Author: Andrea Cremer
Published: October 2010 by Philomel
My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: YA | Paranormal | Werewolves | Romance | Series (Book One)
Includes: Profanity, Sexuality, Violence
First Lines: I'd always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden. The bear's roar filled my ears. Its hot breath assaulted my nostrils, fueling my bloodlust.
Calla is a Guardian for the Keepers - her job as a werewolf is to protect and do whatever the Keepers, beings with magical powers, say. Calla is an alpha female who leads her pack called Nightshade. After graduating from highschool, she is destined to unite and mate with Ren, the alpha male of a pack called Bane. Then, their two packs will combine as one. Their mission is to protect a sacred site for the Keepers because their enemies, the Searchers, are looking for it.
One day while Calla is on patrol on the mountain, she comes across a human boy being brutally attacked by a bear. Even though it's against the Keepers rules, she saves him and the boy watches her transform from a wolf to a human. The next day at school, a new student arrives named Shay...the boy who Calla saved. The two of them immediately feel a connection, but Calla is already planned to unite with Ren. As Calla and Shay begin to spend more and more time together, Calla must face a decision that could destroy everything she lives for.
I read this 450 page book in four days...which is a new record because it usually takes me at least a week to read a book half this size. This is just one of the many ways that shows how awesome it was. It was unlike anything I have ever read before and I can't believe this is Andrea Cremer's debut novel because it was simply astounding. Her writing was beautiful and structured so well. Stepping into Calla's world was thrilling, adventurous, and sexy. Creativity poured out from every page and the plot never dragged.
From Page 5
The scent of fear covered him, taunting my predatory instincts, but beneath it lay something else - the smell of spring, of nascent leaves and thawing earth. A scent full of hope. Possibility. Subtle and tempting.
Calla was such a believable and lovable protagonist. Her character was developed beautifully and I grew to really understand her and her pack of four others. Each character in the book, no matter how much spotlight they got, was deeply developed. I got to know and understand each one of them, forming different opinions/feelings about them all. Calla's love triangle with Ren and Shay was scandalous yet so addicting. I'm definitely on Team Shay, I loved him from the very beginning over the dominant and overprotective Ren. Even after finishing the last page, I'm still not sure where I stand with Ren; he's likable and sexy, so caring for Calla, but I think just a little too aggressive for me. Shay was headstrong and determined. When he knew what he wanted, he wouldn't let anything get in his way. I also loved how much he influenced Calla; being rebellious, he started planting questions about the Keepers in her mind. Until finally, they decided to break the Keepers rules and dig deep into Calla's history to find out the truth. I lost count how many times Calla and Shay broke the rules because their curiosity kicked in. Also, even in the worst life-or-death situations, Shay was still able to lighten the mood and make Calla laugh. I want my own Shay in real life!
Do not even get me started on how fantastic, suspenseful, and nail-biting the last few chapters were. Oh my goodness, I have never read a better cliffhanger ending in my life before. I am dying to read the sequel already, Wolfsbane, but I still have to wait over a year! This book just consumed me and refused to let me put it down. Even from the first page I was absorbed in this dark urban fantasy. I would stay up reading until two in the morning, while my eyes would burn for sleep but I'd just ignore it because I had to know what was going to happen in Calla's world. Full of passion and lust, twists and turns that I didn't see coming, this unpredictable book left me out of breath and craving for more.
Cover Thoughts: Wow, this cover is gorgeous; the colors, bloody flowers, and strange girl are perfect for this book. Even little things like the odd cross for the "t" in Nightshade make sense after reading the book. I love it!