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Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater; Review

May 14, 2010

Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: August 1st, 2009

Number of Pages: 400

Rating: 3/5

Quote:

I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.”

Review:

I know, I know. This is one of those books that I should have read months ago. I feel like it’s been out forever, though it was only last August that Shiver, the first book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, first swept the nation.

I ultimately enjoyed the book and feel incredibly impatient for the sequel, but I realized along the way that, to me, this book was Twilight reworked. Albeit, Twilight done better (perhaps I’m just sick of Twilight), but still the stories seemed remarkably similar, not to mention the main characters. Grace was independent because her parents were a bit neglectful in the father/mother ways, and learned to cook well because she makes dinner so often, etc. All the same, I liked the characters in Shiver more. Grace, so far, has proven to be quite less annoying than Bella, and I absolutely loved her mother. (Did anyone notice that Paul and Sam were also names of werewolves in the Twilight series? Just an observation.)

Grace, as I said, is a strikingly independent character. She has a small group of close friends, but her most loyal friend is the wolf in her back yard. The one with the gold eyes.

As a young girl, Grace found herself being nuzzled by a seemingly enormous pack of wolves. Bloody and bitten, she was in too much of a daze to struggle against the ravenous and rough hounds. The one with the gold eyes, though… he wasn’t threatening. He sniffed at her – and the rest is sort of a blur. One thing’s for certain however: The bond between Grace and her wolf is so strong that it’s virtually unbreakable.

And then Grace, under unlikely and frightening circumstances, finds herself face-to-face with her wolf, now a boy, with the same familiar and unmistakable eyes. Unfortunately, Sam has to struggle wholeheartedly to remain human, and the warmth of fall is fading to be replaced by a cold winter, which, for Sam, may never end – leaving him a wolf forever.

I was happy to find that Sam is an admirable character, for the most part. I loved his timidity and wolf-i-ness, and his love for words and books even more. The fact that Grace didn’t seem to relinquish her individuality for her love was also heartening. I think that far too often, the women (and occasionally the men) are portrayed as slaves to their love.

The plot moved forward splendidly, unfolding at a steady pace that kept me turning page upon page upon page. I read this book very quickly and enjoyed [almost] every moment. The ending was also quite original, and the end of the end done in an expert way that was extremely fun and artistic. I finished satiated yet starved for the next book (Linger, which comes out later this year).

Spoiler Alert. I was disappointed that Sam and Grace had sex. I read the scene that lead to that event (the book is clean, ultimately. They don’t show much.) in my class and felt like throwing up simply because I was mad, disappointed, and shocked simultaneously, which, by the way, is quite nauseating. She’s seventeen for goodness’ sake, and, yes, I am aware that teenagers have sex (although, for the record, not all of them do), but my greatest worry was that Grace didn’t seem to think about it at all, before or after. She never pondered over the decision – and let’s face it, it was a big one. I know that lots of people wouldn’t be fazed a bit by this plot development, but I could have done without it, and I would have a greater respect for the characters. End of Spoiler.

I liked Maggie’s tone and voice, which seeped through everything. Some of the minute details that she included made the book so much more than it could have been. I love running into something that’s simply special. There was a particular scene in a candy shop that was delectable (forgive me the pun – although, I’ll admit, it was kind of intended).

The alternating points of view were done very well. I was hardly ever confused as to whose POV I was reading from, and even at those rare times, my confusion was short-lived. Both characters had distinct and relatable voices that I could immediately connect with. Particularly Sam. I loved his chapters.

Overall, I can easily see why this book has become immensely popular, and I liked. There were scenes and comments that I could have done without, but the book an enjoyable page-turner that I would instantly recommend to a majority of YA readers. It’s Twilight done better, in my opinion, and (don’t shoot me), Twilight wasn’t all that bad.

It’s time for a confession. I feel that this review has led me to this moment purposefully.

Yes, I was a stinkin’ lovin’ Twilighter. I was incredibly obsessive and read sentences at a time between assignments in class. I read all night. They were some of the first books I read while walking down the hall (a habit of mine, now). I read them before the big Twilight boom. I read them before people even talked about Team Edward and Team Jacob. But I read them. And I loved them. I made my mom read them as well, and just about everyone I could convince. I realize that the books weren’t all that great in the long run, but you’ve got to admit: They were pretty darned awesome for a while there.

Now, that I’ve got that off my chest: Happy reading to all!

P.S. I’m sorry all my posts have been book reviews lately. I have no idea what to blog about. Any ideas?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2010 9:31 PM

    Look at it this way, since you waited to read SHIVER, you don’t have to wait as long to read LINGER! πŸ™‚

    I used to love Twilight… and I still, in ways, appreciate the Twilight phenomenon. It has inspired so many to start reading and, I think, find even better books. I support anything that inspires people to read. Still, whenever I hear someone raving about Twilight, I find myself saying “You should totally check out…” They don’t even know the greatness that’s out there!

  2. May 14, 2010 7:40 PM

    Great review! I haven’t had a chance to pick up Shiver yet, but I’m glad Grace and Sam are good, strong characters. Your description of Sam is amazing; I can’t wait to read Shiver for myself!

  3. May 14, 2010 5:27 PM

    haha, I was a Twilighter before the boom… not anymore xp
    “She has a small group of close friends, but her most loyal friend is the wolf in her back yard.” I think this was the part that didn’t sit right with me, for one, she ditches all her friends when Sam becamse human, and for two, she was a bit *too* obsessed with the wolf. I mean, it’s a wolf…

    I’m not sure what it was but, I felt this book, like twilight, seemed to portray lust as “love”, and again, sex when they’ve known each other (as humans) for only a couple weeks? (i’m not sure about the timeline though) The whole romance wasn’t great for me.
    Great review though, I agree with many of your opinions. the writing for this book was excellent πŸ™‚

    • May 14, 2010 5:35 PM

      I made a twitter comment about this book and about the whole lust/love thing. One second…

      More like lust instead of love. Lust is OK in its place, but I can’t understand why people confuse it with love

      (A friend and I were discussing how odd it was that growling is considered sexy.)

      I’ve been contemplating this “lust as love” trend within ALL literature (not simply YA), recently. One of my upcoming reviews mentions this issue yet again.

  4. Torrie permalink
    May 14, 2010 5:20 PM

    Hahaha, don’t worry, Birdie. I was a Twilighter once, too (*shiver*)
    Okay, let’s never ever mention that again, yes?
    Kidding πŸ™‚ I was crazy about Twilight all through the summer before tenth grade and I got at least twenty different people to start reading it and become Twilight fanatics as well. Looking back, I still do think Jacob was a very likeable character, and I can see why in my obsessive days, I used to debate how much awesomer (not a word, I know) he was than Edward on Yahoo answers and to various people standing in line behind me at Starbucks.
    This book sounds good. You made me really, really want to read ‘Beautiful Creatures’ too, and I like that you review YA because I have had such bad luck trying to sort through crap that I’ve all but given up on the genre.

    • May 14, 2010 5:37 PM

      I know what you mean by “sort[ing] through crap.” The YA shelves at the bookstores are full of literature impostors. I’ve been more lucky recently and have found that I’m actually loving YA. Never thought I’d enjoy reading it, yet alone writing it (which is what I’m doing)! πŸ˜€

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