I wanted to read NIGHTSHADE because it had a cool sounding title and a pretty cover (and in other superficial details: I really like the awesome chapter break pages too). I didn’t actually know what it was about until I received the ARC and read the blurb, saw the word ‘wolf’ and thought ‘uh oh’. Because I am not inclined to like werewolves; I have to be convinced.
Luckily, with this book, I was convinced. They’re unique and interesting. There’s an interesting hierarchy that goes above the packs, and I liked the way their dual nature as a wolf and a human was described. Her world was clearly well thought out and it was pretty cool, so I got on board. Plus there are other things like wraiths and Keepers, who have their own powers.
Now what I really liked with the hierarchy she set up was that she didn’t do it halfway. People were more powerful than you, you listened to them. That was the way it was. But the MC, Calla, still has spunk to her, and she does have the capacity to recognize when something just isn’t right. Which is a very good thing, because a lot wasn’t right in her world. I liked her a lot, and all the teenage characters, actually. There were many of them, since both she and Ren (her betrothed) have their own packs, but everyone's personalities were unique enough that I didn't get them confused.
The book is quite long. But things are happening all the way through, so it didn’t feel long, and other than some of the swooning descriptions—I did think Calla spent a little too much time feeling like she was going to faint (about midway through I was actually starting to theorize that her feeling faint so often was going to come into play as a plot element) when one of the two love interests touched her—I thought everything belonged and I didn’t notice the length at all.
The one main concern I had with this book (besides the excess swooning) was that nearly every man with power—both Keeper and Guardian—behaved appallingly. None of the women in power behaved so badly. And while many in positions of power are corrupt and unpleasant, I wanted to see a little more balance. Also, considering the length of the book, the ending felt a bit rushed. I won’t elaborate on that, for obvious reasons.
So to sum up, this book kept me hooked, and I definitely recommend it. I also think it will appeal to both the romantics and the skeptics, because there are lots of things to enjoy about this book, even if you’re not into the romance part.