Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Scholastic

Summary (From Goodreads)

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.

What’s Good About It

Where to start? There’s good reason why this book has huge hype on the blogosphere. It’s fabulous.

There’s real danger with these ‘two teenagers, one of whom is supernatural, are destined to be together’ stories. A) they come off like badly put together Twilight rip-offs (and let’s face it, Twilight as a starting point was pretty badly put together) B) the main characters are totally unrelatable because there only purpose is to be in love with each other. No matter how much you love another person, generally you have other things going on in your life besides them.

Stiefvater manages to avoid these pitfalls. Somehow. Despite the fact that Grace and Sam’s romance is very instant, it never feels forced or false. They are three dimensional, realistic characters with concerns and problems of their own, outside of each other. Their relationship isn’t the all consuming purpose of the plot, and the rest of the plot is enough to feel like it wasn’t just a carrier for the romance, without getting in the way of the romance – the absolute perfect balance. Because we all read these books to see X get together with Y and live their romance vicariously, but for the book to be memorable and brilliant, rather than just a fast beach read you forget as soon as you close, there has to be enough else going on besides swooning and snogging.

The peripheral characters were good too, which is another common flaw in YA Paranormal Romance. I genuinely like and cared about the minor characters, even Isabel, Mercy Falls’ own Mean Girl.

The alternating viewpoint also worked well, adding further dimensions to the story. And I loved the werewolf mythology. I griped on Twitter earlier about the temperature thing, and why couldn’t all the wolves move to Mexico to avoid changing, but even that loose end (which wasn’t bugging me that much, but I am a bit of a plot hole Nazi) was neatly explained away without the narrative ever becoming too distracted.

I’ll stop blabbing now… You probably get the picture. This book is ace, and if you haven’t read it – you really should.

What’s Not So Good

The fact that the last installment isn’t out til this time next year… That’s EVIL!

Rating: 5/5

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