Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review: Shiver, Linger, and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy wasn’t a set of books I thought I would like when I first picked them up. Before then, I hadn’t read any werewolf stories and I didn’t think it was a mythology I was interested in. It didn’t take but a few pages into the first book before I was hooked. These books are so much more than werewolf books. The characters are richly drawn and the words are beautifully conceived. Here’s a summary of each book: 

Shiver: Grace was almost killed by the wolves in the woods behind her house when she was nine. But a yellow-eyed wolf saved her. Every winter she watches those woods for her silent protector to return. There's something about that wolf that she is drawn too and she needs to know more.

Sam has always watched Grace from afar. In the winter from the woods by her home and in the few precious warm months of summer when he gets to be human and see her around town. 
Suddenly one of Grace’s classmates is killed by a wolf. A hunting party forms to take out the animals. When a familiar yellow-eyed boy shows up shivering and naked on Grace’s porch, Grace knows she has found her wolf. The two slowly get to know each other and fall in love. And while the pack tries to hide and protect itself they also make a startling discovery: some of them aren’t changing back into humans anymore. Grace and her friends race to find a cure for Sam, who would give anything to stay human and be with Grace. So will this be the first and last time the two get to be together? Or will their improvised cure work?

Linger: A new wolf is in town. Cole is a boy who embraces his wolf and shuns his troubled, human past. But why is he here? 
Sam spends his days broodily adjusting to his new life and worrying about Grace, who is suffering from symptoms similar to what happens when the wolves first transform. After all this time, is she finally changing into a wolf? Sam can't help but question why she never changed when she was bitten as a child. What makes her different? 
Isobel is a classmate of Grace’s whose brother didn’t survive the improvised cure they gave him after his wolf bite. She spends her time trying to help Sam and Grace and not fall for Cole. When a local teen goes missing, the hunting party decides it wants blood. But the pack won’t give up so easily. They have a plan for sticking around and taking care of each other. So can a real, permanent cure be found? What’s going to happen to Grace? Will hers and Sam’s love survive when one is a wolf and the other is not?

Forever: Now two local teens have gone missing. The hunting party, headed by Isobel’s father, blames the wolves and is preparing for one final shoot-out to rid Mercy Falls of them forever. 
Cole and Isobel have found happiness in one another and Cole has decided that maybe he doesn’t mind being a human so much after all. He throws himself into finding and perfecting a cure. So will he get it done in time? Or will the hunting party get to the wolves first? Will the missing teens (presumably now wolves) be found? How and where will our four main characters end up?

**Maggie Stiefvater is a brilliant writer. Her writing style for each of her series of books is different from anything else out there. Her settings are vivid and descriptive; atmospheric. In the Wolves trilogy, the romance between Sam and Grace is full of ache and happiness. The introduction of Isobel and Cole’s perspectives provides a much needed counterweight of comic relief and sarcasm to balance out Sam and Grace's introspective personalities. While a lot of people feel Stiefvater left the ending of the trilogy too open ended, I disagree. I felt it was fitting with the wonder and romance set forth in the prior two books. I liked not having all the answers and being able to use my imagination to figure some things out. I highly recommend these books to anyone who likes their stories lyrical and their romances paranormal.