Published by: Philomel
SPOILER FREE, I promise. But don't read if you haven't read the other two books yet.
Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) by Andrea Cremer
The Ultimate Sacrifice.
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.
In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy.
1. (+) Calla, the protagonist - Calla steps up a lot in this book. I've read reviews that have commented on how Calla often says she's an alpha but doesn't quite act like it... Well, that changes for sure. She leads her pack, comes up with important parts of the plan, and makes great sacrifices. In short, she matures a lot. It's interesting to compare the innocent Calla of Nightshade to the sexually blossomed and aware Calla of Bloodrose. I also liked (for the most part) how she handled the love triangle in this book. Her mind firms, and though she's still somewhat vulnerable, she knows more about what she wants.
2. (+) The Romance - I'm not Team Ren or Shay, though I do have a slight crush on Ren... and he's even more adorable in this novel... ahem... anyways, though some readers are bound to be disappointed with Calla's choice, that's not to say that the romance in this novel isn't hot. And it's not just about Ren/Calla/Shay. I think Cremer's point about war is that it brings people together (while tearing them apart, of course) 'cause romance blossoms here for a whole lot of people. And it's all always written beautifully.
3. (+) Non-stop Action - when the summary basically advertises that, it's not lying. You won't be able to stop reading. If you read the other books, you know there's a shit ton to accomplish. And it all has to be done, so the story is constantly moving forward and thus allows for no stops whatsoever.
4. (+) Character Banter - I really loved the new characters that were introduced in Wolfsbane and loved how all the characters interacted in Bloodrose, Guardians and Searchers alike. The banter lightens some of the heavier war aspects and at several points, I found myself smiling because of their jokes.
5. (+) World-building - the few new glimpses of the world-building that are interspersed within the action were awesome to read. I can't wait to see more in Rift, the prequel, and FYI, Bloodrose explains the title of (and blurb for) that book... And that part was pretty cool.
6. (+) The Ending - Cremer was right. I didn't see that coming. But the "+" isn't just because I liked the way the trilogy ended - it's more because the ending was thought-provoking. After finishing, I sat there for like an hour, trying to remember the other novels and the sly hints... and the things that Cremer herself has said. It's open and... there are still some unresolved issues, some I think she could expand on in another novel if she wanted. But that didn't detract, for me at least, from the way this series has concluded. And I think a good measure of how well a trilogy ends is by how much you think about it afterwards... I definitely thought about it a lot.
7. (--) The Climax - That being said, the climax pissed the hell out of me. The epic battle seemed so much less epic than I thought it would be. I'm still confused by how many Guardians, Searchers, and Keepers there are. There is death, but after all the advertisement of the fact that it's a war and that people will die, I thought there would be more deaths. I thought I might truly understand the magnitude of it all, but for me, the Keepers seemed pathetic in the final showdown. (I think a part of this has to do with the fact that Calla and the crew get to have so much influence on how everything plays out. It's wartime, and the world "may be about to end," but the leader of the Searchers listens to them after all they've endured? I don't know.)
8. (--) No Time to Absorb - Bloodrose for me was a lot less emotionally provocative than the other books. Because there is so much action, so much to be done before the war can come to its conclusion, there's little narrative between everything that happens. Sometimes I would think WTH but I didn't have time to absorb it because the story was already moving forward. In particular, there was one event in the climax that really shocked me to the core and then there were like two pages devoted to it before the story moved on, yet again. I liked Nightshade and Wolfsbane and thought them to be good set-ups, but after reading Bloodrose, I wonder if she could have fit other things into those books so that this one would seem less hurried. And the character banter in the middle of some battles really threw me. You want me to take the action seriously but you're having the characters stop to joke with each other even though they could be killed "at any moment?" I mean yes, that makes the book very easy to read, but I got kind of frustrated in those moments...
9. (+) The Writing - Though I disliked technical aspects of the writing, it's pretty vivid. Action is pretty hard to write, but Cremer seems to have no problem with it. I was able to picture each scene pretty well. Her writing, as always, is rather sensual.
10. (+) The Cover - Funny, Cremer said that this cover depicted a particular scene in the novel, but for the life of me, I cannot think of what it is. Still, the red is a nice touch for the war aspect, and it's good to get in the wolf and the human.
Even though there are only two dislikes, I think they're pretty major because I can't shake a creeping sense of disappointment. Maybe it'll fade after a while, after I've had the time to fully absorb what I've read, but I don't think it's because the trilogy is over -- I think it's because I'm confused by the amount of Searchers vs. Keepers and whatnot and that in itself added to the disappointing showdown for me.... I suppose I'll just have to wait for the prequel to see if things are cleared up then. Everything else in this novel worked fine, and I would still recommend it to all fans of the Nightshade trilogy.