“Nightshade” Andrea Cremer

Nightshade series, Book #1. Philomel Books (Penguin). 2010. Hardcover. 452 pp.

Well, believe it or not, I’m reading another series. At ALA, I picked up an ARC that’s a prelude to the Nightshade series. The ARC sounded interesting, so I figured I’d give the series a whirl. Boy am I glad I did as “Nightshade” had me hooked from the first few pages.

Callie is an Alpha Guardian wolf bound to marry Ren, another Alpha. Once married, their two competing packs will merge into one with the explicit role of following the Keeper’s orders. As Guardians, the wolf packs belong to their Masters, the Keepers, and must obey all their orders and laws. Callie has always followed the rules expected of her, until the day she met a human called Shay. She changes into human form in front of him and saves him from death, both acts punishable by death. Though strangely drawn to him, she didn’t expect to ever see Shay again and was shocked when he turned up at her school.

Charged with protecting him from the Keeper’s enemies, Callie finds herself falling in love with Shay despite her love/hate feelings for Ren. Ren has always been a playboy, but his feelings for Callie intensify as their union date approaches. He is not thrilled when Shay develops feelings for Callie, and there is much posturing and male egos being rubbed the wrong way whenever they’re in each other’s company. Sometimes their snarling behavior was quite humorous.

Callie doesn’t know what to do with the intense feelings she has for both of them, knowing her duty lies with Ren. He makes her feel electrical whenever they’re together, but Shay makes her feel alive and free. As a Guardian, she does not have any say in her life and is not allowed to follow her heart, but the more time she spends with Shay the more rebellious she becomes. She begins to question everything she’s ever known and, soon, she has to decide between them. Her decision could cost her everything she’s held dear, and all she’s ever known.

“Nightshade” is full of romance, adventure, anger, fear, fantasy, wolf pack humor and more. It’s a great read that will be enjoyed by both high school boys and girls. I look forward to reading part 2 “Wolfsbane” to see what happens next in this love triangle.

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