Publisher: Philomel/Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication Date: July 26th, 2011
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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
I want to start with my one and only complaint and get it out of the way... Why the eff did they change the cover of this book? I adored the early cover that matched Nightshade and I really detest this one. It looks so grandma's-bad-romance-novel-esque. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I can focus on my actual review...
This is a book that earned an honored spot on my Top 10 YA Books of 2011 list because it was awesome! I put off reading it's predecessor, Nightshade, for far too long, and I kicked myself once I got around to reading it because I loved it so much (read my review HERE). I was not going to make the same mistake when this book came out! As soon as I got my hands on it, I devoured it. It was one of those books that I just couldn't put down until I finished it.
I thought I loved Nightshade, but I felt like this blew it out of the water. Better story, better writing, better everything! It pretty much picks up where Nightshade left off, and it turns out that things were never quite what they seemed to be... I won't give spoilers, but I will say that the world building this time around was spectacular, especially the descriptions of the Searcher compound and their methods of travel. I also really enjoyed the new characters. I bonded with them and I felt a solid punch in the gut when things didn't go well for certain ones. When some of the characters from Nightshade reappeared in the story, I was really thrown for a loop. Not at all what I expected... Calla is still kick-ass, and I love her more and more with each book (please don't disappoint me, Bloodrose). I find Shay as repulsive as ever, although I still can't put my finger on why. I totally get why people love him, but he rubs me the wrong way; I'm still solidly on Team Ren. I have faith in him (plus my imagination says he SO much hotter than Shay).
I cannot wait for the release of Bloodrose on January 24th. I will devour it as well. Judging from Andrea Cremer's first two installments, I am sure it will not be a disappointment. I'm hoping maybe she will have some tidbits for us at YallFest in November. She is one of the main attractions for me. Stay tuned!
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ++
Grade Level Recommendation: Because I said Nightshade was an 8th grade+ book (ages 14+), I'm going to say the same of this one. See the Nightshade review for my reasons.