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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

First Look: ***** The premise of this book didn't really interest me.  I tend to shy away from werewolf books.  But then I read The Scorpio Races back in November...and I couldn't help but pick this up.  I was hoping for something at least partially as awesome as TSR. 

Setting: *****  At first, I was all excited and "Yay, Minnesota!".  I was hoping for a good story set in a realistic Minnesota that I could relate to.  I wanted to read about the place where I live, written by an author who did her research.  Unfortunately, I didn't get it.

Yes, the book is supposedly set in Minnesota.  But I really don't think it was, because nobody acted like a native Minnesotan.  My main example: Every chapter number had a temperature underneath it.  This is cool by itself, but Stiefvater would've been better without it.  Why?  Because it was unrealistic.  It would say 50 degrees (F), which is all well and nice and believable for a Minnesota September.  But then one of the characters would make a comment about the "frigid breeze" or the "ice-cold chill" or something.  This is not realistic.  People who've lived in MN their entire life do not think 50 is frigid.  Or ice-cold.  That sounds amazingly warm right now, actually.  People wear shorts and flip-flops in colder weather. 

Characters: ***** I liked the characters well enough.  I could relate to Grace's personality.  I could definitely understand her introvertedness.  Is that a word?  Well, it is now.  Also, I found Sam to be an interesting character, too. 

My problem with both of them is that they weren't realistically flawed.  I could see flaws in Grace, but she still seemed close for comfort to Mary-Sue territory.  And I couldn't find anything at all wrong with Sam, that I can think of.  Which makes him just another example of the perfect-supernatural-love-interest phenomena that's making its way through YA books.

Grace's parents also drove me crazy.  They were way too ignorant of what's going on their daughter's life.  I understand that they were supposed to be a little out of it, but this was just unrealistic.  It made no sense.  And Grace didn't even seem to care. 

Plot: ****
The plot itself was pretty interesting.  Throughout the book, it raised many questions that I really, really wanted to have answered.  I liked all the story about the wolves (though I'm hoping the next two books don't get overly environmentalist, because I don't enjoy reading that kind of thing*). 

I'm really interested to see what happens with this in the next book.  Especially with the ending, and what happened to Sam.  I won't say what, for fear of spoilers, but....

Uniqueness: *****
The werewolf-temperature thing was pretty unique. I'll give it that.

Writing: *****
There wasn't anything in this writing to distract me from the story, which does huge things towards my enjoyment of a book.  I don't remember catching any typos, and there wasn't much in the way of awkward phrasing or overuse of passive voice or anything.

It did disappoint me a little, though.  I was hoping for some more Stiefvater seven-star-worthy amazingness like TSR.  I didn't get that from this book.

Likes: I like wolves.  A lot. 

I'm not impressed with Sam and Grace's "togetherness".  And yes, I mean what you think I mean.  Now, I'm not here to rant about abstinence, but....  Sam and Grace, do you realize what happened to the last characters I read about that slept together before they got married?  The guy got his shoulder ripped open by an evil bird-monster-thing, while these same monsters kidnapped the girl.  Yeah.**  [insert more abstinence ranting here] 

Total Score:
Despite the insta-love, I managed to enjoy this book.  I really did.  Even so, I had my issues with.  It's definitely not up to par with The Scorpio Races, unfortunately.  The Minnesota setting isn't realistic.  The characters were so-so.  I liked the fresh twist on werewolves.  Overall, I guess I'd recommend this to paranormal fans.  My rating is more like 3.5 stars, but I round up.

*Hoot is the exception to this rule.  Because I love it.  And because it does it in a non-confrontational way.  And because it's one book that actually has a great movie based off it.  And because "...bringing twelve new jobs to Coconut Cove!"
**Yes, I'm referring to Eldest.  Yes, I'm talking about Roran and Katrina.  I've noticed that the Inheritance series is actually full of lessons that your health teacher would approve of.  There's also a pretty good anti-drinking one.  I don't think Paolini intended this at all.

Reviews of other Wolves of Mercy Falls novels:
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)
Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)
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1 comment:

  1. 50 degrees in MN IS NOT COLD. Even when its 40, I see people walking out in shorts and tank tops. Even in the little bit of snow we have. I don't wear a winter jacket when its 50 out, I'm wearing a sweater or a fall jacket with a fuzzy inside.

    Although when my southern friends come up, they think 40 is cold. And I laugh and tell them to wait when its -20 and then complain.


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