Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Wolfsbane - Andrea Cremer It took me forever and a day to get around to reading Wolfsbane, the second book in Andrea Cremer's Nightshade trilogy, mainly because my daughter read it almost immediately on the heels of Nightshade and was unenthusiastic about completing the series. Still, I was going to give it a chance, especially after finding another second book recently that got better than the first. ::: The Plot :::When we left Calla Tor at the end of Nightshade, she was injured by Searchers, her kind's mortal enemies, having fled from her union ceremony with Ren Laroche, the other shapeshifting wolf alpha -- the wolves are called Guardians -- who was supposed to join his pack with hers. Instead, she fled to save Shay Doran, a human she changed into a wolf and is something they have discovered is called the Scion, although what exactly that means, she doesn't know.When Calla comes to, she discovers she has been captured by the Searchers, who are now trying to convince her -- and Shay along with her -- that everything she has been raised to know is a lie. They want Calla -- and by extension, her pack -- to join with them, fight the Keepers, and bring an end to the war that has been waged for ages once and for all. A whole bunch of new characters are introduced, including Monroe, who is more knowledgeable about Guardians than he initially lets on; Ariadne, whose ties to Monroe will tie her closer to Calla as time goes on; and another handful that are difficult for me to keep track of since I didn't learn the names of all the Guardians and Keepers the first time around (in fact, I still confuse who's a Guardian and who's a Keeper when they appear in Wolfsbane.::: Why POV Matters :::This book should be used as the quintessential example for MFA writing programs of why it's dangerous to begin a series in a first person point of view. This could have been a great book but for one thing: It was limited by the author's choice to keep it in first person. As a result, we have a nearly 400-page book with two action scenes and an awful lot of sitting around and talking. Why? Because all the exposition for the huge back story and mythology and world-building has to be explained, and with a first-person POV, it has to be explained TO Calla, who funnels information for the narrator.Had Cremer used third person here (i.e. had her editor forced her into third person here), we could have seen and experienced things as flashbacks. Felt Monroe's pain at losing Corinne. Understood the horrors firsthand that the other Guardians went through at the hands of the Keepers after Calla and Shane fled. Instead, everything is filtered through a whole lot of telling and almost no showing, which dulls the impact for the reader. For a book in which characters are tortured and there are rescue missions going on, there shouldn't have been so many scenes taking place with characters sipping coffee in meeting rooms or kitchens or sitting areas. It should have been jam-packed with action, and it ... wasn't.As a result, at the end of the book, which it has the same type of cliffhanger ending as Nightshade, my daughter didn't even ask when the next book was coming out, and since its release, hasn't even put it on her "must have" list. I'd have to say, having finally read this one, I agree with her.

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