Nightshade {ARC review} * * * *

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Oct 19, 2010

– paranormal, YA –

reviewed by Tara SG

received for review via Star Book Tours

Book Order (Nightshade)

  1. Nightshade * * * * (10.19.10)
  2. Wolfsbane (Summer 2011)
  3. Bloodrose (Spring 2012)
  4. Untitled Companion Novel (Fall 2012)


Author’s Website :

Amazon : pre-order hardcover / eBook

Add To Your GoodReads TBR List

This book in 6 words:

gripping paranormal with torturous love triangle

Why did I read this? And am I glad I did?

I signed up for this ARC tour based on the summary and after seeing some good reviews for it, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was not disappointed! I really enjoyed this book. While vamps are still my paranormal preference, werewolves are closing the gap. These wolves aren’t your typical weres though. They are guardians for witches. Calla loves fighting and is eager to become the alpha female. What she’s still on the fence about it is the fact that this involves her pre-arranged marriage to the future alpha Ren. This is something, however, that she’s learned to live with… until Shay crosses her path and shakes her perfectly planned life up. The action kicks off right from the start and keeps pace. We’re constantly trying to figure out who to trust and how this is all going to work out. There were a few things that bothered me about the mystery, but overall I loved the characters and world and will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

PS. I can’t get over how many AMAZING debut books have come out recently!

Brief Summary

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack’s world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches’ War that surrounds them all.

– Via

Plot/Pacing/Writing Style

I really liked the new twist on werewolves and I loved the world-building! The witches war and how the guardians are involved mixed with the mystery of their histories and future all worked really well. I also loved how the characters personal issues were mixed in. It didn’t take away from the overall plot at all. There was one majorish plot point that I think was way too easy to figure out. To the point were I believe it was intentional and I prefer to learn that kind of stuff with the characters :/ However, there were enough surprises and action near the end to make up for it.

The story kicks off with a bang and while it evens out in the middle I was in no way bored. I think I would have enjoyed it a little more if the story was set over a longer period of time, but it didn’t feel overly rushed. I read this all in one day and would have instantly picked up and read the second. Warning: There’s a BIG cliffhanger.


I think that the characters are what really make this book amazing. Calla is under a lot of pressure, but is still brave enough to go against the rules to help Shay. She cares deeply about her family and friends and wants to make everyone happy. It hurt to watch her torn between Shay and Ren and the duty to her pack.

I always choose sides. I pick a “team” and I defend them until the end (Edward, Ash, Dmitri…). That being said, I am completely torn on this one. I’m leaning towards Team Ren, so we’ll start with him. Renier is the future alpha and Calla’s betrothed. He’s a ladies man. He’s aggressive and he’s sometimes a jerk. He’s also protective, surprisingly caring, devoted to his pack, and dealing with a tough childhood. He understand the pressure Calla is under and genuinely has feelings for her.

Shay makes Calla feel like the weight of the world is no longer on her shoulders. He is also protective of her and does his best to get along with her friends. He’s smart, stubborn, and mysterious. They don’t know each other very well and while I can see the draw to him, I’m not sold that he’s the right one for her in the end.

The supporting characters are great and very well-developed. We learn bits and pieces about the two young packs that getting ready to become one. There is romance, secrets, and fighting. I feel like she did a great job of including different types of personalities: goth chick, pretty girl, jock, emo…


If you like YA paranormal then I highly recommend this. It’s innocent enough for younger readers, but I feel like it was written for an older YA audience.

Going Deeper – extremely slight spoilers

Kudos to the author for including a same-sex couple among the friends. And it’s not OK with all of the pack. We get to see how they deal with it and how it is and isn’t accepted. I know it’s not quite as difficult for teens to be out now as it was even when I was in high school, but I love seeing it portrayed in such a positive light. It’s very subtle and not a main plot point, it just adds a sense of realism to the story that I really enjoyed.

Tara SG
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15 Responses to Nightshade {ARC review} * * * *

  1. Elie N says:

    Tara, I agree with you. This was a great read. Tortorous love triange-perfect description. Good stuff.

  2. I love this book!!! I actually signed up for an ARC tour to read Nightshade as well and so far, Nightshade is one of the BEST books I’ve read this year!

    🙂 I am Team Ren!! I love Shay, but Ren is more my type haha.

  3. Raíla says:

    Nightshade has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen, plus has such an intriguing plot that I’m so super looking forward to dive in. 🙂 Thank you for the review!

    • Tara SG says:

      @ Raíla : It really does! I only wish the girl on the cover wasn’t wearing makeup because Calla is kinda a tomboy 🙂

  4. Ohh I have this one in the tbr pile – love your review of it! Though I’m a little scared of the cliffhanger ending you mentioned since I fear cliffhangers and love triangles but I’ll just have to put on my big girl pants and read this one..

    • Tara SG says:

      @ Heather (Darkly Reading) : I’m not a fan of love triangles either. This one broke my heart, but I was actually really engrossed in it because I couldn’t pick teams for a long time (which is highly usual for me!). The cliffhanger, however, is just plain mean… Sorry!

  5. Natalie says:

    Eeeek! I have this one on my shelf, but I haven’t had time to read it yet (Do you ever feel like you NEVER.STOP.SAYING.THAT!?!?!?) Lol. I can’t wait!

    P.S. I finally found where our differences lie! We tend to have very similar opinions about the books we read, but when there’s a love triangle, we pick different teams! Lol. You listed Edward, Ash, and Dimitri, and I totally preferred Puck and Adrian. (And Jacob, back when I was a fan of the series-that-must-not-be-named. That was before Breaking Dawn came out and ate a little piece of my soul). Haha.

    • Tara SG says:

      @ Natalie : I think that all the time (about the not having time to read)!

      OMG!! You’re so right! How strange! Good thing there are always one of my guys and one of your guys in the books we both love 🙂

      HAHAHAHAHA! Ditto about the series-that-must-not-be-named.

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  7. Missie says:

    That is exactly my problem, Tara! I haven’t read many werewolf books, so I’m stuck on one idea of how weres should be handled.

    I totally should have read this review before reading the book. It could have opened my way of thinking, and saved me the heartbreak of being left on the edge of my seat!

    • Tara SG says:

      @ Missie : As much as I love when an author changes up the mythology, it can still be hard to adjust. It was a little hard to stop thinking of them as “werewovles”.

  8. I just finished and loved this one! I can’t really decide on a “team” either–they are both written so well!

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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