Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

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?

This was an interesting story. The mythology is quite unique, though a bit confusing at first, and I really liked the themes of feminism and slavery running throughout. Also, it did a great job of showing the difficulties around doing what is expected of you versus doing what you really want to do. The writing is strong as well, and painted vivid images.

I liked Ren a lot. He is a complex character with a rough exterior and a softer, understanding side to him. He’s a good leader and a good listener, and acts according to what he believes is right, as well as how he’s been brought up. I didn’t like Shay or Calla, though. They’re both pretty selfish, and they seriously mistreated Ren many times.

Shay professes to be better than Ren because he wants to treat Calla as an equal and not a possession. But he contradicts that every single time he kisses her, because she has repeatedly told him not to. I found that very disrespectful. Shay treats Calla as an object more than Ren ever does, because Ren actually listens when Calla tells him to stop, and also lets her set the pace with their upcoming union. If she'd told him to never touch her again, he'd have listened and respected her wishes. But she never says that. Instead, she encourages him.

At the beginning of the story, Calla is a strong alpha and a good leader. She starts out saying that she and Ren are both alphas and would run the pack together after their union, but then she willingly gives up control of the wolves in her own pack and we’re not told why. We’re just given her assumption that she's supposed to submit to Ren.

It bothered me that Calla just let's Ren take over like this without talking to him about her own wishes first. Ren has proven himself to be a good leader and listener over and over, so it made me mad that she didn't even try to talk to him. This undermined some of the feminist themes running throughout the story.

Calla’s transformation wasn’t a positive one in this story. She starts out strong, but then kind of melts into a puddle. In the beginning, she’s a strong alpha and demonstrates inherent qualities of decision making and decisive action. It doesn’t make sense that she’d fall to pieces because of a simple attraction to someone she’s not supposed to be with. Instead, an alpha would weigh the possibilities and then make a firm decision one way or another. And, she’d enforce that decision with strength and confidence, because that’s what an alpha would do. Instead, she slowly turns wishy-washy.

The mythology was interesting and unique, though, and I would have liked to see more of it. I was a bit confused by the ending, and the way it unfolded didn’t ring true to the characters or the situation. But I am hoping that will be cleared up in the next book. And, I’m hoping Calla’s spine will be back and intact.


Beth Fred said...

This sounds interesting and like something I would enjoy. I think this is the first review I've seen on it too. ;)

Tabitha said...

It was just released this week, so that's probably why. :)

I thought the premise was very interesting. I just wanted the the characters to respond a bit differently. I'm hoping things will be a bit different in the sequel. :)

cleemckenzie said...

Love the idea of conflicted loyalty across "species." The cover is great.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I just pulled out this ARC to read today so I didn't read your post too closely. (Didn't want to accidentally read any spoilers!) But I'm glad to see that you'll read the next book in the series. That means this one had plenty to like, right?

Tabitha said...

Lee - yeah, I did too. And I'm looking forward to how this gets resolved. I think I see where it's heading, and it looks like a good direction.

Sherrie - there were definitely things I liked, so yeah, it's worth reading. I am just hoping the characters are...less predictable in the next book. :) I hope you'll share your thoughts if you read it!