By Andrea Cremer
January 3, 2012
Ages 14 and up
Calla has always welcomed war.
But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.
“Do you still want Ren?”
I listened to my own heartbeat for a minute before answering.
“That’s one hot mess, Cal.” Ansel smiled at me.
I milked this book for a week before I finally ripped off the Band-Aid and finished it up! Needless to say, I am one hot mess myself and I have a million things going on inside this brain of mine that I want to discuss. Unfortunately there is just not enough room, time, or patience on my part to hit them all, so bear with me, please!
Going into this book, hearing all the rumors and spoilers related to the two major controversial scenes, I was certain that the disappointment would override my desire to follow the series to its conclusion. I set my mind that it was going to sit on my shelf, looking pretty right next to the other two and beyond that, never get touched. Eventually my resolve wore thin, and I finally pulled it off my shelf. I was really surprised at my overall feeling of the book. Congratulations, Andrea Cremer, I’m eating major crow!
Let’s get down to business, shall we?
Early on in the book, Calla seriously grated my nerves. “One hot mess,” as Ansel described her, was a bit of an understatement. Not that I really blame her for having a hard time choosing between two great guys… but for me, she was a bit over indulgent during that process.
HOWEVER, the further the book progressed, the more stable Calla’s footing was between the two lead men. She knuckled down, focused on their objective, moved forward with what needed to be done for the war with the Keepers, and put her love life on hold. The areas where we got to see her set apart from the love triangle is where Calla really gained my respect. She made some really tough decisions and sacrificed herself in certain situations in order to protect people she cared about. And when I say she sacrificed herself, I’m not talking about taking one for the team by breaking a nail, she put herself into what would appear to be a life and death situation in place of a fellow comrade. I would say that was made of awesome.
I have to divulge that I was really rather pleased with how much character development I saw in BLOODROSE. Calla was one of many who went through a lot of personal growth. Sabine for instance, was probably one of the characters I like the least at the beginning of this series. However, in this sequel, Cremer takes us inside Sabine’s history. Because of this, I couldn’t help but feel for the girl behind the guise. She, like Calla, made some pretty tough sacrifices for others as well, which moved her up to one of my favorite characters by the end of the book.
Ren and Shay you ask? You’re opening up a can of worms! There is so much I would love to discuss but in the spirit of keeping it spoiler free, what I have to say is going to be rather watered down. There is a lot of controversy with Cremer fan’s surrounding Ren’s character. Cremer did a fantastic job evoking a ton of emotion in this series, and it is clearly shown through many reviews surrounding not only Ren, but Shay as well. Many were disappointed, if not totally disgusted, with Ren during both NIGHTSHADE and WOLFSBANE, as clearly shown on many reviews. In turn, there were many who opposed Shay merely because he was a threat to Ren’s position with Calla. It’s true … come on, you can admit it… I did!
That being said, there are a ton of plot twists in this sequel that give us a lot of exposure to both Ren and Shay. Heads up: their growth in the story far exceeds anything you will expect. For those of you who oppose Ren, you are going to see a totally different side of him in this sequel. You may just find Ren redeemed. For those who oppose Shay? He is going to continue to pull at your heart strings no matter how much you hate it and wish that you could hate him too. You won’t be able to.
There are tons more character’s I would love to talk about! Ethan, Silas, Byrn, Ansel, Adne and CONNOR!!!! Who doesn’t love Connor!? His humor alone makes this series irresistible. Unfortunately, time does not permit and the more I write, the harder I find it to not spill the beans!
Fans of this series already know that the complexities of the world that Cremer dreamed up are absolutely mind blowing. BLOODROSE adds more plot twists; none of which can be described as predictable, and will inevitably have your heart racing for the entirety of the book. If you enjoyed the level of action in Nightshade and Wolfsbane, then you won’t be disappointed with BLOODROSE. Cremer is a master of tension and suspense, fast paced, in your face confrontation that will raise your hair with angst. Just when you think you’ve got it all sorted out, she throws you for another loop! There is not a page in this book that will lack emotion. You will cry, laugh, scream, cheer and cry some more. You will feel total contentment for some characters outcomes, and total heartbreak for others. Regardless of where you stand, you will become invested.
I implore anyone who is having doubts about reading BLOODROSE, due to spoilers and disappointed fans, to just pick up a copy and read it for yourself before judging off of others opinions. I almost didn’t read it after finding out what happened in the book, and had I not changed my mind, I would have missed out on a really great read. I have to say that this was probably the best book of the trilogy. If you haven’t read any in this trilogy, I would highly recommend it to mature YA readers. The series has a ton of action, lots of romance and promises to be one of the most unique stories you will get your hands on. I am looking forward to the release of the Nightshade series prequel, RIFT.