Book Reviews

Review: “Wolfsbane,” Andrea Cremer

January 29, 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: “Wolfsbane,” Andrea CremerWolfsbaneby Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade #2
Published by Philomel Books on July, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / Shifters
Pages: 390
Source: Atom Australia
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered.

But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what?

Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

I was sorely disappointed with Wolfsbane. I had been expecting Andrea Cremer to build upon the relationships and characters introduced in the first book, but I didn’t expect Wolfsbane to pretty much be an all-out ‘infodump’ book with a sprinkling of new characters.

“He no longer needed me to be his protector, but he still wanted me.”
– Calla

Even though I LOVED Nightshade when I read it for the first time, I think I would have been absolutely appalled by the way things changed within Wolfsbane. Upon my second reading, Nightshade was quite mediocre – but the second book just took a huge downward turn.

There was so much ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’, with our main characters of Calla and Shay serving little more purpose than to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ to the new Searcher characters. In turn, the Searcher characters (most often a character by the name of Silas who was created just to spew history) would reveal huge chunks of lore and explanations of the world. I was so bored for the vast majority of this book. Really.

Instead of letting things merely unfold and explain themselves along the way, we pretty much sat around the table with the characters and listened to a history lesson every other scene. It was just too much. And my brain couldn’t take it anymore. Some of the stuff we learnt was useless in my opinion and gave away too much to the larger plot.

“Staring at the wreckage of the life we could have had, I knew it wasn’t about love or Shay or the Searchers now. It was about sacrifice and redemption, loss that could have new meaning.”
– Calla

Calla as a character seemed to lose even more strength in Wolfsbane, too. Despite being heralded as a ‘huge asset’ to the Searchers in their war against the Keepers, Calla was a big disappointment. Every other moment she was shifting and growling and getting jealous about Shay – and even though she’d been captured by these people and raised her whole life to hate them, she was swayed to their side almost instantly. She was too accepting too quickly, and never seemed to make her own decisions.

And what was worse was that Shay became this ugly creature fuelled by jealousy. I was never a huge fan of him as a character or love interest, but he kind of mutated into this unrecognisable character in Wolfsbane. He was incredibly possessive of Calla, despite hating that Ren was so in Nightshade. His new ‘Alpha status’ was incredibly ‘convenient’ too, and I was like come on. Not only is he the all-powerful Scion and a new Guardian… he’s also an Alpha now, too? Please. I don’t think Shay could be more unlikeable if he tried. His ‘Alpha status’ was enough for everyone to look the other way at his behaviour, too.

Calla was seriously leagues behind every reader on the uptake. She had no idea what was coming regarding Ren’s parentage (saw that a mile away) and had no idea that Shay was now an Alpha, despite being an experienced Guardian and Alpha herself. Calla certainly didn’t win any awards in Wolfsbane.

Even though Calla was on Shay land in Nightshade, now that she actually HAD Shay and not Ren, she was on Cloud Ren in Wolfsbane. Whenever she was kissing Shay, she was thinking about her previous mate. She was willing to risk anything to get him back from Vail and Shay absolutely hated it. Whenever she tried to discuss it with him like a mature person, he’d try and smother her words with kisses – what a fix! It was terribly frustrating.

“The first thing Connor said when I saw him after he’d been at the outpost for a few months was, ‘I see you got breasts, congratulations. I hope you know how to use them.”
– Adne

Yes, there were tonnes of new characters in this book but I didn’t find myself growing to like any of them or really connecting. There was little to no descriptions about any of them, and I found it hard to conjure up a mental image of any of the new faces or personalities.

The same could be said for the new setting of the Searcher Academy. I never really got a handle on how everything worked, despite the numerous infodumps. I felt I was walking blind in this book, and I found it completely hard to enjoy.

The only boon to this book was that I was able to speed through it quickly. Though nothing really ‘happened’ (loads of Searcher info, a few treks out into the world via portal, etc) I managed to push through the chapters. I don’t hold high hopes for Bloodrose, but I will be starting that one straight after this review if only to see how everything ends and complete the series once and for all.

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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