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Nightshade Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 19, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 444 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Nightshade Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Q&A with Andrea Cremer

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; 1 edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039925482X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399254826
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (444 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lori VINE VOICE on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Where do I start? I have been reading YA paranormals with a very critical eye this year. How can you not with 7,452,897 out there? I was almost hesitant to pick up Nightshade. It had sitting on my shelf for months! Then, I thought 'What the heck! I'm reading it!' It only took me a few pages to regret my hesitation. Andrea Cremer doesn't waste any time, you jump right into the story line! No explanations. No long drawn out history. Just Bam! Some people might not like this, and I admit that it wouldn't work with every book, but Cremer pulled it off flawlessly.

Nightshade introduces us to a new fantasy world that was completely original and engaging. Aspects reminded me of the world in Vampire Academy. Not anything specific, maybe just the overall vibe. Nightshade isn't about werewolves, not really. They really aren't werewolves, they are Guardians. They can turn into wolves anytime they want. They are sworn to protect the Keepers and must abide by their rules, but are given every comfort in life.
There are layers and layers of world building, it just isn't obvious. A lot of things don't really get explained until at least 100 pages into the book. The history is complex and I can't wait to learn more about it in the second book.

Calla was completely kick ass! Sometimes an author portrays strong characters as unfeeling. Thankfully Cremer managed to make Calla strong and full of emotions at the same time. She felt real. Some of her choices were questionable, but she's a teenager! All the secondary characters, the packs, were fantastic. They were intricate, even though they might not have played a huge role in the story. I can remember each ones different personality days later!

The love interests....Wow! I don't know if I have ever been so torn in a love triangle.
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Format: Hardcover
I admit it--this book was addictive. I read it in one sitting, finishing at 2:00 a.m., so if you like to be consumed by a book and have that "I cannot put this down" feeling, read this. Two stars for being crazy addictive! However, my recommendation of this book ends there. (Although the marketing team for this book is worth a full five stars. I saw this book EVERYWHERE. Posters at every bookstore, buzz on every blog, pretty displays at Target even. They really managed to make this feel like the next big thing, so props to the marketing geniuses for an amazing campaign!)

This book was just a whole lotta lust. I can tolerate and even adore "love at first sight" books when done properly. However, this book just came off as three teenagers with crazy, raging hormones who need to touch and gaze and lust after each other EVERY MOMENT OF THE BOOK. Calla and Shay's "connection"? I just never felt it. They just seemed to lust and pine after each other for page after page. I'm not quite sure why some "I've just met you but I love you with every infinitesimal particle of my being" books work better than others (maybe it has to do with establishing a somewhat relatable, electrifying connection), but this one really fell flat for me. I seriously thought, "Oh no, here they go lusting after each other again." I liked the opening for its suspense and really thought it got things going (so I give the author credit for a great hook) but underdeveloped characters and a contrived plot made this book very unsatisfying. And why do even werewolves need to be drinking blood these days?

And Shay? He's got to be one of the most boring, most "I couldn't care less about you" characters I've read about all year.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The verdict is still out on "Nightshade". I'll begin with the positives.
Pro: I burned through it in about three hours so it certainly can boast of possessing and addictive like quality that makes it difficult for the reader to cast it aside. It's also very well paced, which again, prevents the reader from willingly throwing the brakes on the story. There really isn't a stopping point. Once you start, you have to finish. As a devourer of books, I like to be that consumed by a book, regardless of the reasons why.
Pro: I loved the twist on werewolf lore. The story reminded me of "Blood and Chocolate" in fact, it's almost exact and I'd be willing to bet it was the inspiration for "Nightshade", but the lore was unique. Well, sort of. The lore also reminded me of the movie "Rise of the Lycans", but in "Nightshade" werewolves are the guardians of the Keepers, powerful sorcerer types that are in a war against the Searchers, also powerful sorcerer types, only for the side of evil, or so the Guardians are told.
Pro: The plot. It wasn't complex, but it did boast something slightly new to the standard YA paranormal romance. Calla is an alpha guardian of the Nightshade Pack soon to celebrate her 18th birthday on All's Hallows Eve. Ren is also an alpha guardian, only of the Bane clan. He too will celebrate his 18th birthday on All's Hallows Eve. However, Calla and Ren will be participating in another sort of celebration on the day of their adulthood, their union which has been planned by the keepers since their infancy. Together they will complete a trial, and form their own Pack which they will rule side by side. Calla has always been prepared for her destiny until a twist of fate presents her with a chance encounter, a human boy named Shay.
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