Release date: October 19th, 2010
Pages: 464 (hardcover)
When Calla Tor finds a stranger named Shay dying in the woods, she makes a crucial split-second decision that could cost her everything - she saves him, despite the fact that by doing so she breaks every important law that she has to obey, including letting him know of the Guardian's existence. But it isn't until Shay shows up at school that life gets a little more complicated.
Being the alpha female of her pack of guardian wolves, Calla's been promised to marry Ren - the alpha of his pack. The Nightshade's and the Bane's, two packs forming as one once Calla and Ren tie the knot. As Guardian's, it will be their job to protect the Keeper's at all costs.
But the closer Shay and Ren both get to Calla, the more conflicted she grows. Together, Calla and Ren make the perfect match for the pack. But with Shay, she's discovering more secrets about him, the Keeper's, the Guardian's past, and Calla begins to question everything she's ever known.
In a story filled with loyalty, betrayal, secrets and love, anything goes.
Review: All I can say is this: "I want MORE!"
Narrated in first person by Calla, I knew right from the first page I was going to enjoy her character. She's fierce, protective, but still a bit vulnerable and easy to relate with. Her pack was full of intriguing characters like her sweet little bro Ansel, a trustworthy friend in Bryn and plenty of other great secondary characters. Ren and Shay were the big surprises to me, because at first I thought it was obvious who was the better person and the better match for Calla, but by the time I reached halfway through the novel I was genuinely unsure of who the better one was (because they both are pretty great guys).
The werewolf lore is a bit different than normal, and intriguing. Scenes were Calla was a wolf were some of my favorites and the description was just right (not overbearing, but not lacking). Nightshade is packed with romance, jaw-dropping action, mystery and I couldn't get through the novel quick enough.
In all, I'd say this is a stellar debut by Cremer, and I definitely wish that the second book was in my hands right now.
Highlights: Calla's strength is definitely one of the best parts. She's totally as awesome as Buffy (The Vampire Slayer). The characters are very unique from one another. But the best thing I can say is the writing is addictive and it's very easy to visualize everything. I read this book on a 5-hour flight with an annoying person kicking my chair the entire time, and Nightshade distracted me and kept me from completely losing my sanity.
Plus, I really hope they keep the chapter designs in the ARC the same as in the finished copy, because it really is pretty unique.
Lowlights: The end got a bit predictable. I saw it coming from early on, but it didn't bother me too much. I was having too much fun reading to even care.