Rummanah Aasi
  Thanks for your kind wishes while I was away at vacation. I had a blast and it was much needed, but the re-entry back to the real world can be harsh. I don't know about you but summer is going too fast for me. Before I know it, the chaos of school registration will be here. Yikes!
  I avoided reading Bloodrose, the last book in the Nightshade series, because it received a polarized fan response. I know major plot spoilers were revealed online, but that just fueled my curiosity. I had to know why so many people were upset. Unlike the first two books, Bloodrose was my least favorite in this series and there were quite a few things that bothered me in the book.

Description (from Goodreads): 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 unnameable 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.

Review: Reviewers have commented on the middle book syndrome of a series, where virtually nothing really happens in the second book until the last few chapters that connect to the book that we really want, which is (in most cases) the third and final book. Some readers can tolerate a filler book as long as the series ends well (i.e. how the reader wants it to end). Personally, I think the book's best ending is what feels true to the characters and things don't necessarily have to be spelled out. With Bloodrose, however, I felt as if I got a half baked ending.
  Without giving us a moment of a quick recap, Bloodrose immediately starts where Wolfsbane ends and our characters are forced to make decisions. The war between Keeper and Guardians is inevitable where characters will either survive or die. The love triangle fraught with tension must be solved. Fractured packs must now come back and work together for a possible future that will change everyone's lives for better or for worse.
   The draw of Nightshade for me has always been Calla, a female alpha pack leader, who wrestles trying to carve out an identity for herself while fighting expectations of what she is suppose to do as dictated by her werewolf culture. While she is an alpha by title, she is not guaranteed to hold power like her male counterpart, just being female limits her abilities. I've always liked Calla. I admire her tenacity in facing difficult scenarios, her willingness to change how her world views a female alpha, and her endless love and loyalty for her pack. In Bloodrose, I felt like I lost that Calla that I loved and she was replaced by a whiny, wishy-washy girl who placed herself first ahead of her everyone else. This is clearly demonstrated on how Calla approached the love triangle. Calla claims to feel torn, however, it's pretty clear who she has chosen to be with. What I don't understand is how she was willing to string both guys along with heavy make-out and/or bedroom scenes.
  I've been puzzled by the love triangle in the Nightshade series. If you look closely at the love triangle from the point of view of romance, it falls apart and there really isn't one. If you look at the love triangle as a symbol of pre-destiny vs. freewill, and independence vs. dependent in terms of power it becomes a bit more interesting. I'd like to delve in this aspect a bit deeper, but I can't since it involves huge spoilers.
  My biggest disappointment in Bloodrose is not seeing more of Ren's character development. I would have been fine with his destiny if I got to know him on a deeper level. I know he was far from perfect and possibly not a great match for Calla but I wanted to give him a chance. So I was really upset that Ren never rose to his full potential in Bloodrose. While he does accomplish large goals, he also loses so much in the book while Shay seems to gain everything and everything came so easy to him. Things were definitely unbalanced.
  Bloodrose is a bittersweet ending in more ways than one. I was taken aback on how many people do not survive in this book. Some of the deaths were truly heartbreaking that happened within a few short sentences.There wasn't much of a mourning for these characters, which is surprising considering who died.  I was not thrilled about any of the deaths and I did have to close the book to get over my grumblings before I could pick it up again.
  Cremer is a talented storyteller and I did find it hard to put the book down because there were plenty of actions scenes and great moments in the book, but I'm not happy with some of the concluding threads in the book. I can understand where the characters and author are coming from, but I felt many of them were a bit too rushed and/or abrupt to make any lasting impression. So I guess the big question is whether or not to read Bloodrose. Honestly? I don't know what to tell you. I really don't. The only advice I can give you is this: be prepared for the book to possibly not end the way you would like it. If you're okay with that and like these characters enough to get some closure, then read it. If not, then skip it. It's been a few months since I read Bloodrose and I still feel ambivalent about it.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong violence, some language, heavy make-out scenes, and allusion to sex.

If you like this book try: Dark Divine series by Bree Despain, Raised by Wolves series by Jennifer Barnes, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    "In Bloodrose, I felt like I lost that Calla that I loved and she was replaced by a whiny, wishy-washy girl who placed herself first ahead of her everyone else."

    NO RUMMANAH!!!! I hate it when this happens! I still have yet to read Wolfsbane, but Calla was a highlight of book one for me and I hoped she would continue to be the strong character she was in the beginning. I'm also a bit disappointed Ren isn't explored a bit more, he was one of my favorites early on. Consider me bummed:(

  2. I know returning from vacation is hard, I am still catching up and have been back a week. This is a series I have eyed for a long time but I just can't get my enthusiasm up a filler second book and an ending that is disappointing...Sigh. .thanks for the honest run down, Rummanah!

  3. Cremer lost me as a fan long ago. Her focus on Shay, the boringest love interest on the planet, disappointed me. I was a Team Ren girl all the way.

    I completely lost interest in the series after reading the spoilers and hearing about the deaths.

    Funny, but to me, Calla has been wishy-washy from the start, so I never really grew to like her.

  4. Candace Says:

    It seems like others have said that they weren't real satisfied with this one either. I haven't read it yet for some reason. I'm curious to see how things go/went but don't feel a real urge to get it either. It's too bad it wasn't an absolute fantastic ending though.

  5. I enjoyed Nightshade even though I wasn't too happy with who it looked like Calla would pick. I never got around to reading Wolfsbane though before Bloodrose came out and spoilers about a certain character I loved leaked out. That just bummed me out so I didn't continue on with the series.

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