Caution!!!  You absolutely MUST read Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade before reading Wolfsbane.  (Even if you have read Nightshade, it might be a good idea to re-read some of it.  I wish I had.)  Wolfsbane will make no sense at all if you don’t know what happened in the first book.  Trust me.

It is no secret that I loved Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.  The characters were rich and complex, the story itself was intense and gripping, and the writing was poetic and beautiful.  When I finished reading it, I couldn’t wait for the next book, but wait I did…nearly nine months.  I forgot a lot in that amount of time, so it was a bit jarring when the sequel, Wolfsbane, picked up almost immediately where Nightshade left off.  I went back to my review of Nightshade to refamiliarize myself with a few things.  I even skimmed through the first book, but I simply lost a lot of details.  While reading Wolfsbane, though, things gradually came back to me, and I was again enraptured with Calla’s story and her struggle to do what is right while trying to figure out what she really wants.

As Wolfsbane begins, Calla is awakened by screams.  It takes her a while to realize the screams are her own.  She is in an unfamiliar room, and she is just beginning to realize the implications of leaving everything she’s ever known behind.  Why did she do it?  To save Shay.  Was it worth it?  Only time will tell.

Calla is now in the realm of the Searchers, sworn enemies of the Keepers and their werewolf Guardians.  Calla is uneasy around the Searchers.  She’s unsure of their motives, and she wonders why they are so interested in her and Shay.  Why would Searchers want anything to do with a couple of Guardians?  Well, it turns out that Calla and Shay–Shay, in particular–are essential to the Searchers’ plans to wage war against the evil Keepers.  Calla is intrigued by what is being suggested, but she is also determined to get back to her pack.  Can she convince them to join in the war against the Keepers, or do they feel betrayed since she left them to save Shay?

While Calla is wrestling with thoughts of who she can or cannot trust, she’s also torn between two loves.  She loves Shay and does not regret saving him, but she can’t forget Ren.  He was destined to be her alpha mate, and he risked his life to help her save Shay.  What has become of him since her escape?   How could she leave Ren and her pack to face the consequences when she left?  Calla does not have the answers, and her guilt is eating her alive.  She can’t truly be with Shay when her feelings for Ren and her packmates still cloud every thought.

As tensions mount, Calla and the Searchers unite to save her pack and battle against the Keepers that have imprisoned them.  But all may not be as it seems.  There is betrayal in unexpected places, sacrifices that tear lives apart, secrets that have long been buried, and friendships torn asunder.  How can Calla and those around her cope with everything hitting them at once?  Who can they trust?  It’s hard to say, but, despite all of the turmoil in her life, Calla is sure of one thing.  She will do whatever it takes, even if it means sacrificing herself, to save those she loves.  Read Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer to discover how far one young woman will go to make things right.

Like many second books in a series, I felt that a lot of Wolfsbane was transitional–a way to bridge the gap between the first and last part of the story.  A few questions were answered, but dozens more popped up to replace them.  The story was full of turmoil and angst, and there wasn’t a tidy ending.  Not that I expected one.  This book did exactly what it was supposed to do…it whetted my appetite for more.  I wish the third book, Bloodrose, was in my hands right now.  I want to know where Calla’s story goes from here and how Shay, Ren, Calla’s pack, and the Searchers fit into that story.  I’m invested in this world, and I can hardly wait to find out more.

FYI, Bloodrose is expected to be released on February 21, 2012.  Too long.  But the first chapter is up on Andrea Cremer’s website at  http://nightshadebook.com/.  Also, check out the cover of this highly anticipated book.

I just know this book is going to be worth the wait.

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