Author: Andrea Cremer
Genre: Teen Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: The first time I read this book was several years ago when it was just an arc. I remember liking it enough to want to continue on, but by the time the second book came out I had forgotten almost everything. In my defense, I read the arc several months before the first book’s release date, and then it was well over a year and a half before I got my hands on the next installment. I always knew I wanted to go back and reread, but it kind of got put on the back burner. Earlier this year, however, I finally found the motivation I needed to pick it back up. You see, my book blogging friend Chanzie at Mean Who You Are had made it one of her nominations for people to vote for as her Book of the Month. We ended up having a read-along, and it was so much fun I can’t wait to do another! In any case, I want to thank her for getting me back on this series because, while I appreciated it the first time around, I absolutely loved it the second time!
This is actually my second time reading Nightshade, and I liked it much better this time around. I have to thank Chanzie over at Mean Who You Are for letting me read along with her chosen Book of the Month because I think without her it would have been a very long time before I picked this series back up… not to mention the read along itself was a ton of fun!
I can’t say enough good things about the writing style – Cremer has such a strong voice, and the way she put together words to describe even the most mundane things was beautiful. I’m not saying she was flowery with her descriptions, by any means, I just appreciated how she composed her sentences. Even to the point where I’d be willing to read just about anything she writes because I’m certain the craft side of it would be done beautifully. Come to think of it, when I first read Nightshade, I was not the aspiring writer I am today… I think we may have figured out why I liked it a whole lot better the second time around. Isn’t it weird how books can do that to you?
One thing my pre-writing self and I agreed on is that the characters in this book are a lot of fun. Even though they’re not incredibly dynamic yet (I have high hopes for the second book), they are interesting and easy to get behind – their conflicts really tug at your heartstrings. Let’s take a moment for some girl talk: my first inclination was to crush on the new boy in town, Shay. In fact, during the first read through I did just that. Now, however, I have found a new appreciation for Ren, the boy who Calla has known since she was a child – the one she’s supposed to marry. Each boy has flaws, which is what makes them realistic characters, but the unfortunate thing is that the flaws are kind of deal-breakers for me in the relationship department. Shay’s actions tell me he’s not as concerned with Calla’s safety as I think he should be (it’s not malicious, but he does take a lot of risks where she would pay the price) whereas Ren is kind of a man-whore (but I at least think he’d be loyal to Calla). Five years ago, Ren’s promiscuity threw me off immediately, whereas now Shay’s actions bothered me more. Anyway, to make a long story short: go team Ren! While I’m on the subject of characters, I should also mention that the secondary characters (primarily the fellow pack-mates) were fantastic. I was just as interested in their conflicts as I was the main character’s and am really excited to see how things change for them going forward.
The only thing I could say I didn’t like about this book is that its beginning was a little too much of a whirlwind. It was difficult for me (both times) to wrap my brain around what was happening and I got slapped over the head with what felt like a major instalove. My advice is to stick with it. It only takes a couple of chapters before it transitions into a highly entertaining story. I have read a lot of werewolf books, but I’ve never read one quite like this. :-)
Overall, Nightshade is an excellent start to this series and perfect for fans of teen paranormal. If you can be forgiving for the first couple of chapters, you are in store for excellent writing, great characters, and a cool concept!
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