Monday, March 14, 2011

REVIEW: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

So I know I am reviewing this book a little late – it came out in 2009 – but I am trying to catch up with some of the more hyped YA novels from the past few years.  I also wanted to read the two first novels in this series (“The Wolves of Mercy Falls”) before the third book, Forever, is released in July.

Shiver is a fantasy novel about a teenager, Grace, who has a connection to the wolves that live in the woods by her house. There is one wolf in particular she has a special bond with, Sam, who spends the warmer months of the year in human form. Though Grace knows Sam’s secret, it doesn’t stop her from falling in love with him. The story follows Grace and Sam as they desperately try to stay together before the cold weather turns Sam back into a wolf. Complicating matters are the people of Mercy Falls who want the wolves - who have attacked a local boy - out of their community.

While the synopsis sounds pretty exciting, the book is only average for me.  In particular, the characters fall pretty flat. Although we are given some back story for Sam, I feel like he is fairly one-dimensional, and the attempts Stiefvater has made to make him unique – like the way he recites song and poem lyrics – just come across as awkward.  I feel similarly about Grace, who could have been such a more interesting character.  Most of the supporting characters were fairly unexciting as well, and much of the dialogue and word choice had me cringing (i.e. “parental units.”)

The other thing I didn’t love about this book was the way the narration was shared by Sam and Grace. I would rather have one narrator who I can really connect with and get to know than two whom I only sort of know. I also had to double check who was narrating at some points, because Sam and Grace’s personalities are so similar. 

That being said, I found Shiver reasonably enjoyable to read, and I have enough interest to check out the next book in the series, Linger. With any luck, Linger will show more character development and will have a stronger plotline.  Rating: C+

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