Lead the pack

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer was an enjoyable read.

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 te very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything-including her own life.

Character

Calla is a strong leading lady. I enjoy that as an alpha female she isn’t hesitant to use her authority when she needs to but she doesn’t oppress her pack and prevent them from being themselves like some of the other pack leaders. She takes her role seriously but not because she likes the power, because she feels she is responsible for her packmates. She is put in horrible situations where those with greater authority than her abuse their power and take sexual advantage of young people (mature subject matter in this book!) and she is torn by her respect for tradition and her own morals. Her hormones are out of control and that’s partly a teen thing and partly a wolf thing.

Ren surprised me, I’m never sure if he is going to kill someone in a jealous rage or be a sweetheart. He’s an interesting character and I’d like to read more about him but I don’t think I’d want to get involved with him personally. However Calla’s a lot stronger than I am and could hold her own better if he lost his temper.

Shay is a bit too cookie cutter for me. Insert cute, mysterious boy you are forbidden to be with here.

Ansel, Calla’s little brother is my favourite character. He’s adorable, supportive, vulnerable, loyal, just a little rebellious and should win a best supporting character award !

Plot

For the most part pretty predictable, but sometimes I’m in the mood for that. The end leaves you hanging and confused about whether everything you predicted that seemed to come true a second ago actually did.

She can control her pack, but not her heart

Love

I really enjoyed:

  • the sexy chemistry between characters. I think I was blushing in the break room reading this
  • the pack dynamics
  • the rebellion, oh how I love when hegemony falls apart in books
  • the minor characters (Ansel, Mason, Neville…)
  • The groping in the middle of a high-speed chase. “run for your life” and feel under my dress, because ya we have time for that
  • Philosophy discussions, Thomas Hobbes being involved

Hate

  • The making out and fighting in the library that for the most part no one notices. If you are with someone you will be killed for being with, jumping them in a public place is not very smart
  • Giant spiders are overdone (Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter…..)

 Aesthetics

I want to start by looking at the gorgeous cover. The image is very striking and to be honest one of the reasons I picked up the book.

The flowers are chosen because of Calla’s name. Only Ren calls her Lily, and the flowers are bloody, making the reader wonder what her arranged marriage with Ren would be like.

The “t” in Nightshade is the symbol for Scion and it drips blood onto the lilies. This brings Shay into her bloody future. Is she risking her life by helping him?

I love the way her white hair takes up more space on the cover than her face. The white windblown hair seems to represent her wolf-self that she states in the book is always there beside her waiting for her to change forms.

Her eye is breathtaking. It’s striking colour captures our eyes immediately. The eye sums up Calla:

  • strong
  • fierce
  • gorgeous
  • predatory

My major problem with the cover is her makeup! It looks beautiful with the eyeliner and eyeshadow emphasizing her wolf eye and the sparkles matching her hair and the flowers. Her lipstick fits well with the rest of the cover’s palett…BUT in the novel Calla makes a point of saying that she does not like to fuss with her appearance. Even when she is being forced to wear dresses instead of jeans and a T-shirt she refuses to wear makeup, even on the fancy occasions where it’s standard to go a little over-board with makeup (balls, weddings….). Calla want’s to appear tough and competent not frivolous and girly. She dislikes that being a mate is such a big part of being an alpha.

Now on the inside of the book I have a problem with the enormous waste of paper! At the end of each chapter there is a blank page, and then a black page with a moon and the chapter number, followed by a blank page and then the beginning of the next chapter.  If you want to use the moon to remind people they are reading about werewolves or to show the passing of time then put it in the big empty space you left anyway at the top of the page of the beginning of chapters. Extensive killing of trees aside, the moons upset me because Calla explains to Shay that the moon has nothing to do with her pack, that’s just a human superstition.

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