Series: Nightshade #1
Published by Philomel Books on October, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / Shifters
Source: Atom Australia
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Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, sheâ€™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 mastersâ€™ 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 everythingâ€“including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
I donâ€™t often â€˜re-reviewâ€™ books once theyâ€™re up on the blog, but considering my last read of Nightshade was back in 2010 and my opinion of the book has changed considerably so, I thought it was better that I re-review it as Iâ€™m finally going to be finishing the series.
â€œYou’re a freak for not being terrified of me.â€
Back in 2010, I was mad for this book. Before having even read it I was caught up on the promotional videos â€˜Shadow Daysâ€™ (vlogs told by the lead romantic interest, Shay Doran played by Will Browning) and then I finally got my hands on an ARC and I was a goner.
I loved Calla. I loved Ren. I loved Calla/Ren and I Loved Calla/Shey.
Fast forward 5-6 years and Iâ€™m finally re-reading it so I can finish the series I once loved.
Itâ€™s unfortunate that my opinion of the once-stellar Nighshade has declined.
I suppose itâ€™s due to the fact that Iâ€™ve matured a lot as a reader. I mean, I was 21/22 when I read Nightshade for the first time and now Iâ€™m almost 27. Things I was able to swoon over then are irritating to me now, and over-used YA tropes didnâ€™t scream at me from within the pages.
â€œJust because you’re a warrior doesn’t mean you can’t be enticing.â€
Take Calla for instance â€“ the typical GORGEOUS GIRL who doesnâ€™t see herself as a â€˜pretty girlâ€™, rather a tomboy who wears worn clothes and jeans and never dons a dress. On my first reading I thought Calla was incredibly strong, but now I just think she was weak-minded. She let everyone push her around. Even when she spoke up, she was easily put back in her place. Sure, she had her rebellious streak, but kept allowing herself to be thrown between Ren and Shay.
I gushed over Ren initially. I donâ€™t know why now. Heâ€™s constantly pushing Calla for sex despite her refusal to indulge him and he never respects her boundaries. Every situation heâ€™s in with Calla, heâ€™s trying to convince her to sleep with him. Heâ€™s so jealous and territorial, too. I can tell he has a good side, I just hated the way he treated Calla as a sexual object in Nightshade.
As for Shay, he was almost as bad. When he wasnâ€™t complaining about how badly Calla treated him, he was constantly pushing her from her comfort zone (and not in a good way). Despite Calla constantly telling him her world was different, he never really â€˜gotâ€™ it. And he kept fuelling fights with Renâ€¦ and it was just stupid.
I liked the supporting cast of characters. That didnâ€™t change. I think Andrea Cremer did a great job bringing a diverse cast of personalities to life. I liked seeing how the Bane and Nightshade packs merged and became one.
â€œTell me youâ€™ll come back for the pack. For me.â€ His eyes were bright with tears. â€œI donâ€™t want to lose you.â€
There was a lot of wolfy stuff, but to me this story was just SO LONG. A good bulk of the book is spent in classrooms and lunch rooms and it doesnâ€™t need to be. I think it could have been trimmed down a great deal. The book is almost 500 pages, and I was able to read it in one night, but I felt the school drama bogged things down a bit.
The lore itself regarding the Searchers, Guardians and Keepers is so all over the place and mish-mashed. I have no idea whatâ€™s going to happen. Just when I think I have a handle on things â€“ here comes a succubus! I hope that it becomes a little more streamlined in future books and easier to understand. Iâ€™m eager to see how it progresses.
On my second reading of Nightshade, Iâ€™m not quite sold on any of the characters yet. Calla lets herself be pushed around, Shay is wishy-washy and too â€˜specialâ€™ (heâ€™s the Scion, no heâ€™s a wolf now!) and Ren needs to learn some boundaries.