"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?"
“Nightshade” by Andrea Cremer, was an absolute intensified and lustful read for all Y.A. enthusiasts. It is not your average werewolf or supernatural myth, Calla and her pack called “Nightshades” are something called “Guardians”. They can change forms into wolves and humans, instantly; no need to strip down or wait for a full moon, they can just change on a whim. Calla their alpha female is to be united with the alpha “Bane” male Renier (Ren) although this is not a werewolf myth Guardians do keep to the traditional wolf hierarchy, there are alpha’s their second in commands and then their packs, which are to be united into one new pack. This has been planned since their birth on the same day which is “Samhian” (or Halloween). Within the first couple pages of the book we are introduced to Shay, a human who Calla saves from a grizzly bear attack. Instantly we know that there is something special about Shay although we’re not too sure. The storyline erupts after we meet Shay again at their school, and Calla and Ren are both asked to protect Shay from certain things that go "bump in the night". Obviously Ren is not OK with this because Calla ends up spending a lot of time with Shay then would be expected. As Calla dives into Shay’s world she is shocked to find out things about her world, pack, and family she would never have dreamed of believing. In a world where everything has been planned and you must obey, Calla is torn between her destiny which has been planned or something unknown.
Also torn between the mysterious yet timid and sweet Shay, and the smokey, seductive and bold alpha, Renier, Calla’s world is turned upside down and her emotions no matter how controlled she is run wild with lust.
This book was surprisingly like nothing I had expected it to be; it was refreshing! When I read that it was a Y.A. paranormal romance, I’m thinking some teen angst romance, but “Nightshade” absolutely blew my mind. It was a lustful, seductive and romantic dance between Calla, Ren and Shay. Calla knows she is meant to be Renier’s mate and she has to be “pure” (for the lack of a better word) although Ren does not have to follow the same rule, so in the past 4 years of high school he has been flirting and seducing every cheerleader there is! (Which does give him a bad reputation in Calla’s eyes). Although as the book progresses we see a more protective even loving side of Ren towards Calla and I for one found it the most attractive quality about him. Shay is portrayed as timid, curious, and not entirely sure about what is going on, although this is not exactly true. Shay is quick, and figures out Calla isn’t only human, nor is she not all Ren’s. Calla shows interest in Shay from the very beginning by saving him from a grizzly attack, then protecting him, and helping him find out about who he is and about her past especially. Shay gets Calla to break ALL the wrong rules of her world, and winds up falling in love with her and vise versa. Although here is the twist; Calla is not sure what love truly is. She thinks she has it with Shay but in the end Shay gets her into more trouble than she could have ever imagined. And she is not sure with Ren because they’ve been betrothed to one another since birth, and she only sees him as the flirtatious “player” he is at school.
It actually is very frustrating when you have these two luscious guys in front of you and you don’t know what to do. It makes for an even more frustrating read because instantly I fell in love with Ren. Everything about him screams good guy! Even though he is portrayed as the law abiding alpha male, very controlling, and fierce, he shows Calla his more sweet, even vulnerable side, which is a very attractive quality for him. Shay never quite sat right with me from the beginning, it was illustrated as fate intervening in Calla’s life, although it felt more to me that Shay was placed delicately by another party to conflict and question Calla’s loyalty to her kind and pack. It was just far too coincidental for my liking, which also made for an incredibly storyline though.
Andrea Cremer knows how to jam pack a novel with suspense, action, mystery, and lustful romance. The plot had me hooked from the get go. First of all the development of their kind, the Guardians I absolutely adore the idea. And secondly the total mystery of everything was addicting. I couldn’t figure most of how things would be revealed, especially about Renier’s mother! Usually I am pretty good at predicting some of the outcomes of books, but “Nightshade” just blew me away! Twisting and turning at every chance Cremer had she took without hesitation! Without realising I had gone through 250 pages in one day; it is a fast paced easily read novel, and it makes you itch wanting to know what happens. The last 25 pages or so will keep you guessing and breathless until you figure out the book is done and you can’t wait to read the next one. Calla is left basically on the cliff hanger it is unreal!
Such a fabulous book for the beginning of a series. The only thing I would have enjoyed more about the book, if there was more interaction with the pack mates and Ren and Calla. It seemed that Cremer really wanted to sell the emotions between Shay and Calla, and spent so much time developing their characters I feel some of the other ones have gotten left out. I’m sure she was depending on their “past” relationship between Calla and Ren to fill in how they felt about each other but that really was not a self explanatory emotion, seeing as the emotions were running wild throughout the entire book. I am hopeful for the second instalment “Wolfsbane” and I do hope Cremer goes into a bit more detail about the pasts of some of the pack members especially Ren. There were so many unanswered questions and not all of them will be answered, but still it was a spectacular read!