Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin Group)
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?Nightshade is the kind of story that hooks you from the very first page and doesn't let go until long after you've finished. When I say it jumps straight into the action, I mean it. The first thing I read after opening the book was about a girl attacking a grizzly bear!
This girl is, of course, our lovely main character, Calla. I really admired her strength throughout the novel and the amount of dedication and loyalty she had to her pack. She sacrificed a lot more than others even realized for their safety and there were definitely some moments I just wanted to hug her. That's not to say she couldn't take care of herself because she proved time and time again that she had no qualms about getting her hands dirty!
A love triangle is a large part of this story and incorporates Calla, Ren and Shay. Ren was... amazing. I had a fangirl crush on him for the better part of the story. While he can at times seem like a jerk, it's clear that he genuinely does care for Calla a lot. Add that to the fact that he's unfairly attractive and you have an irresistable alpha male. Shay, on the other hand, is sweeter and more vulnerable. Maybe it's because I was too wrapped up in Ren to give him a chance, but I just didn't connect to Shay as much as Calla obviously did. He seemed more like a brother than boyfriend material to me.
Even though the characters were a huge part of the story for me, the plot was also fascinating. The Keepers, Searchers and Guardians were a really interesting dynamic and clearly well thought-out. A lot of unanswered questions are waiting in my mind upon the completion of the book, particularly in regards to the Searchers. Nightshade left off at an enormous cliffhanger and I'm absolutely dying to get my hands on the next book.
Cover Comments: I love this cover! It's purple (and sparkly!), there's pretty flowers (and it's sparkly!) and on top of that, there are sparkles. How much cooler can you get? As much as I love this cover though, I have to admit it doesn't really reflect the story. I'm sure most of you have seen the paperback version (picture below if not) which admittedly, when I first saw, really disliked. It's kind of growing on me now though, especially after having read the book. The sequel cover, however... that's upsetting. I really love the old version (even if there were no sparkles) and I'm sad they changed it. Oh well. I'm sure the story inside will be utterly amazing.