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Nightshade Paperback – June 14, 2011
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Q: Where did you get the idea for Nightshade?
A: Nightshade is Calla's story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament.
Q: Nightshade takes place in such a vivid, well-developed fantasy world. What sort of research went into the development of the world and the mythology of the series?
A: Like I said earlier, Calla started it all. The world of Nightshade came as I tried to figure out how someone like Calla, a girl who I knew was incredibly powerful, could be afraid and angry. What was controlling her? Why would she be fighting against her own destiny? I realized that she was facing off with something even more powerful than herself. That’s where my background as a historian came in. I teach early modern history (1500-1800)--a period of immense, violent change in human societies. This is the time of witch hunts, religious warfare, colonization, the Inquistion; all types of cataclysmic social transformation that turned the lives across the globe upside down. The more I thought about Calla I thought about the ways in which wolf warriors and witches could have intertwined lives. The mythology in Nightshade is a blend of history and lore plus new twists I imagined along the way.
Q: Your narrator, Calla Tor, is a very take-charge female character—in fact, she’s the alpha of her wolf pack. What are the unique benefits and challenges of her position? Are you hoping that teenage girls will see Calla as a role model?
A: Calla is a natural leader and fierce warrior. She loves taking charge and she’s intensely loyal to her packmates, but her role as alpha comes with restrictions set by her masters. Calla’s sense of duty comes into conflict with her independent spirit--she wants to make her own choices rather than just follow orders. I hope that girls, and boys, will see the way Calla’s journey is about finding her true self, questioning a society that limits her strengths, and fighting for what she loves even when that goes against the rules of her world.
Q: Why did you decide to set Nightshade in Colorado? What does the setting bring to the story?
A: Calla’s masters, the Keepers, are powerful witches who live in luxury, but also seclusion. I wanted a setting that evoked that type of exclusive, almost unreachable landscape where a world of privilege is bordered by the wildness of forests and mountains. Vail, Colorado offered the best mixture of those qualities.
Q: What do you like best about writing for teens?
A: I love writing YA because it’s full of characters who are testing the limits of their world and figuring out who they really are. Coming of age and self-discovery are incredible moments that reveal so much about human nature and offers the chance to explore pivotal questions and ideas we all struggle with. I also think YA fiction is fearless about expanding the realm of the possible. It’s a boundless, thrilling place to be a writer.
Q: Will there be more books featuring Calla, or set in the Nightshade world?
A: Yes! Nightshade is a trilogy. Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) will be published in July 2011 and Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) in spring 2012. After that I’m writing a prequel about the origins of the Witches War, which will be on bookstore shelves in fall 2012. Beyond that--who knows! I’m always coming up with new ideas, so this is just the beginning.
Q: What is one thing you would like people to take away from their experience of reading Nightshade?
A: I hope that readers will be as invested in the struggles, hopes, and fears of Calla and her pack as I am. The most important thing to me is that the world of Nightshade and the lives of its characters draw readers in so that we’re all going through the series together--cheering, laughing, crying, fighting--that it becomes more than a good story, that we feel like we’re traveling with Calla and her pack on their journey to unravel the tangled mystery of Nightshade’s world.
From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up–Calla Tor is the alpha female of her werewolf pack and is destined to wed the alpha male, Ren Laroche. While in the woods, she spares the life of Shay, the new boy at school whom she just can't resist, and this act violates the laws of the Keepers. This may all seem familiar but what makes Nightshade new and refreshing is that the packs are ruled by the Keepers, who appear to be witches. Cremer has added a bit of superstition and the science of witchcraft that readers will find intriguing. However, they may feel that they have met these characters before even though the author has done a good job of contrasting their strong personalities with their weaknesses for temptation and stepped up the pace of the action. The segregation of the humans versus the werewolves might remind readers of Romeo and Juliet–or is it just a typical love triangle? Readers may find the world that is created here is more interesting than the characters. The end of the book is a cliff-hanger and interested readers will anticipate the second book, Wolfsbane. Mature scenes make this a better choice for older students.–Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
There are wolves and witches in Nightshade and it's a totally different twist. I am impressed by how the author pulled their story together to create a beautiful setting and a promising plot. Calla, the alpha female of the Nightshade pack is destined to marry Ren, the alpha-male of the Wolfsbane. Together, they will lead their new pack in protecting the Keepers--the witches who provide for them in exchange of their loyalties to protect them and their interests from the Searchers--another set of witches whom we provided little information yet. But after saving Shay Doran, who happens to be someone of at most importance, Calla was torn between her loyalty to Ren and her growing love for Shay.
The first few chapters were a bit hard to get into, but it suddenly became interesting when I reach the second half of the book. Calla is a kick-ass heroine, but she's not easy to love. She's strong but she is sometimes immature. It's hard to understand her feelings and her actions are sometimes confusing. She's in love with Shay but she feels something for Ren, too. She wants to be touched by Shay (all the time), but she have weird thoughts too when Ren touches her. It's irritating and annoying. The secret behind Shay's character is what kept me reading. It's so intriguing even from the very beginning, and I am excited to know more about him in the next book. I know that I'm going to be Team Shay from the time I met him. There's something more about his life, his character, than being this not-so-strong human boy. The secrets surrounding his life and the world of the guardians against the keepers are interesting enough for me to want the next book.
If you enjoy reading a story that revolves around lies and deception, loyalty and sacrifice, blended with forbidden romance, I'd say go for this book. I still recommend it, but you need to be patient when you can't get into the story immediately like I was. The start may be slow, but when you read and dig deeper, the story eventually gets better.
Werewolves are one of my favorite supernatural creatures, so I was really excited when I first heard about this book. The book pulls you in from the first sentence and keeps you turning the pages till the very end. There was never a dull moment! I love the world building and all the characters. The main heroine Calla is likable and both male leads really stick out in their own way. I can't wait to read Wolfsbane, which comes out this month on July 26, 2011!
Highly recommended to all Paranormal, UF, YA fans.
side note: I really love this cover, and was sad to learn that the publishing company changed the covers for the entire series. :/
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Nightshade by Andrea Cremer is a book about teenaged werewolves. It stars the stuffy Calla, who is the alpha of her pack. She's destined to mate with Ren, the alpha of another pack. And these two packs stroll the halls as the most popular kids. During the very first pages, Calla rescues a mere human, named Shay, and introduces him as the third wheel in the love triangle. With Shay, Calla teaches him the background of her people, the Guardians, and he shows her that not all is how it seems. Will Calla be able to become the individual that she's always dreamed of becoming?
I can see why people like this book. It's pretty fast paced, and there's some interesting world building. I like the ideas that stem with the mythology of the Guardians, Keepers, and whatnot. I also liked how Cremer shows us a lot of this as Calla is explaining her world to Shay. There are some pretty good twists that develop throughout the plot, and leaves me interested enough to stick around for the sequel.
That said, I had a ton of issues with this book. I wonder if I'd have liked it better three years ago when it first came out. The dialogue is so stuffy and stilted-- all of the characters sound middle aged, especially Calla. And she is way too easy with her lips. She very frequently kisses different boys right after one another. Sorry if that's a spoiler, but if you don't know there's a love triangle by page 5, shame on you! Also, I don't understand why these kids are taking some high brow college courses in high school. Are they in a magnet school or something? Organic Chemistry? Some other crazy philosophical course? Most kids would be lucky to be in a school like that separating caffeine from tea. I'm rather jealous actually. Both of the boys seem pretty pushy, so I'm not really digging either one of them. I wish Calla would just tell them both to take a hike and go on a girly vacation with Bryn or something.
Overall, good world building and some interesting twists, but I'm not yet convinced by the characters, how they talk, or where this is going. We'll see how the next 3 books go.
Most recent customer reviews
I had been hearing such good things about Nightshade since it came out way back in 2010.Read more