Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Series: Witches War
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Atom (UK)
Publication Date: 28 Dec 2010
Synopsis: From Amazon
She can control her pack, but not her heart ...'I wanted him to kiss me?wished he could smell the desire that I knew was pouring off me. You can't, Calla. This boy isn't the one for you.' Calla Tor has always known her destiny: graduation, marriage and then a life leading her pack. But when she defies her masters' laws to save a human boy, she must choose. Is one boy worth losing everything?
I will start by saying I have seen a few reviews of this book and will probably disagree with the all [: P] To start I LOVE the cover for one thing it is purple, which you should know by now is my absolutely favourite colour. Purple hair (yay) I want.
The book opens by dropping straight into the action. We are immediately aware that Calla is a werewolf and that humans are not allowed to know about them, even that humans are deemed second class citizens in the community Calla lives in.
Written in first person narrative from Calla's perspective, at 18 she is destined to marry Ren, the son of the leader of the other pack of werewolves. Very much your arranged marriage to combine power and strength. Calla is confident, authoritative, gorgeous and powerful right from the start. Her family are portrayed as very loving and close-knit even in the face adversity.
Ren is the polar opposite of Calla; over-confident, a gigolo with no regard for humans at all plus his Father is completely obnoxious and cruelly controlling. Their relationship and that of the 2 werewolf clans emphasis the point that even werewolves have politics and allegiances. The details of the Keepers and the Guardians are revealed little by little. I do think it takes a while to fully appreciate the intricacies of the characterisations and their interactions/relationships within the plot.
The pages themselves are visually arresting with the start of each chapter depicting a phase of the moon. Symbols are placed above chapter headings; I have yet to figure out what they mean but I do think they have some significance to the narrative, they like a bit like runes, if that makes any sense to anyone.
Calla is immediately drawn to Shay, I felt it was like karma/destiny. The person Calla saves against the rules just happens to be Shay who is also the new boy in school. The connection between Shay and Calla is almost tangible from the beginning, like a thread that connects them on a deep level. I am sure that this connection has a plot implication that hasn't been explained so far in the story, I am literally gnawing for the next book to see how this is developed. I really felt for Calla torn between convention/expectation and her own heart. On one hand she has her family on the other her love, there is no middle ground.
This book is thought provoking on many levels: who we love; societies tolerances and who within that society is trustworthy etc - I almost felt as if a caste system was in effect within the narrative. The abuse of power/authority/position is clearly shown within the story. The effect this abuse has on the packs strengthens their bonds. It did irritate me that some allegiances were quickly altered and the way in which Calla, initially a strong warrior alpha, as the story progressed along with the relationship with Ren she was supposed to become subservient to the male alpha (not for me this I am all about girl power having 3 girls of my own). I felt as if the merging plot threads paralleled the merging of the packs [ : D ]
Ingenious use of philosophy provoked some deep thinking while reinforcing the plot. Insightful biblical reference added depth to the narrative. The plot is revealed in tantalising chunks full of threads/parallels/misdirections and assumptions with a sprinkling of WOW moments. Plus my personal favourite - Conspiracy Theories [ ; D ]. There is still so much more that needs to be answered, it has me chomping in anticipation.
If you want a book that has everything this one is definitely for you. A charismatic protagonist, sensory imagery, action, mystery, romance and Conspiracy Theories *swoon*.