Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: Bloodrose, by Andrea Cremer (fifth review for the 2012 TBR Reading Challenge)

Here's my fifth review for this
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Title: Bloodrose
Author: Andrea Cremer
Format: Hardcover, 406 pages
Publisher: Philomel Books
Published: January 3, 2012
Genres:  Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

It's fascinating when an author can make characters so real that we, the readers, actually feel their pain, their losses, as if they were our own.  It's also gut-wrenching, especially for sensitive readers like me...

I have enjoyed this series up to now.  While I've also enjoyed this third and last installment, I do have a bone to pick with the author...

As the novel opens, Calla, with Adne's help, returns to Vail to get Ren, who can be a vital ally in the war against the Keepers.  Adne is a Weaver, which means that she uses tools known as 'skeans' to weave a portal in the space-time continuum, through which the Searchers can travel.  She and Calla do manage to get Ren out, and transport him to the Searchers' current headquarters, located in Italy. 

From there, the plan is to help Shay, who is the Scion (the long-awaited hero who can defeat the Keepers) retrieve the pieces of what is called The Elemental Cross.  This supernatural weapon is basically composed of two swords, the blades and hilts of which bear the force of the elements of earth, fire, air, and water.  Only the Scion can wield this formidable weapon without harm.  Anyone else who attempts to do so will literally suffer very painful burns.  This is totally fascinating, and reminds me of King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone.  No one but the true heir to the English throne could move that sword.  And so it is with The Elemental Cross.  Only Shay can touch and handle this terrifying weapon.

The remaining members of the former Nightshade wolf pack, along with Searchers Adne, Connor, and Silas, who is a scribe, join Shay in his quest to find the pieces of The Elemental Cross.  Only Bryn and Ansel, Calla's brother, remain behind at the Searchers' Academy, for reasons that will become apparent to those who read the book. 

Along the way, the wolves and the Searchers meet up with grave perils.  If they're successful in their quest, they will then bring the ever-present enmity between Searchers and Keepers out into the open, leading to full-fledged war.

Throughout the novel, Cremer keeps the tension flowing among her three pivotal characters -- Shay, Calla, and Ren.  All three of them are alphas.  Shay and Ren are rivals for Calla's love, as they have been from the time Calla saved Shay from a grizzly bear, in the first novel.  In this last volume, Calla refuses to choose between her two suitors until the war against the Keepers is won.  This, along with the nearly constant action, keeps the reader in anxious suspense, turning pages.  Who will win in the end?  Will the former Guardians be able to defeat their former masters, the Keepers?  Will it be Ren or Shay who will become Calla's mate?

This novel is as exciting and riveting as the first two, and I dearly love this series.  It's really too bad that I had to encounter this unexpected 'glitch', if I might call it thus.  In fact, at this point, I don't know if I'll be able to finish this book.  While I tore through the first two, I've actually been putting off finishing this one, which is why it's been in my sidebar under 'currently reading' for so long.  The reason is a major plot twist that I actually did see coming.  I even confirmed my suspicions by actually (gasp!) reading ahead... When I finally, reluctantly, came to 'that' point in the story, it impacted me so strongly that I actually had to stop reading. 

I'm not faulting Cremer's writing at all; it's due to the excellence of her writing that I love these books, although I now have some mixed feelings about this one.  Her characterization in all of these novels is nothing short of superb.  Ironically, it's precisely her superb characterization that has caused me to feel as I do.  All of the characters, as I stated at the beginning of this review, really come alive.  I care deeply about them all, but especially the main three -- Calla, Shay, and Ren.  However, I also care about Bryn and Ansel, Connor and Adne, Sabine and Ethan, Nev and Mason, and Stephen Tor, Calla's father, although he's not present throughout most of this novel.  And the villains...ah, those villains!!  Efron and Emile are the most despicable of all!  Their arrogance and cruelty make them so easy to hate!  True, it could be pointed out that they're one-dimensional characters, since they're totally evil.  However, in the real history of the world, there have been such totally evil characters, people who were completely beyond redemption.  I'm thinking of Hitler and Stalin, for example. 

Cremer is a skillful Weaver herself, for she is easily able to create portals that transport us into a totally supernatural, yet, believable, world.  In spite of the fantasy elements -- people who can shift into wolves, witches (the Keepers) who can summon terrible wraiths by making symbols in the air -- we easily suspend our disbelief, and become immersed in this world. 

I would like to be able to go back and finish the book, since I don't like to leave books unfinished.  Perhaps I'll need to give myself some time, and return to it once I've achieved some emotional detachment from it.  Right now, I simply can't continue.

Viewed from another angle, I have to criticize Cremer's objectionable plot twist as too easy, too predictable.  Being the consummate craftswoman that she is, it would not have been beyond her powers to have taken the novel in a different direction, one that would have resulted in a plot resolution, yet wouldn't have caused such distress to this reader, as well as other readers, since I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling as I do.

I can't bring myself to give this novel less than four stars, although I do wish I could give it five, instead.  After all, the writing, plotting, setting, and characterization are as excellent as they were in the first two novels.  However, I am committed to writing honest reviews, which means following my heart. 

Furthermore, I can't go as far as to say that I won't recommend this book, either, because I do indeed.  For those who are fans of this series, all I will say prepared to suffer some mental and emotional anguish as the book nears its final pages... 

If this trilogy ends up being made into movies, I can always see the first two, and perhaps the third, simply walking out before it ends.


Where To BuyAmazon, Barnes & Noble

Andrea Cremer


  1. Hi there, just popping in...

    I've heard a few people say they didn't really like Calla, it kind of put me off the book for now.

    Book Enslaved

    1. Oh, I don't have any problems with Calla. Don't believe those people!! Calla is a WONDERFUL character!! In fact, she's one of the main reasons I love this series as much as I do. Calla is not only a very strong heroine, but she's also sensitive and caring. She's the character the entire series revolves around. I admire and like her! Furthermore, I wish I could be as strong as she is, with her compassion and deep caring for her friends and loved ones. Believe me, she doesn't come across as controlling or bitchy. NOT AT ALL. I would LOVE to have a friend like her!!

      The problem with this book, in my opinion, is a major plot twist that has me feeling really down... I can't tell you what it is, because that would spoil things for you, or anyone else reading my review. I still love the series, but I AM somewhat disappointed with this book in particular, because of that plot twist.

      So I want to repeat -- Calla is NOT the problem. Just get started with the first book, "Nightshade", and you'll see -- you'll like her! You'll also fall in love with the rest of the characters -- the good guys, of course!

      Thanks for commenting, and Happy Reading!! : )


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