced by the characters are born...
  3. Cute guys:
    I confess that sometimes I'm ashamed that this counts as one of my reasons.. because there are lots of cute guys out there, and that doesn't always mean you should read a book. But Ren and Shay are both really, really hot. And very different, and they're both clearly so much more than just love interests. I really do enjoy a book with solid romance in it, and this is one of the few books where I can say I'm actually TORN over a love triangle. I have no idea which one I'd pick, but I'll happily take whichever one Calla doesn't choose... ;)
Nightshade really is a whirlwind of a book- the story of a girl just transitioning into a woman, but it's interesting to see how her idea of growing up is very different from those around her... But more importantly it's about her figuring this out and who she is. And what she's going to do about that once she figures it out. It ends up being this aspect of Calla that makes her so likeable and relateable. Because it isn't easy for her, and she has to make some hard decisions along the way, which is so true about growing up in general.

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test said...

I have both Nightshade and Wolfsbane on the shelf... I'm pretty much afraid to read the series for some reason.

Jay @ We Fancy Books

Giselle said...

I still have to read this one! Sounds a lot more sophisticated than most. Great review, Brenna!!

Xpresso Reads

Unknown said...

Oh yeah this series is amazing! After Nightshade I went ahead and read the novella on Cremer's site and stalked Shay Doran's YT channel. lol. They moved up the release of Bloodrose, it'll be out Jan 3 i think instead of the original Jan 24

Anonymous said...

Yes, you loved it! (But I already knew that, didn't I ;) )

I heart Ren! I've never been a big fan of Shay (especially because of Wolfsbane). Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Love the review! I really like the idea that it makes you question norms without being preachy (I hate preachy books). Sounds like this will be a great series. Thanks for the review!

Cozy Up With A Good Read

Jacquelynne said...

I absolutely love the way you divided the review!! Ugh you are so unique! lol. I love the review and I agree with point number 2 - I love books that make you think really question the norm like you said! Excellent review! :)

Kelly said...

Awesome review! I loved Nightshade, but I just didn't like Shay. Definitely team Ren. I can't wait to get to Wolfsbane!

Bex said...

Great review! All I can say is that I completely agree. I absolutely love this series and am now impatiently waiting for the final book in the series! Hope you'll continue to enjoy it. :)

Maji Bookshelf said...

I love love your review Brenna!! I especially love your "Reasons to Read" ! I really do want to read this book, but never got the time to get to it :/
Lovely review again! Thanks for sharing!!

Farah @ Maji Bookshelf

Molly Gibson-Mee said...

Great review Brenna! I love this series and I can't believe it's the last one next :(

Love your reviewing style!

Reading is my cup of tea

Luxembourg said...

This book went on my to read list the moment it came to my attention. I never dreamed I would get the chance to read it 6 months in advance. It has me from the opening chapter! I do have to admit that I was a little confused at first. The author uses some terms interchangeably and doesn't really offer a full explanation until later. But, since this was an ARC, it's possible that this might be cleared up before publication.

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