Book Review -- Nightshade

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Genre: YA urban fantasy, supernatural romance
Pages: Hardback, 452
Published: 2010
Opening Lines: "I'd always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden."

"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?
~ Jacket copy

Thoughts: This book follows the story of 17-year-old Calla Tor. She is facing her upcoming union with Ren, which will join the Bane and Nightshade teenagers together as a third pack. While she has always known this, after saving Shay from a bear, she starts to question her duty. Even though these simple questions seem innocent enough, given her age and her first interest in a boy, they lead to much more dangerous questions and actions. Calla is forced to come face-to-face with a truth her never expected, and her actions will change her life and the rest of the Guardians'.

This book is not what I expected. From the description on the duster flap and from Goodreads, I was expecting a pseudo-Twilight with wolves. However, this book blew me out of the water! I found myself tearing through the book while forcing myself to slow down and savor it. This book was nothing like the insipid Twilight series, and Calla was an actual heroine that had brains she was willing to listen to.

Lately, I've been on a YA kick. The library has been pretty well stocked, so I've taken advantage of that angel However, aside from books like The Hunger Games, I keep coming across heroines who are stupid, lack common sense, have not sense of self preservation, and hold nothing dear. They easily fall for the asshole who is stalking them or terrifying them. There is nothing that endears a reader to these girls, and it honestly makes one wonder what we are trying to teach our teenagers. Nightshade was completely different. It had the elements which seem to appeal to YA girls: The romance, the sexy guys fighting for Calla, struggling to find identity, etc. However, Calla doesn't go along with things just for the sake of it. When confronted with Shay and the book, she is extremely hesitant. Also, she has a lot of internal struggle over her union with Ren. While she is going to go ahead with it, she doesn't just blindly follow. It was nice to have a strong girl as the center of the story.

As for Ren, I felt sorry for him! It was hard not to. I appreciated that Cremer didn't automatically vilify him. It was obvious how much her cared for Calla and that he wanted to make it work. Unfortunately, he was also put into a pretty awful circumstance.

My one pet peeve:
On page 205, Shay makes a comment about the style of Latin pointing to the fact that it must be in Medieval/Renaissance period. Okay, I can accept that; however, his ability to read it is very doubtful.

Classical Latin is taught in schools. He can barely remember how to fully read Latin, and an English-Latin dictionary will not help give a fully accurate translation. Looking into Medieval Latin, talking to various professors (both Latin and Medieval Lit.), and reading parts of a Medieval Latin text books, they are very, very different. In addition, there was no standard and many local words were added to the vocabulary during those time periods.

To me, this is unbelievable. Also, having a doctorate in history, I would have thought the author would know that.

Aside from my Latin issue, I found the book very enjoyable! I would recommend it! I can hardly wait for the second book to come out. Luckily my hubby just got a job, so I'll be able to snatch it up as soon as it comes out! w00t!

Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
Current Pages: 11676
Current Progress:
33/50 books



Sinn

3 comments:

  1. I have to agree with you on the Latin translation done by Shay. I found it to unrealistic (as supposed Guardians and Magic, right? / sarcasm) that he could read and translate to accurately so quickly.

    My favorite Character was Ren actually, cause even though he would have been her Alpha, he followed the rules and valued Calla's presence and opinion. It made me cry a little when she broke his heart.

    Kelsa P.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Kelsa: I love Ren, too! Even though I knew how it would end from the beginning, I still found myself hoping that she wouldn't take the path she chose. Ren was such a sweetie!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey!

    This is my favourite book this year.

    I like the review.

    Ren <3

    Amy@adumbrations (new follower)

    http://amysadumbrations.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html

    ReplyDelete

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.