Andrea Cremer, Nightshade

Posted June 6, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade, 1
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

First in the Nightshade urban fantasy series for young adults. Although, I must warn you that there are some sexually predatory innuendos in this. They make me uncomfortable…

As for the rest…drama queen…

My Take
It’s an intriguing premise with a different take on “vampires” and the role of shifters in Cremer’s world, just not well done. Oh, spots of it were good, but then Cremer kept falling back on the lousy clichés.

Poor Calla. Not only is her entire life all mapped out already, but her mother…well, let’s just say that just because Calla is an alpha, she’s still subject to the same parental tyrannies…just magnified! The kids all attend a very exclusive school composed of shifters and humans…with the humans at the very bottom of the pile.

I really dislike the whole double standard of Ren being able to fool around while Calla is expected to be as pure as driven snow on her “wedding” night. Then Cremer has Ren pushing Calla to let him “do things” with her before they are joined. How is that respectful?? What a jerk! Cremer has really packed in the sexual issues: Neville and Mason’s relationship which is threatened by the Bane Keepers and the predatory nature of the same Banes along with Ren’s dad. Supposedly Ren and Calla are the alpha leaders. Notice the plural? Somehow, the plural part seems to have escaped Ren.

I don’t get it. What’s so “embarrassingly spectacular” about Cal taking Ren’s blood? If Cremer was trying to make this a dramatic moment…it failed. “Dorky” is more the word that comes to mind. Cliché, cliché, cliché…the arranged “marriage”, the new player from outside who seems more clearly, the playboy. What’s with the sneak peek in the Cave? It just isn’t holding together. Yes, Cremer is writing it, but it doesn’t mean she’s made it fit. I suppose she needed her excuse to change Shay. Yawn.

Cremer did manage to salvage this at the end with the escape and the kidnapping…thank god. Although I rather doubt I’ll explore any further. I just don’t like this story and I strongly suspect it’s the hypocrisy that exists in the packs, the betrayal that lurks throughout, and the very nasty innuendo.

It seems that Shay has shown up in the nick of time with his very different perspective on the history the packs have always been taught .

It’s an interesting world in which the Keepers control every bit of a Guardian’s life from birth to death, including who they marry and what they are taught. Everything is streamlined towards maintaining the Keepers as the masters.

The Story
A potentially deadly encounter in the mountains creates havoc at the Mountain School when Calla encounters the young hiker she saved. He’s a new student with a very powerful uncle. An uncle who has “requested” that these young Guardians protect this human.

Some bond was forged in that attack and poses a dangerous potential for Calla and Ren’s union next month. A union upon which the Keepers are insistent. And yet those same Keepers insist that Calla spend time with Shay. Time that opens a world of doubts.

The Characters
Calla Tor is destined to marry Renier Laroche and start a new Pack, the Haldis, to serve the Keepers. Stephen Tor is the current pack’s alpha and her father. Her mother Naomi is a piece of work. Somehow the whole point of women’s lib passed her by and I just want to smack her silly. Calla’s pack members include Mason who is gay and attracted to Neville; Ansel, her brother; Bryn, her best friend; and, Fey, who becomes interested in Dax.

Renier Laroche is the son of Emile Laroche, the alpha of the Bane Pack and a real scumsucker. The rest of Ren’s pack consists of Sabine, she allows Efron to use her to protect Cosette; Neville is a musician and returns Mason’s attraction (no, I’m not implying anything about musicians); Cosette is a sweet, shy, young thing who follows Sabine’s lead; and, Dax.

Seamus “Shay” Doran is the new kid. The one whom Calla saved up on the mountain. Bosque Mar is his uncle and one of the Regents at the school. He’s also a Keeper.

Lumine Nightshade and Efron Bane are Keepers, the masters. The Guardians serve the Keepers—read that as they are slaves, well-paid, but they are kept and are expected to obey their Keepers in ALL things. The Keepers controls wraiths, shadow guards. Nurse Lana Flynn is a Keeper and the spellwarder at the school. And vicious with it. Logan Bane is a student Keeper and Efron’s son. Destined to soon master his own pack. Searchers are “the enemy”, supposedly.

The Guardians are the shifters. Each pack reporting to a different Keeper. The Mountain School has students from all three species: humans, Keepers, and Guardians. And never the twain shall meet.

The Cover
Pretty…I love the lilac and silver of her hair forming the background and the bloody calla lilies. Such a contrast of soft and pretty with the implied violence.

The dagger with its drip of blood forming the “t” in the title is actually rather subtle.

View all my reviews