I should start off by saying that most of this review is from my very vivid memory because I finished the book at 1am last night and have immediately lent it out to my cousin because I just know she'll love it and then another friend has plans to steal it away and read so I can't even enjoy looking at it on my bookshelf for a while! I shall just have to save a spot for it instead.
Nightshade is one of those books that I picked up and couldn't even begin to comprehend just how much I was going to end up loving it. It's up there with Vampire Academy for me because of it's addictive mix of romance and danger. The story centres around Calla and her pack, The Nightshades, Ren and his pack, The Banes and a human boy by the name of Shay. The desire sucks you in from the seductive front cover right til the nail biting final page.
Calla, Ren and the pack members are Guardians meaning they can shift from wolf to human form at anytime and guard The Keepers against The Searchers and protect The Keepers magical locations and traditions. The 2 packs set to join with 'the Union' of Calla and Ren that has been planned and arranged by the Keepers. Calla is compelled towards Ren and they have uncontrollable physical attractions towards each other and things only get more complicated when Shay enters the scene and Calla is drawn to him too! Imagine your regular teen drama with the added element of super human strength and basic animal instincts at max volume. Delightful isn't it?! She's fighting her attraction to both Shay and Ren before time runs out and trying to work out who Shay is and how he's involved in a world he knows nothing about. With the Union hanging over them as a deadline, tensions rise and more answers only lead to more questions.
GRIPPING! EXCITING! LUSTFUL!
These are but a few words to describe Nightshade. The love triangle is so fraught with desire, heartache and tension that I had to keep giving myself mini breaks while reading it to calm my heart rate down. I adore Shay. He loves comics, several of my personal favourites, and he's a mix of the geek boy you fall for in books with the action hero you fall for in books (I'm also noticing a pattern here that I tend to fall in love with most guys in YA books. What can I say; I'm a sucker for those YA fictional lads!). Ren is still appealing too as you gradually see cracks in his strong exterior with his small but important attempts to be better than his father. Some could see Calla as using them both, but you honestly see her struggle and your heart goes out to her. The other characters and their relationships are also adorable too and each are so different compared to the Ren/Calla/Shay mix. I loved the contrast of the loved up newbie couples, the real love couples and then the struggling-to-even-understand-what-it-is relationships that Calla is involved in. The supporting cast of the packs make an excellent mix to bounce to and fro with as they develop and have wonderful little comedy moments and some real heart wrenchers too.
The mystery of the Keepers and Searchers History as well as the Guardians involvement is wrapped up in twists and turns. As each bit unravels you sometimes wonder for the characters sake if it's better to stay in ignorant bliss or risk their lives for the knowledge that could change their paths. The ending made me not just want to read Wolfsbane but demand that it come out sooner. I can't be left hanging on that long; it's not fair!
Published by Atom Books and available here and at all good book shops now