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Stranger Than Fiction

Bloodrose - Andrea Cremer BloodRose, A NightShade Round Up

I won't lie; I have a mostly hate/hate relationship with the Nightshade trilogy. The heroine is tough as a frying pan with friends yet pliable like a rubber spatula in battle, both heroes are flying all over the pages and the world is falling out from beneath everyone as the Nightshade Trilogy closes up nice in a bloody package.

I've stated my distaste for the series from Book one, why did I continue? In hopes that it'd get better and hell, it's only three books, I could endure. I'll even let you in on a little secret; Bloodrose is by far, the best out of the three books. I'm not just saying this because of a 'Phew, so glad that’s over' reasoning, because even though part of me is feeling relief for that, but I honestly felt that Bloodrose breathed a little life into this otherwise lacking trilogy.

Point of Interest
There was a 6 month break between the release of Wolfsbane and Bloodrose so I half expected things to feel rushed and I like to point out grammar error on page 272:

"He gaze struck me as odd."

It’s placed about the Third paragraph down. I bought this book, (Gods yes, bought) relatively close after the release date so I don't know if future copies have been corrected, but go ahead, check it out. A relatively small mistake, but it’s something that should have been caught easily in editing.
Bloodrose picks up right where Wolfsbane leaves off, in the Haldis mountains in what was supposed to be the Haldis Pack's home. Calla finds Ren, coaxes him out of hiding with tender kisses and promises of love, and introduces him to his half-sister. Then they all go back to the academy for a heartfelt reunion and lemonade. What we ACTUALLY get is a testosterone battle between Shay and Ren and Calla insists she's choosing NEITHER until this war is through. She does, however, do a little manipulating of both men to keep them happy. Not fair to anybody, INCLUDING Calla. Nobody should feel the need to scrub themselves past the point of clean so that their ex doesn't catch the scent of their current boyfriend all over them. Ren should know that by letting Calla run off with Shay in the first place, that the two had a relationship that went beyond just "I'M PROTECTING HIM". Likewise, Shay should know by now the history behind Calla and Ren.

But as Calla states, Ren is her past, Shay is her future.

So I won't knock the girl for her choice, regardless of how I feel about either party.

I do feel as if though Ren's death was a cop out to her choices. Let’s forget that the guys attempted to make it for her, let’s forget that Calla fought for those reasons. By the spoiler stated above, it made Calla's choice, one that we knew she'd make, easy. We spent two and a half books pointing to Calla and Shay being the Alpha Pairing of Nightshade and now Ren is out of the way, permanently.

That said, Points to Andrea Cremer for actually being able to do this to one of her more popular characters, it's one of the things that I felt gave the trilogy life. With war comes casualties. I didn't expect everyone to survive. The only deaths we had been dealt were mostly behind the scenes like with Calla's mother or with minor characters we only just met like Monroe.

I felt more happened in this book then Wolfsbane. Calla stood her ground more, which was refreshing though there were still strong undertones of her going back and forth. I felt a little disheartened over only one of the original 5 Bane members to occupy Haldis surviving the whole ordeal. It felt similar to how Slytherians were viewed in Harry Potter. Most of them were bad or had evil intentions. This is despite the fact that it was written in Bloodrose that a few Bane members followed Nightshade to victory, Bane's were still viewed as bad.

On Topic of Casualties, Spoilers Ahoy!
Fey was the only Nightshade member of the original five to perish in the war at the jaws of Calla. Dax died in a similar fashion by Ren, Sabine gave up her wolf to Ansel, Ren died during the fight with Emile. Does anyone even remember Cossette? The youngest and shyest of the Bane pack who followed Sabine around? She's seen once in Wolfsbane and mentioned again which brought tears to Sabine's eyes. Her suicide is mentioned once in Bloodrose. There was no discussion with the other pack members about this. They mourned for the loss of Dax, Fey and Ren while Sabine mourned a little for the loss of herself. It could have been brought up off screen, I suppose, but with the deaths of so many other pack members, why wouldn't it have been brought up? Particularly with Sabine having an important role in the epilogue, I thought something would have been mentioned.

Honestly, while Calla appeared to be stronger in this novel, for me it was Sabine who shone brighter. She volunteered to be an intengril part of the plan given her history with the Bane's leader, Efron. She took out Efron too with a careful placement of claws to his throat and even spits on his corpse, TWICE. She then gives her wolf to Ansel. She feels like the Neville of Nightshade to me. Sabine sacrificed more in Bloodrose then Calla did in three novels. Most characters sacrificed more than Calla did in three novels.

With Ren around, he pretty much has moved away from harassing Calla about her EX, hell, with him around Shay gets to show off how hot his ego burns. Shay is by far my least favorite character in the trilogy. I get that he's supposed to be something like a Jack Dawson to Calla's Rose Dewitt Bukater, but with the direction Calla seemed to be headed, I suspected that she'd follow Rose's lead and head off on her own, find love elsewhere after so much loss and time. While he doesn't appear to be so pushy in this book, Shay spends most of his time spinning his swords and doing flips like Yuna in Final Fantasy 10-2. His parents being alive was a poorly executed plot twist as he gets a 10 minute reunion with them, they say about 10 words combined and haven't yet grasped what happened to their son.
Blood, Sweat and Teeth
Bloodrose didn’t go without its own rapidly climbing use of Flashing Fangs. Blood roaring or screaming in ears also took the cake for being over used.

Final Thoughts
As I've said, I liked this book far better the its predecessors. I feel as if the 6 months between the release of Bloodrose and Wolfsbane made for a hastily written ending to an otherwise mediocre series. It shines with Ren's death, Shay's parents and the Guardians turning into full on wolves.

Will I read Rift and Rise
No, the trilogy has ended for me. I'm not curious as to how this whole mess began because I felt like it was detailed enough in the first three books. I wouldn't have minded a novella explaining the events prior to the series, but a whole new series? Not a lot has been released about Rift and Rise, but I'm told that they center on Ren's mother. Personally, I think the need to know about Ren's lineage died with him.