I’ve always had a special love for Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade. I tracked down an ARC of it last summer because it looked so delicious, and after I’d finished it (and been super impressed by it), I checked out Cremer’s website and noted her agent, Charlie Olsen of Inkwell Management. I was querying my own novel at the time. I’d heard of Inkwell, but not of Charlie in particular, but I thought, damn, if he repped Nightshade, this is a dude I’d have similar interests to. Sent him a query and it’s all history from there, and now he’s my agent too! [side shout-out: all the love to Agent Charlie ;) ]
And now to Cremer's sequel, Wolfsbane, which I bought the day it went on sale and devoured the next. There are some moments of serious honesty going on in this book. Several points in reading, I was just shocked thinking: damn, sh%# just got REAL!
One of the things I love about this series is the way it so powerfully demonstrates the way a particular group’s discourse can twist the supposed “facts” of history in order to hold power over others. Cremer previously showed Calla’s implicit belief in the history she was told, and it’s only in book 2 that everything is really blown to pieces and we find what really happened. And how the lies about the past so directly impact the future.
And Shay. God I loved Shay in this book. He’s just so real and roundly developed. He’s not the perfect guy. His insecurities and fears for Calla are very raw and on the surface. Both he and Calla are in these huge transition states with so much expected of both of them, so much Calla should never have had to shoulder at her young age—the way that choices you make at one point that seem the best can have unexpected difficult consequences. Is intent all that matters? Or does the actual outcome matter more? Should Calla have seen what would come to those she left behind, or was it impossible for her to because she never knew the truth about the Keepers? So many complex and difficult questions, and Cremer never takes the easy way out in answering them. If there’s an awkward or combustible conversation to be had, we get to see it on these pages!
This book is just an example of how killer and awesome first person narration can be to just pierce right through you as a reader. We get to share Calla’s intimate thoughts about all her confusion, genuinely not knowing who she is, what she feels, or what’s right to do next.
One line I loved from the book: “Lies, blood, and bones. Had our lives been made of anything more?”
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