Author: 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?
Nightshade is an elaborately-woven, gripping, paranormal romance held against a backdrop with the rich contrast of an intricate, otherworldly setting and an equally convincing context in the human world. Both worlds are discrepant to each other in some aspects, and similar in others. The relationships and the political dynamics in both environments are different, but the characters remain consistent in the entirety of the novel. The ancestry and realistically-portrayed descriptions of the characters and the hierarchy merge together to create a consistent ambiance, constant all throughout the book.
Fierce, loyal, and strong, Calla's personality is truly an alpha's. Her personality and mindset mirrors her stance as an alpha but her pre-destined union with Ren affects her in such a way that she carries a caged, constricted air around her that contradicts her nature as a werewolf. Calla's analyzing and authoritative, but she's also confused. Her selflessness and her loyalty to the pack is admirable but behind her well-put front, she's afraid of completely letting Ren or Shay in. Calla is a strong, rough, and frank; just like the characteristics of a werewolf. In Nighshade, Calla is both wolf and human. Both beings are truly a part of her.
Sexy, commanding, and unfailing, Ren embodies similar characteristics to Calla, embedded into his alpha nature. His tainted past leaves him careful, protective, and hardened underneath. Readers will be drawn to his seductive charisma and animalistic qualities and still percieve him as a deep, thoughtful, three-dimensional character. He's flawed, and has been hurt before, but there are moments wherein his more sensitive, sweeter side is highlighted.
(This is where the paragraph of Shay is supposed to be in. But I'm Team Ren *laughs evilly*)
Although fast-paced and action-packed, Nightshade isn't rushed. The details and nuances are naturally revealed and the descriptions only strengthen the plot even more. Even with so many characters, Cremer is able to give each individual his/her own distinct personality. Each character stays true to themselves through the entire novel.
Nightshade is an suspenseful start to a new, exciting series. The danger, the romance, the action, and the characters all pull together to create an absorbing world of deceit, lies, and passion. Cremer's debut will definitely impress readers and pull them into Nightshade's world. A stunning original debut.
The Bottom Line: Team Ren FOR THE WIN. *throws confetti*
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 95/100 (A+)