Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Released: October 19th 2010
Published by: Philomel
Page Count is 452
Amazing writing, engaging characters, and a fantastic plot! Nightshade's tantalizing world of magic and werewolves had me hooked from the very beginning. From the very first page I was pulled into the exciting world of Nightshade as I read about the struggles of Calla, the alpha female of the newly formed Haldis pack. Her character is strong, commanding, and fiercely loyal to her family and pack. Even as she awaits the day of her arranged marriage to the Bane's young alpha, Ren Laroche, Calla is determined to see it through and carry on the traditions of the Keepers. Her role as a faithful Guardian is the only life Calla has known and all she ever expected out of life, until the day she unexpectedly saves a human, Shay, from the killing claws of a grizzly. Now she is pulled in two directions between loyalty to her pack and loyalty to her heart.
Ren is headstrong, charismatic, and a born leader. He tries to go against his normal nature of controlling Calla as his pack mate and treat her as his equal, but at the same time he tires to dominate her. This goes against every one of Calla's instincts as an alpha. At first Ren is carefree and self assured in his place in Calla's life, but as the story progresses his jealous nature of Calla and Shay's friendship reveals his insecurities and faltering confidence.
Shey is intelligent, resourceful, and caring. He feels nothing but admiration towards Calla because she risk everything to save his life. Shay hates the strict laws of the Keepers' that Calla is bound too. To understand more about her world he recruits Calla's help to dig deep into the history of the Keepers' and the role of the Guardians'. Doing so reveals not only dark secrets that shock Calla to her very core, but they also come to find that Shay is more connected to Calla's world then they ever thought possible.
As Calla's trust grows in Shey, sparks between the two ignite setting fire to everything in sight! Every time Calla gets to close to Shay they are both overwhelmed with need and desire for one another. Ren's teasing nature and wondering hands also make Calla weak in the knees, but she doesn't trust herself with him like she does with Shay, who holds a deep place in her heart.
You can never bring yourself to dislike Ren in the novel for his character. Instead you sympathize with him because he tries hard to be what Calla wants him to be. You also feel sorry for him because of Calla's feelings for Shay, in a way she is cheating on him. Dwelling on the thought of being Ren's mate brings nothing but anxiety for Calla. Thoughts of being with Shay make her feel cared for and free. Watching Calla face temptation at every turn is hard because she is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The choice between the life that makes sense with Ren filled with strict rules and resslessness, or the life she could have with Shay full of possibilities and freedom are both terrifying and both equally as tempting to follow.