Book Reviews

Review: “Bloodrose,” Andrea Cremer

January 31, 2016

I received this book for free from Atom Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Bloodrose,” Andrea CremerBloodroseby Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade #3
Published by Philomel Books on January, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / Shifters
Pages: 406
Source: Atom Australia
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

Calla has always welcomed war.

But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all.

And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

Bloodrose marks the final chapter in the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer – as told by Calla’s perspective, anyway. Though it was probably the most enjoyable of the series plot-wise, I wasn’t entirely thrilled by the ending. Spoilers in the full review.

 “Love wasn’t forged by circumstance or changed by sorrow. It simply was. Fierce and free as the wolf within me.”
– Calla

Calla and co are back in Bloodrose, knowing that it’s time to face the Keepers once and for all. Finally the book focuses on something I was interested in from Nightshade – reclaiming the pieces of the Scion’s cross, adding to the collection they begun with the hilt from the Haldis caves.

The pursuit of the pieces made for an interesting read and really gave Bloodrose some direction – particularly since Wolfsbane had been such a letdown entertainment wise. We finally got to see the Searchers and Guardians work together and do what they do best. Although some of the settings were predictable (a volcano for the fire piece, etc.) I was still incredibly intrigued by the process of reclaiming the Scion’s weapon.

I felt Andrea Cremer’s writing with this series was quite weak. It lacked description and more than often I found myself skipping pieces between dialogue just to keep up with what was being said. I missed vital information that way, and it’s not something I usually find myself doing. The pacing was weird, too, and we weren’t given time to really take in new environments before action was happening. It was rushed at times and kept me from really involving myself in the story.

“I’ve always welcomed war, but when the last battle ends, what life is left for a warrior?”
– Calla

Calla was still an infuriating character – constantly being a hypocrite and getting jealous about both Ren and Shay. The time had come in Bloodrose for Calla to finally choose who she wanted to be with – but as predicted, she just couldn’t make the hard choice. It was absolutely annoying to see her flip-flopping again from Shay’s bed to the shower rooms with Ren. Sure, she gave more attention to one guy in particular, but it didn’t stop her from almost doing the nasty with the other just for kicks.

Calla tried to assert her authority over both boys in Bloodrose, but I always thought she was pretty weak as far as Alphas go. Everyone kept going on and on about how great a leader she was, but she always sucked at making the hard decisions. I can’t say I ever warmed up to her in the entirety of the series.

As far as the secondary characters go, none of them really stood out for me apart from Sabine. I really felt she came into her own in this book and she became one of the standouts of this series. There were a few deaths concerning minor characters, which lacked any real emotion for me. I wanted to become more connected to the characters within this series, but it just didn’t happen.

The fight at the end was drawn out well, but I found myself a little bored. Though they were able to ‘save the world’, Ren was killed in a fight against his ‘father’ Emile.

I have to admit – I felt Ren’s death was a little convenient. It was pretty clear that Calla had chosen Shay at this point, but his rival-Alpha’s death packed everything up nicely for him. No longer would Calla have to think what if and she missed out on having to explain to him that she’d chosen Shay. It was as if Ren served no purpose to the larger plot than to be a rival for Calla’s affections. It was a little bitter. I would have liked him to find another purpose in life – perhaps growing his relationship with his newly discovered sister, Adne.

“When the elemental cross locks the rift, it will restore the balance of nature, returning all creatures to their true essence.”
– Anika

And, if that wasn’t enough, a surprise came to everyone when the Searcher’s announced they’d always known that the closing of the rift would render the Guardians back to their ‘true forms’ – their wolf selves. I totally got the lore regarding this, but I was surprised nobody fought to stay human other than Sabine. Even Shay, who had just been reunited with his long-lost parents, was moping that he had to stay human and leave Calla.

Why couldn’t Calla make the sacrifice and stay human with Shay, in order to be together AND have his parents with him? Sure, the pull of the wolf was strong and all that, but love means sacrifice. I thought this would have been a better ending than seeing them all up on the mountain via Sabine’s eyes.

Sure, Bloodrose tied everything up in a neat little bow, but I can’t say it was entirely satisfying. I’m left a little ‘eh’ about the fate of everyone, and after reading some reviews of the Nightshade Legacy sequel (Snakeroot) focusing on Adne, Connor and Sabine I have to wonder WHAT WAS IT ALL FOR? Calla and the pack all became wolves for good and sealed the rift only for Bosque Mar to perhaps escape again? Cue head banging.

I don’t think I’ll be reading Snakeroot for that reason. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with this series as a whole, but I’m glad I quelled my curiosity. For me, Nightshade was something I ALWAYS HAD TO FINISH ONE DAY and now I’ve conquered it.

I do still harbour some interest, though, with the Nightshade Prequel books – Rift and Rise. I hope that the historical aspect will appeal to me more.


About Andrea Cremer

Andrea Cremer spent her childhood daydreaming while roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Minnesota, but she thinks of her homeland as the "Canadian Shield" rather than the Midwest. When she's not writing, Andrea teaches history at a very nice liberal arts college in St. Paul.

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