Nightshade is a young adult fiction by Andrea Cremer. I read it in 2 days..completely ignoring the other two books I am reading as well. I just couldn’t put it down. Though, I probably won’t read it again. I think it might have caused a little stress.
Calla is 17 and a Guardian. She can shift between her human form and a wolf form. She is also an alpha and belongs (for the time being) to the Nightshade pack.
Ren is also 17 and a Guardian. He is an alpha that belongs to the Bane pack.
Calla and Ren were chosen at birth to be paired together in union and form a new pack. Along with them would be their closest friends, 5 from each pack. This union is supposed to take place when they are both 18, which happens to be October 31st. The Keepers decided this destiny for them and nothing and no one can change the outcome. Not that anyone would want to or dare to try.
The Keepers are the masters of the packs. They decide who marries who and they carry out the laws and punishments. The Guardians protect the Keepers and the Keepers provide what ever the Guardians may need (homes, cars, food…etc). No one questions the authority. The Keepers also decide who they want. Anyone they want and no one can say no.
Like everyone else, Calla has accepted her fate. She has never been with another guy, not even for a simple kiss. She is a female alpha and expected to keep her innocence for the mate that has been chosen for her. Ren on the other hand, has been with many girls in the school. With their union so close Ren decides that it is time for them to get closer. He suggest that Calla and her pack hang out with him and his pack. They will be one pack soon, and they need to learn to work together.
And things would have gone as planed if Shay had not shown up. Shay is 18 and Calla saved him from a bear attack. She was in her wolf form, but when she noticed that Shay was dying from the attack she returned to her human form to give him her blood to heal him. She didn’t expect to ever see him again, but he showed up at school on Monday. Not only does she have to hide that she saved him, but she seems instantly attracted to the newcomer and starts to question her own fate.
Once she is forced by her Keeper to spend time with Shay her feelings start to grow. She shares her first kiss with Shay, but she also finds out that everything she has been told is a lie. Her life is turned upside down and somethings you just can’t ignore.
My Opinion (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
I did read through the book quickly. I wanted to know what happened. I wanted to see who Calla would choose. I was obviously rooting for Ren the whole time. He did care for Calla and she seemed to be the only one who didn’t see that. It actually ticked me off when Shay showed up and screwed everything. Of course, Calla has been made to spend her whole life watching others in relationships while she had to stay away. I can understand her kissing Shay the first time, just to defy some part of her chosen future. It should have stopped there.
Of course, it didn’t and we end up with this messy love triangle. Two guys fighting over the same girl. One who has been promised to have her, another who just decided to steal her away. She knows her duty, yet she keeps going back to Shay. I didn’t like Shay and I surly didn’t trust him. Of course he is important to the history of the Guardians. I felt like I was reading Twilight in wolf form. I was rooting for Ren the whole time! I just can’t believe Calla couldn’t see how much he cared for her, though with his history I can almost understand it. Communication would have fixed things here.
I was annoyed how Shay came in and just pulled Calla away, forcing her into things she really didn’t want to do. Ugh, it just annoys me. The whole book is just annoying. And I felt so bad for Ren. It’s almost like he didn’t even have a chance.
There were a few things I didn’t like about the book other than the story. First was the set up of the book. The chapters start on a solid black page (sometimes containing the phases of the moon) and in the right hand corner the chapter number. The back of that page was blank and the first line of the chapter would begin in big bold letters. I don’t know why, but at some point I trained my brain to ignore big bold text. I have no idea where this comes from, so I had to force myself to read the first line every time. And the way the chapter started with the black page felt wasteful. Maybe I just have a secret environmental activist side of myself.
The second thing being the grammar. The book was well written. I didn’t come across any crazy formatting errors or missing words. What I did notice was the random big word. Words that no teenager would use in their vocab. If it had been through the book more often I would be okay with it. But it seemed to be a few big words (the same big words) thrown in where it might work. It threw off the pace of the book. I’m not saying that teenagers are stupid, they are just lazy and wouldn’t use such big words. And if they did it would be more often.
Would I suggest this book? Not really.
Over all…this book stressed me out. I was waiting for Ren to catch Calla and Shay kissing or flirting and Ren would have killed Shay. Which, I think might have been a good route to go. I won’t be reading this book again. It was a nice light read and it did keep me interested, but once I got to the end I wanted to wipe my brain clean of it. I have never had a book set so sickly in my mind. I felt like there was something missing and there was too much, all at the same time. There are two more books in the series and I will read them just to find out what happens. Curiosity killed the cat…