Saturday, January 15, 2011


Where do I even start on this book? Guilty pleasure? Emphasis on the "guilty."

Nightshade is supposedly for young adults. It's right in line with everything else currently being published for this age group. Werewolves, ancient magic, sexy males, butt-kicking females. Right in line doesn't make it right.

Quick synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Calla is Alpha female of her pack, but that will soon be changing when she is joined in the sacred, mysterious union ceremony to her future mate Ren, Alpha male of his pack. Then Calla does the forbidden and not only rescues and reveals her shape-shifting abilities to a human but also begins to fall for his charms. Calla knows her Masters must never find out what she has done, but she is losing control of her own feelings and making mistakes which could lead to punishment by the feared wraiths or, worse, death.

To give credit where credit is due, Andrea Cremer had me hooked. I liked her characters, and I have a thing for shape-shifters. It's just cool. I wrote a novella about a girl who could change into a wolf and was captured by a hot prince, and that was before Jacob and Edward ever came on the scene. I get it.

But Andrea goes further than I ever would have dared with scenes that can only be described as lustful; she goes too far. She pulls her punches, which is a good thing in this case, and doesn't give you an eyeful, keeping her characters pure in the literal sense of didn't-have-sex. And I'm not doubting that teenagers do everything in this book and more, sadly. But I made it through high school and college without any of that, so I can personally testify that it's not necessary. And I wouldn't want a daughter of mine to read some of this stuff.

Readers should also beware of witchcraft, creatures from hell or pretty close to it, and homosexuality. Why is our society so consumed with sex? It's like we identify people by it, as though a person's sex life is who he is: "He's homosexual. She's a virgin."

Male chauvinism and slavery are interesting themes this book deals with, and at least in this case, the book shows them for what they are.

So, there's good and bad in this novel, the bad unfortunately weighing against my ability to recommend it. I wasn't surprised but I was disappointed that the novel didn't end...again. It's a rule: young adult novels have to be able to have sequels. I learned that in my writing classes in college. But these days, you're lucky to find a young adult novel that can even stand alone on its own two feet without needing a second or third to actually bring closure to the story. I hate that. I mean, it keeps me reading, but now I have to decide whether it's worth it to wade through all the crap again just to get the end of the better part of the story. I have to leave that decision for another day, anyway, because Nightshade was only recently released in October 2010.

If you do read this book, don't recommend it to teenagers unless you have read it first and know they are mature enough for the themes and content. Above all, keep a guarded mind and don't be swept away by mere sensationalism.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.