Series: Nightshade #3
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
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.
Andrea Cremer has earned so much frackin respect from me with this book. Not only was it a remarkable ending to a remarkable trilogy, but Cremer never fails to Go There. This book is filled with Andrea Cremer's typical breathtaking action, accompanied by heartbreak, death, and Calla's toughest trials yet.
In the beginning I was afraid that Bloodrose would not live up to the series ending it deserves, and once I started reading it I wasn't completely pleased. Though there were a lot of exciting things happening, the story seemed to be dragging a little. The gang was retrieving the remaining three parts of the sword. They'd breach enemy territories, get close to the reward, then something really bad would happen and set them back. Granted, Cremer did a fabulous job of constructing fresh and interesting obstacles for her characters, but the pacing felt a bit repetitive until they collected all the goods and seconds ticked down until the Big Battle. That was when this book exploded into a massive tangle of chaos and betrayal and ferocity--the best kind. It was a battle of epic proportions. And though I complain about the pacing, another aspect that earned my respect is the way Cremer managed to fit so many mind-blowing events in one book. She didn't try to draw the series out and I like that. I know of some authors that could really take lessons about that. Also, I loved that she presents a complex plot with several sub-plots, yet lays it out in a manner that is neither confusing nor assuming that the reader is stupid.
Aside from the epic fight, there are a lot of exciting elements that contributed to the ending. Many people have said that they hated the ending, but I categorize it with the Going There thing I mentioned earlier. It's unflinching, and by the end of the book I was blubbering like the kid who just peed his pants in front of the entire school. There was a big twist that I didn't see coming, and even though I knew what the result would be, I was still reading frantically to find out what would happen. I loved how the entire thing ended. All the loose ends were tied up, but not in a bow. There was room left for a spin-off series.
One of the main things that bothered me about this book was the romance. WAIT, WHAT!? I'm a complete sucker for romance. I even enjoy love triangles, when they're done well. In Bloodrose, I regret to say that it wasn't done very well. It wasn't unbearable, but it wasn't good, either. It's obvious who Calla wants--it often is in these scenarios--but she keeps leading the other guy on so that he will stay dedicated to the cause. It bothered me because, hello! Even though they both love her, that doesn't mean they'd just drop out of a WAR! It's like this whole thing couldn't possibly be bigger than her and her relationship issues. So she made out with them both, and got really hot and heavy with both of them, not concerned with how the other one would feel about her actions, only worried that they would walk away from the cause. She also promised both of the guys things that she couldn't see through. I've always believed Calla to be a very strong, dignified character, so her actions in regards to the love triangle peeved me.
I did absolutely adore the other characters! We are introduced to new people--and new creatures! I love how the whole gang from Nightshade is back and coming together with the new characters we met in Wolfsbane. Mason, Dev, Ethan, Connor--they were each good for a laugh when I really needed it. I'm happy with how everything turned out for all the characters.
All in all, I am incredibly pleased with Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer. The beginning sagged a bit for me, but the end redeemed itself very effectively. I am sad to think that this is the end for Calla and the gang, but these characters will remain in my heart and mind for a really long time! This has been a trilogy I've been dedicated to since the beginning. Andrea Cremer has extreme talent and I look forward to reading much, much more of her work over the years, starting with Rift, the prequel to the Nightshade series.