Continuing on that kick of reading books without their last novel…
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Synopsis From The Book
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.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
This is a series I have been tempted to read since it first game out forever and a year ago. I finally got them with the covers I wanted and now its time to begin this reading. I have no expectations and no previous knowledge about what this was about. In fact, I hadn’t even read the synopsis until I put it here. This means I am truly open to this novel, which in its own way can be good or bad. Wishing the future me the best of adventures.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
It was really good. Its one of the better romances for YA that I have read in a while. This is to say that it was a romance, with paranormal — a paranormal romance — as compared to a fantasy with romance. Thus, I loved it for what it was.
Grace was attacked by wolves when she was a child, before she could be killed one wolf stepped in and saved her. That wolf has been her savior ever since. Each year in the winter months, Grace searches for her wolf. He searches for her too.
Sam is the wolf, a werewolf who can not control the change. He knows his time is slipping from him — the time that he can remain human — and wishes he could be closer to grace.
When a town boy, Jack, gets mauled by the pack (and changed into a werewolf), the town strikes back against the wolves to hunt them. Sam gets injured and ends up on Grace’s doorstep, where she discovers her secret and is able to finally claim her love.
Sam fights against his instinct to turn to a wolf in the cold, while Grace fights to protect him. Jack finds that Grace, though bitten, never turned and wants the “cure” from her. She and her friends determine the only way to cure a werewolf is to burn them from the inside out, like Grace nearly was.
The book ends with Grace’s friend a wolf, Jack dead, and Sam revealing himself alive and cured?
What I Liked:
Grace; Is great. I really don’t have many other words to describe her. She’s unlike heroines I’ve read before. She seeks attention from her semi neglectful parents but does not act out. She’s weird to others, not because she’s shy but distant. She’s obsessed with wolves and everyone knows it. She has her faults, her hopes, her passions, and strengths. Honestly I don’t know if I’d get along with Grace as a person, but I respect her.
Sam; Is great. His past is tragic, but fits within the world. How the book addresses his PTSD is amazing. He hates being a wolf, and loves and obsesses over Grace. (See below) I find his personality as a whole well developed and a match for Grace. His transformation, and perspectives are distinct and fascinating.
Secondary and Tertiary Characters; For the length of this book there was much development for the side characters. We learned stories on Beck (one who protects the pack when human and Sam’s pseudo father), Olivia (One of Grace’s best friends), Jack, Isabel (Jack’s sister), and many others. We see how their lives work with each other and within the story for Grace and Sam.
Werewolves; Everything about this rendition of the concept I support. Changing in the cold? Yes. Changing up until a certain point than being unable to? Please. Only living the length of wolves? Interesting. Their motivations and decisions all reflect those truths. They have to hunt for more people to take into their pack in order to protect their well being as humans in the warmer months. They have to keep their nature a secret. As wolves they are not humans, they are wolves, which I appreciated.
Romance; This love story started six years in the past, was six years of pinning and longing, and then came to fruition in multiple weeks. Not a few weeks, multiple. They were with each other day in and day out for weeks, finally close enough after years. I felt the longing for them. It was heart breaking, and lovely all at the same time. What is most important to me is that once Grace and Sam get each other their obsessions for the other basically stop. They were obsessed with what they couldn’t have but once they had it, they did not obsessed. They existed in the same place. Their obsessions were in order to find meaning in their lives and once they had it? Why obsess any longer?
Pacing; The book, as I stated above, takes place over a relatively long period of time. It’s not often that I read the words “weeks” in a novel and believe it. However this novel in total is somewhere between 7 years, and only a few weeks. Powerful nonetheless.
Formatting; This is the term I will use to describe the changing font colors throughout the book that I didn’t realize was happening until half way through. The fade and shifting was so perfect for the mood of the story. I knew I had a reason for wanting these specific books. Also the temperatures on top of the chapters was nice, as well as the names indicating perspectives.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I wish I had more werewolf lore. Or even more perspectives from Sam as a wolf. I thought it was fascinating, not that the book missed out but I would have liked more.
Time Taken To Read
One of those books that I need to read the sequel to know if its a 5 series or a 4 series.