Review: Nightshade

Michelle Rowen
352 pages
Nightshade #1
Chapters 1&2
Berkley Sensation

Jillian Conrad never believed in vampires-until she was unwillingly injected with a serum that was supposed to act as a deadly poison to them. Now, tormented half-vampire Declan Reese wants her blood to destroy the undead kingdom. Unfortunately, the serum has also made her blood irresistible to all vampires-including Declan, whose desire for Jillian is more than mere hunger.

I'm still shocked at where Nightshade took me.  It was much more than other PNRs I've read.  There's still a guy, a girl, and several complications with a little steamy mixed in, but the surprising plot transformed this PNR into something much more unexpected..... and I liked it!  

Rowen starts in with the action from basically page 1, creating a near-perfect pacing.  Readers will find it almost impossible to stop until you have all the answers. *whispers* I read the entire book in about 4 hours. So, I'd have to say that the story-line is the homerun of the book.  I was so sure I knew exactly where everything was headed {being the know-it-all that I am} and I'm happy to report I was severely wrong. There were a couple of times where I literally said, "No she deeant". Since the book is all plot, it's hard for me to elaborate more than the basic synopsis, but trust me readers, you'll be floored by all the developments, and then become desperate like me for the next book.

Declan pretty much kidnaps Jillian in the beginning of the book, so there's absolutely no way you're ever going to have soft feelings for the guy, right? Wrong. As Jillian {and the readers} spend more time with him, and watch as his hard shell starts to crack, you wont be able to help yourself from falling for him.  He's so tortured and vulnerable underneath his soldier's physique. And his lifetime of heartbreak and betrayal only fuel your empathy. It's difficult to discuss his transformation, because it has a lot to do with the plot, but he's definitely the unlikely hero, and trust me it works.

Jillian on the other hand was a slightly less solid character for me.  She's tough, sure, but seems to go along with things a little too easily in my opinion.  Now, it doesn't ruin anything here, and I do believe that her weak character is meant to speak to the damage that she has, but there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on that left me slightly detached from her.  By the end of the book Jillian has transformed a lot, and we get a bigger glimpse at who she really is.  So, I'm pretty sure that the rest of the series will highlight her more, and I'm ready for it.

The world that Rowen showcases was interesting and worth your time.  It goes beyond traditional vampire lore and includes government cover-ups, which I always find intriguing.  I mean, how much do you think goes on in a government really?!  It made for a believable escape from reality, one that I wish to return to very soon.

Bottom Line: A fantastic start to a new series. Entertainment galore. 

4 stars


  1. This looks really good! Great review!

  2. I sure liked the end...that made me want more :D

  3. I'm so glad you reviewed this one. I keep almost grabbing it at the bookstore, then remember my massive TBR pile at home.

    Screw the towering TBR, I'm going to have to pick this one up. (I do trust your taste, Jess.)

  4. Krisint: It IS good :)

    Blodeuedd: The ending was amazing.

    Chelsea: Do it! I wasn't lying, I started reading at 8am and finished at lunch. You wont be able to stop (so it'll go quick lol)

  5. Oh Jess, very nice review! I've been curious about this one. It's been getting mixed reviews so I was unsure, but now I think I'll go for it. Thanks!

  6. Julie: It reads super-duper fast. I think you'll like it :)