Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I read a few glowing reviews of this before I went to Book Expo America in May, so when I saw the ARC there I grabbed it. I was really excited about reading it, even though I'm generally not a huge fan of werewolves. With the exception of Carrie Vaughan's Kitty. :)

But I guess I'm coming around. I don't think I'll ever love werewolves like I love vampires, but for some reason that remains unclear to me I do love these paranormal love stories with high stakes and impossible odds.

When I started reading Shiver I didn't love it. I liked some of it. There's a passage early in the book I especially liked, so it wasn't the writing. The writing is lyrical and sweet. But I was just kind of uncomfortable with the idea of this human teenage girl being in love with a wolf. A wolf she didn't realize was also human.

Let me back up. Grace is but a child when she's attacked by some wolves behind her home. One wolf in the pack keeps them from killing her. And it's that wolf she ends up watching her whole life. But the wolves are becoming a problem for the town and a hunting party goes after them. When "her wolf" gets shot and turns human, this turns into the tragic love story.

I liked that the wolves in this book were different. Instead of the full moon bringing on the change it's cold weather. And instead of dealing with it one night a month, they have season...winter/wolf season and summer/human season. But eventually they won't change back into humans and will remain wolves.

Sam, Grace's wolf-turned-boyfriend, is afraid he's in his last human season. So they are spending all the time they have together until he turns, possibly for good. But there's a new werewolf in town and he's also trying to help her deal with that situation since the wolf is much more aggressive and not really hiding his wolfiness.

I ended up enjoying Shiver more than I thought I would initially. It's a little heavy on the romance and fact, they say they are obsessed with each other which is just a little icky for me. But Sam is sweet and tragic and Grace is a girl with a head on her shoulders. I also really liked Grace's new friend Isabel..I thought she was fun.

This is a book where the adults play almost no role. There's a lot of pain, an overall very somber tone to the book, I felt some of the characters could have been more fleshed out, but I still enjoyed it quite a lot, and I look forward to the sequel.

Rating: 4/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Premarital sex, a little language, some violence
Source of Book: ARC picked up at BEA, but the book is in bookstores now.
Publisher: Scholastic Press



Sandy Nawrot said...

Yeah, based on the premise I'm not sure if I would have jumped on this one either. Werewolves, sappy, obsession? Haven't I had enough of that already? I say all of this like I am some sort of cynic, but I would probably fall for it if I read it. And if I were a high school kid? Hook, line and sinker. Back then, it was all about obsession.

Jen - devourer of books said...

The obsession that they have didn't feel Twilight-esque to me, though. I guess I wouldn't ever have labeled it 'obsession,' even though they did. They actually seemed to care for one another and had the sort of easy intimacy I've seen in real people when they fall in love and are comfortable and secure with one another.

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad you liked this so much, but I'm not sure I'd go for the romance and sappiness.

Heather J. said...

I've always had a thing for wolves in stories ever since first reading THE BELGARIAD series by David Eddings way back when, so this book has been on my radar for quite a while. If I can get a copy from the library before your blog show w/ Nicole on Tuesday night, then I'll be calling in to discuss it with you. :)

Laughing Stars said...

This was a fun read for me. I didn't even mind the romance and the sappiness. :-P I'm not a huge fan of the paranormal stuff, generally, but I love variety and terrific writing. :-) I am with you on liking the fact that she made the werewolves a little different.

Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one. I've heard some good things about it. I'm going to put it on my ever growing TBR list.

justicejenniferreads said...

I've been wanting to read this. I read some early reviews on it and it sounds interesting. I feel like it's a book I'd enjoy even though I totally agree with you, vampires beat warewolves in my heart hands down.

heidenkind said...

I'm not a big fan of werewolves, either. Vampires just seem so much more, I don't know, romantic and sexy.

Julie J. said...

I bought this one today on a Borders run. I wish I'd read your review first though! Hopefully, I'll like it or my daughter will like it!

Toni said...

I liked your review. I think the girl being in love with the wolf without "knowing" would kind of bug me as "wrong" too. I say that lightly I mean not bug enough to stop reading... But still I think it sounds like it could be a good werewolf story. I am a bit novice on the werewolf stuff. I love when they switch it up a bit, in other words go off from the norm. Nice review. I like that you added some info. I think it is important that parents know what their teens are reading. Not that I would veto it, just it is good to know and be able to have conversations with the teens when and if they are reading. :)

Debbie's World of Books said...

I wasn't a big fan of werewolves either but I won this in a giveaway so I read it and enjoyed it. I also just started reading the Kitty series. It's fun but vampires are still my favorite paranormal beings.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I am excited to read this one. It is on the TBR. I havent dives a whole lot into the vampire or werewolf books so I am curious how I will feel about this one.

S. Krishna said...

I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as you did, but I'll definitely be reading the sequel.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I enjoyed this book too. It surprised me, since I didn't think I would like it at all! I would have loved for the characters to be more fleshed out too, though.

Jenny Girl said...

Sappy obsession...yeah I'll pass. I think I like vamps more than wolves because they still look human, although with a hint of evil. I love dogs but I don't want to kiss any :)
Good review chicka!

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