Thursday, 26 July 2012

Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

Grace is fascinated by the wolves in the woods behind her house; one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. Every winter, she watches him, but every summer, he disappears. Sam leads two lives. In winter, he stays in the frozen woods, with the protection of the pack. In summer, he has a few precious months to be human ...until the cold makes him shift back again. When Grace and Sam finally meet, they realize they can't bear to be apart. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human - or risk losing himself, and Grace, for ever.

The Cover: The cover is really pretty, but I think that there's not much else to it. I mean, it's set in the woods, so it's not completely irrelevant and it doesn't have any obvious connections to the wolf-y side of the plot which I think is a good thing, but that's all really. I think the best thing about the cover of Shiver is its relationship with the covers of the rest of the trilogy.

The Characters: The story is told through Sam and Grace's point of views - which is done really well. Sam is sensitive, thoughtful, and turns a lot of his experiences into song lyrics (I can't decide whether I like this personality trait or not); whereas Grace is logical, independent, and loves the woods and the wolves. I prefer Grace's personality and her narrative voice to Sam's overall - however, the chapters in Sam's POV when he's a wolf are spectacular. The other main character is Isabel Culpeper, who seems not very nice at all, and she probably isn't, but I love her bluntness and her brutal honesty. I really dislike Grace's parents, mainly because they basically ignore her, and I feel like her friends Rachel and Olivia don't pay much attention to her either.

The Setting: Breath-taking. The imagery of the woods, especially in winter is one of the best things about the book. You feel transported every time Grace steps out onto her deck and I love that. The description of Beck's house is fantastic as well, especially in Sam's point of view.

The Overall Story: Out of the trilogy, I don't think Shiver is the best. I love the beginning and how Stiefvater sets the foundations for the characters and leaves hints for the reader to pick up and use to piece together the puzzle we're faced with as the story progresses; but the middle section moved a bit too slowly for my taste. It's greatly improved at the end of the book, however, when the characters are forced into action. I also think that while the dual narrative is good, I prefer the use of Cole (who isn't introduced until Linger) and Isabel's perspective as well as Sam and Grace's.

A great starting point for an interesting and fresh take on the werewolf myth. I give Shiver 3.5 out of 5 stars.

- Elsie

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