The first chapter of Nightshade is stunning. So much so that you cannot help but want to continue reading, or in my case listening. Andrea Cremer draws you in with her intriguing story that has clearly caught the attention of many as it graces best selling book shelves. However, this engrossing story left a bad taste in my mouth as the presence of one repeating theme unraveled any chance of me liking this book.
Calla is the alpha wolf in the nightshade pack and arranged to be married to Ren, the alpha of the Bane wolf pack. The plan is set until she meets human boy Shay whose presence makes Calla suddenly doubt her entire world.
What was it that ruined the book for me? The book is very degrading towards women. Calla is the worst heroine ever and she allows herself to be put into ancient gender roles. She reminds the reader frequently that she is a warrior but I found her to be a huge wuss, frequently shivering at everything that scares her. She is all talk and very little action.
Ren, although he redeems himself somewhat in the end, he is sleazy throughout most of the book. Every time he and Calla are in a scene together he has his paws all over her. He makes several sexual advances on Calla and the really, really bad part is she says NO but doesn’t stop him. This is not okay. No book should ever encourage the ‘No means yes’ mentality, especially books aimed towards teenage girls.
Upon reaching the first ‘no means year scene, the book was walking on shaking ground with me but after the second, well, that was the final nail in the coffin for this book. I kept expecting ‘tough warrior’ Calla to give him a good smack or knee to the balls to prove she in fact is a strong female. She didn’t. She even apologizes to him when she stands up for herself. Then he calls her a nun when she says no. Ugh, I can’t believe a woman wrote this book.
In addition to the above, the author often refers to Calla in a sexual way. The writing is focused around her body whether it’s eyes moving over her body taking in her curves, hands gliding over her body, Ren nibbling on her ear when talking with her. The degrading language towards women never stops.
After that the plot, the other characters, the writing, and everything else fell flat. It lost my interest. I can’t say I liked any of the three main characters let alone relate to them. Calla is not a heroine I can get behind and her love interests have no appeal to me. I cannot recommend this book no matter how popular it may be.