Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wolfbane: Can Calla please act like an alpha?

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.

Book Review

Title: Wolfsbane
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
Publication Date: July 26, 2011

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Let me say this: Andrea Cremer can write. Her books ooze with imagery and pretty phrases and that I-must-consume-this-book feeling (especially Nightshade). She even adds some decent mythology to the mix in Wolfsbane, something I thought was blatantly lacking in Nightshade.

So why the two stars? This series just isn't for me. I've never liked Calla. She's never seemed like an alpha to me (I mean, I've been TOLD for 800 pages that she's an alpha, but it's been rare that I've SEEN it) and I've never felt connected with her character. Shay is the biggest snoozer of a male lead I've read about for two years running, and the love triangle is strangling this series. When done with grace and charm and chemistry, a love triangle can keep me feverishly tearing through the pages. But in this series, Calla's indecisiveness and lust for both boys--and first Ren's and now Shay's pushy ways--make this love triangle irritating. Frequent scene: Calla and Shay making out, Calla thinks of Ren, wants Ren instead, pushes Shay away, Shay pushes Calla for more. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

(And it has to be said: What did Cremer DO to Ren's character??? Of course circumstances can drive people to make choices they wouldn't have made otherwise, but a character needs to stay true to what's already been created for him. The Ren depicted in Wolfsbane is NOT the Ren we met in Nightshade.)

Although not as compulsively readable as Nightshade, Wolfsbane does expand the mythology (albeit with a ton of infodump conversations). Unlike other authors, Cremer acknowledges the holes in her mythology and offers some patches (why Keepers can't weave, how the mother determines the essence of the child, etc.) although some of the patches are a bit TOO convenient. However, after the bare mythology in Nightshade, the expansion of the world is welcomed.

The writing's good. The mythology's gotten better. But until I can actually LIKE these characters--their personalities and choices--I can't give above two stars.


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