Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Penguin (Philomel)
Pub. Date: 10.19.2010
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Keywords: Guardians, Shapeshifters, Love Triangle, Duty, Mystery
Description (from GoodReads):
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?
Popular genres will always be spotted with so-so imitations of the novels that started the craze, and it’s sometimes easy to let those particular novels skew a reader’s perception of the genre’s quality. Today’s shevles are crowded with paranormal and fantasy YA that end up disappointing and mundane, but NIGHTSHADE is most definitely not one of those books.
NIGHTSHADE has been heavily marketed as romance, and it is, but Cremer also included what many of those so-so novels are lacking: a fantastic plot with many different elements. There isn’t just a love triangle, there’s family drama, a rich history shrouded in secrets, and a look at how one’s culture shapes and affects personality and beliefs, for better or worse.
In regard to the romantic elements, I felt that Cremer did well, though I personally didn’t feel torn between the two interests, so the “triangle” was lost on me. In fact, I think most readers will pick a side fairly quickly. The two boys are drastically different, and, as I read, it was clear to me which of the characters Calla should choose. Later, when I discussed my opinion with a friend, she vehemently argued the opposite. In fact, every reader I talked with argued passionately and logically for one side or the other. I found it reminscent of the Peeta vs Gale (The Hunger Games) Debate, which is a good thing. I recommend NIGHTSHADE to friends because it’s a great book, but also because I want to know who they think Calla should choose.
I’m eagerly awaiting the continuation of Calla’s story, WOLFSBANE, which will release next year. I not only loved NIGHTSHADE, I truly enjoyed Cremer’s writing, so I look forward to news of future projects as well.