Author: Andrea Cremer
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin imprint)
When Calla wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, she's certain her days are numbered, but then they make her an offer. An offer that means taking a chance, that means destroying her former masters and freeing the pack she left behind, the guy she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? Will Shay stand by her side? Calla is in control of her own destiny now and she has to decide which battles are worth fighting, how many trials love can endure and still survive.
First, I'd meant to re-read Nightshade before starting this, but it's pretty big and I have a lot of books to get through right now. Not re-reading it meant I was a little lost when I started and had to remember what I read all the way back in October (I've read at least 200 books since then, unless I re-read I forget). I'm also wary of writing this review because so many have reviewed it since ARCs first popped up, so forgive me if some of this sounds familiar.
There's so much of this book that was in the first that I loved: defiance, sacrifice, breaking the chains of oppression and gaining freedom for the first time, learning what had been hidden, the power of choice and faith in others and love. Calla is still searching to free her pack from the Keepers, to learn about a world kept from her, a world of truth, where the Keepers and their magic and wraiths are evil, used to keep the Guardians down, to treat them like animals.
And she's still torn between Shay and Ren, between Shay who she loves and saves and Ren who loves her and was matched with her. I was always a little wary of the love triangle, mostly because I never really thought Calla felt anything for him beyond he always dogged her and was the one the Keepers wanted her to mate with to start a new pack (which sounds creepy, especially for a 17 year old girl/werewolf). Shay seems like the sensible choice, with Ren more like the guy you've been set up with and you don't really feel anything for him besides a sense of duty and complication when it's obvious he loves you.
But (and I hate putting in this but) there was something missing that must've been in the first book. There was a bit too much telling, even though the book needed it. We needed more about the Searchers, more about how the Witches War started, more about why Calla is fighting and what she's fighting for (including Shay). I kept waiting for the action, for them to go back and save Calla's pack.
So much of Nightshade was explosive and interesting, Wolfsbane was more of a slow simmer leading up to a huge flash in the pan. And considering the way this book ended, readers are going to claw at the chance to read Bloodrose as soon and as quickly as they can.