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?
Just look at this cover – doesn't it make you drool? I absolutely love it. I have to say, one of my favorite covers so far this year.
Nightshade is the name of the Guardian pack of which Calla is a member. Her parents are the alpha male and female of the pack, and she is also an alpha. She is to form a union with the new alpha from the Bane pack which is based in the same town on top of a snowy mountain somewhere in the United States. Ren is the son of the alpha male and female of the Bane pact, though his mother was killed years ago.
If you went to the exclusive private school you might not know that Calla and Ren are Guardians (they can transform at will into their wolf shapes to protect their Keepers and patrol a sacred site) but they would notice that they are different. The two young Guardian pacts keep to themselves, though they decide to start hanging out more before the union to make things go a bit smoother. The rest of the kids ignore them, and don’t associate at all.
The book starts with Calla breaking some major rules. She saves the life of a young human boy. If her Keeper were to find out, she could be killed. Not only that, when she goes back to school on Monday it turns out that the very same boy has been transferred to her school and is in her classes. This causes issues with Ren, and issues in general.
Calla can control her pack, and can even control how things progress with Ren and his, but she can’t seem to control what happens with mysterious Shaye.
This book was awesome. I loved the story, I loved the setup, I loved the characters, I loved the issues. I can see why this book is getting so much hype, and I really cannot wait to read the next book. Especially if it has such a gorgeous cover! I thought that all of the characters were really well created and developed, and the progression through the book was really great and also very believable.
The way the pack dynamic was created was sickening. And when I say pack dynamics and myths what I mean are the gender stereotypes. In many places while reading I honestly had a sick taste in my mouth. Like, really sick.
Calla is an amazing fighter and has a great personality and is a hugely strong character… but her mother tells her to start wearing skirts and dresses and get sexier lingerie because she has to consider what Ren might like and pleasing him (pg 18). *Creepy*
And how while Ren has been hooking up with everyone in the school, Calla can’t even kiss someone because the alpha female has to remain pure for the alpha male (pg 69). *Shudder*
And if an alpha male of a different pack wants to make a move on an alpha female, well, too bad, she can’t do anything about it because as an alpha female she has less power and always has to be subservient to alpha males (page 195). *Barf*
Calla in the book is slowly starting to question the way things are and they way they live, but it is a slow process. As she has been raised to believe a certain thing, her slowly questioning it is very believably done. Because in the book we do see Calla start to fight back and try to gain some independence, and question some of the rules, I was fairly certain that the pack dynamics were written in the misogynistic way to explore the subjects of sexuality and gender as we still live them today…
I ended up emailing the author, Andrea Cremer, to ask her about this, to get her view. I wanted to know why they were written the way they were, if it was on purpose, and how they will continue to play out. She was kind enough to send me a response that I could include in this review. (Thank you again Ms. Cremer.)