Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls
Publication Date: August 1st, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
My rating: 3 Stars
Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will be left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance.
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars
Shiver was a rollercoaster ride for me. Actually, it seems like Stiefvater's books all have a similar element. There were moments when I thought this was THE BEST WRITING EVER and others when I could have cared less.
This book is about a girl who is obsessed with a wolf. I went into this expecting to be a bit creeped out, and I was. But not nearly as much as I was expecting. It must have been Stiefvater's writing style or something, because I found Grace and Sam's relationship beautiful and sad.
For a brief moment I wished with all my heart that he was just a normal boy, so that I could storm away with my pride and indignation. But he wasn't. He was as fragile as a butterfly in autumn waiting to be destroyed by the first frost.
And therein lies the problem. Sam reads like a girl. An overly angsty, dramatic girl. If there's one thing about this relationship that I'm sure of, it's that Grace is the one wearing the pants. Which, if you like reading about that thing, is cool. It didn't bother me too much, although there were a couple times when I sort of thought, Come on, man. You're a man, aren't you?. Grace is much more rational and clear-headed, and that contrasts a lot with Sam's romantic personality. While I was reading their respective chapters, though, I'd sometimes forget who I was reading because they both sounded the same.
Also, what is the deal with the missing parents in Stiefvater's books? Grace's parents are always absent, and this is brought up as a problem. But then it's never mentioned again, so I was left scratching my head and wondering what happened. The world-building is also a bit questionable. All I got was that they live in a puny town and the seasons change. Um. Okay. I just didn't know enough about it for it to come alive for me like it did in Stiefvater's other book, The Scorpio Races. Besides that, the side characters were all sidelined by Grace and Sam's all-encompassing obsession with each other. Unlike The Scorpio Races, where I felt there wasn't enough of a relationship between Sean and Puck. Stiefvater really likes her opposites, doesn't she?
Now that I've railed about the stuff I didn't like, I'll talk about what I did like. The writing. I'm seriously jealous of Stievater's prose. Although the book would have been fine
Sam and Grace's relationship, at some moments, was actually extremely heartbreaking. There's no doubt that they're in love (though the origins of this love is slightly...disturbing). The part I loved most was when Sam was undergoing his final transformation into wolf.
I felt him shuddering, shuddering against me as he buried his face in my hair[...]He bowed his head and I watched his shoulders ripple and shake, watched the silent agony of the change until that one soft, awful cry, just when he lost himself.
I would be a monster if I didn't think that wasn't emotional. Also, I liked Isabel even though she was a complete jerk at some moments and joked at very inopportune moments. She lightened the atmosphere, and I appreciated the way she took Grace under her wing towards the end.
Speaking of the end...that was just so mean. Almost on par with Lauren Oliver's evil cliffhanger at the end of Delirium. I bet if I hadn't already known that Sam was going to survive (well, obviously, or else how could there be a sequel?), I would've been bawling. See, this is why authors shouldn't tell us there's a sequel until it's...published. Ha. Imagine the insanity that would transpire if authors couldn't tell us there was a sequel.
Going to get Linger from the library once I have a chance! And going to learn how to make quiche now (this is relevant to the book. Just read it.)
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