Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

5 Aug

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book #1

Published: August 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press

Details: Hardcover, 392 pages

My rating: 3.5/5

My summary:

A sweet story about a human teenage girl who falls in love with a werewolf. The story focuses on their relationship and their time together, describing their dialogues in details, a bit like in Twilight. Not nearly as addictive as Twilight though. This relationship was almost too sweet. Still enjoyable read, especially towards the end. The sequel is Linger, out in July this year.

See my full review here:

Synopsis:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human … until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My thoughts:

I admit I had high expectations for this book. It was compared to Twilight with glowing reviews. I read several blogs claiming it to be even better than Twilight.

And I loved the idea with a book based on a relationship, and not any relationship, but that between a girl and a werewolf. It all seemed very romantic and promising.

So, did I love it?

No, I am truly sad to say I didn’t love it. It was not as good as Twilight. That being said, I did enjoy it. And I plan to continue the series. It was interesting, it just didn’t blow me away.

The story centers around Grace who has always been drawn to the wolves in the woods surrounding her town, in particular this one wolf with yellow eyes. One day she encounters a boy with yellow eyes on her porch. He’s wounded and she ends up taking care of him. The boy is Sam and we learn that he is in fact a werewolf, who has just now shifted into his human form.

Sam practically moves into Grace’s bedroom, without the knowledge of Grace’s parents who are for the most part of the story never really there. They end up falling in love.

Now, what I just described is the first part of the book. I should have been glued to these pages watching them falling in love.

But I wasn’t.

In fact, I found this first part to be the weaker part of the plot, and I find it hard to explain why. It was as if as soon as they met, they were in love. No growth, no obstacles, no doubts, all very lovey-dovey and sweet. Maybe that’s why I didn’t buy into it. Or maybe it was because Grace never really made an impression on me. I never really related to her as she just never stood out as a character. A bit too bland somehow. Sam has slightly more character.

But really, I find it hard to explain. I usually love reading about this type of relationship and I am not sure why this didn’t stick with me.

Their story is told with alternating POV’s, which is something I usually like too. The voices of Sam and Grace however sort of melted into one. They were too similar. A couple of times I had to double-check which POV I was reading – Sam or Grace’s. That could also be one reason why their love didn’t stick with me.

It gets better though. Stiefvater has created an interesting werewolf myth, where the cold is the factor that changes the human into wolf form. Hence, the cold is the enemy here, and the colder it gets as it nears towards winter, the harder it is for Sam to stay in his human form.

To complicate things further, Jack, a boy in school has died, or has he really? It appears as if he is seen around the woods with the other wolves, creating all sorts of problems. His sister Isabelle, is on to something and she starts questioning Grace about the nature of the wolves.

In the second part of the book, suspense is heightened, as we want to know what is going to happen. Will Sam remain in his human form? Will the secret of the wolves be revealed? What will happen to the missing, supposedly dead Jack?

In the second part of the book, I got hooked and I had a hard time leaving the book. I loved all the secondary characters, in particular Isabelle, and I’m eager to see what direction she will take in further books.

So all in all, despite the fact that it didn’t live up to my (very  high) expectations, I did enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to read the sequel Linger.

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3 Responses to “Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. jenika July 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Hi!
    yesterday I started to read Shiver and today I finished it.
    I actually really enjoyed it!
    I agree with your review 99%: I enjoyed the book but it didn’t blow me away like Twilight (or Jessica guide to dating on the Dark side…) did, but it was a veeeery enjoyable reading.
    Many things caught me: one is the use of the cold for changing humans in wolves, the second is the sweetness of Sam towards Grace.
    Usually when there is love between human and some other species (vampire-werewolf-fairy-alien-whatever) the main obstacles are given by the people around the hero and heroine… but in Shiver the biggest obstacle was the werewolf course itself that was dragging away Sam… and the feeling of both characters about it were very well written.
    If I would describe this book I would use the word “delicate”.
    The pace was not fast but not slow either. It was never boring, even if the story was quiet.
    (Sorry, English is not my first language so I know sometimes my way of expressing my thoughts might seems strange but I hope I can make you understand what I mean…)
    ^^;
    I liked Isabel too (much much more than grace’s two friends Olive or Rachel)… I am curious to read what will happen in the other books but I am worried I might not enjoy it:
    I think Shiver is already perfect as it ended… the author must write something veeeeeery nice in Linger to make me think “ok, the sequel is ok too”…
    This weekend I’ll probably go back to the library and get Linger… I’ll keep you updated!
    🙂

    • tess July 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Your English is great! I completely understand what you mean. The book has a delicate or quiet “feel” to it. And the werewolf curse was very intriguing. Having the cold as an enemy was definitely a bit different. The ending was so perfectly wrapped-up, that well, don’t know what to recommend you to do now. I didn’t think Linger was as good, I felt it to be even slower, quiet and delicate than Shiver. Too quiet for my liking. The ending to Linger is a bit of a cliff-hanger, so you will have to read the third book (I think) if you read Linger. Will be interesting to hear your thoughts if you do read it!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater « After Twilight… - October 18, 2010

    […] continuation of Sam and Grace from Shiver. I didn’t outright love Shiver, but it was enjoyable. And I would love to see how the story […]

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