Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Dear Blog,
If you're wondering how it is that I'm posting a review practically every day, then my reason is this:  I wrote a heap of reviews on holiday, so half of these I just have to type up and then post.  I'm not yet fully caught up. 
Anyway.  This is another late-at-night review so sorry it's so short.

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.

Review:  This is one of those books that I picked up at the library thinking, "hmm, everybody else on the internet seems to like it.  Perhaps I'll give it a go."  And it was better than I expected.  Waaaaay better.

The story alternates points of view between Grace and Sam, both of whom were great protagonists. Quite often in such dual narrative books it can be quite hard to make both voices sound original (in some books it can be kind of confusing as to who's talking), but the voices in Shiver are totally unique and seem to fit each character perfectly. Some parts of Sam's narrative, while he was a wolf, read almost like poetry, while Grace's "voice" was clear and realistic.  The writing style overall is poetic and flowing, and the descriptions leap off the page.

 Sam was undoubtedly my favourite of the two- he seemed ever so slightly more three-dimensional, complete with flaws and everything. Grace seemed slightly too perfect now and again, in a my-parents-are-away-all-the-time-so-I'm-really-driven-and-efficient sort of way. Still, she was likeable and capable, complete with a backbone and everything.  Her parents are equally mysterious - why do they never seem to care?  why don't they?  That was never really explored.

One of my favourite things (if not my favourite) is the romance between Sam and Grace.  It was so beautiful, and one of those rare romance books which leaves me feeling slightly lonely.  I'm so pathetic.  But that's how wonderfully written it is.   Their romance is both sweet and passionate, and paced just right.  It was good that you could see them from the others' point of view, which added a different aspect to the two of them.  The scene in the sweet shop was particularly touching and "aaaaw!".  Interestingly, there is no  main *villain* in Shiver that keeps Sam and Grace apart, except the change in temperature that will turn Sam into a wolf, possibly for the rest of his life. This makes it a little slow and lacking in drama,

Seeing as the trilogy is called The Wolves of Mercy Falls, this kinds of gives it away that, well, it's about wolves.  So I shall talk about them.  They were a refreshing change from the norm- notice how they're the wolves of Mercy Falls, not the werewolves of Mercy Falls.  I suppose the only thing that makes them *magic* is that they transform from man to wolf -they hardly seem like monsters at all.  Speaking of which, the ideas of the wolves transforming depending on how hot/cold it is was pretty refreshing and different from the norm.  No full moons around here.

The ending.   You may or may not like it, depending on whether a) you have any medical expertise in such things or b) you just think it's too far-fetched. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, in truth.  It's quite sudden and, "oh, is that all?"  However, it leaves you desperate for the sequel, Linger, continuing things.  The ending is very open, with many minor characters whose stories are continued and leave you  pondering their fate.

A Shallow Extra Thought: I've pictured the UK cover, but I much prefer the US one.  The cover from here in the sceptr'd isle makes it look almost like a horror story of sorts.  I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side. However, I've decided to finally stop waiting for the pretty US edition of Mockingjay to be a little cheaper on, because in truth I just can't wait to read it now.  But back on the subject, the US cover is in my opinion prettier.
Anyway.  Which ever edition you can get hold of, read it now. 

In three words: poetic, romantic, haunting.
Reccomended for: everyone, on a dark winter's night with a mug of hot chocolate.
Rating: 4.   

1 comment:

  1. I've been meaning to read this, but I read online that there was a 'mature' scene, and I was like, "Eh, maybe it's too risque..." I'm reading Blood and Chocolate (well, sort of reading - I took a break from it and can't seem to continue it), and there's some 'mature' scenes, so I imagine Shiver won't be too mature.

    I'm babbling. Anyways, nice blog :) And I'm a sucker for good romantic scenes, too.


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