Category Archives: Philomel

Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: Nightshade #3 (Final)
Purchase: Book Depository

The Ultimate Sacrifice.

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy.

Bloodrose, you’ve broken my heart. But I can’t say why because I don’t want to give anything away. While I’m happy with the way this series has ended overall, I’m not entirely happy about some of the paths this book took to get to that ending.
Now, even keeping that heartbreak in mind I’d have to say of the three books in this series, Bloodrose is my favorite. I don’t remember Nightshade very well, except a feeling of dislike towards Shay. Wolfsbane was very good, but this was the most fun book in the series. Cremer sends you on a quest with these characters, in which they’re retrieving the last three pieces of Shay’s Cross weapon. And boy let me tell you, Cremer is not afraid to do what needs to be done with her characters. So prepare yourself for some hard spots for these guys. The writing was done so well that I even felt like I was in those locations with everyone.
The following sentence will be whited out for now since it is considered spoilerish. Please do not highlight the text if you do not want to be spoiled. You have been warned. In terms of the love triangle, there is of course a decision made, and was clear early on what that decision would be before Calla even did anything to really confirm it. This I will also not say because I don’t want to spoil that for anyone. It was nice seeing even more of the new characters from Wolfsbane. This book only cemented my love of Conner, Ethan, and Adne. I did miss Monroe, because even though he was only around for a little while, he did leave an impression.
I have to say, honestly, the last battle was not quite what I thought it’d be. It just seemed a little less than what all the build-up throughout the book was pointing towards. Stuff happens, and believe me, depending on which team you’re on, you’ll probably be crying at one point. I know I did. I was shocked by that twist, though I guess it had to happen. Then once the final battle is won, there’s another twist. I wasn’t sure I liked how it ended at first, but after more thought I decided it was perfect. Though a little sad, since Shay recovers something, only to lose it minutes later.
Seriously, Bloodrose is an explosive end to series that I’ve come to love. I felt truly sad when I realized that this was it. I’ve gotten to know these characters, so I’m sure I’ll reread these books many times to revisit them. I recommend this of course for fans of the series, but also just for fans of werewolves in general, whether you read YA or not. Andrea Cremer is an excellent writer, and I will read anything she writes in the future.

Review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release date: July 26, 2011
Source: Purchased
Series: Nightshade #2
(Nightshade review here)
Purchase: Book Depository

When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer, one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

Writing like Andrea Cremer’s almost makes me forget that I’m reading a YA book, it’s so well written. Not to say that YA writing isn’t on par with adult books, because it is, it’s just Andrea writes very well. Which also makes it so I feel like there’s a movie going on in my mind while I’m reading, which I love because then I feel like I’m there with the characters, instead of just reading about them.

Wolfsbane picks up exactly where Nightshade left off. The pacing is excellent and was kept moving throughout the entire story, with twists and turns that were unexpected. And some bombs were definitely dropped, especially near the end. We learn something about a major character we thought we knew, and I for one was not expecting it. The love triangle isn’t quite as present as it was in Nightshade, since Ren is mostly only talked about but not seen very much. Which really is a shame, because I am firmly Team Ren. I have to say Calla’s indecision about who she really wants didn’t bother me as much as it usually might, and I can only say it’s because I have seen some merit in Shay, though he still bugs me.

We meet a new set of characters in Wolfsbane, the Searchers. I have to say they made me enjoy this book much more than Nightshade, especially Connor with his humor. Adne is also one of my favorites, and is involved in the bomb that is dropped about another character. I’m really excited to see where it is taken in Bloodrose, as well as her mysterious relationship with Connor. I disliked Ethan from the get go, but then did a complete 180, just like he did about the Guardians. Watching them all interact with each other, they felt like real people who’ve been together for a long time.

Over the last few years, after reading many werewolf and vampire books I got pretty tired of them, and stayed away of paranormal books for quite a while. This however is not your average paranormal story, so even if you’re not a huge fan of werewolves, I would still say give this a try. Andrea Cremer’s story packs punches left and right that leave you wanting so much more, and she always delivers. This series is a definite must read series.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin Imprint)
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5 stars – Really really liked it.
Cover Rating: 4/5 stars – Really really liked it.
Purchase: Amazon or Book Depository

Summary from Good Reads:
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

My thoughts on Nightshade:
Wow. Nightshade starts with a bang and keeps the surprises coming. To quote the coworker who borrowed this before I read it, “This book was addictive.” Before I go any further, I first need to say that it needs to July 26 right now so I can read Wolfsbane.

When it comes to love triangles, most of the time I pick early on who I’m rooting for, but sometimes as the story develops I change my mind. That did not happen this time. Normally with a book like this I’d be Team Shay, because he is not what is mapped out for Calla, he’s the wild card. But this time I became attatched to Ren early on, and stayed firmly on Team Ren.

In terms of development for Ren and Shay, I was very satisfied with Ren. At first, while he was portrayed as loyal to his pack, he was not necessarily seen to be loyal to the upcoming commitment that was being forced upon him. But digging deeper, you see that that is totally wrong. Even though he is a Guardian, throughout the story you see things that humanize more, make him someone you can connect with. Shay on the other hand was not as well developed. I couldn’t connect with him. He becomes less human the more you read. And while you eventually learn who he is, you’re still left not knowing why. But I assume that will be covered in Wolfsbane.

The writing was fluid, very easy to read. Andrea Cremer did a wonderful job in making this story come alive in my mind. Even when I stopped reading I had the feeling that I was still in the story, and very few books have that effect on me. Fans of werewolves will love this unique take.