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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Creamer

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized13 Comments

Publisher: Philomel

Source: Received from Publisher for Review
Publication Date: 19 October 2010
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 039925482X
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 452
Place(s) Traveled to: Vail, Colorado
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

First Line: I’d always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.

Related Posts: NA

Series Order

Prequel – Shadow Days (novella, 19 Oct 2010)
Book 1 – Nightshade
Book 2 – Wolfsbane (26 July 2011)
Book 3 – Bloodrose (Spring 2012)

The tag line on the front of Nightshade by Andrea Creamer reads “She can control her pack but not her heart.” The synopsis hints at this strong female character as she struggles against the constraints of her world to follow her heart. The cover is very seductive and really lures a reader in. Twiiter, Goodreads and the blogs are all abuzz with just how amazing this book is. So I went into this book with high hopes that this “breathless” read would leave me…well…breathless. Dear readers of my blog, I feel like I have been lied to because this book wasn’t a breathless read. The main character wasn’t a strong girl struggling against her pack. No, she was just a very horny one who melted when any boy touched her. 
Those that follow me on goodreads know that this was a book that I struggled with. It was a bit mind blowing and not in that awesome way that the movie Inception was mind blowing. But in the way that just made my eye go all twitchy at what was going on. And so to prevent my brain from exploding I updated my goodreads feed. A lot. If you are interested you can read those “live” updates here. In all honesty I am not sure how I finished the book. I think part of me kept hoping that something would happen that would turn the whole thing around. That there would be a moment when I’d go “ah ha!” THAT’S what everyone is talking about. That is what makes this story. But there was no magical moment and on the last turn of the page I was left scratching my head and say WTF just happened there?
Let’s start with the romantic triangle. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about being on Team Ren or Team Shay and I was curious about both of these characters. Now I love a good love triangle and the choices and conflicts and all the implications but the one in Nightshade really wasn’t. As I said about Calla was just horny. She liked Ren well enough as he was the one chosen for her to marry. But do to some hold over of 14th century mentality she, as Alpha Female, wasn’t allowed to date or look at a boy until her union. Ren on the other hand could be as much of a man-whore as her wanted. Which he was. He only stopped whoreing about when the Union was getting close and then he kept trying to get Calla to do impure things with him using that age old line “no one will know.” And yet every time they seemed to start knocking those boots someone would interrupt them….Ren would then be praised for his virility and Calla would be condemned. Um….really? Especially when these directives to Calla came from the same people who told her to sex up finesse her wardrobe so that she’d be more appealing to Ren.

Then there is Shay. New boy in town. Human. And totally ignorant to the ways of the pack (ie the one used so that we as a read can be told all the ins & outs of Calla’s 14th century lifestyle in 21st century America.) Shay is drawn to Calla and she him because he’s the only boy, outside of Ren, who has dared to touch her. She tries to hold on to the dictates of her society but one touch or kiss from Shay and she’s ready to chuck everything aside just so that he might kiss her again. That is until Ren pops up & kisses or touches her and she melts for him and wants nothing more than follow the rules of her world. This is part of what happens when horny teen werewolves aren’t allowed to play kissing games before being married off. But even though as a reader I was told how much Calla would tingle or melt at Ren/Shay’s touch I didn’t buy a romance between either of them. It was just all so forced like there had to be something written into the book to distract the reader form all the headache inducing plot.

I know that all the suppression of the Nightshade/Bane wolf females is supposed to be this grand stance on how horrible slavery is and how it can still exist in modern times. But I still don’t buy it. From what I saw of the Nightshade/Bane ‘masters’ I don’t get why the werewolf packs are so hell bent on protecting them. Especially when the head of the Bane pack essentially forces teen girls to sleep with him and then teaches his son that this will be good behavior when he has his own pack and do the same. Only this time since Bane Jr is secretly gay its one of the 2 other known secretly gay werewolves in the pack. So secret that everyone but Calla seemed to know and who met at the gay werewolf anonymous meeting. Really???

Now I am not gay but I have many friends and a few family members who are. I do not know what it is like to struggle against knowing who you are and what people in society want you to be. This struggle though is something where I feel that books can help. Then I see a story line like that in Nightshade and I think wow…that just went two steps backwards in helping people’s thinking. In Andrea Creamer’s world to be gay is not just something to hide and be ashamed of. Its punishable by death. And I don’t care what freaking message you are trying to send between the lines on how wrong this dictatorial society is. The words as they are written say something else and that to me is deeply disturbing on so many levels. I know I’ll probably get lots of emails and comments on how wrong my thinking is here but this is what I took away form the book when I read it. Everyone reads a book differently and how you saw something is not how I did. So please know while constructive comments are welcome super snarky ones will be deleted. I will not engage in any arguments on my blog.

Moving on.

The plot.

Oh how cliched and and filled with convenient story telling. The cave with the spider…can I just say for a moment there I thought I’d stumbled into my copy of the Two Towers…but then there were wolves and its like. Nope, no such luck for me! That whole scene is supposed to be this pivotal climactic moment, a turning point in the story, and yet I think I shouted “seriously?!?!” at my book a good 1/2 dozen times in this very short scene. It was convenient, it was cliched, it was so utterly effing unrealistic (and no not just because there was a big effing spider or werewolves involved.) it was a plot device to get a certain event to conveniently happen in a supposedly natural way that I am sure will have HUGE implications later on in the story. It felt fake. I as a reader felt cheated.

I felt cheated again when Creamer went with the age old baddie pontificating about just how little everyone knows and to quote A Few Good Men ‘they can’t handle the truth.’ blah blah blah lets waste lots of time and them book big climax and end scene. Nothing resolved. Just a WTF cliffhanger ending that forces the reader to get the next book to see what happens next. Will Calla survive? Will she finally have to choose between Ren and Shay? and more importantly will this girl ever get laid?? I could say more about what I didn’t like but I think its pretty clear that this one wasn’t for me. I don’t know if I can stomach another book. But we shall see, dear reader of my blog, we shall see.

Reviews from people who thought differently than me
Book Chic Club – “Cremer has created an amazing, original world that is compelling and hard to put down.”
YA Bibliophile – “I loved the way Cremer worked Guardian/Keeper history in to our history and events that actually took place.”
A Book Worm’s Haven – “I think Andrea has done an amazing job of creating a completely new world that will force you to pay attention and fall in love with it.”
The Story Siren – “Nightshade is the perfect blend of everything I love in a novel. There is engaging plot, well written characters, romance and a BEAUTIFUL cover.”
Galleysmith – “It was the right combination of the supernatural and the realistic that I think even those who aren’t into the paranormal might enjoy this book.”

13 Responses to “Nightshade by Andrea Creamer”

  1. Danielle (Overflowing Shelf)

    This makes me scare to attempt to give it another go. But since I’ve had the book since last summer and have never finished it, and my thoughts were similar to yours when I did attempt reading it, I feel this book is just gonna not do it from me.

  2. Braiden


    Why don’t you put my 5 cents worth in as well:

    “Nightshade was such an amazing book, that allowed Andrea Cremer to combine all that she knows into such an intricate story. Nightshade introduces us to a new fantasy world that was completely original and engaging. This story included the paranormal: werewolves, witches and demons, but also is solely based on the ideas of totalitarianism and philosophy. It was sooooooooo GOOD!”

  3. Pam

    I think with the gay wolves Andrea was trying to show mirror how ridiculous our society is, by showing how ridiculous it seems that those two could be killed for loving each other, Calla is struggling to free their pack so that they are all free to love whomever they want.

  4. Irish

    Pam – Calla isn’t struggling to save her pack though. She goes with the flow of the boy who is standing closest to her. If Shay had never come to town she never would have even thought about Mason and Nev not being able to be together. She’d have just accepted that is their fate just as hers was to marry and bow down to Ren. Even though she is supposedly an Alpha as well.

    Calla only starts this investigation into her pack’s history because Shay’s touch makes her all tingly and he’s the first one to dare touch her because of the pack law that she much be pure for her union. If she hadn’t been so horny then none of the events of the book would have happened. Calla is not the strong female struggling against what is wrong that the book synopsis said she was. But this is my opinion. People must take that for what its worth…especially when so many love this book. I just don’t get it.

  5. A Tale of Many Reviews

    I laughed reading this because it’s snarky. I adore snark when I know the person isn’t a true meanie. Love your opinion and seeing different points of view. 🙂

  6. Irish

    Heidenkind – yes its set in Vail – but only loosely so. Most of the book takes place in a fictional private school and on top of a mountain. And as always, I always recommend people to go out and read the book for themselves…then come back and let me know what they thought. =)

  7. Sandy

    This book was just a whole lotta lust. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who didn’t like it.

  8. A. Knight

    I agree with A Tale of Many Reviews. I’ve been waiting for you to post this one up since you mentioned how much you were not feeling it in Fragment Friday last week. It’s fun to see different points of view. I didn’t find this book mind-blowing like everyone else, but I really, really liked it. Mainly because of those ‘read between the lines’ messages. I guess it all just depends on interpretation. Anyway, it was entertaining as hell reading this. So, so opinionated, Irish. Loved it!

    Thanks for sharing and pulling some laughs out of me!

    Asher K. (Paranormal Indulgence)

  9. Danielle

    I completely agree with you Irish. I mean, every single thing you said. You did it so much more elegantly than I could’ve.

    I think it was over-rated, fell slack, and offered no substance. The writing wasn’t even very good–very blaise and nothing enchanting. I was also disappointed.

  10. Andrea

    I thought this book was alright, but I definitely didn’t think it was as amazing as everyone made it out to be. I especially agree that Calla’s romance with both guys felt forced, and I didn’t particularly like either one. Anyway, great review!

  11. Michelle


    Why torture yourself with the follow up if you didn’t like the first? I say just chuck it and go with something you know (or at least feel) you’ll like.