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? (Product description from Penquin.com)
Just when I thought that nothing new could be done with werewolves, Andre Cremer comes along and with a dazzling new twist on the subject. What sets Nightshade apart from other books is Cremer’s unique world building, fantastic characters, and a dangerous romantic triangle. Nightshade definitely left me hungry for more.
While I have to admit I was a bit confused entering the world of Nightshade, this only lasted for a short time. The main reason is that Cremer does something so totally unexpected it blew me away. Nightshade refers to one of two packs whose reason for existence is to guard the Keepers and their magical secret. Since the packs’ existence is tied to the Keepers, each pack member including the alphas are subservient to the directives and whims of the Keepers. It is this hierarchy that establishes the conflict in the story and kept me glued to the page throughout the book.
Nightshade’s tremendous cast of characters including many of the secondary characters had a lot to do with my total engagement in the story. I am amazed at how well Cremer portrayed each member of the different packs as individuals complete with problems and desires. I loved Calla because she is a strong alpha and teen. She is fierce, passionate, and independent, which also makes her an excellent leader. Renier, the alpha of the Banes and Calla’s chosen mate since birth, is the perfect characterization of a strong, overly confident guy who uses his good looks and charm to his advantage. Normally, Ren would be the guy I didn’t like, but despite his “I’m all that bravado” he has some redeeming qualities that I couldn’t resist. However, Shay is the guy who had me telling Calla to go for it. His outsider status allows him to question Calla’s destiny. Shay and Calla’s physical chemistry also makes for a steamy and forbidden relationship and a very tense romantic triangle that culminates in a suspenseful, nail-biting climax.
Andrea Cremer’s debut novel more than blew me away, it left me wanting more, and I can’t wait to become part of this dazzling new world of wolves, and witches, and magic. Unfortunately, since Nighshade is not yet been released (it comes out in October), I will be waiting impatiently to find out what happens next.
Source: ARC provided by Philomel Books a division of Penguin Young Readers Group