**SPOILER ALERT** This post will have spoilers, as we are discussing the book!
Right, so we said around the 15th and here it is the 20th. But, it's finally time to discuss Nightshade by Andrea Cremer!!
I'd like to start with something that was brought up in the early comments: Calla's attraction to both Ren and Shay. I thought it was interesting that you all keyed in on this, and I did notice it as well. Ren just had to get close enough to breathe on her and Calla was a puddle on the floor. While reading, I attributed this to the fact that Calla is a wolf. Her basic nature is animal, and that is what is responding to Ren. Especially given that Ren is an alpha, and that they are betrothed. Her human nature does not really factor into the passion, but her animal nature does. At least, that is how I read it.
As for Shay... I'm still not so sure about him. While I was reading, I was thinking that he was obviously tied to the Guardians and Keepers somehow, and maybe Calla's instincts were responding to that as well? But Picksee brought up the idea of him being a Shiny New Boy - something different, and forbidden, which of course makes him more attractive.
I agree that I cut her a lot of slack in that department as well, mostly because she was responding to something as basic as lust on that animal level. I also thought that her relationship with Ren was probably more complex than what we saw. They grew up together, after all, and have been leading up to this. He's supposedly the hottest guy around (hello, Alpha who was inspired by BinBons) so of course she's going to find him attractive. Whereas some of our readers had issue with her drooling over two guys, it didn't bother me that way. I assumed that her animal side was drawn to Ren and her human side was drawn to Shay, and if both of them want to make out with her, what of it? Good for her. *winks*
One thing I really loved was the whole storyline of the witches war and the mythology of the Keepers and the Guardians. It was so well done and very believable. It also kept me interested in the story as a whole - this wasn't just another werewolf story. And the betrothal! I loved that aspect. I think it was shocking how okay everyone was with it. Commenter geemoney02 mentioned that it was strange how quickly Calla fell for Shay, but I was having more trouble with the whole idea of Calla being forced into a marriage. The Keepers were forcing the situation, but everyone just accepted it as completely normal. I found that so interesting.
I loved how comfortable Calla was with all of the physical violence going on around her. Picksee mentioned this in her comment about Calla in the beginning of the book, "She was kind of edgy, funny, and dangerous-she dispatched a Searcher like it was nothing. AWESOME. And another character makes a big deal out of it being her first kill and she's all 'whatevs, it's what I do.'" I think this is another instance where Andrea Cremer used Calla's actions to draw attention to the struggle between her human side and her wolf side. Her wolf side is all honor and instinct and quick reactions. Honestly, I didn't like the wolf "mentality" but I completely understood it, which means Cremer did her job.
I agree, and I think that the wolf nature vs. human nature is central to the novel as a whole. It was something that came up repeatedly as I read: Calla's desire to do what she should do, as pack leader, and her desire to follow her own heart. I think it will be interesting to see if Andrea Cremer continues to explore this in Wolfsbane.
Speaking of Wolfsbane, I wanted to touch on the ending-that-wasn't-an-ending to Nightshade. When I finished this book I wanted to throw it against the wall, not because I didn't enjoy it but because it didn't feel FINISHED. I can appreciate a cliffhanger, but I didn't feel like a single story arc had been completed. When I read a book I don't want to walk away feeling like only half of it was published. Fortunately Stacie linked me to the first chapter of Wolfsbane, which should have been the ending of Nightshade in my opinion. If you haven't done it already, go online and read the first chapter. I think it'll help with abrupt ending jitters that some of you might be feeling.
Yes! Thankfully, I was reading on my ereader, so the link was right there at the end and I was able to just click and continue reading. If you haven't read it, definitely do so now!
Okay, I think we've got a good discussion started, so please feel free to keep it up in the comments! We'll be reading your comments and adding our own thoughts too!
Link to the first chapter of Wolfsbane: http://www.nightshadebook.com/assets/pdf/WolfsbaneCh1.pdf