Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Publisher:  Philomel Books (Penguin)
Publish Date:  October 19, 2010
ISBN:  978-0-399-25482-6
Pages:  452
Cover Design:  Katrina Damkoehler

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure about reading a story about werewolves and romance.  Too many were-mances were passed on to me that were just ridiculous.  But I gave it a chance, mostly because the cover is gorgeous!

Calla Tor and Ren Laroche are Seniors at Mountain School.  They've been chosen to head up the new pack being formed - a combination of the Nightshade and Bane families.  Calla is a Nightshade and Ren is a Bane.

There are several groups involved in the story and it took me a few minutes to sort them out:

Guardians - the werewolves.  They're soldiers and sworn to protect whatever the Keepers tell them to, they can switch into wolves whenever they want to.
Keepers - in charge of the packs, provide everything for the Guardians - homes, food, education, vehicles. They are considered witches or Old Ones, they protect humanity and demand complete obedience and loyalty from the Guardians.
Searchers - they want to take over the sacred sites and use the power (or so we're told) for their own gain.
Humans - They have no idea of what's going on really

Calla knows she has to mate with Ren, but the new boy at school, Shay, is causing her doubts.  The worst part is that while Ren has been able to play the field, she has had to be chaste.  No boyfriends, no kissing, nothing.  Now that the ceremony is close, everyone is on edge.  Add to that the fact that the Keepers have assigned Calla to watch over and protect Shay and it's no wonder she's confused.  As she hangs out with Shay more and more, things begin to come to light that just don't make sense with what she's always believed.

On the night of her 'wedding' to Ren, pieces begin to fall into place and nothing will ever be the same again.

For a book I was really skeptical of, this one turned out to be pretty good.  Calla comes across as a typical teenager with real feelings, while Shay seems pretty normal, it's very believable characterization.

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