Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade (Nightshade #1)
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: ATOM
Publishing Date: Dec 28th 2010
Length: 480 pages
ARC: Courtesy of ATOM
Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal romance

5/5 ***** Nightshade- Seductive, powerful and the best debut novel 2010! 

  ~ The Author ~

Andrea Cremer spent her childhood daydreaming and roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Minnesota, but she thinks of her homeland as the “Canadian Shield” rather than the Midwest.

Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but she only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional writing. When she’s not writing, Andrea teaches history at a very nice liberal arts college in St. Paul.

In the little spare time she can find, Andrea stares up at trees, rescues infant rabbits from predatory cats, and invents names for pug puppies with her husband. She has an unfortunate tendency to spill things – white carpets beware!

Her debut novel, Nightshade, the first of a YA fantasy series, will be published in fall 2010 by Penguin (Philomel).

Author profile by Goodreads  

For further information check out http://www.andreacremer.com/  or her blog http://www.blurredhistory.blogspot.com/

~ The Novel ~

Nightshade was first published in October 2010 by Philomel. It is the first novel in the Nightshade trilogy. The second novel, Wolfsbane, will be released July 12th 2011 by Philomel and the third, Bloodrose in 2012.
Andrea Cremer also wrote a prequel to Nightshade, Shadow Days: A Nightshade Novella. You can read it for free, click here

~ The Story ~

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 the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Summary by Goodreads 

To read an excerpt of Nightshade click here

~ The Review ~

I started reading Nightshade with high expectations, because there were so many positive reviews about it, and they weren’t disappointed, rather exceeded.

Nightshade is located in the fantasy genre, it combines elements of our human world with otherworldly experiences and elements of the animal kingdom. As many other werewolf novels before, Cremer achieved to create a unique picture of a new werewolf world. But as I noticed in no other novel before, she gifted humans with animal-like gestures and wolves with human feelings. The wolf-like gestures Cremer describes appear so natural, she must have been living with a pack of wolves studying their every movement to create such a coherent picture.
The transition between human and wolf form of our heroine Calla and her pack mates is always fluid and there are no abrupt breaks of change or for example loss of memory. I like the fact that Cremer’s werewolves get the chance to control both forms and connect emotions, memories, mimics and gestures with both of them to extend their personalities to their fullest.

Her characters are comparable to no other. Our heroine Calla is strong and fearless in war, an alpha, but when it comes to love and controlling her heart she is totally lost in a maelstrom of feelings. Her heart is torn between desire and duty, between Shay and Ren, a human boy and her destined male alpha. Shay and Ren are characters just as strong as Calla regarding my affections.
Nightshade is the first novel that doesn’t let me fall for the forbidden but appropriate love couple, the boy who  I don’t expect getting the girl!
Other novels know how to direct my attention at the “right” hero, the one who always gets the girl and doesn't break my heart by being abandoned. That Ren totally got me just shows the talent of Cremer to create powerful and tempting characters. I will hope till the last page for Ren and Calla, and even if their relationship doesn’t work, there will always be a place in my heart for Ren, sexy and more than selfaware on the outside, but vulnerable and insecure at heart. 

Cremer created a love triangle I am more than interested in, but she also involves sub plots that are no less thrilling and important for the course of the story. In the end of Nightshade I care about every single character, who are all so varied and well-thought-out.

Furthermore she applies a writing style, that is one of the best I’ve got to experience so far. She has a good feel for syntax and choice of words, the right sense for plot arrangements, just as my favourite author would be capable of.

This novel  is a mixture of romance combined with a love triangle, supported by slightly erotic but esthetic elements, which make it a very seductive and exciting read!

Nightshade surprised me like no other novel before by applying a major plot point, change in nature and character so early. As Nightshade is just the first novel in a trilogy I would have expected this certain plot point being part of the third novel. Then after a moment of confusion I really appreciated the idea of involving aforesaid surprising event in Nightshade, because it makes me think of the huge events and surprises Cremer has planned for the next two instalments and makes me giddy. I can’t wait for Wolfsbane to come out!

Cremer opened the gates to a new realm of werewolf novel that keeps your heart hammering against your rip cage, your mind busy with the magic of Nightshade and your body in the arms of your favourite alpha.

Although it stands out due to a high complexity in word, characters and world, Nightshade can be easily described by a single word: perfect!

~ We love this book because… ~

1) the best dates begin with a knock out
2) of two different type of boys and two very different ways to dance
3) we always wish for a guy to be reasonable and consistent, but sometimes we are more than happy about the result when he just couldn’t help himself
4) new alliances mean new enemies but also beginnings and friends
5) even little brothers deserve some romance

~ The Verdict ~

I was so happy about receiving a shiny Nightshade proof copy, it was my very first ARC that was sent to me after a  request. There couldn’t have been any better novel to be my first ARC!
Nightshade overwhelmed me, it played with me, gave me room, took it away again and left me breathless after numerous chapters, especially the last one.
It immediately became one of my favourite books of 2010, and I know it is on top of many other  2010 Best Books blogger lists, which is a really great achievement for a debut author, but Andrea Cremer deserves each single praise! I highly recommend reading this novel, it is one of 2010’s great and will always be granted a place in my all time favourites.

~ Nightshade is touring, don't miss the fun! 


~ Huge thanks to ATOM for sending me Nightshade by Andrea Cremer!


  1. Great review! I can't wait to read this one. The story sounds so promising, as well as the love triangle!

  2. I'm normally not a fan of paranormal romance, but this one sounds great. Thanks for the review!

  3. Awesome review! I just started reading it. So far its good. :D Thanks!

  4. I hear so much high praise for Nightshade-- got to read it!! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the review. :)

  5. "The wolf-like gestures Cremer describes appear so natural, she must have been living with a pack of wolves studying their every movement to create such a coherent picture."

    Ah, no. It's standard stuff you could find in pretty much any academic book about wolves. In fact, a bunch of it is werewolf cliches.

    I continue to be baffled by the fandom's swooning response to Ren. Am I the only one who remembers he tried to rape Calla in the girl's bathroom?

    This IS a good book, though. Not the best of the year, but up there.

    Lupines and Lunatics

  6. Hi there!

    I've awarded you the Best Blog Award on my blog :-)

  7. I've been hesitant to pick this one up for some reason. Maybe because it's the first in the series? I don't know. I liked your review but I think I'll still wait to read Nightshade

  8. What an awesome, awesome review. You're making me want to read this even more than ever now. I've seen some seriously great reviews, but yours would definitely have to count amongst my favourite reviews for Nightshade!

  9. I haven't gotten around to read this one, but read lots of good reviews :)

  10. OMG! The cover for Nightshade is gorgeous! It's very similar to the U.S. cover but just a little bit different! Awesome review! I look forward to reading your reviews all the time!

  11. Oh wow you did a fantastic job on this review. It actually makes me want to read it again…and change my rating since I did give it a 4. She really did a wonderful job at bringing a whole new take on werewolf's from other books which truly makes this a very unique read.

    I like what you said here, "she gifted humans with animal-like gestures and wolves with human feelings. The wolf-like gestures Cremer describes appear so natural, she must have been living with a pack of wolves studying their every movement to create such a coherent picture."
    It really is very true and I never noticed it until you pointed it out.
    As for Ren…the bathroom scene was one of my favorites…I would have gladly taken Calla's place =)

  12. I finished reading Nightshade. It was awesome. I'm glad you liked it too! :D

    Btw! I awarded you with the Stylish Blogger Award:http://unputdownablebookies.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-have-been-honored-with-stylish.html

  13. I still haven't read Nightshade, I've been on the fence for a while now, but I only read good well ok great things about it so I will have to get this book, once I can figure out which edition to buy, thanks for the review.

  14. I bought Nightshade a while ago, but haven't got round to reading it yet. I love the cover though! I agree, this is a very cool book to be your first ARC!

  15. This is an engaging romantic fantasy starring a bewildered ailing human and a hybrid in heat. The story line is fast-paced with an interesting underlying premise. However, the sex feels gratuitous as Jill is very sick; perhaps puking once or twice on his lower head would have brought realism to the lusty encounters. Still sub-genre readers will enjoy Michelle Rowen's entertaining thriller.