Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from 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?
I loved Nightshade partly because of the characters and the unusual world that they inhabit. Andrea Cremer constructed a world with a supernatural beings, special powers, a clear hierarchy/hegemony where the high schoolers are exceptionally literate, driven, and aware.
Calla and Ren are young Alphas from separate packs. They’ve been raised as Guardians and have been specially chosen to create a new pack - through their “union.” The union seems to be both a marriage of sorts and alliance of the young members of their packs. Calla is an interesting leader - as a woman paired off with Ren, her behavior is strictly regulated and circumscribed. She is willing to follow the rules and live by the pack’s expectations when it comes to her own future but she’s deeply protective of the young members of her pack.
At first look, Ren appears less complicated. As the Alpha male, he’s been encouraged to test boundaries and to explore. Ren is the ultimate athlete and a natural leader. He is quick to shoot down anyone who comes to close to his partner-to-be Calla. But as Nightshade unfolds, we learn that Ren has accepted the responsibilities and expectations that come with leadership. Like Calla, Ren is fiercely protective of those in his pack. Unfortunately, Ren and those in his pack have learned to adjust to the whims and desires of their leaders. As Ren struggles to obey the norms and hierarchy of his pack and protect those that he cares about, Calla finds herself increasingly drawn to Shay, the new human in their midst.
As Calla, Ren, Shay and their friends face competing demands of loyalty, duty and love, we enter a complex and fascinating world. Nightshade is engrossing and impossible to put down - and I can’t wait until the next book (Wolfsbane) in the series comes out on July 26, 2011!
ISBN-10: 039925482X - Hardcover $17
Publisher: Philomel; 1 edition (October 19, 2010), 528 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
About the Author:
Andrea Cremer grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and now lives in Minneapolis, where she’s a professor of history at Macalester College. She’s written about violence, sex, religion, and power in history, and has used that research to create the world of Nightshade. Learn more about her at www.andreacremer.com