Book Reviews

Review: “Shiver,” Maggie Stiefvater

August 30, 2015
Review: “Shiver,” Maggie StiefvaterShiverby Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published by Scholastic on June, 2010
Genres: Romance, Werewolves / Shifters
Pages: 390
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf - her wolf - watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace... until now.

For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human - and Grace must fight to keep him - even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

It was with a small amount of trepidation that I decided to re-read this book. Why? Well, I loved it so much the first time around that I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much a second time. I’m so glad I was wrong. Shiver was just as enjoyable five years later; beautifully-written and incredibly unique in its approach to werewolves in general.

I’m currently re-reading Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series in preparation for reading the newest installment, Sinner, which was such an incredible surprise for me. I started this series a few months before I began book blogging, so never got the chance to really type up my feelings about the first few books – Shiver and Linger. I’m so glad I can finally rectify that!

Now that so much time has passed since my first reading of this series, I found that I had forgotten little plot details and characters and was so excited to discover the world of Mercy Falls all over again! The same characters that I loved and remembered awaited me and it was such a familiar and comforting read for me.

“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.”
– Sam

Grace is such an unusual main character. Unusual in a good way! She always surprises me with her… ‘stoicness’. I don’t think I’ve read another lead in YA quite like her. She is incredibly forward with Sam, but so reserved in other ways. She knows who she is and what she likes and isn’t afraid of that. She also has a great sense of the world and knows where she wants to belong. It’s so refreshing to read about a character that isn’t itching to get out of their hometown.

As for Sam, he’s so not the run-of-the-mill love interest and that’s what I love about he and Grace’s relationship. They are very much equals – enamoured with each other, but easily so. They just fit and work together, no questions asked. It’s very realistic. Apart from the werewolf problem, there’s no drama between them.

Another thing I absolutely adore about this series are the secondary characters. Maggie Stiefvater does such a great job at fleshing out everyone she introduces into the fold and making sure they each get a story. There’s Olivia, Grace’s unreadable best friend who becomes quite interesting as the book goes on. There’s Jack, the newbie-werewolf/jock with a frightening temper. Beck is the father-figure with questionable solutions to the pack’s problems and then there’s the creepy she-wolf, Shelby. And my favourite? Isabel Culpeper. The popular girl with a Chihuahua in her purse who actually turns out to be a decent person.

“As the hours crept by, the afternoon sunlight bleached all the books on the shelves to pale, gilded versions of themselves and warmed the paper and ink inside the covers so that the smell of unread words hung in the air.”

Maggie Stiefvater has such a way with words… it makes this book more than just another ‘werewolf YA’. From the mouthwatering sweet store in Duluth to Grace’s frozen backyard, I felt I was experiencing her descriptions first hand. They’re almost lyrical. I hate even trying to describe this book as a ‘Young Adult Book About Werewolves’ because it simply doesn’t do it justice. It feels as if it cheapens it.

This series is more about simply being an ‘awesome werewolf’ with ‘awesome powers’. It’s about a condition, almost. A sickness that comes with the lowering of temperatures and being unable to remember your human life. A fight to keep hold of your humanity, if that’s what you want.

For me, it’s the perfect blend of great writing, interesting characters and the ‘supernatural’. I can’t wait to dive back into Linger (it was my favourite last time!) and get to experience some of my favourite characters and pairings all over again.

Recommended to: If you haven’t read any Maggie Stiefvater before, I highly suggest starting with Shiver. Alternatively, if you are sick of anything to do with werewolves in YA, I implore you to pick up a copy of Shiver and see how different this one is. You may be pleasantly surprised!

About Maggie Stiefvater

All of Maggie Stiefvater's life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you're a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she's tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She's made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

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