Monday, August 1, 2011
Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer
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.
Wolfsbane takes Calla's story to a whole different level. Things got a tad more steamy and even the magic was amped up. While the former I totally saw coming, it is the latter that gave me problems. Why? I have no idea. If I could take shifter wolves, it shouldn't have been a stretch for me to swallow what the Searchers had to offer. But I had a hard time with their side of the story. (i.e. there wasn't much hint that world in Nightshade, unless I counted the wraiths and Old Ones.) This second book isn't filler especially given all the introductions made. There's a whole slew of new characters (where some were disposable; others quite fascinating.) This new bunch had with them a whole world of magic and hierarchy that would confuse even the most patient of readers. And it wasnt even that complicated, it was the delivery that annoyed me. Each question posited was answered by a 'that's not important.' All that hedging I did not like!
There's information overload despite it being a second book in a series. After Nightshade, I thought everything was settled with Keeper vs Searcher and the Guardians in the middle plus the some wraiths. But Wolfsbane reveals otherwise. Not only are there a lot of new people introduced, there's also more of the specifics that are laid bare. The Harrowing for instance, is explained more in detail and from a different perspective. The Searchers too reveal a bit more of what they thought Calla and her Guardians could be, and what they "really" were. Shay's role as Scion was a muddle at first but it is eventually cleared up. Honestly, though? All that was like catching the tail end of a conversation, I knew where the story was going but couldn't help but feel a little lost, disconnected even. There were a lot of lines to pull on and I couldn't focus: Shay as Scion. Calla as guardian on the run and hopefully savior to be. Shay and Calla as a couple. And the Searchers! As she observed, there were "so many hidden stories linking all of them together."
Again, it didn't read filler to me. If in the first Calla had to make a choice, here she deals with with the consequences of her choice, but jumping off from the escaped to her waking up was a chore at first. The beginning was rough because there are a couple?a bunch? of new characters added in one after another. It started to feel like a load of people (more than needed) were pouring in. Also I wasn't happy with how Calla was sounding. It's been a while since I read the first book, but I don't recall her being this way. It's just that in this one Calla was sounding...how can I put this... mercurial. She's paranoid, then in love, then a bit a whole lot defensive about being alpha (as opposed to mere girl, or worse, just someone's girl friend) and then jealous and then back to any one of those enumerated. What surprised a little more was her second choice, despite her doubts she jumped in. And I mean jumped in, eyes closed.
It's the last thirty pages that make the book worth reading. I can't really use the phrase 'snake in the grass' because I totally called it, it's just that things were extremely disappointing on the emotional level for her. On a positive note, Shay had turned a new leaf too. Here he was behaving a bit like Ren did in Nightshade; this in turns annoyed and pleased me. Pleased me because he wasn't so weak; annoyed me because there was something overbearing in his manner. One thing though, there's a lot of butterflies in this one, butterflies that flit from one camp to another, and it was the last one revealed that has me curious about what's to follow.
*Oh, and while I know cover dislike does not reflect on the writing, story and whatnot, but I'd rather the cover have been one of these: