Nightshade: Book 1

Nightshade: Book 1 - Andrea Cremer Oh. My. Freakin. Gosh. SOOOO GOOOOD.

I had read the numerous different reviews that people had written on this book, and after reading it myself I just felt so bad and sad for not only the author but also Calla who other people had poured with dirt saying she was being a typical shallow emotional girl, yada yada yada.
NO. Like, not even.

Calla truly fulfills her role of being an alpha female in the pack. She doesn't fully fall for Ren like she is asked to, although there are big hints of her feelings. She doesn't treat Shay like a total outcast and she stops regretting eventually having saved him. It's a tight friendship that forms between them and eventually you can tell she will go with Shay instead of Ren, and that she will be part of something bigger than just the mating ceremony, sleeping with Ren that first night and then leading their pack.

Shay is also a very amazing guy character, if not THE best then one of the best that I have read about. His curiousity and eagerness to help Calla has been a total plus throughout the book.
Ren on the other hand has been a jerk for almost the whole book. Only at the end when he had listened out Calla and let her go did I actually think "Wow, looks like he's a good guy after all." All the other times, his hints of him wanting to sleep with Calla, his vicious nature, the grabbing, putting her on his lap....You get the picture.

The story all in itself is also very very VERY interesting, and a number of points are original.
I don't know how people could compare this book to Twilight because by far it isn't like Twilight. calla holds respect for herself still, unlike sappy weakling Bella. Calla is a fighter, she knows what must be done when protection of someone she cares about is needed. Twilight and Nighshade just cannot be compared. It's like comparing a gemstone to a pile of ashes - totally and bluntly stupid and embarassing.

My case here is closed.
I'm practically jumping out of my skin - I can't wait for book two, Wolfsbane, and then I need to get my hands on the prequel also.

And to you, Ms. Cremer - two thumbs WAY UP. I applaude you for making a book that has broken through a handful of stereotypes I had found in the recent books. You've made a fresh new story and put together some of my inner most loves and thoughts.
I hope the next book continues in this spirit and that its standard will not be ANY LOWER than this.