“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.”
Girl meets supernatural boy and is thrust into his supernatural world, rife with plot-driving conflict that threatens to totally break them up and maybe even like, kill them. As expected from the cover, Shiver is basically the paranormal romance genre in book form. The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy shows off a well put together plot packed with powerful emotional punches. Okay, so maybe at times the pace can feel a little lax in sections as we really get to know our characters. This could be redeemable (depending on your appetite for steady action) with our story’s stellar, A grade cast. Above all else, Shiver stands out in the crowd of not-exactly-Twilights for the characters, relationships and scenes that are emotionally addicting to love or hate.
As mentioned above, our leading character Grace takes on a fascination with the wolves in the nearby woods after being attacked as a child. Especially with the yellow eyed wolf that turns out to also be our other leading role, Sam. Fair warning, some readers get a romantic vibe from her fascination with Sam and are immediately weirded out since this interest came long before she realized that he was a human at all (plenty also didn’t, you be the judge).
The more we get to know our teen wolf protagonist Sam, the more we see that he doesn’t act or think like a typical teenage boy. Of course, he’s not a murderous old man in a seventeen year old’s body, but he probably won’t remind you of that one quiet kid in high school. Skeptics far and wide will tell us Maggie Stiefvater was simply struggling to write a convincing teenage boy. It could also be pretentious to assume living half your life as an animal wouldn’t make you a little weird.
Shiver has enough resolution to make it feel like a full and satisfying story independent from the rest of the trilogy. Don’t be fooled by the stand-alone vibes. This carefully crafted puzzle makes a habit of hiding answers later crucial to the plot early and in plain sight.
For those who enjoy hanging around through the plot that relies more on crescendos of suspense and anticipation over constant, adventurous stimulation, there is a rewarding experience in the emotional rollercoaster that is Shiver.
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