Saturday, February 15, 2014

Shiver: Another Paranormal Romance

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: August 1st, 2009
Format: Library Copy
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Rating: ✎✎✎


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.

My Thoughts and Reflection:

This is not a new book.  This is not a new author.  This is not a new, unexplored genre.  I consider Shiver to be pretty traditional Paranormal Romance.
Yes, back to the "This is not a a new book" part.  I tried to read this book a couple of years back.  Even then, I wasn't one to put a book down.  Yet, there were some things that very quickly turned me off, (I'll talk more about them a little bit later).  So I gave up on the series.  
Now, several years later, I've discovered my love for Maggie Stiefvater through some of her other books, like The Raven Boys.  Also, through a recent read I've discovered that I don't totally hate paranormal romance.  When I saw this book at the library a couple of weeks ago, I thought to myself, "Yeah, you should probably just read that." So I picked it up, and here I am, having finished it.  
Let's just say that my annoyances were the same the second time around, I just pushed through.  
I suppose the first thing I should talk about is the concept.  Werewolves are wolves when it's cold, humans when it's warm.  Except their human years dwindle away until they don't become human ever again.  That was a cool idea, I guess.  Not the most exciting.  I think the exciting part is that the pack leaders were kidnapping kids so that the pack could continue on.  How messed up is that?
Grace, our protagonist, is the main thing that I had a problem with in this book.  I found her to be completely unrealistic Her ENTIRE life was based around these wolves, which, by the way, were not there for half of the year.  That was the main thing that made me put this book down in the first place.  So yes, Grace.  She was just so BLAND.  Even when it was acknowledged in the book, it still didn't come across as attractive.  
Sam, well, Sam was certainly more interesting than Grace.  The fact that he was a werewolf aside, his dark family past and his love of music/writing song lyrics made him have more depth.  He also wasn't quite that brooding bad boy that we see to much of in this genre, which was a relief.
The plot wasn't the most interesting either.  Sam is stuck as a human, he knows that if he turns back he'll never become human again.  Then there is the whole Jack/Isabel plot line, which was unsatisfying.  He died in the end?  Really?  That just seemed like a lazy way to wrap up that story.  
The last page was cliche and unsatisfying.  I wish that there had been more meaning to this book.  The most beautiful and well written moments were when there was threat of losing on the of the characters.  I think that if Stiefvater had taken this route the book would have ended on a more fulfilling note.
Overall, I wasn't impressed with this book.  I have no desire to pick up the sequels, I'm sure that it involves Grace becoming a wolf too and then some love triangle with Shelby (this other wolf in love with Sam).  
However, my dislike of this book is not a dislike for Stiefvater as an author.  I figure that these books were just written early on in her career, so now her writing is better. Also, maybe she felt some pressure from her publisher when paranormal romance was at it's height of popularity.


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