Sunday, 16 December 2012
Cremer manages to create a seductive yet twisted world where humans are little more than pawns to a pack of werewolves and the werewolves are really just knights for the cunning and manipulative Keepers. Cremer's imagery is amazing and she portrays the change from human to werewolf well - making the two part of a person - the form being chosen for what suits the person at the time. The whole werewolf thing seems real and her carefully crafted characters and their close ties become progressively more intricate as the novel progresses.
I can see how for some people Nightshade would be a fantastic novel and they would love Calla but honestly I found it quite hard to connect with her - she was always at war with herself and felt overly dramatic - there was the whole episode of the heroine not trusting her friends with what's going on and so it backfires on her leaving her alone in a mess. I think I just found Calla a little fake and because the rest of the story was so good around her that Cremer could have done a bit more to make her more real.
However Cremer's secondary characters are really good and they support the main characters, Calla, Shay and Ren extremely well. She manages to capture a different personality for each individual making the interactions between them entertaining and realistic.
Shay, along with Ren, is the main love interest but he really wasn't that great - It was great that he believed Calla should be able to decide her own future but that was only because she wanted him to choose her.. In that sense he was quite selfish in the fact he was always looking for ways for Calla to be with him - taking little note of the inward pain it was causing her having to choose between Ren and Shay.
Ren seems to pull the short straw in this book - yeah he's a bit of a egoistical eejit sometime but he also really does care for Calla. It seems a shame that because Calla doesn't want to be forced into a relationship with him she doesn't get into a relationship with him. The whole pre-matched thing puts a damper on any real relationship forming between them since Calla rebels against it.
Cremer does annoy me a little with the theme of true love (Bryn and Ansel (two of the werewolves) for example). It just gets a little fake and sappy. But that's probably just because I'm in a cynical mood! Cremer's plot is original though which is really good for a YA novel seeing as they can so often be generic.
Nightshade is part of a trilogy so I will try and get hold of the other two somehow as I would like to know how the story progresses (Calla might be a little irritating sometimes but you still get attached to her). Cremer also seems to have written a prequel which will be interesting as the whole Guardian/Keeper relationship is quite confusing so that should be good for clearing up any misconceptions.
All in All it is a good book and I would give Nightshade 4 out of 5. It didn't quite have that lasting 'pow' that some books have but I still want to read about what happens to Calla.
Nightshade is published by Atom an imprint of Little Brown and can be bought from Amazon at around £4.89, and is worth reading - especially if you have read Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series.