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Wolfsbane (Nightshade)
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
* Spoilers*

Calla Tor is separated from her pack and her family, surrounded by the Searchers, who have been her enemies for as long as she can remember. She assumes they will kill her soon until they offer to make her part of their campaign to destroy the Keepers, the masters of her and the other guardians that treat them like property. Since it gives her the opportunity to save her friends and family, including Ren, and earn them their freedom, Calla agrees. Shay, the Chosen One turned Guardian, is with Calla and acts as her only support system, but she still has complicated feelings about Ren. Will the Searchers keep their promises and save her friends despite their past conflicts? How many will die in the fight for freedom? Will she ever choose between Ren and Shay?

I read Nightshade and I had some significant problems with it, namely with Renier and the oppressive and misogynistic wolf pack hierarchy, but other aspects of the story redeemed it for me. Wolfsbane had all of the things I hated about Nightshade and more with none of the things that I liked. In the last book, Renier was insufferable and used violence as well as passive aggressive tactics to make Calla feel inferior. He didn't figure largely in this installment, but when he appeared, he made a big impression. When Calla returned to her home to try to save him, he decided to beat her into submission and "break" her because that's what a good boyfriend should do to make his girlfriend stay with him. If that wasn't enough, Calla blames herself and feels guilty for his actions, which just screams domestic abuse situation. I had absolutely no sympathy for Ren because he decided it was ok to express his love through his fists.

Now, let's move on to Shay. In Nightshade, he was a great character and everything that Ren wasn't: understanding, caring, and an all-around good boyfriend. Now that he turned into a Guardian, he automatically turned abusive and egotistical just like Ren. He pressured Calla for sex, which she refused because she wasn't ready and she still had complicated feelings about Ren. In true Guardian fashion, Shay became angry and jealous. Calla was scared that he would shift and hurt her and she still wanted to stay with him. This scene alone gave me the urge to throw the book across the room. Neither of these boys was remotely attractive or worthy of Calla's affections. I really wanted her to come to her senses and stand up for herself with both Shay and Ren, but she never did. The strength she had in the first book was gone, making her into a hugely uninteresting character. I truly don't understand the fandom surrounding this series, revering these abusive males and arguing which one is better. With a society that already has misogyny deeply ingrained into it, there really doesn't need to be any more normalizing of violence against women.

Wolfsbane, in addition to featuring horrible romantic interests, didn't have much going on plot wise. It fell into the second novel in a trilogy pitfall where it sets up for the third book, but doesn't do much else. The cover was also terrible, featuring an oversexualized Calla in a suggestive pose, which is far inferior to the original design that was circulated. I wish they had gone with the original design. The only good things about the novel were Andrea Cremer's fluid writing, some of the new Searcher characters, and the glimpse into the Searcher way of life. The negatives of this novel vastly outweigh the positives for me and I won't be reading the rest of the series.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Call it the Sophomore slump, the second season syndrome, or what have you, but last year I gave NIGHTSHADE, the first book in the series of the same name by debut author Andrea Cremer, a perfect 5/5 rating. Today I'm giving the sequel, WOLFSBANE, a 2/5 rating. What happened to the story, the characters, the romance, and the writing between books one and two to cause such a drastic change? A lot of annoying, confusing, and boring things.

The mythology of the Keepers, Guardians, Searchers, and the Scion still offer an interesting twist on witch, werewolf, and demon mythologies. Likewise the sociopolitical interactions of each group are well thought out and have wide reaching effects on themselves and each other. Andrea Cremer's background as a history professor comes into play as well providing a detailed and very realistic origin for her mythologies. Unfortunately, those are about the only good things I can say about WOLFSBANE.

Just about everything I loved about NIGHTSHADE is absent in WOLFSBANE. The forbidden love triangle between Calla, Shay and Ren? Not so forbidden anymore. But don't tell Calla. She still anguishes over which guy to choose ad nauseam. Shay, barely recognizable in this sequel as a whiny possessive hot head, bears the brunt of her indecisiveness. Calla still wants to make out (and more) with Shay until mid smooch session when she'll abruptly shove him away out of guilt over Ren. But then the situation just repeats a few chapters later.

More annoying still was the plethora of new and extremely irritating characters. NIGHTSHADE was all about the wolves, WOLFSBANE is all about the Searchers. In the first few chapters a dozen new characters strut in and out of scenes with lots of desperate attempts at humor and inside jokes to show how close they all are. It was like a badly cast reality show. Calla and Shay basically just watch and ask zero questions about why they are there, what they are being asked to do, what the ultimate plan is, why they are so desperately needed etc. They are just ordered around and basically meekly obey. Well, Calla grows and shifts back and forth a lot, but that's about it.

90% of WOLFSBANE takes place in the Searchers academy and mostly consists of the Searchers inappropriately timed jokes (like after people just died), stupid sexual come ons, and lots and lots of history lessons. The last hundred pages or so finally spark with a bit of energy and action along with the first appearance of some of the original characters from NIGHTSHADE, but it wasn't nearly enough to compensate for the rest of this extremely disappointing sequel. The third book in the Nightshade series is titled BLOODROSE and will be published on February 21, 2012. Based solely on the strength of the first book, I still plan to read it, but I'm keeping my expectations firmly in check.

Sexual Content:
Heterosexual and homosexual kissing. Scenes of sensuality. A non graphic sex scene. References to rape. A scene that might have been an attempted sexual assault.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Nightshade" set up what seemed like quite a promising new trilogy in YA fiction. We get these new and improved versions of werewolves, a mysterious ages-old rivalry between two warring factions, and a delicious love triangle. It's bound to just get better and better, right?

Wrong. So wrong.

In this second book, the people Calla was trained since birth to view as enemies quickly become her allies - TOO quickly. These new allies spend chapter after chapter cramming backstory down our throats until I wanted to die from boredom. Not only do these new allies talk too much, their personalities are either completely annoying, or completely not there. I didn't care about a single one of them. The love triangle just becomes a nuisance since one guy turns into a complete jerk and the other guy spends 90% of the book locked up where we don't get to see him. In fact, except for Shay and Calla, we don't get to see any of our beloved characters from the first book until the last hundred pages or so of "Wolfsbane." And one of those characters is so completely different from his portrayal in the previous book that I seriously could not believe what I was reading about him.

It was just overall a bland novel. There is finally some action in those last hundred or so pages, but there just wasn't enough "oomph" there. And the actual ending was...well. There are cliffhangers, and then there are endings where it feels like they accidentally forgot to publish the rest of the chapter. It was just so abrupt for a stopping point and didn't feel satisfying at all.

I honestly have no desire to read "Bloodrose" at this point in time. There was absolutely nothing in this book to make it seem worth it, so unless I read some freaking amazing reviews when it comes out, I will spend my time reading GOOD books.

I suggest those of you that are also disappointed with this series go and check out Kiersten White's "Paranormalcy" series, if you haven't already. It debuted around the same time as "Nightshade" and the second book "Supernaturally" was released on the same day as "Wolfsbane." It is definitely more worthy of a read than this series.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you haven't read Nightshade, go buy it and read it immediately. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you've read it, you know that Nightshade is amazing and that the wait for Wolfsbane was cruel and unusual punishment.

Wolfsbane begins just after the end of Nightshade. Calla Tor wakes to find herself surrounded by Searchers, far removed from her pack, from everyone but Shay. She is desperate to find her way back to her home, but the Searchers have other plans for her. They need her and her pack as allies in their war against the Keepers. At first, Calla refuses - after all, she's fought the Searchers all her life - but the more she talks to them, the more she comes to realize that some of her long-held truths were actually lies. But no matter what has happened, she is the alpha, and she has to help her pack...and her mate. Yet will Calla be torn between love and duty? And can she find her pack - and protect them - before it's too late?

I was thrilled to be back in the Nightshade world. Once again Andrea's writing drew me in and kept me turning page after page, needing to know what happened next. In addition to seeing more of Calla and Shay, there are a new cast of characters to meet, each with their own stories and quirks, and some (especially Connor and Adne) with very entertaining senses of humor. The details and descriptions are always so vivid, and the constant plot twists and romantic tension make for riveting reading. The stories and memories revealed in Wolfsbane are by turns alarming and poignant.

Wolfsbane is just as intense as Nightshade, but in a different way - it has a darker tone and is driven more by events than by the romantic tension, but for this book that certainly works. My only complaint about Wolfsbane is that it ended when it did - I wanted more! Is it time for Bloodrose yet???

I've said this before, and I'll say it again - Andrea Cremer's writing style is brilliant. I absolutely cannot wait to read the third installment of this story!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
(Review originally posted at GoneWithTheWords.com)

Andrea Cremer, I bow down at your amazing story-telling. If you thought Nightshade was full of unique, incredibly interesting characters and original story, Wolfsbane will leave you wondering how it was possible for it to have gotten even better.

Wolfsbane truly felt like a "Part II". Yes it picks up where Nightshade left off, but it's also almost like a completely new story. I loved that!! We're introduced to new characters (who I instantly took a liking to and I know you will, too) and we're told new, accurate histories about the Guardians, Searchers and Keepers. It turns out some people have been lying for a very long time, and lying very well. Wolfsbane also had a lot more action than Nightshade. More battles, more casualties. It was really sad every time someone died!

In Nightshade, my stance in the battle of the boys was firm: Team Ren, all the way. I think something about Shay always having to be saved by Calla kind of turned me off. Well, lets just say that Wolfsbane Shay has grown into his inner wolf. He is more assertive and manly, deadly even, more sure of himself...and, well, it's kind of hard not to take notice. I found myself very conflicted, as was Calla. Calla's conflict in choosing between them stems more from her feelings of guilt for leaving Ren, whom she truly cares about, and her feelings of love towards Shay. I'm still Team Ren though. I'm just so much more sympathetic to Ren's character and story than Shay's. Le sigh, I always fall for the tortured boys. One thing I'm almost positive of though, is that Calla will choose Shay in the end. She kind of did already, from the start. I've made my peace with it in reading Wolfsbane. They really love each other! It's so hard to admit that I feel it will turn out that way, but I think it's inevitable. And can I just mention how much I LOVED that scene toward the end, with Shay and Calla in the garden!? The emotions and feelings between them were so palpable! Loved it. :)

In conclusion, I hated it. HAHA, KIDDING! It was a brilliant follow up to the already amazing Nightshade! I was so engrossed by it. Sure I missed Ren, but he is very present in this book, much to Shay's dismay. And I'm guessing from the ending that he will be ALL OVER Bloodrose, and I for one cannot wait!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This is the second book in The Witches War series by Cremer. The third book Bloodrose: A Nightshade Novel is planned for a summer 2012 release. This book was an excellent addition to the series. The reader learns a ton more about Calla's world in this book and it was a pleasure to read.

Calla has fled her pack and wakes up in a facility full of Searchers; her sworn enemy. They want her to join them and possibly aid them in obtaining an alliance with the Guardians against the Keepers. Shay is there with her and, as the Scion, is very important to the Searchers. Calla must decide who to trust. Can she believe the Searchers and the history they tell her? Will Shay stand firm at her side throughout the fight? What will become of Calla's Guardian pack and the people who helped her escape? Many secrets are revealed and Calla is forced to decide if she will aid her sworn enemy.

This book was even faster paced than the first book There are a lot of action scenes and we get to meet some great new characters. The reader is introduced to the world of the Searchers and it is a complex world. There are four new schools of magic in the Searchers facility, along with a whole bunch of history, and lots of new characters with interesting issues.

Cremer does an excellent job creating this world and populating it with engaging characters that have a lot of depth to them. When I started the book it took me a second to get the factions sorted in my mind (Keepers, Guardians, Searchers) but Cremer does a good job of backfilling and aids the reader in remembering what happened in the previous book. Then the reader has a lot of new terminology thrown at them that relates to the Searchers magic and schools. This was the only part of the book that was a bit annoying; it was hard to keep everything straight early on.

Calla and Shay have great chemistry together and this book features them; Ren enters the picture now and then to shake things up...but this book is definitely focused on Calla and Shay. There is a new character, a Searcher, who enters the story and is very intriguing. Cremer does an excellent job with dialogue; lots of the dialogue between characters is very witty and adds humor to the story. Cremer's writing style is in general very readable and fast-paced. I tore through this book very quickly and had trouble putting it down.

The story ended well and wrapped the main storyline up nicely while setting things up for the next book. This book was just the beginning of the Witches War and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Overall an excellent continuation of this series. Cremer has created a wonderfully complex world, a heart-pounding fast-paced plot, and characters that are fun to read about and very engaging. A must read for fans of Nightshade, also a great read for fans of paranormal YA. This is one of those paranormal YA series that really stands out in an over-crowded genre. I absolutely cannot wait to read Bloodrose: A Nightshade Novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
After reading this book, It took me a while to decided how it compares with my love for Nightshade. Just like any sequel in a series, we always hope it's as good or better than the last. For me, I felt like these two books were completely different. With Nightshade, we learned about the Guardians, the Keepers and their sworn enemy- the Searchers. We got all of the world-building and background on Calla and her pack in Nightshade. But in Wolfsbane, everything is from the Searchers prospective and it really gave the story a whole different feel. What made it so different we're we get a whole new cast of characters to entertain us. Gone are more of the characters we're use to in Nightshade...at least for most the book. And I'm not saying that is a bad thing, it just made Wolfsbane almost feel like like it wasn't part of a series...almost.

We meet several new characters and a few of them quickly became my favorite, at times they out-shined Calla and Shay. I can't wait to see what they do next in book three--Bloodrose.

I think many people will be quite disappointed if they are only reading Wolfsbane to read more hotness with their favorite wolf, `er... man-Ren-if that's the team you're on. I'd have to say, in Nightshade, I was about 55 percent team Ren for his `hot bad-boy' side and 45 percent team Shay for his `shy sweet-boy' side. I know! I had a hard time deciding where my loyalties were. But in Wolfsbane, Shay really stepped it up a level. He really shows growth, becomes more confident and determined to play his part. I'm very interested to see how Shay will play into what's to come.

Now if you want to read more than just hot Ren scenes (though who can possible forget that bathroom scene?) This will be the book for you. Wolfsbane concentrates on the history of the Searchers and using Calla and Shay to become their allies to save her pack. There is a lot of history brought to light here and though some may find it boring, I loved it and I felt it was necessary to make the story believable and to understand why their world is the way it is. A lot of secrets are revealed and it will only make you hungry to know how it's all going to go down!

I don't want to say too much on the plot, for fear I will spoil everything, so I'm sorry my review feels so vague. I think Andrea Cremer has done a fantastic job of bringing this world to our imagination and giving these new characters their own individual voice. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what will happen in the final installment--Bloodrose, due out February 2012!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Alright, as I am writing this review I am bursting at the seams of my soul. This is book is nothing but pure awesomeness! I mean, every turn of the page, every new word describing the scene, every character, and every place left me in awe.

So I don't want to ruin this book for everyone but I do want to make sure you are so excited about this book that will go buy it the days it comes out. First off, amazing story line. The story line is jammed pack with such great action, detailing, and pure entertainment, that you don't want to put it down...ever. As the reader, we are immediately sucked into the Nightshade world drowning in the words across a great field of good writing. You yourself, fall into the story and are the characters. Your heart races, when theirs does. You fill with anger when they do. You soar to the different places when they do. And you fight with them with every breath that you take.

Secrets. It's no secret that I love them like I love potato chips. Secrets are spilled left and right. So much so that you are taken back by surprise. I mean some of them made sense but other just punched you in the stomach. Secrets in this book rock. Secrets in this book break your heart. And secrets in this books make you gasp.

Action. There was so much action in this book that I was literally bouncing in my seat while reading this book. I could not get my foot to stop fidgeting, that's how excited I was. I also almost fell off my chair since I kept moving in it that I hadn't realized that I move to far from the edge. LOL, but I caught myself like the wolf that I became in this story and read on.

Wolfsbane is a great non-stop action sequel. I really enjoyed getting into the story and seeing the characters grow. Filled with loads of action, betrayal, and love, you'll most definitely want to pick up this book. It's out now, so what are you waiting for! Go get it!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
With Nightshade Andrea enticed me with her beautiful world building, made me fall in love with her in-depth characters and had me clinging to each page either from the heart pounding action or the hot character chemistry that just melted off the pages. In Wolfsbane Andrea gave me the back bone to the series's story. With her richly detailed history of the Guardians, Searchers and Keepers, she uncovers some of the twists and unanswered questions I had with Nightshade. She introduces some fabulous new characters, surprised me with character growth and changes with some of my favorite characters and continues to throw in some exciting twists and a few sizzling scenes.

Calla surprised me with how much she has changed, which after all she's gone through shouldn't be so shocking. She is after all still an alpha and though she's more determined and logical in her plan of action this time, she's a bit more timid. I really liked getting to meet the Searchers, and getting to learn about their history. Some of my favorites are Monroe and wow does he deliver a few shocking twists, and Connor who brings the right amount of humor to the story line. Shay is the character who grew and surprised me the most. For the record I am a huge Ren fan, okay more than huge. Even though I understood Calla's decision at the end of Nightshade, that didn't stop me from yelling out loud at her. It's not that I don't like Shay, it's just Ren's the one who stole my heart first. Though Ren isn't physically in the story nearly as much as I was hoping, he's presence is still there. With Wolfsbane I was really surprised with how much ended up like Shay. With the way he grew into an Alpha character I felt like I was finally able to see him the way Calla has seen him all along. The two characters who discuss the Ren & Shay choice with Calla on page 368-369 said it perfectly. Like them, I finally find myself more accepting of who Calla may end up choosing.

One of the things I admire the most with Andrea's writing is the importance of every detail, big or small within the story and how her book is laid out. For example, Wolfsbane is divided into parts, Dante's Purgatorio, Inferno and Paradiso, and each of those titles has meaning for what takes place during that part of the story. Another thing I love about Andrea's writing is the way she uses nature/the outdoors for her setting, and the important role this plays in her series. With Wolfsbane she's integrates this with the important role of the four elements, earth, air, fire and water with each of the Searcher groups Haldis, Tordis, Pyralis and Eydis. I love how she's able to bring these elements together and incorporate her own unique paranormal mythology and magic into her series. It's one of things that I makes her series stand out the most for me.

Wolfsbane is a thrilling sequel with heartbreak, love, betrayal, and so much more. There are so many things I'd love to gush about with this book and the series. It's not just the action, the romance, the unforgettable characters and the strong emotional connection I felt with each of them that draws me to this series, it's the history, the complex setting, and the engaging mythology that lore me in. For me, this series and each book is a complete package with everything I love in a book. Nightshade is the story that hooked me and left me wanting more, and Wolfbane is the story that gives me more answers, complicates things and leaves me wishing I already had Bloodrose in my hands. I highly recommend picking Nightshade if you haven't already and picking up Wolfsbane when it's released one week from TODAY!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Seventeen year old alpha girl-wolf Calla Tor struggles with her love for Shay, who she changed into a man-wolf (see Nightshade) and her need for her soul mate Ren. Calla worries about Ren as the Keepers who control the wolves were torturing him back in Vail. She concludes the Keepers will destroy her Colorado pack unless she can intervene somehow.

She knows she cannot save her pack alone so she makes a deal with her enemy the Searchers who agree to assist her destroy her former handlers. However, the Searchers have a price expected of her, Ren and the pack for her freedom.

The second Calla enjoyable high school age urban fantasy is a direct sequel to the first entry (see Nightshade) so it behooves the audience to read that tale to understand how the heroine got to this point of making a deal with her life long enemy. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with non stop action as the reader joins Ren and others on a raid that fails to deploy as planned. There are some heated sex and another cliffhanger that enhance the wonderful saga.

Harriet Klausner
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