Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Five Fangs for Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Calla Tor has always followed the rules.
Born on Halloween her destiny was predetermined to be the mate of Ren, a boy also born on Halloween. Together they are set to be the alphas of a new pack after they mate on Calla's 18 birthday. She grows up being the alpha of her pack- leading the young in her pack- the ones that will become part of the new pack once she joins with Ren. Calla has never questioned this, questioned her life.
Calla grew up as an alpha wolf, never a normal girl. She knows her place and never stepped out of line.
At least, not until Shay showed up.
A human boy on her mountain- going against all the rules she saves him thinking she'll never see him again.
Then he shows up at her school and gets involved in her world making her ask questions she never considered before.
Nightshade is a complicated story that questions authority by asking at what point does following the rules become the acceptance of slavery?
When does blind faith become simply blind?
Nightshade presents an intense look at the system of hegemony between witches, wizards, and werewolves. It's a power struggle full of lies, deceit and half truths with the underlying questions of who is right? who is wrong? and where do Calla and Shay fit into everything?
This is a compelling and complicated story that is intensely seductive (without being overly sexually).
Calla, Shay and Ren are all complicated and complete characters. We are left to wonder constantly about Shay while Ren is both the Lothario and a young man that seems to truly care for Calla which in a way is quite surprising given his reputation.
The other pack members are equally interesting and I love that the side characters are well developed and play their roles filling in the story nicely.
Cremer has put an interesting spin on the rules and regulations involving a werewolf pack. She's taken basic pack law and added a magical spin that creates conflict and questions that propel the story. The wolves are not in charge of themselves. Sure each pack has a leader but that alpha has top answer to a Keeper. The Keepers dictate everything about the pack from who is ion the pack to who each member mates to where they live. The packs go along with this, seemingly on blind faith because that's the way it has "always been done".
Shay opens Calla's eyes and pushes her to ask questions, to wonder, to look for the absolute truth and not the half truths and outright lies she has grown up with.
This has to be one of the best developed worlds in a YA series.
Intense, phenomenal, extraordinary. Can't wait to read more.
Cremer gives us enough in Nightshade to immerse us in the world then make us want to learn along with Calla we are with Calla trying to get to the truth. It makes you crave the next book.
My 11 year old daughter read this book before I did and she raved on and on about it. She's read a lot of the YA paranormals- Vampire Kisses, House of Night, Hearts at Stake...and so far this is her favorite book out of them all.