Friday, July 30, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


Maggie Stiefvater

SUMMARY: Grace has watched the wolves in the forest behind her house since her strange childhood encounter with the pack—an encounter in which Grace was nearly mauled to death only to be rescued by a member of the pack with brilliant golden eyes. Each winter Grace waits for this wolf especially to appear amongst the trees bordering her backyard. But this winter, something strange is going on in the town and everyone seems to be turning against the wolves. Just as Grace worries that her wolf will disappear forever, she suddenly meets a boy with golden eyes who seems remarkably familiar.

Sam has lived almost his entire life torn between the wolf-world of winter and the few precious summer months of his humanity. But through both forms, his interest and admiration of Grace has remained steadfast. Now that the two have finally spoken and realized their connection, Sam must struggle to remain human as the air turns colder or face the loss of his human self, and Grace, forever.

ONESMARTCUPCAKE THINKS: Now this is supernatural romance done the right way, my friends. This book was recommended to me a while ago but I just got around to reading it; I cannot believe I waited so long!

Stiefvater writes with a lyrical grace and manages evoke passionate emotions and intense atmosphere with delicate phrasing and a concise style. Reading Shiver felt like being curled up by a fire in the middle of a snowstorm. It was such romantic, wintry book that it almost made me believe it was late September instead of sweaty July! The plot is technically simple but the layers of emotion and interaction are rich and complex.

Also, it was great to read a love story that manages to be classically romantic but neither over-dramatic nor boring. The characters, especially Grace and Sam, are likable and interesting; they are neither annoying nor stereotypically simple. Moreover, both remain individuals within their blossoming relationship. The narrative shifts between Grace’s and Sam’s perspectives and both speak eloquently of their growing love and intense bond. Yet both Grace and Sam also maintain individual personalities. Additionally, Stiefvater manages to portray the sexual aspects of the relationship with elegance.

I also really enjoyed the new take on the werewolf mythos. Werewolves are one of my preferred supernatural creatures and it was interesting to read a unique conception of them. The emphasis on temperature in Stiefvater’s version was especially cool because it was worked into the thematic feel of the story as whole; concepts of heat versus cold were used to describe emotional states as well to evoke the atmosphere of situations. Stiefvater does a great job uniting the pieces of the novel using this concept.

Overall, Shiver was an incredibly enjoyable read and left me desperate for its recently released sequel Linger. I’ve managed to resist purchasing Linger but I don’t know how much longer I can hold back! Shiver was the first Maggie Stiefvater novel I’ve read but I can’t wait to check out her fantasy duo Lament and Ballad as well as the rest of Wolves of Mercy Falls series!


PS- Check out Maggie Stiefvater’s fun companion website.

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