Nightshade is a paranormal romance trilogy by Andrea Cremer. It has expanded into two prequels and three novellas.
The original trilogy (Nightshade, Wolfsbane, and Bloodrose) follows the story of Calla, a young Guardian - a shapeshifter who is able to turn into a wolf. All her life, she's known her place: as a Guardian, her duty - and that of her family and friends - is to protect the Keepers (who are said to have created the Guardians when a wolf saved the life of a Keeper) from their foes, who are known as the Searchers. The war has lasted as long as anyone can remember, and each side has a different story. As part of her duty, Calla is to be mated to another young Guardian, Ren Laroche, on her next birthday, but when she, against the laws of the Keepers, saves the life of a hiker - a teen her age named Shay who, unbeknownst to her, is The Chosen One destined to destroy the Keepers - her entire world is turned upside down. A fourth book, Snakeroot, takes place after the main trilogy and features the Searchers Adne and Logan.
The prequels (Rift and Rise) tell the story of how the war between the Keepers and the Searchers originally started. Ember Morrow has known all her life that she is pledged to serve the knights of Conatus beginning at her sixteenth birthday. When the knights realize that one among them is dabbling in dark magic, Ember must choose whether to follow the path of darkness, or to escape the order and pledge her life to destroying her fellow knights.
So far there are three novellas: "Treachery", which is from Calla's brother Ansel's point of view during the events of Wolfsbane, and "Aftermath", which is from the Searchers' point of view after the end of Bloodrose, are two of them. The third, "Shadow Days", is a prequel from Shay's point of view up to the events of the first book, which tied in to a series of puzzles conducted on Facebook as well as a YouTube mini-series.
Provides Examples of:
- Action Girl: Nearly every female character has a strong personality and can hold her own in battle.
- Ancient Order of Protectors: The Guardians (a group of wolf shapeshifters) have served their masters, the Keepers, for hundreds of years, and one of their most important duties is protecting some mysterious artifacts from their enemies, the Seekers. Subverted when it turns out that the Keepers are really the bad guys and deal with dark magic, and the artifacts are actually pieces of a weapon that The Chosen One can wield to defeat them. The main character, a Guardian named Calla, eventually helps the Seekers steal them.
- Animorphism: The Guardians can turn into wolves at will. We later meet other Guardians, who can turn into other animals such as jaguars.
- Arranged Marriage: The Guardian packs are created and maintained as a result of this - a major plot point in the first book is that Ren and Calla are to be wed and form a new pack.
- A Wizard Did It: The explanation of how they keep their clothes between transformation.
- Badass Gay: Mason and Nev, Tess and Lydia in Wolfsbane, Kael and Lukasz in Rift.
- Big Bad: Bosque Mar.
- Born into Slavery: The Guardians, though they don't know it's slavery.
- Did Not Die That Way: Ren's mother died when he was a year old. He'd been raised to believe - in fact, all the Guardians believed - that she'd been killed by Searchers. Shay discovers that the Keepers have been hiding the truth: she'd led a rebellion against the Keepers, and, along with all the other Guardians involved in the rebellion, was executed as punishment.
- Doctor's Orders: After Ember begins to recover from a striga attack, she's ordered to not ride her horse or leave Tearmunn for several days, even though she wishes she could.
- Dual Wielding: Ember's twin wheel-like blades, Silence and Sorrow.
- Fiery Redhead: Ember.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Calla hates being called "Lily".
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ren attacks Emile in order to hold him off long enough to save Calla's father.
- Interspecies Romance: Calla and Shay
- Love Across Battle Lines: Shay and Calla, considering that he is the Scion, who is destined to destroy her masters.
- Love Triangle: Does Calla love Shay or Ren?
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Monroe to Ren.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Monroe
- Mentor Ship: Ember and her mentor Barrow end up falling in love.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: They're Guardians - they were created as a result of dark magic, and the wolf nature is hereditary on the mother's side. Their blood can heal whoever drinks it, but only if it is offered as a gift.
- Prequel: Rift and Rise.
- Propaganda Machine: The Keepers have a very successful one against the Guardians, who are treated horribly but are still loyal.
- Proud Scholar Race: The Keepers would like you to think that they are this.
- Rescue Romance: Calla and Shay
- Sickly Green Glow: Bosque Mar's horse's eyes glow with a sickly green light, though it can hide it if need be.
- Significant Birthdate: Invoked - Guardian couples mate when the Keepers tell them to, so it was arranged for Calla and Ren to be born on Halloween.
- Slave Race: Guardians.
- Unexpectedly Abandoned: In Rift, Conatus is delivered a message that a nearby village is "gone". When they investigate, they find that the buildings are still standing, but nobody's there. Turns out that Bosque Mar sent wraiths to kill everyone as a "lesson".
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Guardians turning into wolves. They can even change just part of their body at will, such as changing their teeth into sharp canines when they're angry.